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Opinion >  Letters

Politics and science

I am a local medical student, and after attending the public meeting in which Dr. Bob Lutz was terminated, I am deeply disappointed with the Board of Health. I was disheartened to see how fundamental principles within medicine, such as community engagement and advocacy, were used against Dr. Lutz to support his termination.

During the meeting Dr. Lutz was criticized for collaborating with legislators to address firearm safety, which is considered an important public health issue. In my own medical school, I have learned how to address gun safety, and I have myself participated in advocacy in Olympia to support safer gun laws.

I was also concerned that Dr. Lutz was criticized for engaging in community outreach without administrator approval. I fear creating a barrier between the public health officer and the community creates opportunities for suppression and influence over important public health messaging.

Lastly, I want to address Commissioner French’s statement that Dr. Lutz’s participation in BLM protests were inappropriate amidst our stay-at-home orders. Addressing inequity is an integral part of medicine. Choosing to protest deep racial inequities within our society is a public health issue and should never be equated to the choices individuals are making to not wear masks or social distance for the sake of “personal liberties.”

I believe that criticizing Dr. Lutz for supporting public health issues such as gun safety and racial inequity, speak to a politically motivated termination, and that these actions further widen the chasm between politics and science.

Emily Cooper



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