Dr. Charla Nicole Burns

Physician and COVID-19 Contact Investigator, Harris County Public Health

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Never give up!

What do you do?

Conducts the initial phone investigation with individuals testing positive for COVID-19. Performs health assessments, traces potential origin of contact, and determines contact individuals. Documents results of investigations by completing state and health department forms.

Why did you choose this field?

I decided in high school that I wanted to be a physician. I always loved math and science and wanted to make a positive difference in the world. Despite both of my parents being educators, I wanted to pursue my own path. The COVID-19 pandemic lead me to my current position in public health as a contact tracer.

What do you look at and think, "I wish younger me would have known this was possible"?

I wish I had known that you don't have to be a science major as a undergraduate student to pursue a career in medicine. Despite my love for math and science, I also enjoyed art, music, and politics.

Why do you love working in STEM?

For far too long, women, especially those of color, have been underrepresented in STEM. It brings joy to my heart knowing that I have defied the odds and broken many barriers. Little girls can see themselves in me and that inspires them to pursue a field that has not been dominated by men.

Best advice for next generation?

Never give up!

Inspo quote / fun fact / role model

Doubt kills more dreams than failure ever will.

NOMINATE a woman in STEM

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