Emily Wroe '03: The Virus Tracker

The alumna helps lead the ambitious contact-tracing effort underway in Massachusetts.

Read the full story, by Lisa Kocian '94, published by Dartmouth Alumni Magazine.

Emily Wroe '03 caught one of the last flights out of Johannesburg, South Africa, on March 19, just as the coronavirus was tightening its grip on the United States. She had to choose where to be during the pandemic. It was a tough decision, but the Harvard-educated doctor and public health professional wanted to see if her experience in developing nations might be useful in her own country.

Within 36 hours Wroe was tapped to help lead the ambitious contact-tracing effort underway in Massachusetts. It's the first time she has worked outside Africa in six years, and people assume it must be strange and different.

Her response?

"Oh no, this is the same. This is really complicated work," Wroe told Dartmouth Alumni Magazine in April from her aunt and uncle's home outside Boston, where she is staying. "Global health is global, including in America right now. We're the center of the pandemic."

The new $44-million Massachusetts COVID-19 Community Tracing Collaborative, an initiative run by multiple state government agencies alongside global nonprofit Partners in Health, aims to help identify people who have been exposed to the virus before they spread it further. As the director of implementation and design for PIH in Massachusetts, Wroe is responsible for hiring, training, and supervising a new army of contact tracers across the state.

For the latest information on Dartmouth's response to the pandemic, visit the COVID-19 website.