Wolves on the Frontlines: Kat Turner Hoffman ’04 Leads CDC’s COVID Data Tracker Communications

Before the COVID-19 pandemic started, Kat Turner Hoffman ’04 led communications for CDC’s journal, Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report (MMWR). Often called “the voice of CDC,” MMWR is “CDC’s primary vehicle for scientific publication of timely, reliable, and authoritative public health information and recommendations.”
During her tenure, Kat and her team redesigned all aspects of MMWR’s communication materials, including how they are created and distributed. Before the pandemic began, this work helped streamline communication efforts to enable the rapid sharing of public health science with the public, healthcare providers, and policymakers. MMWR promotional graphics that summarize the most important findings of the reports were reprinted by the New York Times, MSNBC, and other media outlets. Kat oversaw the release of 37 COVID-19 reports before taking leave to give birth to her daughter over the summer.

After her maternity leave, Kat returned to the COVID-19 response to lead communication for the COVID Data Tracker. The COVID Data Tracker is CDC’s home for COVID-19 data. It brings together data from across the sprawling response into one user-friendly website that transforms the data into visualizations. Users can find the latest data for their county, including cases, testing, and hospital bed usage. As the Communication Advisor to the COVID Data Tracker, Kat designs graphics, coordinates promotions, and works with communicators across CDC to ensure the Data Tracker content is correct and compelling.

Kat says that her time at both Wesleyan and Georgia State University prepared her to meet the challenges of the unprecedented response.

“Many of my closest friendships as an adult were formed in middle or high school-- including Mary Stephenson (High School Dean of Student Life), who sat in the desk across from me in 5th grade,” said Kat. “My education at Wesleyan provided a base for the skills I use today. Although I wouldn’t have called it communications at the time, I learned to love writing and graphic design serving as the Editor of the Literary Magazine. I learned the basics of promotion and leadership through the club we made up to get into college, the Film Appreciation Society. And I am deeply grateful for the encouragement of my creativity that mentors like Ken Connor, Kendra Morris, and Bond Thompson provided.”

After graduating from Wesleyan, Kat earned a B.A. in Art History and a Masters in Public Health from Georgia State University. She lives in Decatur, Georgia, with her husband, Nick, and their daughter, Lizzie.

As the world fights the COVID-19 pandemic, Wesleyan graduates around the globe are working in various fields supporting this effort. In the coming weeks and months, we will profile alumni working directly in the battle against COVID-19. If you or an alumnus you know are directly involved in this work, please contact communications@wesleyanschool.org.