Detroit Heroes: Crystal Hepburn, RN

Detroit Heroes: Crystal Hepburn, RN

Highlighting the Essential Workers of Detroit

During these uncertain times, we can lean on hope! We are starting a new series entitled "Detroit Heroes" where we will highlight the essential workers at the City of Detroit ensuring we are safe and our city is running! 

Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world.  -Nelson Mandela

…And in the age of COVID-19, education can save lives.

Crystal Hepburn, RN, is the Team Lead for Children’s Special Health Care Services for the Detroit Health Department.  Her primary job is to help special needs children receive in-home services that enhance their quality of life. 

But nowadays, her role has changed considerably.  

Since March 2020, most of her time is filled with Zoom meetings and conference calls.  It’s all in an effort to deliver factual information about the Coronavirus.

“We help anyone that resides in the City of Detroit that’s looking for education and outreach,” Hepburn said.

Unfortunately, there’s some bad information out there regarding the disease.  That’s why Hepburn and her “dream team” address misinformation and myths head on.

“There are all kinds of approaches to health that individuals are willing to try, however it’s not evidence-based or scientifically researched.  We make sure that individuals in our community have the most up-to-date information.”

For example, some people are wearing the same gloves all day.  According to Hepburn this is simply not safe.  “You’re just adding more and more germs and the possibility of transmitting this particular virus to yourself.”

Hepburn has the option to work from home.  Yet she chooses to come to her office on Mack Ave. every day to ensure residents have the services they need.    

“I wasn’t nervous coming in |LS|the office|RS| because the Detroit Health Department has been at the forefront in taking precautions… giving everyone masks, hand sanitizer, enough space for social distancing.”

But Hepburn understands not everyone is as confident.  In fact, she often takes calls from people who have tested positive and are afraid of passing it on to family members.  That’s when she exercises compassion and focuses on safety guidelines – always remaining helpful yet honest.

As part of the outreach and education program, Hepburn aids individuals, faith-based organizations, block groups, small businesses and independent senior residences – offering everything from testing requirements to proper mask use.

“If we can provide education and resources to every individual in the community, then there is a chance they will not need to seek services from the hospital if they know how to protect themselves,” Hepburn said.

With three children of her own, Hepburn can relate to the uncertainty and fear a lot of people are feeling.  But she chooses to stay positive.

“Have hope, we can overcome this challenge and come out even stronger.”  

Spoken like a real hero… a Detroit Hero.

For COVID-19 resources, call the Detroit Health Department Hotline at (313) 876-4000 or visit the City's COVID-19 response page here.