Dr. Janna Manglona, Guam Public Health’s outgoing medical director, says there’s nothing more to her retirement than a shift in priorities for her at home.
Manglona has been a central figure in Guam’s fight against COVID-19 although she’d been part of the infectious disease team at Public Health long before the outbreak.
After Public Health’s former director, Linda DeNorcey, retired in July this year, Manglona says she understands why it may seem like jumping off-ship but the truth is these retirements were both long-coming and had been extended to keep helping out during COVID.
She herself started the process of retiring a year ago to spend more time with her then 101-year-old father in law and her husband. Her father passed in October.
With only her husband left, Manglona says her priorities need to shift.
“Our house just totally went silent for him after my father [in law] died, that was one of his best friends. And I wasn’t there at all in the evenings because we’re mobilized. And his veteran friends are all doing what they’re supposed to do which is staying home because they don’t want to contract COVID and then have a bad outcome…so his world was totally silenced,” Manglona said.
Although she knew she had to make the decision, in an emotional interview with Newstalk K57 this morning, Manglona said it wasn’t an easy one.
“And the reason I didn’t say anything to anyone, a few people knew, I didn’t say it because for the first time in my long career and after 10 years at Public Health, we were like family. And I literally would start to tell someone…and I would just break down. [She becomes emotional]…they’re like family. It’s awful..and I’ve never had this happen before, where I can’t imagine waking up and starting my day seeing and hearing Art [San Agustin] and my team in ZOOM meetings, and marching down the streets and doing all that we do 24 hours a day,” Manglona said.
Manglona says she has complete faith in Art San Agustin, the current Public Health Director, to continue moving the department forward.
Manglona says her position likely won’t be replaced by just one person. Instead, the role would be split up amongst several people.
She plans to continue her service with the veterans’ community and trying to work out a part-time consulting position at Public Health.
Manglona’s retirement was effective this past Saturday.