Meet Dr. Kountz: Role model for family, people of color in fight against COVID

Coronavirus

NEPTUNE, N.J. (WTNH) — He’s a doctor with nearly four decades of experience: treating patients and advising young medical professionals who are starting their careers. At Jersey Shore University Medical Center in New Jersey, Dr. David Kountz is also a role model in the fight against the nation’s toughest health challenge: COVID-19.

Back in December, Dr. Kountz was one of the first people at his medical center to get the vaccine.

Dr. Kountz said, “You have to talk the talk and walk the walk. There was some publicity about my getting the vaccine to show individuals of color that an African-American physician has so much confidence in the vaccine that he’s willing to get the vaccine.”

Dennis Hubbard, an IT professional at Jersey Shore, admits to being skeptical about the vaccines early on: “Initially I wasn’t going to get it, I didn’t trust the vaccine.”

But after he heard Dr. Kountz on a Zoom call talking about the effectiveness of the vaccines and getting some one-on-one counseling from Dr. Kountz, Dennis had a change of heart.

“He gave me his medical opinion, and I took it from there,” Hubbard said.

It’s a scenario that Dr. Kountz has repeated time and time again since the arrival of the vaccines.

Dr. Kountz said, “It was a lot of connecting with religious leaders, it was getting a Zoom call for a Sunday morning church service.”

His official title is Vice President of Academic Affairs, but to News 8 Anchor Keith Kountz, Dr. David Kountz is who Keith calls his ‘slightly older and considerably more accomplished brother.’

Keith said David was always there for him over the past year, with words of comfort throughout the COVID crisis.

David and Keith were born about a year apart, and as kids, competed hard against each other on the ballfield. As adults, as Keith set off for a career in broadcasting, David chose medicine.

Dr. Kountz said, “We were both very fortunate to have a physician father and a teacher mother, I took aspects of what they both enjoyed.”

And that calling has never been more important than in this time of COVID.

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