You are here: Home / About Us / NWCPHP People / Mary Kay Chess, PhD

Mary Kay Chess, PhD

Bio and contact information for Mary Kay Chess, NWCPHP content expert and Public Health Management Certificate instructor.

Mary Kay ChessInstructor & Content Expert



Mary Kay Chess, PhD works with the Northwest Center for Public Health Practice as an instructor in the Public Health Management Certificate program. She brings 30+ years of experience in healthcare leadership in multi-state urban and rural systems to our learning community.  She believes it is critical for formal and informal leaders to understand how to effectively assess and work in systems in our communities and in healthcare. While serving as the COO for a 3-state healthcare system, she began to explore systems thinking, complexity and leadership. During this exploration, Mary Kay completed her PhD in the area of transformational learning and change.   Leveraging her healthcare practice, she began exploring areas for student-focused learning and has over 12 years of experience in teaching leadership and personal development and innovative engagement in systems.

Areas of Expertise

  • Systems Thinking

Dr. Chess is passionate about bringing individuals with diverse backgrounds and interests to formal and informal forums where each person is encouraged to join a dialogue, inquiry and thinking that is out-of-the-box and better yet, without a box. The issues facing us require collaboration, wisdom and kindness as well as critical thinking and skills in leading and managing. She is privileged to also coach astoundingly resilient, creative, and values-driven leaders daring to declare that transitions and transformative actions are invigorating and engaging as we work together in this complexity. She is committed to stewarding this engagement in change with individuals and teams in healthcare start-ups, turn-arounds, and traditional delivery systems through supporting current and future leaders in public health and complex healthcare delivery systems.