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Celebrity Selfies—and Other Leadership Institute Highlights

Scholars from the 2015 Northwest Public Health Leadership Institute gathered for their second in-person session in early August. The three-day training, themed “Critical Issues and Leadership Skills,” featured guest speakers, practical skill building, networking lunches, and even some photo ops.
Celebrity Selfies—and Other Leadership Institute Highlights

Leadership Institute scholar Kirsten Frandsen with Ron Sims, Chair of the Washington State Health Benefit Exchange and UW SPH Dean's Council

Scholars from the 2015 Leadership Institute gathered for their second in-person session in early August. The three-day training, themed "Critical Issues and Leadership Skills," featured guest speakers, practical skill building, networking lunches, and even some photo ops.

August 21, 2015

Northwest Public Health Leadership Institute 2015 scholars took home something extra from August’s three-day onsite training: A selfie with Ron Sims.

Former King County Executive and former Secretary of the United States Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), Ron Sims now chairs both the Washington State Health Benefit Exchange and the Dean’s Council of the University of Washington (UW) School of Public Health (SPH). Sims and Nancy Amidei, Director of the Civic Engagement Project and Senior Lecturer Emeritus of the UW School of Social Work, spoke to 2015 Leadership Institute scholars about policy advocacy and communicating with elected officials. The small-group setting with fifteen scholars allowed for a candid, engaging conversation. The honored presenters stayed for a networking lunch and photos (see the album on Facebook).

Scholars came from various Northwest-area workplaces—most in maternal and child health—including health departments, community-based organizations, and health care organizations.

The room was quiet, all eyes on Sims as he talked about his life experiences and outlined how to communicate successfully with an elected official: present an issue; present a path to solve it; ask how you can help; ask what the official needs; and, of course, be respectful. Amidei reminded the group that communities they work with don’t need to know everything about an issue to speak to elected officials about it. She also provided practical advice, such as knowing the calendar dates for when a region’s budgets are determined.

The frank nature of the presentation mirrored others during the three-day training, which was the second of three onsites for the 2015 Leadership Institute. The theme of the training was: “Critical Issues and Leadership Skills.” Kurt O’Brien, Senior Lecturer in the UW SPH Department of Health Services, spoke about having crucial conversations when something important is at stake. Tao Sheng Kwan-Gett, Director of NWCPHP, presented on styles of managing change. Other presenters and faculty included Trish Nieworth, Kate Davies, Pam Kohler, and Leadership Institute Director Bud Nicola.

“The quality of presenters was incredible,” said one scholar.

2015 Leadership Institute Health Equity Panel

Health equity panelists Carol Cheney, Damarys Espinoza, Gita Krishnaswamy, and Ben Danielson

Scholars also appreciated a panel discussion on health equity, featuring Gita Krishnaswamy of UW SPH and Washington Alliance for Better Schools, Carol Cheney of the Oregon Health Authority Office of Equity and Inclusion, Ben Danielson of Odessa Brown Children’s Clinic, and Damarys Espinoza of the Washington State Department of Health. Panelists discussed critical questions about the root causes of inequity, public health’s responsibility to address institutionalized racism, the importance of collaborating with and recognizing expertise of grassroots communities, and whether a health equity lens might transform how we define “leadership.”

A health equity lens is incorporated throughout the Leadership Institute, including in problem-based learning sessions, plenaries, and sessions planned for the institute’s third and final onsite session in November. That training will focus on topics such as health reform, adverse childhood experiences, social justice, and communication with varied audiences.

Scholars also attended NWCPHP’s 25th anniversary reception, where Leadership Institute alumna Janna Bardi of the Washington State Department of Health received NWCPHP’s Distinguished Alumni Award. “Attending the Northwest Public Health Leadership Institute completely changed the trajectory of my career,” she said.

She lauded those currently enrolled in NWCPHP's institute and certificate programs and encouraged others to attend.

Check back in late winter for information about applying for the 2016 Leadership Institute, or contact Debs Gardner now if you’d like to receive notification when registration opens.

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