You are here: Home / Communications / News / Jack Thompson: Prioritizing a Strong Public Health System in Washington

Jack Thompson: Prioritizing a Strong Public Health System in Washington

NWCPHP faculty member Jack Thompson was recently elected president of the Washington State Public Health Association. He answers a few questions about the organization’s goals and how public health workers can get involved.
Jack Thompson: Prioritizing a Strong Public Health System in Washington

Jack Thompson, MSW

NWCPHP faculty member Jack Thompson, MSW, was recently elected president of the Washington State Public Health Association. He answers a few questions about the organization’s goals and how public health workers can get involved.

November 20, 2014

For nearly 80 years, the Washington State Public Health Association (WSPHA) has helped individuals and organizations from a diverse range of sectors work together to improve health and safety in Washington State. Longtime WSPHA member and NWCPHP faculty, Jack Thompson, MSW, was recently named president of the association. In a recent interview, Thompson explains his goals and vision for both WSPHA and public health in Washington State.

How long have you been associated with the Washington State Public Health Association (WSPHA)?
I have been a member for many years and have been on the board for the last three years.

As incoming president, what are your goals (or the board’s goals) for the organization? Is there a special emphasis on health equity?
We prioritize advocacy for a strong public health system in Washington at the state, local, and tribal level; with an emphasis on professional development and efforts to expand our membership. As I hope was evident at our annual conference last month, health equity is a high priority for the board and the association. David Williams really captured this as our conference’s opening keynote speaker.

What new activities or events can we look forward to?
We will place more emphasis on membership services as we develop our educational role while continuing our other focus areas.

How can public health workers get involved?
Join us!  Become a member of WSPHA. Express interest in joining our conference planning, advocacy, professional development, and membership committees. Participate in our Legislative Education Day in Olympia on February 4, 2015, watch for our activities related to Public Health Week next April, and submit an abstract or an idea for a session at our 2015 annual conference next October.

Much is being said about community engagement and cross-sector collaboration these days. How is WSPHA thinking about these things?
We plan to continue to be active in communities across the state and to hopefully attract a broad constituency as members. I think electing Tao Kwan-Gett to our board of directors will help us connect with the constituencies served by the Northwest Center for Public Health Practice and better coordinate our efforts.

Looking ahead, the Affordable Care Act and health care transformation are creating new models for clinical and public health services. How is WSPHA helping bridge the gap between these professions?
Our board not only represents the “official public health system” but also the University of Washington, philanthropy, community health centers, and professional organizations. We will continue to use this leadership to advocate a broad approach to public health in support of the triple aim and health in all policies. As the state moves to establish accountable communities of health, regional service areas for integration of behavioral and physical health, and other efforts related to health reform, we will continue to provide a forum for inclusive discussions.

Anything else you want to add about the future of public health in Washington State?
We have great leadership in public health at the state, local, and tribal level in Washington. I hope the association can support these leaders and efforts, and strive to more fully represent the many aspects of public health in our state.

Visit the WSPHA website for more information on how you can support a strong public health system in Washington.

STORY TO SHARE?

We love public health stories! We feature them in our postcard series, Spotlight on the Field, and news items. Please contact us to share your story!