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Kathy Hall Retires

Kathy Hall retires, stepping down as the managing editor for Northwest Public Health.
Kathy Hall Retires

Photo courtesy of Ly Pham

July 6, 2011

When Kathy Hall was a schoolgirl, she thought she would become a scientist. She grew up in the Sputnik era and was an active member of her neighborhood’s rocket club.

Then there was the day in sixth grade she was sent to the principal’s office because she had argued with her teacher about the shape of the earth. Her teacher said that the earth was round. Kathy countered that scientists were now finding evidence that the planet might be slightly pear-shaped.

But for Kathy, advanced math stood in the way of a traditional career in science. So in college, she looked for a degree that didn’t require math and found one—journalism.

Kathy continued to connect with science as a journalist. Working for the Greenville Daily News, a small paper in central Michigan, Kathy reported on a contamination accident in which several thousand pounds of a flame retardant were accidentally mixed with livestock feed that was distributed to dairy farms in Michigan.

From 1978 to 1983, Kathy was reporter and health page editor for the Traverse City Record-Eagle and covered the beginning of the AIDS epidemic. She also reported on water pollution caused by the oil industry. She received an award for her reporting and had the satisfaction of watching legislation pass that improved regulation of the oil industry. About this time, Kathy decided she needed to know more about the topics she was covering and went back to graduate school at the University of Washington. She selected a masters’ in communication degree that had an environmental health focus.

After graduating, Kathy worked as a reporter for the King County Journal. Then, in 1990, she left journalism to work as a technical editor for an environmental consulting firm. In 1993, she became a communications specialist with the King County Department of Transportation. One aspect of this job that she found compelling was that it helped citizens play a role in designing public transit. “I find it rewarding to give voice to issues and people who aren’t being heard," said Kathy.

In 1999, Kathy responded to a job listing for newsletter editor for the University of Washington’s Department of Environmental and Occupational Health Sciences. She got the job and stayed on to become web manager and eventually, communications director. While in the department, she designed a communication campaign that required her to work in a medium she had never worked in before: hard hat stickers. The “Don’t let silica dust you!” campaign was a success.

In 2008, Kathy looked for a part-time job that would allow her to finish her dissertation. (She had gone back to school to get her Ph.D.) As a result of her job search, Kathy became the managing editor for Northwest Public Health, a biannual journal for public health practitioners, academicians, policy makers, and others that is published by NWCPHP.  “I enjoy translating science and making it understandable in plain language,” Kathy said of the journal.

Kathy and her partner moved to Shoreline five years ago. Since then, she has been involved in Shoreline’s pedestrian and bicycle advisory committee. Kathy’s interest in the environment extends to her yard, which is a certified wildlife habitat. Her garden will be a stop on the Where Our Wild Things Are garden tour July 9. Kathy’s other interests include travel, genealogy, and wildlife photography. Kathy also plans to continue freelance writing and editing.

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