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Letter From the Director: A Look Into 2014

In this special New Year's message, Director Tao Kwan-Gett, MD, MPH, reflects on NWCPHP's 2013 accomplishments and the exciting opportunities and offerings ahead in 2014.

In this special New Year's message, Director Tao Kwan-Gett, MD, MPH, reflects on NWCPHP's 2013 accomplishments and the exciting opportunities and offerings ahead in 2014.

January 8, 2014

As we start a new year, it's a natural time to reflect on where we have been, what we have accomplished, and what opportunities are ahead.

In 2013, NWCPHP faced realities similar to our public health practice partners: We scrambled for funding, transitioned team members, and explored new roles for our organization in a changing landscape. And like our partners, we have not only survived, but we have accomplished an incredible amount.

This past year, we hosted our annual Summer Institute, celebrated the tenth anniversary of our Leadership Institute, and held a special Montana edition of the Public Health Management Certificate. We brought together NWCPHP research staff and community partners at a public health emergency communication symposium. We completed a six-state assessment to identify our region's training needs. And two of our programs—the Hot Topics in Practice webinar series and the Public Health Management Certificate program—were recognized as model practices by the Health Resources and Services Administration in partnership with the Association of Schools and Programs of Public Health.

Looking forward, I see many exciting opportunities and challenges for 2014.

The opportunities spring from the historic and rapid changes around us. Advancing technology allows us to gather health data and communicate with the world around us in new ways. The Affordable Care Act (ACA) fosters new links between public health and the health care delivery system. And the growing awareness of the social determinants of health gives us the opportunity to explore interdisciplinary partnerships with colleagues in early childhood development, education, and community development.

Some of the challenges we face are created by systems and infrastructure that change more slowly. The websites and apps to help us harness Big Data are still being built. The funding opportunities and collaborative agreements for public health and health care integration are still emerging. And the business models to sustain interdisciplinary partnerships are still being conceived.

Overcoming these challenges will require us to work together and collaborate in new ways. From the seasoned public health veterans who have been tireless champions of community empowerment to the new hires who live and breathe social media, it's the creativity and energy of the people in public health that will transform the field.

Tao Kwan-Gett at 2013 RNSCMoving into 2014, NWCPHP will continue to offer our core services in training, evaluation, communication, and research. We are also excited to bring fresh content to our public health practice partners. You will find new course offerings in our 2014 Summer Institute. We will kick off the Hot Topics in Practice webinar series with sessions in January and February focused on the public health implications of the ACA. The connection between health reform and population health will also be the theme of our redesigned Northwest Public Health journal. And you can now follow us via our new LinkedIn page.

As we face the opportunities and challenges ahead, it's worth remembering that we in public health have a proud tradition of getting things done even when our aspirations outpace the systems and resources we have.

I'm grateful and excited to work with you in 2014 to improve the health of our communities.

Best regards,

Tao Kwan-Gett Signature

Tao Kwan-Gett, MD, MPH


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