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Leaping into Leadership: Institute Scholar Takes on a New Role

Former Leadership Institute Scholar, Paj Nandi, has been named to the Washington State Public Health Association's Board of Directors.
Leaping into Leadership: Institute Scholar Takes on a New Role

Paj Nandi

Former Leadership Institute Scholar, Paj Nandi, has been named to the Washington State Public Health Association's Board of Directors.

November 19, 2012

Paj Nandi, MPH saw a paradigm shift happening in public health and he wanted to be a part of leading it. The only problem was that Paj—the Community Based Prevention section manager in the State of Washington’s Department of Health—wasn’t sure how.

He explained that he saw firsthand the “tide turning quickly” as funders demanded greater accountability, wider population reach, and a shift in focus from direct services to policy, systems and environmental change strategies. “For me, these challenges presented new opportunities for systems-level thinking and cross-pollination of ideas,” Paj added.

Paj found the help he needed to pursue these goals through NWCPHP's Northwest Public Health Leadership Institute. A 2012 graduate of the nine-month program, Paj not only found a rich learning environment in which to grow his leadership skills, but also assistance to apply a systems-thinking approach to his work.

“The Leadership Institute honed my leadership skills and gave me a chance to apply what I was learning in a positive environment with other public health practitioners like myself from around the region,” Paj said. “It really helped me expand my leadership abilities.”

It didn’t take long for others to notice the transformation taking place. Within six months of completing the Institute, Paj was named to the Washington State Public Health Association’s Board of Directors, where he will help articulate and implement the group’s strategic plan for the coming year.

“I really feel like we are at a crossroads in public health, where we need to look for better, strategic ways to shift and align the work that we are all doing to create healthier communities and impact population-level health,” Paj said. He added that graduating from NWCPHP’s Leadership Institute has reaffirmed his “passion to lead and innovate, to continuously learn and to always connect the dots to the bigger picture.”

The Leadership Institute will begin accepting applications in January 2013 for its 2013–14 cohort year.

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