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Scholars Celebrate Successes as 2015 Leadership Institute Wraps Up

The 2015 Northwest Public Health Leadership Institute came to a close as scholars presented leadership projects, met with public health leaders, and discussed critical challenges in public health.
Scholars Celebrate Successes as 2015 Leadership Institute Wraps Up

Scholars, faculty, and staff celebrate completion of the 2015 Leadership Institute

The 2015 Northwest Public Health Leadership Institute came to a close as scholars presented leadership projects, met with public health leaders, and discussed critical challenges in public health.

December 14, 2015

“I’ve learned so much in this institute I hardly know where to begin,” said Katie Hutchinson, a 2015 Northwest Public Health Leadership Institute scholar, at the program's final on-site session in November.

Another scholar remarked: “The quality of the material was excellent once again! There were very interesting presentations by both individuals and panels. The broad range of leadership skills, concepts, and systems made for a good mix.”

This tight-knit cohort of up-and-coming leaders has been working together since April. Most of the scholars come from the public health sector, specifically in maternal and child health (MCH). During the nine-month program, each scholar builds leadership skills necessary for navigating the changing public health field.

At the third and final on-site session in November, scholars celebrated their achievements and honored long-time Leadership Institute Director Bud Nicola, who is retiring at the end of the year. The session focused on critical challenges in public health and included presentations from over 20 leaders and faculty from public health, health care, and community-based organizations.

Gary Goldbaum of the Snohomish Health District discussed how to navigate the challenges of funding loss and changing times. Joanne Silberner, journalist and artist-in-residence at the University of Washington (UW) Department of Communications, spoke about working with media to communicate public health stories. William Heisel of the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation addressed effective ways to use data for systems change. Laura Porter of Foundation for Healthy Generations discussed how research about adverse childhood experiences (ACEs) is transforming maternal and child health.

Leadership Institute Onsite 3 Panel

Panelists Sheila Capestany and Running-Grass discuss public health and social justice.

A conversation on approaching public health leadership from a social justice perspective was a particular highlight. Panelists Matias Valenzuela, Director of the King County Office of Equity and Social Justice, Sheila Capestany, King County Strategic Advisory for Children and Youth, and Running-Grass of the US Environmental Protection Agency addressed issues such as community self-determination, environmental justice advocacy as a public health movement, and how to strive not just for health equity—if equity means low standards across the board—but for optimal health.

Scholars appreciated a panel on collaborating meaningfully and successfully across sectors. The panel included Andy Dannenberg of the University of Washington, Michelle Sarju of Open Arms Perinatal Services, Nadine Chan of Public Health - Seattle & King County, and leadership institute scholar Devon Love of Public Health - Seattle & King County and the Center for Multicultural Health. The topic resonated with an institute cohort already discussing collaboration with each other and communities throughout their work. Scholar Susan Pinnock of the Washington County Public Health MCH Program in Oregon said, “We’ve all supported each other in the work we do and learned from one another. Many of us continue to stay in touch and help each other with community resources, even state to state, and are cheerleading for one another as we all move forward.”

A panel of seasoned public health leaders, including Washington State Representative Laurie Jinkins, Melissa Schiff of the UW School of Public Health, Carl Osaki, Emeritus Faculty from NWCPHP and the UW School of Public Health, Federico Uribe-Cruz of Sea Mar Community Health Centers, and Ann Downer of the International Training and Education Center for Health (I-TECH), met with scholars to talk about their own career trajectories and scholars’ plans for the future.

Scholars also presented the results of the leadership projects they began in June. For her project, scholar Fardous Guled of the Somali Health Board addressed a gap in the broader system’s ability to reach the Somali community with effective and trustworthy healthcare, information, and services. Leah Tanner organized an indigenous peoples' affinity group at Seattle Children's Hospital, where she works as a Health Equity Liaison. Kirsten Frandsen of the Tacoma-Pierce County Health Department worked on developing and passing county-wide regulations on e-cigarettes. Her timing was serendipitous: the Tacoma–Pierce County Board of Health met to vote on the proposed regulations the afternoon of November 18, during the leadership institute on-site session. The next day, Frandsen returned triumphant to present the results of her project: The proposal had passed.

In the coming months, we'll be posting more information about the 2016 Leadership Institute. Please contact if you’d like to be notified when registration is open.

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