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Making New Connections: Tao Kwan-Gett, MD, MPH, Named Director of NWCPHP

On March 1, 2013, Tao Kwan-Gett, MD, MPH will become director of the Northwest Center for Public Health Practice. Kwan-Gett’s career has been a wide-ranging one, including experience in public health, primary care, and global health.

On March 1, 2013, Tao Kwan-Gett, MD, MPH will become director of NWCPHP. Kwan-Gett’s career has been a wide-ranging one, including experience in public health, primary care, and global health.

January 29, 2013

On March 1, 2013, Tao Kwan-Gett, MD, MPH will become director of NWCPHP. Dr. Kwan-Gett’s career has been a wide-ranging one, including experience in public health, primary care, and global health. For the past six years, he has worked at Public Health - Seattle & King County (PHSKC) where he oversaw the day-to-day work of the communicable disease investigation team. As the incoming director of NWCPHP, Dr. Kwan-Gett is eager to broaden his exposure to more health issues in more communities.

“I’m really looking forward to learning more about what is happening regionally,” says Dr. Kwan-Gett. "What is on the minds of health departments in rural areas, other states, and other cities? What challenges are shared? What challenges are unique? And how can NWCPHP help them meet those challenges?”

After doing his pediatric residency at Seattle Children’s Hospital, Dr. Kwan-Gett earned his MPH at the UW School of Public Health. Before working at PHSKC, he practiced eight years as a primary care pediatrician with Virginia Mason. He also volunteered during his vacations for many years in a clinic on the Thai-Burma border serving refugees and migrant workers and drew upon that experience to co-author Infectious and Tropical Diseases: A Handbook for Primary Care. He looks forward to applying his experience working with a variety of partners in his new role.

“Making connections is a big part of what NWCPHP does,” says Dr. Kwan-Gett, “The Center connects the University of Washington School of Public Health to the public health practice community, and it also connects different facets of public health to each other. I’m excited about finding and making new connections to support our public health partners.”

Dr. Kwan-Gett also hopes to use his epidemiology and clinical experience to help NWCPHP explore new ways to support public health practice, such as using “big data” and integrating public health with health care to better serve the community.

He will replace Susan Allan, MD, JD, MPH who has served as director since 2008. Dr. Allan will continue on as an NWCPHP faculty member.

“The field of public health is in a challenging but also exciting period—moving away from direct services, broadening involvement in policy, and figuring out opportunities to work more closely with health care providers and systems as the Affordable Care Act is implemented," says Dr. Allan. "Tao brings very valuable skills and experience that will further strengthen NWCPHP. I think NWCPHP could be even more helpful for the practice community as we move ahead. I look forward to working with Tao and to continuing to work with the excellent faculty and staff in our shared mission of promoting excellence in public health practice."

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