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NWCPHP Bids Adieu to Tara Melinkovich

NWCPHP bids adieu to Outreach Training & Design Specialist, Tara Melinkovich.
NWCPHP Bids Adieu to Tara Melinkovich

Tara (right) pictured with Trudy (NWCPHP's Program Operations Specialist).

September 19, 2011

NWCPHP bids adieu to Outreach Training & Design Specialist, Tara Melinkovich. For the past two years, Tara has traveled around the region, working with local health departments and partner organizations to develop trainings and prioritize workforce development strategies. But after 14 years in the Seattle area, she is moving back home to Colorado to be closer to family.

Although traveling throughout Washington, Wyoming, Alaska, Montana, and Idaho was sometimes exhausting, Tara emphasizes it was also the most interesting aspect of her job. "I loved working with our partners and coming to understand the differences in public health priorities based on location. What public health is like in an urban area is very different than public health in a frontier setting." She also says she enjoyed meeting and interacting with so many different kinds of people. "I feel like I learned as much from them as they might have learned from me."

Working in this role at NWCPHP provided Tara with opportunities she never would have had otherwise. Like getting to travel to Alaska—twice. "You get little icicles on your hair and eyebrows when you go outside," she laughs, "That doesn't happen in Colorado!" On a more serious note, she says it was interesting to see a public health structure so dependent on public health nurses. "It's primarily a frontier state, and it's mostly nurses that go out into these villages providing public health services. The public health needs in many areas in Alaska are often so fundamental, like clean water and sanitation."

What's next for Tara? "I would like to work more directly with public health implementing agencies," she comments. "I see myself managing programs in a health department or community-based organization." Moving forward, she says she will take with her just how important workforce development is in public health. "It's difficult that it is not a priority in these economic times. This is actually when it is most important!"

Tara's energy for her work and infectious laugh around the office will be missed. Director Susan Allan commented, "We have enjoyed having Tara on our team, and NWCPHP activities have benefited from her enthusiasm and her connections in the region. She has represented us well, and the public health community has benefited from her involvement. We wish Tara and her family well in their move to Denver, but we are sorry to see her leave."

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