November 19, 2018

At the 2018 Northwest Public Health Leadership Institute’s final on-site, scholars met with public health leaders and reflected on accomplishments and goals.

A cohort of emerging public health leaders completed the 2018 Northwest Public Health Leadership Institute at the program’s third and final on-site session in Seattle, November 5–7. Along with other activities, scholars presented to their peers about their own projects and goals, and conversed with public health leaders about leadership paths.

The 2018 Leadership Institute cohort was tight-knit. Scholars engaged with and inspired each other as they developed and reflected on professional and personal leadership skills and goals. “The opportunity to learn from and with my fellow scholars was exceptionally powerful. I am excited to stay connected and to continue to learn and grow as leaders with the support of one another and the Leadership Institute,” said Meghan Haggard, Program Manager of HealthInsight Oregon.

The on-site began with a panel about approaching difficult issues, such as addressing homelessness, gun violence prevention, responding to the opioid epidemic, and supporting immigrants and refugees. The panel included Ben Danielson, MD, of Odessa Brown Children’s Clinic; Heather Thomas, MPA, of Snohomish Health District; Karyn Brownson, MSW, of Public Health – Seattle & King County; and Adriana Ortiz-Serrano, LLM, of El Centro de la Raza.

Faculty member Katie Bell, MHA, MBA, presented on strategic planning and strategic thinking. On the final day, Wednesday, November 7, faculty member Jack Thompson, MSW, led a conversation about public health implications of the previous night’s election. Guest presenter Ron Sims discussed strategies for communicating with elected officials and shared insights from his career.

Scholars worked in groups to complete a problem-based learning (PBL) case on strengthening health equity. One scholar reflected, “I love big problems, and I don’t always know how to solve them. The PBL case has been really helpful with that.” Scholars also presented the results of their leadership projects at their agencies, and on their individual leadership plans.

A panel of public health leaders described their paths to leadership and shared advice for emerging leaders. In a subsequent speed-mentoring activity, scholars met in small groups with each leader for personalized conversations and questions. The leaders included Janna Bardi, MPH, of WA Department of Health; Joe Finkbonner, RPh, MHA, of Northwest Portland Area Indian Health Board; Bobbie Berkowitz, PhD, RN, NEA-BC, FAAN, of Columbia University (Emerita); Jim Gale, MD, MS, of UW School of Public Health (Emeritus); Frankie Manning, RN, MAN, consultant; and Dila Perera, MSW, MPH, of Open Arms Perinatal Services.

Scholars plan to apply what they’ve learned to advancing health equity and population health. Tabitha Jensen, Director of Strategic Initiatives for New Avenues for Youth, in Portland, said, “I am grateful for the opportunity to have learned with and from such a dynamic group of public health professionals. The NWPHLI program truly inspired a renewed commitment towards improving health outcomes in my community, particularly for those who are most vulnerable.”

NWCPHP is already looking ahead to plan the future Leadership Institute. With an eye to how public health and primary care can strengthen population health together, NWCPHP is expanding the Leadership Institute to include a collaborative focus on public health and primary care, with emerging leaders in both sectors encouraged to apply. Stay tuned for information about the timing of the next cohort.