Category Archives: Public health professionals

Jan 18 2012
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Milwaukee Nurses Rebuild Pipeline of Public Health Nurses

By Paula Lucey, MSN, RN, Administrator, Milwaukee County Behavioral Health Division, RWJF Executive Nurse Fellows program alumna (1999-2001)

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The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF) Partners Investing in Nursing program (commonly called PIN) is a wonderful way to address nursing workforce efforts. The Foundation created this program with the concept that nursing workforce efforts needed to become the work of not only nursing but the work of partnership with local foundations and employers.

In Milwaukee, our first PIN grant focused on the impending crisis in public health related to the nursing workforce. We had data that suggested that upwards of 50 percent of the current workforce could retire in the next five years. While not all will do so, this was a wake up call that we needed to begin to work to develop the next generation of public health nurses.

Our program was able to energize some senior nursing students to consider careers in public health. While our numbers were under 20, the students spread the word to their fellow students, and we believe we created a ripple of interest among students at several of the local BSN programs.

As important as the immediate efforts related to these students were, some of the project’s accomplishments will form the foundation for long-term solutions. The most important was increased awareness of the importance of public health and the vital role that nursing plays among our three foundation partners.

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Oct 30 2011
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A Prestigious Gathering, an Honor, and an Impressive Showing for RWJF

By Risa Lavizzo-Mourey, president and CEO, Robert Wood Johnson Foundation

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Every year, the American Public Health Association (APHA) annual meeting features some of the best and brightest minds in health and health care. Taking place in Washington, D.C. from October 29 to November 2, it is a cutting edge event that advances critical research, helps shape policy and practice, and stimulates thinking on some of the most pressing health issues of our time. APHA notes that it is the oldest and largest gathering of public health professionals and, in my experience it is easily one of the most influential. I am very proud that, this year, it will feature dozens of Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF) scholars, fellows, alumni, grantees, staff and others who have been touched by Foundation programs.

Perhaps most exciting is that Melvin D. Shipp, OD, MPH, DrPH, a former RWJF Health Policy Fellow (1989-1990), is beginning his term as president of this prestigious organization. Shipp is dean of The Ohio State University College of Optometry and past president of the Association of Schools and Colleges of Optometry. He will hold the APHA leadership position for two years, and I know he will do great things during that time. At the meeting, Shipp will lead a session on the Health Policy Fellows program, explaining the experience and its impact on participants.

Among the many others from the RWJF “family” who will be featured at the annual meeting are:

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May 20 2011
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Health & Society Scholars Advisory Committee Chair Wins Public Health's "Highest Prize"

Congratulations to Harvey Fineberg, M.D., Ph.D., president of the Institute of Medicine and chair of the national advisory committee for the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF) Health & Society Scholars program, on being awarded the Frank A. Calderone Prize. Given every two years by Columbia University’s Mailman School of Public Health, the Calderone Prize is considered the “highest prize in public health.” Fineberg will accept the award at the Mailman School gala on October 18, 2011 in New York City.

"I am truly honored and humbled by this award and for the extraordinary recognition," Fineberg said in a statement. "It is a privilege to join the distinguished group of past recipients. I am grateful for the opportunity to have worked with so many able colleagues over the years and to continue our collective efforts to help advance the public's health."

Past recipients of the award include a former Surgeon General of the United States, former director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and the former U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights, among others.

Learn more about Fineberg’s work and the Calderone Prize.

Feb 23 2011
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RWJF Community Health Leader Takes Reins at San Francisco Department of Public Health

Barbara A. Garcia, M.P.A., a RWJF Community Health Leader (1993), began her duties as director of the San Francisco Department of Public Health in January. Garcia had been the Department’s deputy since 1999. “Becoming the director is a really exciting opportunity to continue the work I’ve been doing with the department,” she said.

Her appointment by then-mayor Gavin Newsom was announced in October at the Latino Heritage Month Celebration and Awards ceremony, where Garcia was honored for her contributions to the Latino community in health and medicine.

Garcia received the Community Health Leader award for her work at Salud Para La Gente in Watsonville, California. As the executive director of the small clinic in a rural, predominantly Latino community, Garcia transformed the clinic into a federally-qualified, bi-cultural comprehensive health care center.

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Feb 16 2011
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Executive Nurse Fellow Alum Confirmed to Colorado Health Care Post

Congratulations are in order for Sue Birch, R.N., M.B.A., an alum of the RWJF Executive Nurse Fellows program. In January, this blog reported that Colorado Governor-Elect John Hickenlooper had nominated Birch to serve as the executive director of that state’s Department of Health Care Policy and Financing. The Department administers the state’s Medicaid and Child Health Plan Plus (CHP+) programs, which together cover more than 600,000 residents, as well as a number of other health care programs aimed at low-income families, the elderly and persons with disabilities. On February 14, the state Senate confirmed Birch to the post.

Since 1994, Birch has been CEO of the Northwest Colorado Visiting Nurse Association. In January, she told the Steamboat Today newspaper that a chief focus for her at the Department would be working “to get as much access as possible for all Coloradans” from the newly passed health reform law.

Read more about Birch’s confirmation. Read more about the RWJF Executive Nurse Fellows Program. For an overview of RWJF scholar and fellow opportunities, visit www.RWJFLeaders.org.

Jan 4 2011
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Exec Nurse Fellow Alum Birch to Head Colorado's Department of Health Care Policy and Financing

Congratulations are in order for Sue Birch, R.N., M.B.A., an alum of the RWJF Executive Nurse Fellows program. Colorado Governor-Elect John Hickenlooper has named her the new executive director of that state’s Department of Health Care Policy and Financing. The Department administers the state’s Medicaid and Child Health Plan Plus (CHP+) programs, which together cover more than 600,000 residents, as well as a number of other health care programs aimed at low-income families, the elderly and persons with disabilities.

Since 1994, Birch has been CEO of the Northwest Colo­­­rado Visiting Nurse Association. “Sue Birch has made herself an expert on how to provide medical care in rural areas with limited budgets,” Hickenlooper said in making the announcement. “Her regional and collaborative approach will serve well to address health care issues on a statewide basis.”

Read more here.

Dec 22 2010
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Health & Society Scholars National Program Officer to Take Reins of UCSF School of Nursing

The University of California, San Francisco (UCSF) has appointed David Vlahov, Ph.D., R.N., the new dean of the School of Nursing. Vlahov is co-director of the national program office for the RWJF Health & Society Scholars program, and president of The New York Academy of Medicine (NYAM). His term will begin in April 2011.

Learn more about Vlahov and his new position.

Dec 21 2010
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Alum of RWJF Scholars Programs Nominated Commissioner of NY Department of Health

Congratulations to Nirav Shah, M.D., M.P.H., who has been nominated by Governor-Elect Andrew Cuomo to serve as the Commissioner of the New York Department of Health. Shah is an alumnus of the RWJF Physician Faculty Scholars program (2007-2010) and the RWJF Clinical Scholars program (2001-2003).

Dec 14 2010
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RWJF Health Policy Fellow/Clinical Scholars Alum Kellerman to Direct RAND Health Research

Congratulations are in order for Art Kellermann, M.D., M.P.H., who has been named the new head of the health research division at the RAND Corporation, and will take on the title of director and vice president of RAND Health, effective January 1. Kellermann is an alum of both the RWJF Health Policy Fellows program (2006-2007) and Clinical Scholars program (1983-1985).