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Kresge Foundation Emerging Leaders

Two Spokane Public Health Leaders Selected for The Kresge Foundation’s Emerging Leaders in Public Health Initiative

Staff from Spokane Regional Health District part of larger national cohort working to transform public health through leadership program, grants

For more informaiton, contact Kim Papich, SRHD Public Information Officer (509) 324-1539 or kpapich@srhd.org

SPOKANE, Wash. – April 12, 2017 – The Kresge Foundation announced this week that two leaders from Spokane Regional Health District (SRHD) were selected as part of a national cohort working to transform the role of local public health departments in their communities. Heleen Dewey, who leads SRHD’s Active Living program, and Torney Smith, SRHD Administrator, were selected for Kresge’s Emerging Leaders in Public Health initiative for their energy, passion and commitment to public health.

The initiative was designed to provide public health leaders of county and local health departments opportunities to build additional knowledge and skills to tackle the challenges public health professionals face in their communities.

This second cohort of the initiative includes 20 other teams from public health around the U.S. Teams are developed to include an agency’s health director/officer and an emerging future leader. Each team receives a resource grant of up to $125,000, as well as coaching and technical assistance to evolve their ideas into action.

Each team will be asked to challenge and support each other while building skills and competencies together, applying their knowledge to transform how each organization functions in its community.

During the 18-month program, the leaders will participate in an action-oriented program focused on the design and implementation of a transformative concept that shifts or expands the capacity of their local department.

“Our second cohort of Emerging Leaders in Public Health is a dynamic and passionate group of public health professionals,” said Dr. Phyllis Meadows, senior fellow to The Kresge Foundation’s Health Program and the Emerging Leaders in Public Health lead. “The ideas and talent shared with us during the application process were very impressive. I am certain with the support of this initiative, this group will begin a process to transform the role of public health for their communities.”

Collectively, the cohort’s 40 leaders serve nearly 14 million community members in cities across the country.

In 2015, Kresge selected 24 public health leaders to participate in the inaugural cohort of the initiative. With this next cohort, Kresge is progressing towards its goal of providing leadership development and resources to 100 local, public health leaders across the country so that they can approach public health in a new way.

“At Kresge, we recognize the complexity of the health system and that all the disciplines within the system have the potential to play important roles in fostering community health. Public health agencies are an especially vital partner in creating healthier people and communities,” said David Fukuzawa, managing director of The Kresge Foundation’s Health and Human Services Programs. “The training these leaders receive will create more opportunities for their agencies to inspire their communities to think differently about population health.”

The leaders will be supported by The University of North Carolina Gillings School of Public Health (UNC), which serves as the National Program Office for the initiative.

A third cohort of Emerging Leaders in Public Health will be selected in fall 2017.

More information is available at www.srhd.org, as well as on The Kresge Foundation’s site kresge.org. SRHD’s website offers comprehensive, updated information about Spokane Regional Health District and its triumphs in making Spokane a safer and healthier community. Become a fan of SRHD on Facebook to receive local safety and wellness tips. You can also follow us on Twitter @spokanehealth.


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August 19, 2017