Announcing Washington State’s New Secretary of Health
Governor Jay Inslee recently appointed John Wiesman as the new Washington State Secretary of Health. Wiesman is currently the Public Health Director for Clark County Public Health and on the board of the National Association of County and City Health Officials. He has more than 25 years of experience working in public health. Mary Selecky recently announced her retirement, and Wiesman will start serving as Secretary of Health on April 15.
To learn more about John Wiesman, visit his Department of Health biograpy webpage.
For more information on former Secretary Mary Selecky, please read the spotlight article below.
Spotlight: Mary Selecky, Washington State Secretary of Health (1999-2013)
Washington Secretary of Health Mary Selecky recently announced she’s retiring from state service after serving three governors and making an impact that will be felt for generations. Mary’s route to becoming secretary was anything but direct. Her life journey began in a small coal-mining town in northeast Pennsylvania where she grew up with her parents, four brothers, and two sisters. When the time came to move off to college, she headed for the big city of Philadelphia to earn her degree in history and political science from the University of Pennsylvania. She became the fourth member of her family to graduate from the University of Pennsylvania, following in the footsteps of her father who went there for his undergrad and law degrees. Even then she was involved in government activities, dedicating much of her time serving in student government.
Out of college, Mary took her first job as the assistant dean of students at Sarah Lawrence College in Bronxville, New York, right outside New York City. It was a lively time as the college had just become co-ed. From there she moved back to Philadelphia where she was a perfect fit as the assistant dean of students for the University of Pennsylvania. After five years serving in these two positions she got the urge to go west, moving across the country and settling in Colville, Washington. Following a classic transition job waiting tables, she spent the next four years working in economic development for local government in Ferry, Pend Oreille, and Stevens counties. When the local health district administrator job came open, the local health officer recommended Mary for it, and the rest is history. She began her public health journey at the Northeast Tri-County Health District, where she spent 20 years as the administrator. In March 1999, Governor Locke appointed Mary secretary of health for Washington state.
One of Mary’s proudest achievements during her nearly 15 years of service at the Department of Health is the agency’s successful effort to drive down smoking rates and help people live longer, healthier lives. She played a key role in helping create the Washington State Tobacco Prevention Plan, Tobacco Prevention Program, and Tobacco Quitline. The state’s comprehensive program included ad campaigns like “No Stank You” and “Cold Turkey,” which helped cut adult smoking rates by about a third, and youth smoking by half.
Mary’s inspiration for devoting her life to public health stems from the positive difference it makes in people’s lives every day. Knowing that our children and communities have clean water to drink, safe food from restaurants, protection against vaccine preventable diseases, and other public health outcomes helps keep a spring in her step.
Let there be no mistake—Mary’s passion and dedication to public health is not going away when she steps down as the secretary of health. She’s moving back to Colville where she will continue to serve on the Foundation Board for Providence Mount Carmel Hospital, and remain active in several national public health efforts.
Mary’s top recommendation to the next generation of public health workers is to collaborate and involve an interdisciplinary team of people in your efforts, even if they’re not traditional partners. She believes to truly make a significant positive impact we need to bring people with different backgrounds together. “It takes scientists in the lab to discover what we’re dealing with, epidemiologists to pinpoint the cause and spread of the problem, health educators to develop a tailored campaign, public health nurses to work with people in their home, people to work and communicate effectively with legislators, mayors, city councils, other elected officials, etc..…it takes all of us.”
Mary offers the following advice to health educators:
Two of the most important skills to have are the ability to clearly define your audience, and to carefully determine your key messages.
Be a good storyteller. Entertaining or engaging messages help people visualize, remember, and learn.
Be creative with how and where you get your message out, and make sure to adapt strategies to a variety of situations.
Work on building the public’s trust in public health. When people trust us and see public health as credible, they’re more likely to follow our advice and recommendations.
Be patient, stick with it, and don’t get frustrated. It takes time to see the health outcomes of our work.
In Mary’s much deserved time off work, she enjoys driving back to Colville to hang out with friends and re-connect with the community she lived in and served for so long. When she is able to settle down at home, she takes delight in breaking out the cutting board and baking pans to entertain guests for dinner. And on our lovely sunny Washington days, you will find her outside her house tending to her garden.
Accreditation: We’re One of Two States in the Country!
The Washington State Department of Health is one of only two state health departments in the nation to be accredited by the Public Health Accreditation Board. We are among 11 local and regional public health departments around the country, including the Spokane Regional Health District, to receive accreditation. This title means the department meets national standards for public health services and commitment to continuous improvement.
“Being among the first to be nationally accredited is a significant accomplishment for our state and the Department of Health,” said Governor Jay Inslee. “Every day public health agencies impact the lives of people in Washington by tracking and monitoring diseases, making sure water is safe to drink, and food is safe to eat. The national recognition shows we’re focusing our resources on the right areas, and people will be healthier as a result.”
For more information, http://www.phaboard.org/
New: Translator and Interpreter Directory
The Washington State Coalition for Language Access created a new directory for translation and interpretation.
- If you’re a translator or interpreter, you can sign up for free! You will then be listed in the directory so that providers in and those in social service fields can find the support they need.
- If you need an interpreter or translator, you can search by location, language, and certification.
For more information: http://www.wascla.org/directory/
New Website Helps You Find CDC Research and Literature
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) released a website called CDC Stacks last June. It is a resource for public health professionals, health care providers, researchers, scientists, policy makers, and others. The website is an archive of scientific research and literature produced by the CDC. It was created to centralize and simplify the process of finding information from the CDC. You can search for information on CDC Stacks by using the search box on the home page, or by browsing for information grouped together by the following collections:
- Library Collection – CDC publications from all areas of public health and disease prevention.
- Guidelines and Recommendations – Current and past evidence-based clinical and public health guidelines.
- CDC Open Access – Articles published by CDC authors in publications with open access .
- Influenza Surveillance Reports – An archive of historic influenza reports produced by the CDC.
- Reproductive Health – Survey findings from developing countries, with a focus on Latin America and Eastern Europe.
- Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report (MMWR) – An archive of the first 30 years of MMWR weekly issues.
Within each collection, you are able to narrow results by factors such as subject, year, current or past information, and disease and condition. The CDC will be adding more collections to the website in the coming months and will post information as they release it. Visit CDC Stacks to try it out and to find information that can help you with your work.
Material Spotlight: Success Stories in Lincoln and Pacific counties
The Preventive Health and Health Services Block Grant supports healthier communities throughout our state. These funds are used to encourage healthy eating and active living in communities. As communities have successes, the Washington State Department of Health highlights them through one page success stories. These stories are then shared with administrators, local boards of health, and legislators. Two recent success stories were added to the more than 30 stories that have been created in recent years.
The Lincoln County Health Department, school district, and hospital district formed 54321 Let’s Go LinCo! to market the community changes happening in Lincoln County. The partnership identified improvements each agency could make for the health of Lincoln County children. To read the story click here: http://here.doh.wa.gov/materials/starting-from-scratch . To learn more, contact Jolene Erickson, Public Health Nurse, at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Pacific County Public Health and Human Services Department recognized that one way to help kids eat healthier was to improve school meals. Specifically, they partnered with the Naselle-Grays River Valley School District to eliminate processed food from their breakfast and lunch menus. To read the story click here: http://here.doh.wa.gov/materials/healthy-tastes-good . To learn more, contact Katie Oien-Linstrom, Deputy Director, at email@example.com.
Let’s Move Schools
It is the third anniversary of the Let’s Move Initiative. First Lady Michelle Obama just launched the Let’s Move! Active Schools program . The goal is to reach over 50,000 schools around the country to increase the amount of physical activity in schools. Specifically, it is a comprehensive program that empowers school champions – physical education teachers, classroom teachers, principals, administrators, and parents – to create active environments that enable all students to get moving and reach their full potential.
The five main focus areas include:
- Physical Education
- Physical Activity During School
- Physical Activity Before and After School
- Family & Community Involvement
- Staff Involvement
To learn more, go to: http://www.letsmoveschools.org/
Increasing Youth Physical Activity Through School-based Policy and Built Environment Changes
The American Journal of Preventive Medicine published a new study that measures how many more minutes of physical activity children will get due to certain policy and environmental changes in school and the community. The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation funded the study. Findings provide evidence that these changes are effective and can help guide policymakers in making informed decisions on how they can help kids be more active.
While the Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans recommends children get 60 minutes of activity a day, only 42 percent of American children ages 6 to 11 met that standard in 2008. Fewer than eight percent of adolescents meet the recommendation. In addition, while 78.3 percent of United States schools require students to take physical education, only 3.8 percent of elementary schools, 14.5 percent of middle schools, and 6.6 percent of high schools offered daily physical education in 2006.
Researchers in this study analyzed 85 past studies that met specific criteria. Nine common types of policy and built environment were assessed, as well as the number of minutes per day each type can contribute to moderate or vigorous physical activity in kids. Findings show:
School policy/built environment change
Minutes of moderate to vigorous physical activity gained per day
Policy requiring daily physical education
Providing classroom activity breaks
Increasing walking/biking to school
Renovating parks to include more equipment and opportunities for activity
Increasing after-school physical activity programs
Standardizing P.E. curricula to increase active time and decrease inactive time
Modifying school playgrounds
Modifying recess to provide more play equipment
Increasing park access
Read the full journal article for more information.
Top 10 Downloaded Materials on the Health Education Resource Exchange (H.E.R.E)
Below are the 10 most downloaded materials on the H.E.R.E. website in the last two months. Check each issue to see which educational messaging people are seeking most.
New Upcoming Trainings
Below are upcoming events that have been added to the H.E.R.E. website since the last newsletter was released. Visit the Training & Events page to view more trainings by month, as well as free online trainings that are available.
- 10th Annual Western Regional International Health Conference - Portland, Oregon
- STD Update for Clinicians - Yakima, Washington
- The International Conference on Perinatal and Infant Death - Minneapolis, Minnesota
- Power of Our Regional Food Economy: 2013 Conference - Spokane, Washington
- Washington State Coalition for Language Access Summit - Wenatchee, Washington
- Hope, Healing, & Health: Global Community Engagement for Health Diplomacy - Salt Lake City, Utah
- National Prevention Strategy Webinar: Healthy Aging - Webinar
- 2013 Mental Health Conference: Why Wellness Works-Breakthroughs and Pathways to Whole Health - National Harbor, Maryland
- Council of State and Territorial Epidemiologists Annual Conference - Pasadena, California
- 2013 Childhood Obesity Conference - Long Beach, California
- Third National Cribs for Kids Conference - Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
- 8th Annual National Urban Indian Health Conference - Seattle, Washington
- 38th Annual National Wellness Conference - Stevens Point, Wisconsin
- National Prevention Strategy Webinar: Designing Healthy Communities: Promoting Universal Design, Affordable, Accessable, Safe, and Healthy Communities - Webinar
- 2013 Summer Institute for Public Health Practice - Seattle, Washington
- National Prevention Strategy Webinar: Preventing Violence: The Importance of Healthy Communication and Relationships - Webinar
- 2nd Annual National Health Impact Assessment Meeting - Washington, D.C.
- Washington State Joint Conference on Health - Wenatchee, Washington
- Fostering Sustainable Behavior Workshop - Bellevue, Washington
- National Prevention Strategy Webinar: Exercise is Medicine - Webinar