“When people go back home and have to do the work in their local communities, they should recreate some of the things they learned here.”
– Dr. Georges Benjamin, President, American Public Health Association
This year we made history. The 2018 National Network of Public Health Institutes (NNPHI) Annual Conference commenced with the inaugural Public Health Workforce Forum where more than 200 public health professionals gathered to explore current and emerging workforce development needs. Dr. Georges Benjamin, Executive Director of the American Public Health Association, offered the opening keynote, which energized the room and challenged us all to “become the chief health strategist” by placing focus on getting the right collaborators to the table.
A day of engaging sessions and in-depth conversations was punctuated by a panel discussion charting the future for the public health workforce featuring Brian Castrucci, Executive Director of the deBeaumont Foundation; Dorothy Cilenti, Director of the Maternal Child Health Workforce Development Center; Myra Parker, CEO of Seven Directions, the first public health institute dedicated to Indigenous health and wellness; Christina Welter, Clinical Assistant Professor and Associate Director of the Doctorate in Public Health Program at the University of Illinois at Chicago School of Public Health; Patricia Simone, Director of the Division of Scientific Education and Professional Development at the Centers for Disease Control; and Jessica Solomon Fisher, Chief Innovations Officer at the Public Health National Center for Innovations at the Public Health Accreditation Board.
NNPHI Chief Executive Officer Vincent Lafronza officially welcomed the more than 300 participants to the 2018 NNPHI Annual Conference and was followed by an insightful opening keynote by Dr. Laura Magaña, President and CEO of the Association of Schools and Programs of Public Health that continued the focus on the public health workforce. After a morning of breakout sessions including sessions on Meeting the Needs of Marginalized Populations and Lessons Learned: Working in Rural Communities, we celebrated the 2018 NNPHI Annual Award winners, honoring leadership, innovation, learning, and commitment. Dr. Risa Lavizzo-Mourey, President Emerita and Adviser to the President of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, was recognized for her extraordinary contributions to improving public health throughout her lifetime and gave a rousing speech accentuated by a “drop the mic” moment that brought the room to its feet.
The final day of the conference started with breakfast roundtable discussions on a wide range of topics from the intersection of climate change and health to informing policy and educating policymakers. The morning plenary featured a discussion on moving health care upstream with panelists Debbie Chang, Senior Vice President of Policy and Prevention at Nemours Children’s Health System, Kristen Dillon, CCO and Associate Medical Director Medicaid at PacificSource Community Solutions, Elissa Bassler, CEO of the Illinois Public Health Institute, and Robert St. Peter, CEO of the Kansas Health Institute. The final round of breakout sessions included topics such as, Preparing, Responding and Recovering from Disaster, Tackling the Opioid Epidemic and Preparing the Next Generation of Public Health Leaders. Post-conference activities were in high demand this year with offerings including an Improving Health Equity through Tobacco-Free Policies session, a Rural Health Workshop, and a community event where participants got to tour and learn more about several organizations in New Orleans that are working on behavioral health, housing, and family justice.
This year’s conference would not have been possible without our amazing sponsors and exhibitors: Colorado Health Institute, Louisiana Public Health Institute, MCD Public Health, Public Health Management Corporation, Submittable, Georgia Health Policy Center, Kansas Health Institute Center for Sharing Public Health Services, County Health Rankings and Roadmaps, Michigan State University Division of Public Health, the Patient Navigator Training Collaborative, Public Insight Corporation, and WellCare Health Plan.
Next year, we’ll be making history again as we take our annual conference to the nation’s capital. Save the date for May 20th-22nd in Washington, DC! To stay updated on the 2019 NNPHI Annual Conference, sign up for our mailing list and follow us on Twitter and LinkedIn.