Category Archives: interview

Public Health Transformational Leader Reena Chudgar Shares Advice on How to Develop and Successfully Implement Innovative Ideas

By George T. Roberts, Jr., MHA, FACHE, NACCHO President and Chief Executive Officer of the Northeast Texas Public Health District

Reena Chudgar, MPH, is Director of Innovation at the Public Health National Center for Innovations (PHNCI). Reena joined PHNCI in April 2019 with more than 13 years of experience in public health. Prior to joining PHNCI, Reena served as Director for Performance Improvement at the National Association of County and City Health Officials (NACCHO). During her time at NACCHO, she provided support to local health departments (LHDs) and their public health system partners in community health assessments and community health improvement plans, quality improvement/performance management, strategic planning, and helped LHDs prepare for national accreditation.

Additionally, Reena provided strategic direction and management for the Performance Improvement Portfolio. Prior to joining NACCHO, Reena worked with the Millennium Water Alliance at CARE USA, interned with the DeKalb County Board of Health in Georgia, and conducted research in Ghana, all of which focused on water, sanitation, and hygiene initiatives. Earlier, Reena served as a Health and Community Development Peace Corps volunteer in the Republic of Kiribati, where she designed and implemented several grassroots health and education programs, assessed and prioritized community needs, and strengthened local economic and social capacity. Reena received a Master of Public Health degree and a bachelor’s degree in chemistry from Emory University.

Below, she discusses her leadership role at PHNCI and shares advice on how an organization can develop innovative ideas and successfully implement them. Continue reading

Leader and Health Director, Melissa Lyon Discusses Important Partner Characteristics and Shares Her Hopes for Public Health Leadership

By George T. Roberts, Jr., MHA, FACHE, NACCHO President and Chief Executive Officer of the Northeast Texas Public Health District

Melissa C. Lyon, MPH, leads Pennsylvania’s Erie County Department of Health as Public Health Director. While earning her Master’s in Public Health, Ms. Lyon worked as a site manager for Great Lakes Medical Research, a clinical research site located in Westfield, NY. She spent nine years at Chautauqua County Health Department in New York working in various public health positions including, environmental health and inspections, health promotion and education, public health emergency preparedness, and community collaboration and coalition building.

Below, she discusses the current goals for her health department, highlights important factors to consider when partnering with other organizations, and shares her hope for public health leadership in Erie County. Continue reading

ADH Director Nate Smith Discusses his Leadership Style and Shares How He Plans to Lead as New ASTHO President

By George T. Roberts, Jr., MHA, FACHE, NACCHO President and Chief Executive Officer of the Northeast Texas Public Health District

Nate Smith, MD, MPH currently serves as the Director and State Health Officer for the Arkansas Department of Health (ADH) and President of the Association of State and Territorial Health Officials. As champion for science, Dr. Smith provides evidence-based leadership for the department. Under his leadership, ADH provides over 100 services through 90 local health units to 75 counties. Dr. Smith oversees several services and programs including immunizations, WIC, preparedness and emergency response, chronic disease prevention, injury and violence prevention, suicide prevention, and outbreak response. Continue reading

Transformational Leader and Health Director Damon Chaplin Shares How He Motivates His Staff and Gives Advice on Being a Better Leader

By George T. Roberts, Jr., MHA, FACHE, NACCHO President and Chief Executive Officer of the Northeast Texas Public Health District

Damon Chaplin, MBA, serves as the Health Director of the City of New Bedford Health Department in Massachusetts and is a current NACCHO Board Member. He has previously provided statewide leadership as a Regional Director for the Massachusetts Department of Public Health. Mr. Chaplin has lead school inspection indoor air quality trainings for environmental health professionals at the Boston Public Health Commission. As a local business owner, Mr. Chaplin integrates his knowledge of strategic financial analysis into his department’s operations to ensure its financial stability. Continue reading

Member Spotlight Interview: Health Director Emily Brown Discusses the Importance of Rural Health Representation

NACCHO’s Member Spotlight series features interviews with local health department leaders and staff about their careers in public health. This interview features Emily Brown, MPH, CPH, Health Director for the Rio Grande County Public Health in Colorado. Below she highlights the importance of rural health being represented in all levels of government and shares how her health department is addressing inequities in health as they relate to poverty.

Tell us about your career path into public health.

I received my undergraduate degree in Communications from the University of Colorado in Boulder. During my last semester, I took a Communications and Health elective, which I sometimes credit for leading me to a career in public health or at least making me think about how important communications are in the health field. Continue reading

NACCHO Annual 2019: Interim Health Officer Nasseam McPherson James Gives an Inside Look into the Florida Department of Health in Orange County

Interview by Taylarr Lopez, Communications Specialist

Nasseam McPherson James, MBA, MSW, is the Interim Health Officer for the Florida Department of Health in Orange County (FL DOH). In the following post, she discusses her role within the department, shares how FL DOH in Orange County is addressing infant mortality and decreasing new HIV infection rates, and highlights ways in which other local health departments can prepare themselves to address public health challenges for decades to come. Continue reading

Member Spotlight: Health Director Lisa Macon Harrison Shares Technology’s Effect on Public Health Communication and Discusses Rural Health’s Need for a New Funding Model

Interview by Taylarr Lopez, Communications Specialist, NACCHO

NACCHO’s Member Spotlight series features interviews with local health department leaders and staff about their careers in public health. This interview features Lisa Macon Harrison, MPH, Health Director of the Granville Vance Public Health Department in North Carolina. Below, she shares the how her department is addressing mental health and substance use disorder; youth wellbeing; access to healthcare; how technological advances have affected public health communication; and the need for a new funding model for rural public health. Continue reading