Dr. Betty Bekemeier, assistant professor of nursing, has received the 2009 American Public Health Association’s Executive Director Citation. The prestigious award recognizes her extraordinary support and service to APHA by strengthening its membership sections.
Bekemeier researches the effectiveness of local and state public health strategies to improve population health and eliminate disparities. She joined the UW School of Nursing in 2007. She also holds an adjunct faculty position at the UW School of Public Health. She formerly served as deputy director of the Turning Point National Program Office and spent much of her career in public health practice before coming to the UW.
Since 2000, Bekemeier has held leadership positions within the association, whose membership exceeds 20,000. Bekemeier helped provide direction for the management and accountability of membership sections. APHA sections now have an annual reporting system for goals that have been achieved. The reports also indicate whether criteria are being met in such areas as recruitment and retention, section business, and communication with members.
As a result of Bekemeier’s efforts, sections have made annual reporting an expected and accepted practice. The annual reports have not only helped section leaders monitor and strengthen their capacity, but also have helped APHA leadership in acquiring accurate, consistent data. Bekemeier examined recent annual report data to find patterns to cite in recommendations for supporting members and growing the association’s effectiveness. Bekemeier, who led the Inter-Sectional Council Steering Committee, has helped APHA develop a stronger foundation, strategic alignment and accountability.
While serving on the association’s executive board, Bekemeier realized the importance of aligning section reporting with the AHPA strategic plan. She invited a member of the executive board’s Strategic Planning Committee to join the Inter-Sectional Council in integrating the association’s strategic plan into section priorities and reporting. The action has brought visibility to APHA’s strategic plan and has helped section leaders integrate their efforts with APHA’s larger priorities.
Bekemeier’s academic research interests in public health include practice system development, financing, practice management, nursing leadership and work force development issues. Her many authored and co-authored publications cover such issues as public health leadership, social justice in nursing, promoting systems change in public health infrastructure and building sustainable change in state public health systems.