UW Today

February 6, 2013

New director named for Northwest Center for Public Health Practice

School Of Public Health

Pediatrician Dr. Tao Kwan-Gett has been named director of the Northwest Center for Public Health Practice at the UW School of Public Health, effective March 1. The center provides training, research, evaluation and communication services to public health organizations across six states: Alaska, Idaho, Montana, Oregon, Washington and Wyoming.

Earlier in his career, Dr. Tao Kwan-Gett spent his summers volunteering as a physician for children on the Thai-Burma border.

“The Center connects the University of Washington School of Public Health to the public health practice community, and it also connects different facets of public health to each other,” Dr. Kwan-Gett said. “I’m excited about finding and making new connections to support our public health partners.”

Kwan-Gett earned a master of public health degree at the UW after completing a pediatric residency at Seattle Children’s Hospital. He brings a wide range of experience in public health, clinical care and global health to his new position. For the past six years, he has worked at Public Health – Seattle & King County, where he has overseen the day-to-day work of the communicable disease investigation team.

Before that, he practiced eight years as a primary-care pediatrician with Virginia Mason Hospital. He spent his vacations volunteering in a clinic on the Thai/Myanmar border serving refugees and migrant workers. He is co-author of Infectious and Tropical Diseases: A Handbook for Primary Care.

Dr. Kwan-Gett in a recent photograph.

Kwan-Gett succeeds Dr. Susan Allan, a physician and attorney who has served as director since 2008 and will continue as an associate professor of health Services.

“The field of public health is in a challenging but also exciting period—moving away from direct services, broadening involvement in policy, and figuring out opportunities to work more closely with health care providers and systems as the Affordable Care Act is implemented,” Dr. Allan said. “Tao brings very valuable skills and experience that will further strengthen NWCPHP. I think NWCPHP could be even more helpful for the practice community as we move ahead.”

Read an interview with Kwan-Gett on his appointment.