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School of Public Health

Betty R. Bekemeier

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I have a passion for public health as it is practiced in the community setting. Improving the health of whole communities can only happen through working effectively together across systems, agencies, and disciplines and believing that everyone participates in the work of public health.
Adjunct Associate Professor, Health Services
Associate Professor, Psychosocial and Community Health (primary appt.)

Northwest Center for Public Health Practice


PhD   University of Washington, 2007   (Nursing)
MPH   Johns Hopkins University, 1994   (Program Evaluation)
MSN   Johns Hopkins University, 1994   (Public Health Nursing Leadership and Management)
BSN   Pacific Lutheran University, 1984   (Nursing)

Contact Info


Department of Psychosocial and Community Health
1959 NE Pacific St.,
Seattle, WA 98195

campus box:   357263
voice:   206-616-8411
fax:   206-685-9551


Betty Bekemeier is a public health systems researcher examining effective strategies for local and state public health systems to most effectively improve population health and eliminate disparities. She became Director of the Northwest Center for Public Health Practice in November 2015. She is Primary Investigator of the Public Health Activities and Services Tracking (PHAST) Study and conducts practice-based research in collaboration with state and local public health practice partners. She has held significant state and national leadership positions including with the Washington State Public Health Association and the American Public Health Association. Before coming to the UW, her career focused on public health practice at the local level, including: public health nursing, clinical and field management, epidemiology, community assessment, maternal child health, and administration.

Effective public health system performance; public health financing; local public health service variation and population health impact; disparities in public health system resource allocation; public health workforce development and leadership

Snider JW, Bekemeier BR, Conrad DA, Grembowski DE. Federally Qualified Health Center Substitution of Local Health Department Services. Am J Prev Med. 2017 Jul 24. pii: S0749-3797(17)30305-7. doi: 10.1016/j.amepre.2017.06.006. [Epub ahead of print]  PMID: 28751056

Klaiman T, Chainani A, Bekemeier B. The Importance of Partnerships in Local Health Department Practice Among Communities With Exceptional Maternal and Child Health Outcomes. J Public Health Manag Pract. 2016 Nov-Dec;22(6):542-9. doi: 10.1097/PHH.0000000000000402.  PMID: 26910874

Bekemeier B, Zahner SJ, Kulbok P, Merrill J, Kub J. Assuring a strong foundation for our nation's public health systems. Nurs Outlook. 2016 Nov - Dec;64(6):557-565. doi: 10.1016/j.outlook.2016.05.013.  PMID: 27480677

Issel LM, Lurie CF, Bekemeier B. Wage Inequity: Within-Market Comparative Analysis of Salary for Public Health Nurses and Hospital Nurses. J Public Health Manag Pract. 2016 Nov-Dec;22(6):550-8. doi: 10.1097/PHH.0000000000000390.  PMID: 27682725

Bekemeier B, Pantazis A, Yip MP, Kwan-Gett T. Developing the Evidence for Public Health Systems to Battle Vaccine Preventable Disease at the Local Level: Data Challenges and Strategies for Advancing Research. J Public Health Manag Pract. 2017 Mar/Apr;23(2):131-137. doi: 10.1097/PHH.0000000000000411.  PMID: 27798522

Chair, dissertation committee for Jeremy Snider
Assessing variation in personal health service delivery and workplace smoking ban enforcement by Local Health Departments

Public Health Activities and Services Tracking (PHAST) Study

The PHAST Study is a multi-state collaboration of researchers and practice partners examining the outcomes associated with variation and change in public health financing, infrastructure, and service delivery at the local level. Initially funded through the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation’s Nurse Faculty Scholars Program, PHAST received additional support from RWJF in 2013 to develop a system to make standardized local public health service and activity measures available to support evidence-based practice.

Turning Point--Collaborating for a New Century in Public Health

Turning Point was a national program funded by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation in which 21 states across the country were charged with developing innovative and effective change in public health infrastructure in their states through collaborations with unique partnerships. These partnerships built public health capacity throughout the public health system at both the state and local level.