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School of Public Health
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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 Professor, Health Services
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

Mamaril CBC, Mays GP, Branham DK, Bekemeier B, Marlowe J, Timsina L. Estimating the Cost of Providing Foundational Public Health Services. Health Serv Res. 2017 Dec 28. doi: 10.1111/1475-6773.12816. [Epub ahead of print]  PMID: 29282722

Bekemeier B, Park S. Development of the PHAST model: generating standard public health services data and evidence for decision-making. J Am Med Inform Assoc. 2017 Nov 2. doi: 10.1093/jamia/ocx126. [Epub ahead of print]  PMID: 29106585

Snider JW, Bekemeier BR, Conrad DA, Grembowski DE. Federally Qualified Health Center Substitution of Local Health Department Services. Am J Prev Med. 2017 Oct;53(4):405-411. doi: 10.1016/j.amepre.2017.06.006. Epub 2017 Jul 24.  PMID: 28751056

Swider SM, Berkowitz B, Valentine-Maher S, Zenk SN, Bekemeier B. Engaging communities in creating health: Leveraging community benefit. Nurs Outlook. 2017 Sep - Oct;65(5):657-660. doi: 10.1016/j.outlook.2017.08.002.  PMID: 29061253

Bekemeier B, Marlowe J, Squires LS, Tebaldi J, Park S. Perceived Need Versus Current Spending: Gaps in Providing Foundational Public Health Services in Communities. J Public Health Manag Pract. 2017 Aug 21. doi: 10.1097/PHH.0000000000000612. [Epub ahead of print]  PMID: 28832431

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.