Elizabeth (Betty) R. Bekemeier

faculty photo
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.
Associate Professor, Health Services
Associate Professor, Psychosocial and Community Health (primary appt.)

Northwest Center for Public Health Practice


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

Contact Info

email:   bettybek@uw.edu

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

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 Feb 23. [Epub ahead of print]  PMID: 26910874

Storey-Kuyl M, Bekemeier B, Conley E. Focusing "upstream" to Address Maternal and Child Health Inequities: Two Local Health Departments in Washington State Make the Transition. Matern Child Health J. 2015 Nov;19(11):2329-35. doi: 10.1007/s10995-015-1756-4.  PMID: 26082170

Bekemeier B, Yip MP, Dunbar MD, Whitman G, Kwan-Gett T. Local health department food safety and sanitation expenditures and reductions in enteric disease, 2000-2010. Am J Public Health. 2015 Apr;105 Suppl 2:S345-52. doi: 10.2105/AJPH.2015.302555. Epub 2015 Feb 17.  PMID: 25689186

Bekemeier B, Walker Linderman T, Kneipp S, Zahner SJ. Updating the definition and role of public health nursing to advance and guide the specialty. Public Health Nurs. 2015 Jan-Feb;32(1):50-7. doi: 10.1111/phn.12157. Epub 2014 Oct 6.  PMID: 25284433

Bekemeier B, Pantazis A, Dunbar MD, Herting JR. Classifying local health departments on the basis of the constellation of services they provide. Am J Public Health. 2014 Dec;104(12):e77-82. doi: 10.2105/AJPH.2014.302281. Epub 2014 Oct 16.  PMID: 25320877

Member, thesis committee for Carolina Amador
Disparities in timing of gestational diabetes screening in Hispanic and Caucasian, non-Hispanic women

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.