University of Washington School of Public Health
Alumni of Note
2016 Distinguished Alumnus: Rogelio Riojas, MHA '77
Rogelio Riojas has devoted his career to providing quality, affordable health care and access to jobs and education, especially for Latinos and migrant workers. In 1978, he founded Sea Mar Community Health Centers and currently serves as its President and CEO. From one location in King County, he has expanded the organization to 11 counties in WA state. The son of migrant farmworkers, Mr. Riojas was one of the first in his family to finish high school and attend college. He currently serves on the University of Washington Board of Regents.
2015 Distinguished Alumna: Mary Travis Bassett, MPH ’85
Dr. Mary Travis Bassett has devoted her 30-year career in public health to advancing health equity. Her work has taken her from addressing one of the world’s worst AIDS epidemics in Zimbabwe, to strengthening health systems in Africa, to establishing district health offices in disadvantaged neighborhoods of New York City. Since January 2014, she has served as Commissioner of the New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene.
2014 Distinguished Alum Robert Newman: Take Risks, Think Big
When he was a medical student, Robert Newman (MPH, Epidemiology '98) spent a year in Brazil. The Portuguese language skills he picked up came in handy when he later went to Mozambique for two years with Health Alliance International. That led to a career as a global malaria expert with the CDC and WHO. Now he's a managing director at GAVI Alliance. Newman's advice? Don't be afraid to take some risks, says the School's 2014 Distinguished Alumnus.
Michael Phillips: Pioneering Suicide Research in China
Michael Phillips, MPH '84, has spent nearly 30 years in China, where he's a leading expert on suicide and a pioneer in mental health research. Thanks to public health interventions over the last two decades, suicide rates have dropped in half. Phillips, the UW School of Public Health's Distinguished Alumnus for 2013, says his training gave him the background he needed to make an impact.
Rogelio Riojas: "I'll be an activist until I die."
As an undergraduate, Rogelio Riojas marched against the Vietnam War, campaigned for Latino causes and lobbied for a community health clinic in his hometown of Othello, WA. After earning an MHA ('77) here, he joined Sea Mar Community Health Centers as its CEO. Today Riojas continues to direct Sea Mar while advocating for better health and human rights. "I'll be an activist until I die," he says.
Sophia Teshome: Contributing to Ethiopia's Health
Alumna Sophia Teshoma, MPH 2012, works for the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Ethiopia. She has immersed herself in Ethiopia's public health issues. Literally. The Seattle native once climbed into a spring of holy water in the Gondar region of northern Ethiopia.
Arthur Kellermann: I've saved more lives with public health work than in the emergency room
Arthur Kellermann (Health Services ’85) has a flair for the dramatic and a knack for telling compelling public health stories. He’s taken on some of the nation’s toughest issues, from firearm injuries to soaring health-care costs. “More than ever, what people have to understand, beyond basic concepts of leadership, is the power of being a communicator,” Kellermann says. “Going forward, the smartphone and other mobile apps are the next generation enabler of public health.”
Kelli Trosvig, MHA Health Services '94
Kelli Trosvig, MHA 1994 in Health Services, holds one of the UW’s highest positions. She was recently named vice president for information technology and chief information officer. Trosvig says her master’s in health administration taught her invaluable skills, including how to be strategic and thoughtful in management. “In the MHA program, you are exposed to so many different healthcare leaders, you see many different styles, and it’s probably what’s resulted in me being here,” she says.
Chris Elias, MPH Health Services '90
For the past decade, Christopher Elias, MPH 1990 in Health Services, held what he calls "arguably the best job in global health." He led PATH, a Seattle-based international nonprofit organization which expanded under his leadership from 300 to 1,000 staffers and to more than 70 countries. Their goal is to improve people’s health through sustainable, culturally relevant methods. Now Chris is taking on global challenges at the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.
Sophie Godley, MPH Health Services '99
Sophie Godley won the 2011 ASPH/Pfizer Early Career in Public Health Teaching Award, which recognizes a faculty member who is early in his or her career and notable for teaching excellence. "I feel lucky to have received such a good education at UW. I try to model my teaching after that of my many UW SPH mentors who continue to inspire me."
C. Scott Bond, MHA '78
The School of Public Health congratulates MHA alum C. Scott Bond on his new position as President and CEO of the Washington State Hospital Association. Scott has served on numerous WSHA boards and committees. Previously, he worked for the Providence Health System for more than 25 years.