HL20: Cheryl Bartlett, RN—Public Health Advocacy, From Bottom to Top

Margaret Dick Tocknell, for HealthLeaders Media , December 3, 2013

She also wants to see more emphasis on health information policy and informatics to help identify efficiencies in delivering DPH services. Community engagement is also a priority. The department has $60 million in a prevention and wellness trust fund to create collaboratives with community-based organizations, municipalities, and healthcare providers to improve clinical care in early 2014. Bartlett says DPH will look at whether accountable care organizations can deliver community-based care at a more affordable cost. Another mandate is to certify some medical marijuana dispensaries by January 2014.

Despite some challenges, she characterizes herself as "someone who can get things done. I am like a dog with a bone. If I believe something should happen and it makes sense to me, then I am very persistent. I know how to navigate the waters and find the right people."

A typical work day, which often stretches well into the night, will find Bartlett visiting communities around the state to see DPH programs in action. "I like to dig in to the work. I think the more I know about the challenges and barriers, the more I can help solve problems and help the system be better."

Running a state department with a more than 3,000 employees and a $906 million budget means Bartlett has had to relinquish some of the hands on participation that she enjoys. "I have realized that while I like hands-on, I also see that the higher up you get in an organization the more ability you have to influence the outcome systemwide. I enjoy that, too."

Margaret Dick Tocknell is a reporter/editor with HealthLeaders Media.
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