Bobbie Berkowitz, PhD, RN, FAAN received her Bachelor of Science in Nursing and her Masters in Nursing from the University of Washington, Seattle. She received her Doctor of Philosophy, Nursing Science with Executive Focus from Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland, Ohio, and was a Scholar at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Public Health Leadership Institute. She is currently the Chair and Professor of the Department of Psychosocial and Community Health in the School of Nursing at the University of Washington.
Bobbie joined WSNA shortly after graduating nursing school and has been a member ever since. She has served on the WSNA Research Council and the Council on Nursing Administration. She holds ANA certification in Nursing Administration and is a member of the American Academy of Nursing. She was also a member of the ANA Community Based Quality Indicator Advisory Committee
Bobbie is the quintessential public health nurse leader. She has made significant and long-lasting contributions to both nursing and the public health system. Her career has included direct public health practice, director of public health nursing at the local level, deputy secretary for the State Department of Health, faculty at St Martins College and the University of Washington School of Nursing, as well as leadership work at the national level through the ANA, American Public Health Association, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Robert Wood Johnson and the Institute of Medicine. Few nurse leaders see the fruits of their efforts turn into national health policy. Bobbie’s work in public health and the Public Health Improvement Plan has done just that. She is recognized nationally as a nursing leader and public health guru.
Bobbie’s career achievements have set the course for public health in Washington state. Accomplishments include building the public health system, both at the local level through her work as nursing director at both Whatcom County and Seattle-King County, as well as at the state level through her work at the Department of Health, and now at the University of Washington School of Nursing. Her efforts have touched the lives of every resident of the State of Washington. Bobbie has served as a mentor and advisor to many students and nurses interested in public health. She skillfully combines nursing theory, public policy models, and leadership case studies to lead students to a new level of thinking. Leadership and public policy continue to be keen interests of Bobbie.
Bobbie was selected by then Governor Booth Gardner to sit on the Health Services Commission in 1990. She chaired the Health Services Committee. This work was groundbreaking and heralded the health reform efforts in Washington. Even though the large effort did not last, the public health work and discussions led to the establishment of the Public Health Improvement Plan. This plan gives the state a framework for development of the public health system. Bobbie’s leadership was crucial both to have public health take its essential place within the Plan for the protection of the public, but she also brought the nursing perspective to many for debate.
In her work with Turning Point, Bobbie leaves a legacy throughout the country. Over the past eight years she has provided consultation, technical assistance, and visionary leadership to public health leaders in North Carolina, California, Kansas, Alaska, New York, Nebraska, Arizona, Georgia, and also in Canada.
Bobbie has received many honors throughout her career. Among them are the Washington State Public Health Association Gavel Award, Annual Award, Creative Achievement Award in Nursing, and the Honorary Life Membership. She has received the Washington State Nurses Association Marguerite Cobb Public/Community Health Nurse Award, the University of Washington School of Nursing Distinguished Alumni Award and the 19 th Elizabeth Sterling Soule Lectureship. And, in 2001 she was elected to the prestigious, National Institute of Medicine.
A sign of a great leader is one who can also translate a vision into reality. Bobbie has done this and more for both public health and public health nursing. Bobbie is still in the midst of her career. We will continue to see great things come from her work in health policy, public health infrastructure development, and leadership theory. She is able to bridge theory into action. We are fortunate to have Bobbie in Washington State, dedicated to nursing–public health–and WSNA!