On episode 312 of The Nurse Keith Show nursing and healthcare career podcast, Keith interviews Ron Bialek, MPP, the President and CEO of the Public Health Foundation, and Vanessa Lamers, MPH, MESc, the Assistant Director of Performance Management and Quality Improvement of the Public Health Foundation.

In the course of this important conversation, we take a deep dive into the state of public health in the United States in the age of the COVID-19 pandemic, especially in light of the egregious defunding of our crucial public health infrastructure.

Ron Bialek, MPP, has been serving as President and CEO of the Public Health Foundation (PHF) since 1997. He has focused PHF’s efforts on developing and implementing innovative strategies for improving the performance of public health agencies and health systems. Initiatives include developing performance management and quality improvement tools and training for population health professionals; developing the consensus set of Competencies for Population Health Professionals; and creating the Nation’s most comprehensive population health learning network – TRAIN.

Mr. Bialek is a member of the National Quality Forum (NQF) Prevention and Population Health Standing Committee and served on the NQF Expert Panel on Food Insecurity & Housing Instability.

He also is an editor of the 2017 book, Solving Population Health Problems through Collaboration, and author of several chapters.

Vanessa Lamers is the Assistant Director of Performance Management and Quality Improvement at the Public Health Foundation (PHF). She leads programming to build the capacity of state, local, tribal, and territorial health departments, and provides technical assistance and training around program and quality improvement.

Ms. Lamers manages PHF’s Immunization Program, which is currently supporting the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in their roll-out of the COVID-19 vaccines.

Ms. Lamers holds a Bachelor of Arts from the University of Oregon as well as a Master of Public Health and Master of Environmental Science, both from Yale University.

The Public Health Foundation (PHF), a private, non-profit, 501(c)3 organization based in Washington, DC, improves public health and population health practice to support healthier communities. Since 1970, PHF has developed effective resources, tools, information, and training for health agencies, organizations, and individuals to help improve performance and community health outcomes. PHF works extensively to convene stakeholders, identify unmet needs, and link academia, public health practice, and healthcare sectors.

PHF is an independent, non-membership organization, governed by an 11-member Board of Directors composed of two state health officers, two local public health officers, one local board of health member, and six individuals from academic, private sector, and other public health agency settings.

Key Programs, Services, and Projects:

  • TRAIN Learning Network – the trusted leader in providing training and other learning opportunities to public health, healthcare, behavioral health, preparedness, and other health professionals, which helps over 3 million public health and healthcare professionals build skills and competence.
  • Council on Linkages Between Academia and Public Health Practice​ – a consortium of 23 national public health and healthcare organizations enhancing collaboration between academia and public health practice, developing consensus, and taking action to improve the education, practice, and research of professionals and organizations.
  • Core Competencies for Public Health Professionals – consensus-developed competencies used widely by thousands of agencies and universities to train their workforce.
  • Population Health Driver Diagram – a framework used to facilitate cross-sector alignment and collaboratively address emerging or current public health issues, including opioid management.
  • Over 100 quality improvement tools​ – resources​ that help hundreds of agencies operate more efficiently and effectively and improve the health of communities

Connect with the Public Health Foundation, Mr. Bialek, and Ms. Lamers: 


The Nurse Keith Show is a proud member of The Health Podcast Network, one of the largest and fastest-growing collections of authoritative, high-quality podcasts taking on the tough topics in health and care with empathy, expertise, and a commitment to excellence.

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Nurse KeithIn case you didn’t already know, Nurse Keith is a holistic career coach for nurses, award-winning nurse blogger, writer, podcaster, keynote and motivational speaker, and popular career columnist. With two decades of nursing experience, Keith deeply understands the issues faced by 21st-century nurses. From 2012 until its sunset in 2017, Keith co-hosted RNFMRadio, a groundbreaking nursing podcast. Keith’s message of savvy career management and professional satisfaction reaches tens of thousands of nurses worldwide. Keith can be found on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Instagram—as well as at NurseKeith.com.
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