Betty Bekemeier, PhD, MPH, FAAN, RN

Betty Bekemeier, PhD, MPH, FAAN, RN
Associate Professor
Associate Professor
Psychosocial & Community Health
Box 357263
University of Washington
Seattle, WA 98195


I am a nationally recognized public health systems and practice-based researcher with a focus on the structures and practices of state and local health departments in relation to health outcomes and reducing disparities. Much of my research and leadership in advancing public health systems has been conducted with public health leaders involved with state Public Health Practice-based Research Networks (PBRN). I lead several PBRN-related projects, in particular, the Public Health Activities & Services Tracking (PHAST) study. PHAST is a multi-state PBRN study, examining health outcomes associated with variation and change in local public health infrastructure and service delivery. My studies are exposing critical links between effective public health systems and a community’s health. My research emphasizes collaboration with public health leaders in jointly developing evidence needed for practices and policies that support healthy communities. My studies also examine the nature of local partnerships in collaborating around population health.


My teaching expertise is particularly in public/community health nursing, systems, and research. In undergraduate nursing courses she has taught clinical and didactic courses in community health. In the PhD program I am teaching the Role Transitions course, assisting new PhD students in successfully navigating their research roles and developing a community of scholars. In the DNP program I am teaching a course in health systems in the context of cost and care effectiveness.

Practice, Service, Community Involvement

I am recognized as a national public health nursing leader, having served in significant leadership public health nursing positions within the American Public Health Association and the Washington State Public Health Association and having been named a 2010-2013 Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Nurse Faculty Scholar. I am regularly asked to consult on national studies and leadership panels related to the public health and public health nursing workforce or to speak on behalf of the profession of public health nurses. I also maintain close relationships with public health nursing leaders throughout the state and serves on non-profit several boards.

Current Publications

  • Bekemeier, B., Yip, M. P., Dunbar, M., Whitman, G., & Kwan-Gett, T. (2015, Feb 17:e1-e8. [Epub ahead of print). Local Health Department 2000-2010 Food Safety and Sanitation Expenditures and Reductions in Enteric Disease, American Journal of Public Health.
  • Bekemeier, B., Pantazis, A., Dunbar, M., & Herting, J. R. (2014). Classifying local health department on the basis of the constellation of services they provide, American Journal of Public Health, 104(12):e77-82.
  • Reyes, D., Bekemeier, B., & Issel, M. (2014). Perceived leadership qualities of public health nursing leaders: Challenges to consider in advancing the field. Public Health Nursing, 31(4), 344-353.
  • Bekemeier, B., Yang, Y., Dunbar, M., Pantazis, A., & Grembowski, D. (2014). Targeted Health Department Expenditures Benefit Birth Outcomes at the County Level, American Journal of Preventive Medicine, 44(6), 569-577. NIHMSID # 565041 Publ.ID: AMEPRE4017
  • Bekemeier, B., Grembowski, D., Yang, Y. R., & Herting, J. R. (2014). Are Local Public Health Department Services Related to Racial Disparities in Mortality? SAGE Open, 4(1), DOI: 10.1177/2158244014527989.  URL-  /content/4/1/2158244014527989.


Current Research Projects

  • 8/14-8/16: Co-investigator. Inter-Organizational Collaboration in Local Public Health Systems: Implications for Costs, Impact, and Management Capacity (PI J. Marlowe, UW Evans School).  $348,660
  • 9/13-9/15: Co-investigator. Measuring variation in the integration of primary care and public health: a multi-state PBRN study of local integration and health outcomes (PI B. Gyllstrom, Minnesota Dept. of Health).  $10,000 (for WA site).
  • 1/14-1/16: Co-investigator/Mentor. Learning Lessons from Outlier Local Health Departments   (PI T. Klaiman, University of the Sciences, Philadelphia).  RWJF-PHSSR Mentored Research Scientist Grant #71595.  $100,000
  • 4/14-3/15: PI. Making Data Accessible for Public Health Decision-making in Washington. UW School of Nursing RIFP, $15,000.
  • 12/13-12/15: PI. Developing a national system to support Public Health Activities and Services Tracking—The PHAST Study. RWJF- Grant #71472.  $500,000.
Student Mentor: 
UW Graduate Faculty: