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


My research expertise and efforts are focused on practice-based and translational research to improve public health systems and reduce disparities. I lead several projects through and with state Public Health Practice-based Research Networks (PBRN), including, the Public Health Activities & Services Tracking (PHAST) Study. PHAST is a multi-state PBRN enterprise, 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 and emphasize collaboration with public health and nursing leaders in jointly developing the evidence needed to drive healthy policy and practice. My studies also examine efforts to advance the public health nursing workforce and the nature of local partnerships in collaborating around population health.


My teaching in the undergraduate and graduate programs is in the areas of public/community health nursing, systems, and research. The courses I have taught include nursing theory, the PhD Role Transitions Seminar, health economics, and clinical and didactic courses in community health. I frequently mentor undergraduate and graduate students, and enjoy sharing my strong interests in public health nursing, health policy, and systems improvement with others. 

Practice, Service, Community Involvement

National, state, and local service helps me contribute to advancing our profession toward more effective health improvement and to continue to stay connected to practice and policy issues. As a result, I have held significant public health nursing leadership positions within the American Public Health Association and the Washington State Public Health Association and was 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 serve on non-profit several boards.

Current Publications

Issel LM, Lurie C, Bekemeier B. (2015) Measuring population care performance: development of the population-patient satisfaction survey for use with community groups. Frontiers in Public Health Services and Systems Research. 4(5):13–18. DOI: 10.13023/FPHSSR.0405.03.

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.

Klaiman, T., Pantazis, A., & Bekemeier, B. (2014). A Method for Identifying Positive Deviant Local Health Departments in Maternal and Child Health. Frontiers in Public Health Services and Systems Research, 3(2), Article 5.

Bekemeier, B., Chen, A, Kawakyu, N., & Yang, Y. (2013). Local public health resource allocation—Limited choices and strategic decisions. American Journal of Preventive Medicine, 45(6), 769-775.

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 Ooutcomes (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.

7/13-1/15: PI. Costs and Cost-drivers of Providing Foundational Public Health Services in Washington State and Relationships with Structural and Community Factors. RWJF-PBRNS Grant #71132.   $150,000. 

Student Mentor: 
UW Graduate Faculty: