Weber State University faculty member Ken Johnson has been selected to serve as president of the National Association of Local Boards of Health. Johnson is currently the associate dean and professor for the Dumke College of Health Professions at WSU.
In addition to being associate dean and professor at WSU, Johnson has also chaired the Utah Association of Local Boards of Health. Both boards work to provide leadership for local health boards by bringing them together to talk about any problems the local boards are facing.
Brian Bennion, the executive director for the Weber-Morgan Health Department, has worked with Johnson over the past two years in the Weber-Morgan Health Department.
“[Johnson] has a lot of great public health experience and healthcare experience,” Bennion said. “He understands both personal and public health.”
During his time with the Weber-Morgan Health Department, Johnson has worked on several different projects. One that Johnson is particularly proud of is an ordinance created by the board that does not allow smoking in public places, except in designated areas.
Johnson said he remembers a group of elementary school children and their teacher coming to do a presentation for them.
“They brought a gallon jar of cigarette butts from a park near their school,” Johnson said. “They told us they didn’t like to be out there when people were smoking.”
Yasmen Simonian, dean of the Dumke College of Health Professions, has known Johnson during his time at WSU and believes that Johnson will have a lot to offer while he serves on the NALBH.
“He will have his finger on the national pulse, and he can share what he learns with us and his classes,” Simonian said.
Simonian also serves on a national-level board called the National Accrediting Agency for Clinical Laboratory Sciences. Simonian said she knows first hand what type of sacrifice is required in this type of position.
“Although we give up a lot when we do national positions,” Simonian said, “we also learn a lot and bring back a lot of information to share.”
According to Johnson, NALBH works to provide leadership and guidance to local boards of health across the nation.
“We send out newsletters,” Johnson said. “And we get together to talk about the issues each board is facing.”
Johnson says that he has two main goals that he would like to work on while serving as president of NALBH. First, Johnson said he would like to increase the amount of boards that are a part of NALBH. Second, Johnson wants to find out what the local boards they’re currently serving would like more help with.
“We want to send out surveys and ask them what is working for them and what’s not,” Johnson explained.
Johnson hopes that this position will allow him to bring back knowledge and information from the national level to share with the students and faculty here at WSU.
“Ken is someone you can always depend on, and his insight and experience are valuable contributions,” Bennion said.