Public Health in the Pandemic: Solutions for Equity

Learn from alumni public health leaders about their response to the disruption brought by COVID-19. You’ll hear from graduates using their voice, experience, and education to tackle the greatest issues of our time. Explore the ethical dimensions of the pandemic and discover how Evergreen graduates are leading the pursuit of creative solutions.

Cheryl Simrell King

Cheryl Simrell King, Faculty Emerita at The Evergreen State College

Cheryl Simrell King taught in MPA programs for over 30 years. In addition to teaching, she also held academic administrative and leadership positions. She writes, researches, and practices in the areas of citizen engagement, community-building, research design, workplace design, and human centered design/design thinking. She focuses on transformative practices that move governments toward social, environmental, and economic justice. In her 30+ years as a research designer and deployer, she worked as a policy and market researcher for a utility company, a researcher/partner at university-based and private consultancies, and engages in applied research and organizational development work with various public and nonprofit organizations. 

Malika Lamont

Malika Lamont MPA '16, Program Director, VOCAL-Washington

Malika Lamont ’16 is the Program Director for VOCAL-WA and a Project Manager for the WA State LEAD Expansion team. She has worked to address social determinants of health for over 20 years. In September 2019, Malika received a Community Champion Award from Molina Healthcare of WA that was awarded to individuals whose leadership, volunteerism and public advocacy embody the spirit of service and community. She holds a bachelor’s degree from Xavier University of Louisiana as well as a Master of Public Administration degree with a focus in Public Health Policy and Nonprofit Management from Evergreen. She has worked as a licensed Adolescent Counselor and Family Care Coordinator in Tacoma, the Washington Initiative for Supported Employment, Thurston County Public Health and Social Services with the Syringe Exchange Program, and as a Project Manager at the Public Defenders Association with Law Enforcement Assisted Diversion. She is a founding member of the Washington Association of Syringe Service Programs and Full Circle United, Black Leaders for Action and Solidarity Thurston (BLAST), co-founder/care model designer and Director of Harm Reduction Practices of the Olympia Bupe Clinic and is also involved in other movements for social good. 

Lamont helped start the Olympia Free Clinic, is a board member of Behavioral Health Resources, and co-chairs the Thurston County Safety Net Council, and is the Chair for the Thurston Asset Building Coalition. Throughout her career and life, she has worked with vulnerable populations to increase health and improve social conditions by being a foster parent, advocating for people and intentionally choosing positions that can create change. Malika presents as a subject matter expert for organizations, to students working to become health care professionals, and in other academic settings. She volunteers with her daughter in the community, is on the St. Martin’s BSN program advisory board and is a student mentor, is a member of Zonta International, and does street outreach as her schedule permits with Emma Goldman Youth Homeless Outreach Project EGYHOP. 

Pam MacEwan

Pam MacEwan '76, Chief Executive Officer at Washington Health Benefit Exchange Group; Evergreen Board of Governors

Pam MacEwan ’76, Chief Executive Officer at Washington Health Benefit Exchange Group has been in the national spotlight, featured on National Public Radio as well as radio and newspaper reports across the country. This isn’t the first time she has been involved in health care access reform. In 1993, Governor Mike Lowry signed a new Health Services Act, which gave access to health care coverage to almost all Washington residents. Governor Lowry tapped MacEwan to serve as one of five commissioners in charge of making sure the Health Services Act was implemented effectively. She also serves on The Evergreen State College Board of Governors. 

Cheryl Strange

Cheryl Strange '88, Secretary, Washington State Department of Social and Health Services

Cheryl Strange ’88 is the Secretary of the Department of Social and Health Services, Washington state’s largest state agency encompassing a biennial budget of $14 billion, nearly 17,000 employees and 23,000 contracted service providers. The department serves nearly 2 million Washington residents each year. As Secretary she provides executive level strategic and policy direction for the department while supporting the success of all programs through information technology services, human resources, communications, innovation and strategy, public records, diversity and inclusion, Indian policy and other critical central and statewide services.

Prior to becoming Secretary of DSHS, she served as chief executive officer of Western State Hospital since April 2016, one of the largest psychiatric hospitals in the country. Before coming to Western, Strange was assistant director for the DSHS Mental Health Division, where she managed the state's public mental health system, including the state’s three hospitals, and community outpatient mental health services.

Strange also has served as vice president of the Behavioral Health Division at a privately operated mental health service provider and as assistant secretary for Health Services and as deputy secretary at the state Department of Corrections. She holds a bachelor’s degree from The Evergreen State College and a master’s in public administration from Seattle University, a certification in management and leadership from the University of Washington School of Social Work, and a certificate in healthcare policy from the John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University.