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Karen Girard, MPA


Karen Girard is the section manager of the Health Promotion and Chronic Disease Prevention section of the Oregon Public Health Division. She received her master's degree from Portland State University in public administration and her bachelor's degree from Willamette University in International Studies. She came to work at the Public Health Division in 1995 as a legislative liaison. That legislative session sparked her interest in public health and she's been at the Health Division ever since, working to change policy, systems and environments to improve the public’s health in immunization, asthma, tobacco control, physical activity and nutrition, early detection and self-management. Prior to this position, Ms. Girard managed the Tobacco Prevention and Education Program for 10 years and the Physical Activity and Nutrition Program for five years. While managing these programs, Ms. Girard was a part of the leadership team that planned and implemented the integration of health promotion and chronic disease programs and functions. Ms. Girard is currently serving as the chair-elect of the Tobacco Control Network.  Chair
Heather R. Borski, MPH, MCHES

Heather Borski has a B.S. in Health Education and a Masters of Public Health from the University of Utah. She is also a master certified health education specialist. Ms. Borski directs the Utah Department of Health’s Bureau of Health Promotion. The Bureau’s programs work to reduce the leading cause of illness and death of Utahans through prevention, early detection, and management of injuries and chronic diseases/ conditions, and cover a wide variety of topics ranging from asthma to violence and injury prevention. Ms. Borski also coordinates Utah’s Preventive Health and Health Services Block Grant. Prior to directing the BHP, Heather managed the Bureau’s Tobacco Prevention and Control Program. Ms. Borski is a three-time nominee for the State of Utah’s Manager of the Year Award. Additionally, in 2000, Ms. Borski received the Health Education Association of Utah’s Catherine Summerhay’s Award, HEAU’s highest honor. In 2009, Ms. Borski received the Directors of Health Promotion and Education Leadership Award. She currently serves on the Board of Directors for the Utah Public Health Association, Utah Partnership for Healthy Weight, and National Association of Chronic Disease Directors.


Debi NelsonTreasurer
Debi Nelson, MAEd
North Carolina

Ms. Nelson is the Branch Head for the North Carolina Cancer Prevention and Control Branch and the Principal Investigator for the NC Comprehensive Cancer Control Program and the Well-Integrated Screening and Evaluation for Women Across the Nation (WISEWOMAN) for the NC Division of Public Health.  Previously, Ms. Nelson served as the Assistant Branch Head for the Heart Disease and Stroke Prevention Branch; Principal Investigator for the NC Assessment Initiative/Community Health Assessment Grant and Interim/Deputy Director for the Office of Healthy Carolinians and Health Education and served as the lead health educator for the state. Ms. Nelson has been active with community health assessments, Healthy Carolinians partnerships and Health Education for over 20 years.  Previously Ms. Nelson was the Health Education and Promotion Supervisor with the Caldwell County Health Department and Executive Director of Healthy Caldwellians.  During her career, Ms. Nelson has been a leader in community mobilization. She was the founding director of the Shelter Home of Caldwell County, the first shelter (1977) of its kind in the southeastern United States for victims of domestic violence.  Ms. Nelson traveled the southeast assisting communities in starting shelters and lectured on domestic violence and community support.  Ms. Nelson co-founded a free medical clinic and countywide multi-use pathways and trails master plan for Caldwell County.  Ms. Nelson holds a master degree in Health Education and Physical Education from Western Carolina University.


Picture of Danielle KennewegSecretary
Danielle Kenneweg, MPA


Danielle (Danny) Kenneweg is currently the Director of the Office of Health Promotion in the Washington State Department of Health. Prior to accepting this position, Ms. Kenneweg spent three years working in Comprehensive Cancer Control Programs in two states and for CDC as a regional public health advisor to seven state and tribal Comprehensive Cancer Control programs. From 1997 to 2005, she managed the Breast and Cervical Cancer Early Detection Program in North Dakota.

Ms. Kenneweg first public health work focused on improving local coordinated school health programs in collaboration with the state education agency. In her early professional career, she was a Family and Consumer Sciences teacher. She holds a BS degree from North Dakota State University in Home Economics Education and a Masters degree from the University of North Dakota in Public Administration with a certificate in Health Administration. Danny is also a Certified Health Education Specialist.


Members at Large J. Mata, PHD, MCHES

Holly Mata, PhD, CHES is a Project Manager with the YMCA of El Paso, TX. She coordinates a regional Alcohol Prevention Initiative to reduce underage and binge drinking through policy and environmental change, and enjoys working with a diverse group of community partners in the U.S. – Mexico border region. She recently completed a postdoctoral research fellowship in health equity policy with the Hispanic Health Disparities Research Center at the University of Texas at El Paso, during which she worked with local public housing programs to develop and implement smoke-free policy and served as a mentor to the City of El Paso Department of Public Health in their Public Health Accreditation process. She is a Certified Health Education Specialist and loves working with undergraduate and graduate students in public health sciences and nursing research. Ms. Mata has been involved with DHPE since 2010, mentoring interns in the Health Equity Internship program, and serving on the Internship Program Review committee. She is also active in SOPHE, currently serving as co-Chair of the Health Equity Community of Practice and as an Associate Editor (Career Development) for Health Promotion Practice.

Margaret S. Murphy

New Hampshire

Ms. Murphy has a BA degree in Social Work and has been employed with the Department of Health and Human Services in the Division of Public Health Services since 1994. Over the past 19 years, she has held a variety of positions at the Division, which have enabled her to increase her knowledge and understanding health promotion and chronic disease prevention and management. Her positions have included: Director of the Breast and Cervical Cancer Screening Program from 1994 to 2004; from 2004 to 2007 Division Chronic Disease Director; and from 2007 to present Section Administrator for the Health Eating and Physical Activity Section, which includes the Diabetes Program, Obesity Prevention Program, WIC, Senior Farmers Market Nutrition Program and Commodity Supplemental Program. She is currently serving on the USDA, National Advisory Council on Maternal, Infant and Fetal Nutrition (Council).

Prior to working for the State of NH Ms. Murphy was employed with the American Cancer Society from 1972 to 1994 as a Program Specialist for patient services, public education and communications.


Brandon Skidmore

Mr. Skidmore serves as the Director for the Bureau of Health Promotion at the Kansas Department of Health & Environment.  In his 13 years with the state health agency, he has served in multiple positions focused on obesity prevention, grants management, school health, health systems and cancer prevention and control.  As Director, Mr. Skidmore oversees programs that are responsible for assessing and responding to the burden of the leading chronic diseases and injuries in the state, including heart disease, stroke, cancer, diabetes, and arthritis and their risk factors: tobacco use, physical inactivity and inappropriate diet.  In this role, Mr. SKidmore facilitates and oversees state level planning efforts and program implementation, comprised of internal and external partners from public and private settings.  

Mr. Skidmore is a Kansas Public Health Leadership Institute Fellow and past mentor.  He serves as the state’s Healthy People liaison, having coordinated development of the Healthy Kansans 2010 and Healthy Kansans 2020 State Health Improvement Plans.  He serves as the state’s voting member of the National Association of Chronic Disease Directors and the Directors of Health Promotion and Education and is a current member of the board of the Kansas Public Health Association. 



Susan Goekler, PhD, MCHES (ex-officio)


As CEO of the Directors of Health Promotion and Education, Susan Goekler oversees the to day operations of the national office and represents the association, its members who work in state health departments on health promotion and health equity, and the field as part of consortia and coalitions, in contacts with the media, and in advocacy work. She has also consulted on curriculum development, her area of professional expertise, as well as on grant writing and short term projects. She has presented at national, regional, state, and local school health-related conferences and has co-authored or co-edited several school health-relevant publications. Her publications include a chapter on family engagement that supports student success, a journal article on the relationship between school health councils and school health policies and programs in US schools that reported SHPPS data, and the book Health Is Academic: A Guide to Coordinated School Health Programs, which she co-edited.

Susan Goekler received her bachelor’s degree with honors in biology from Case Western Reserve University, a master’s degree in health education from the University of North Carolina at Greensboro, and a Ph.D. in health education from Temple University.

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