Board Member Spotlight: Alyson Ward
Tell us about your professional background.
I earned a MS in Health Education through Utah State University and became a certified as a Quality Improvement Advisor by the Institute for Healthcare Improvement in 2015. For the past 15 years, my career efforts have demonstrated my commitment to improving public health through health promotion, education, research, policy development, evaluation, and grant development from the community to national levels. My professional positions and interests provide me with broad and valuable experiences in public health. Early on, I worked in tobacco cessation, injury prevention, and employee wellness. Currently, I am engaged in learning systems development (e.g., coalitions, learning communities, and collaboratives) and children’s health research (e.g., environmental, viral, and genetic factors) as the Director of Quality Improvement at the National Center for Hearing Assessment and Management, an MCHB-funded technical assistance center. I am also the project director of the CMV (cytomegalovirus) Public Health and Policy Conference and serve on the board of the National CMV Foundation.
What makes the National CMV Foundation’s mission powerful for you?
I feel fortunate to be involved in the creative engine of the NCMVF. I believe wholeheartedly in the mission of the foundation to educate women about CMV in an effort to reduce the number of babies born with CMV and am amazed at the dynamic ways the foundation seeks to achieve its mission.
What does success look like to you?
The high landmark of success is a reduction in the number of babies born with CMV, but this is currently hard to measure because so many babies go undiagnosed. Another success marker to me is when I ask a woman of child bearing age if she has heard of CMV, her reply would be “yes” and even better if she is able to name ways to prevent contracting the virus.
What motivates you?
I was recently asked what I feel like my role in public health is, after some thought, I answered that I’m a connector. I enjoy listening to others--what their needs, desires, and dreams are-- and helping to connect them to support and resources. I think this is what drove me to public health in the first place, that I identified a disconnect between the existence of an infinite number of resources in our communities and nation and to what people are aware of, have access to, and actually receive services/resources from.
What does true leadership mean to you?
I love the poem For a Leader
by John O’Donohue, it really highlights to me the attributes of a true leader. I challenge myself to consider alternative paths or approaches in my leadership. I try to reflect frequently on leadership skills that I believe are important and scenarios where I’ve embraced those skills and used them effectively and those times where the execution wasn’t particularly smooth. Lastly, I view the quest of leadership to be a lifelong journey, one that requires humility in knowledge, skill, and relationships.
What book did you read last?
Fiction: The Last Bus to Wisdom by Ivan Doig
Non-Fiction: Drive by Daniel Pink
What is an ability you wish you had?
To not get hurt, which sounds a little funny, but I like adventure (e.g., mountain biking, skiing, volleyball). I wish I could do all these things without the risk of getting injured.
What do you like most about living in Logan, UT?
I moved to Logan for college and loved the area so much I’ve made it my permanent home. Logan is a college town nestled in a mountain valley in northern Utah. I can be to a trailhead in 10 minutes from my front door. Being a college town, there are a lot of cultural events. Logan also has a great community, with kind, eager people ready to befriend and help each other.
Where would you most like to travel to?
I’m a mountain girl, so I really like to travel to mountains of any kind, anywhere. I’m planning to visit Machu Pichu and Patagonia in the next couple of years, it’s been on my bucket list for a long time.
What’s your favorite 90’s jam?
That is a hard one, I love all kinds of music. If I can name more than one, I’d name “Kiss” by Prince, “Jump” House of Pain and a lot of jam band songs from Phish, Widespread Panic etc.
You’re happiest when?
When I’m spending time in the mountains with my family.