“In the future, public health practitioners will face unprecedented challenges resulting from climate changes.”
Margaret H. Jordan BSN, MPH ’72 is President and CEO of Dallas Medical Resource and serves on the boards of the AT&T Performing Arts Center and James Madison’s Montpelier Foundation. A former director of the Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas and several public companies, including the Mentor Corporation and the Eckerd Corporation, she is also a former director of the American Public Health Association and the American Hospital Association.
On public health and the challenges we face
The field of public health touches on and addresses all aspects of a community’s (national and international) life and well being—food, environment, personal health, housing, employment, etc., and therefore is an absolutely vital part of our society’s infrastructure. Some of the biggest challenges that public health practitioners have faced were the Ebola crisis, Hurricane Katrina, the devastating floods in Texas, Louisiana and Florida, outbreaks of salmonella poisoning, and the mental health and substance abuse crisis. In the future, public health practitioners will face unprecedented challenges resulting from climate changes. While the horrific recent floods and fires may be attributed to climate change, future climate change impacts will cause major unknown but potentially disastrous events and community impacts.
Secrets for success
My career and work have greatly benefited from and been shaped by the public health education I received at Berkeley. In all of my work, I have applied the principles of community health. As an example, as a hospital system executive, I was able to insist that its strategic plan first identify the population to be served, its characteristics, its health needs, etc. as a basis for the plan’s principles, goals, and objectives. While this may seem obvious, the original plan did not contain this very basic section and was not built on this information base.
One of my Berkeley moments, was sitting in Dr. Henrick Blum’s health planning class and realizing how important the principles he was describing are to the way we approach planning for a community’s health.