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I’m writing to let you know I plan to step down as CHE director as of April 1, 2017. It’s hard to believe I’ve worked almost 24 years on environmental health issues in different capacities. I’ve truly loved it. It’s not only been meaningful and fulfilling for me personally, but also a great privilege to engage with exceptionally bright and dedicated colleagues, learn the emerging science, catalyze strategic initiatives and work collaboratively to push the needle towards improved health and well-being in a world that faces a very uncertain future.
That said, it’s become clear to me that I would like to serve the Commons in other ways as well—in ways that will allow different core interests, experience and skill sets of mine to be expressed. Though I don’t have a specific position waiting in the wings, I’m looking to pick up where I left off in my graduate work, which was focused on the experience of girls living in Northern India on the borderline of Western and traditional Indian cultures. More broadly, I have a strong desire to engage with girls and young women nationally and globally, supporting efforts to foster ethical leadership, compassionate action and greater gender equality. I will be exploring various opportunities over the next months.
Most important at this time, however, is my commitment to skillfully transition CHE into its next phase of service before I leave. I’ve chosen to allow ample lead time to ensure that the right people and systems are in place to carry CHE successfully forward with new energy, perspectives and experience.
Along those lines, I’m very pleased to announce that my successor has already emerged. Karen Wang, PhD, is a Stanford University graduate with a Bachelor of Arts in economics and a Master of Science in earth sciences. She received her doctorate last year in strategic management from the Foster School of Business at the University of Washington. Her dissertation focused on the changing nature of hospital-physician relationships and implications for public health. Previously she worked for Columbia University and the United Nations Development Program on program evaluation in Sub-Saharan Africa. Karen recently moved back to the Bay Area with her husband and now seven-month old daughter. After careful mutual consideration, CHE has decided to hire Karen to serve as our next director. She will start on a very part-time basis in January and then serve full-time as of April 1, when I depart. You will no doubt hear more from her in the coming months, but we are confident she will bring critical new skills to amplify CHE’s work in this next chapter. In the meanwhile, I will be as engaged as ever meeting CHE’s goals and deliverables for the New Year, while bringing Karen up to speed.
To close I’ll simply say this decision is bittersweet. I will greatly miss getting to work more closely with extraordinary colleagues like you on issues that will always remain close to my heart. As with many major decisions, knowing it’s the right thing to do doesn’t necessarily make it the easy thing to do. Please know I very much look forward to staying in touch wherever I next land.
With deep gratitude for sharing this journey with me over the years and heartfelt wishes for the holiday season to you and your families,
P.S. If you haven’t already, please do visit our robust new website: https://www.healthandenvironment.org.