Women Health Care Executives


2014 Lynn Adamson Award Winner

 Rachel Siemons

 Rachel is currently a medical and public health student pursuing her MD and MS degrees at  the UC Berkeley-  UCSF Joint Medical Program. She is passionate about improving health  and access to care of marginalized  populations through policy change, advocacy and  community organizing.  

 Her current research focuses on the effects of immigration policy on the mental health and  health care  access of young Latino immigrants.

Women Health Care Executives (WHCE) of Northern California, a professional association dedicated to the career advancement of women pursuing a career in health care, annually offers the Lynn Adamson Memorial Scholarship to a graduate-level female student. The $5,000 scholarship and a one-year complimentary WHCE membership a student who meets the eligibility and selection criteria. 

Remembering Lynn Adamson (1943-1998)

The WHCE annual scholarship is named after Lynn Adamson, a health care professional for her entire career.  Since her sudden death, many who did not know Lynn have joined WHCE.  We would like to tell new members about this remarkable woman.

Lynn began her health care career in 1969, and in the next 20 years worked in planning for several hospitals, including Mills Memorial Hospital and Saint Francis Memorial Hospital.  In 1989, she switched to the executive search field, where she worked for Levison Associates for the remainder of her career.  In each position, Lynn was a dedicated and talented professionalundefinedand a good friend to those who came to know her.

But the real story of Lynn is about her courage and unflagging optimism in the face of serious medical challenges.  She battled multiple sclerosis for years, and experienced mobility difficulties as a result.  And she had brain surgery twice, for two different aneurysms.  Through all of her medical problems, Lynn was upbeat and enthusiastic.  She continued giving time and expertise to the health care field, serving on committees and boards of several health care professional organizations.  She was one of the founders of the Bay Area Health Care Planning Association (one of the predecessors to the Society of Professionals in Healthcare), and served as board member and President of WHCE (1993/4).  Lynn was tireless in her support of these organizations and the individuals she met through them. 

Lynn died in 1998, after suffering a major stroke.  Those of us who knew her still think about her often.  It seems fitting that the Lynn Adamson Memorial Scholarship, which is presented at WHCE’s annual Woman of the Year dinner,  continues to perpetuate her memory and honor her commitment to the health care field by rewarding the talented young women who follow in her footsteps.

The program’s success depends on the support and generous donations of our members.  If you or your organization would like to contribute to next year’s scholarship, please e-mail info@whce.net.

Previous Lynn Adamson Award Winners

2013: Erica Eilenberg. Erica is enrolled in the Masters of Public Health and Didactic Program in Dietetics at San Jose State University. Her career emphasis is in nutrition among at-risk families with young children. She is expected to graduate in Spring 2014.

2013: Jin Hee Lee. Jin is currently pursing her PhD through the School of Nursing at the University of California, San Francisco. Her research focus is on mental health issues among underserved populations. She is expected to graduate in Spring 2015.

2012: Maria Fernandez.

2012: Erica Jimenez. Erica is completing a Master’s of Social Work and Public Health degree with an emphasis in community mental health and health and social behavior at the University of California Berkeley. She completed her undergraduate degree at the University of California, San Diego in Psychology.

Erica spent one year as the Civil Affairs Project Coordinator with the US Army 426th Airborne Civil Affairs Battalion, Provincial Reconstruction, Paktya, Afghanistan. She interfaced with Afghans, local government leaders, USAID, and the Department of State to conduct needs assessments. She submitted proposals and manages over 80 projects that benefited 75,000 Afghans. She interpreted and implemented newly introduced counter-insurgency policy as it pertained to projects.

2011: Jennifer Brodsky. Jennifer has her Bachelor of Arts in Community Health from the University of Illinois School of Public Health and a Masters in Public Health in Epidemiology and Maternal/Child Health. She is working towards her Masters of Science in Nursing with an emphasis in Family Nursing, focusing on Women and Adolescents at the University of California San Francisco School of Nursing. Jennifer was an impressive candidate with experience in managing projects for community health and development projects in rural communities in Panama, Mexico, and Honduras, Her academic adviser wrote “Jenifer designed and obtained funding for an impressive study evaluating Honduran women’s barriers to accessing prenatal care. She has a strong commitment to serving the under-served.” 

 2011: Rachel Gratz. Rachel has her Bachelor of Arts from Hampshire College, Amherst, Massachusetts. She is working towards her Masters of Public Health with an emphasis in Community Public Health at San Francisco State University. Rachel was an impressive candidate currently conducting a Health Assessment, in collaboration with the California Partnership to End Domestic Violence, to research youth-generated solutions to teen dating violence in the state of California. Her Professor, Emma Sanchez, noted that Rachel displays exemplary leadership skills and is someone who is humble, compassionate, respectful, sensitive and an influential leader.”

2010: Anita Maricela Lopez. Anita is a global thinker with a creative mind and spirit and a passion for creating social change. Born and raised in San Diego, California, she relocated to the Bay Area in 1998. She received a B.S. in Health Education from San Francisco State Univeristy (SFSU) in 2000 and has been working in areas of pregnancy prevention, cultural competency and community advocacy and organizing for the last decade. She is currently working on her Master’s in Public Policy at Mills College. Upon completion, she plans to strengthen health policies that will comprehensively enhance adolescents’ ability to develop a stronger commitment to personal health and wellness, address the prevention of chronic illness, and support universal health care coverage.

Pamela Washington photo.JPG2009:  Pamela Kim Washington, MPH. Pamela is currently enrolled in the Doctor of Public Health (Dr.PH) at the University of California, Berkeley and expects to graduate in May 2010. Her dissertation topic is: The Role of Social Support for Physical Activity Among Young Survivors of Breast Cancer.

2008: Joy Sun.  Joy graduated from Georgetown University with an BS in Foreign Service in 2003. Joy is currently serving as Director of Operations for the Clinton Foundation HIV/AIDS Initiative in Johannesburg, South Africa.  She begins her studies at Stanford Graduate School of Business in the fall and plans to use her education to generate creative strategies for large scale change in health care delivery for the developing world. Joy has also advised the Ministry of Health in Lesotho, Africa on the financing of HIV/AIDS treatment programs.

2007: Elena Portacolone, PhD. Elena is a student in the UCSF Department of Social and Behavioral Sciences. A native of Santa Margherita Ligure, Italy, Elena is a passionate champion for the frail elderly, the mentally ill, the disabled and ethnic minorities. After a successful career with CNH Global, a $10 billion multinational corporation, Elena enrolled in the MBA/MPH program at UC Berkeley. In the summer of 2003, she interned at WHO Headquarters, studying European best practices for long-term care. The following year she interned at the Trieste (Italy) Mental Health Department, known for its best practices of de-institutionalization and community involvement for the mentally ill. Elena arranged for the Director of the Trieste program to visit the Bay Area and the visit evolved into a three day conference and led to a formal collaboration between San Francisco General Hospital and the Trieste Mental Health Department. Elena's current research focuses on comparing the needs of frail, low-income adults with the objectives of their health care providers.

2006: Monika Eckfield. Monika is a Ph.D. candidate at the University of California, San Francisco’s school of nursing, where she also holds a John A. Hartfield Scholarship, granted annually to only 10 predoctoral students nationwide. Her research is on “hoarding behaviors,” particularly among the elderly. Monika’s WHCE scholarship allowed her to attend the Gerontological Society of America meeting last year, where she exhibited a poster on her work. The remainder of her scholarship is earmarked for dissertation-related costs, including in-depth interviews and the related transcription costs. Monika expects to complete her Ph.D. in the spring of 2008.

2005: Karen Pak Oppenheimer - Karen has a B.S. in Chemical Engineering from The Johns Hopkins University  and an M.S. in Biotechnology from Northwestern University. At the time of her scholarship award, Karen was completing a Masters in Public Health at the University of California, Berkeley, with a planned internship in Beijing, China working for the United Nations Population Fund. Her work there focused on HIV/AIDS, advocating for the improvement of condom quality in China and integrating HIV/AIDS services into China’s extensive family planning system. Her scholarship helped Karen pay for this trip.

2005: Catherine Dodd is in the process of completing her doctoral dissertation in nursing at the University of California, San Francisco, funded in part by her Lynn Adamson scholarship award. Catherine has a long history of public leadership and service, in addition to her interest in issues associated with death and dying. Catherine previously served as Region IX Director for the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services during the Clinton Administration, and as a district director for U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi. In February 2007, she was appointed to the San Francisco Health Commission by Mayor Gavin Newsom. She serves on the boards of the Breast Cancer Fund, Zen Hospice and is on the steering committee of the Bay Area End of Life Network, among other organizations.

2004: Christine Lin holds an MBA and a certificate in Public Policy from Stanford. Before her award, she had a successful and varied career in healthcare, working at places like Epocrates, Chiron, and Genentech. At the time of her award, Christine helped establish a free clinic now part of Stanford and served an internship in India, studying the barriers for HIV/AIDS care. She traveled to rural Uganda to help a NGO, Uganda Rural Development and Training Program to determine an appropriate micro-financing model for rural villagers. She then spent time advising Mohr Davidow Ventures in online health opportunities. Christine is now a Product Manager at an online health and wellness startup, called Navigenics using state of the art genomics technology. 

2004: Diane Norcio has an MPH from Boston University Medical School, received a degree as a Gerontological Nurse Practitioner from the University of California, San Francisco’s (UCSF) Master’s Entry Program in Nursing, and completed her Ph.D. in September 2006 (also from UCSF). Diane’s passion is rural health care. Her dissertation topic was on “Ethnography of Aging-in-Place in a Rural Area: Health Care Access and Relocation.” Diane was responsible for setting up both an Adult Day Care Center and an Alzheimer’s Day Care Resource Center while living and working in rural Siskiyou County. While working on her Ph.D. at UCSF, Diane also set up a 501(c)(3) for her “Rural Elders” centers, and secured public and private grants to fund this endeavor. After graduation, she began work at the California Endowment.  There, she oversees proposals dealing with health care access for all ages in 13 countries, and specifically for seniors in 26 countries.

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