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PHAB’s growing Board demonstrates a commitment to driving and transforming public health practice. 

July 6, 2023 – Alexandria, VA – The Public Health Accreditation Board is pleased to announce new officers for its Board of Directors. As of July 1, 2023, the following public health leaders will serve as officers to guide PHAB’s strategic direction and initiatives for the coming year: 

  • Chair, Claude A. Jacob, DrPH, MPH | Public Health Director, City of San Antonio Metropolitan Health District (TX) 
  • Vice Chair, Colleen Svoboda, MPH | Partnerships & Assessment Manager, College of Public Health, University of Nebraska Medical Center 
  • Secretary/Treasurer, Julie Willems Van Dijk, PhD | Retired Deputy Secretary & State Health Officer, Wisconsin Department of Health Services; Past Local Health Officer, Marathon County, WI 
  • Immediate Past Chair, Wilma Wooten, MD, MPH | Public Health Officer, County of San Diego Health and Human Services Agency (CA) 

“It’s truly an honor to be elected as PHAB’s Board Chair as we uplift the importance of quality improvement accountability, and transparency in our public health system,” said Claude A. Jacob, DrPH, MPH, Public Health Director, City of San Antonio Metropolitan Health District (TX). “I look forward to advancing PHAB’s mission to support health departments as they pursue service excellence and innovation, while promoting equity and addressing emerging public health challenges.” 

Board officers were elected at PHAB’s annual meeting on June 9, 2023 and serve a one-year term to ensure PHAB carries out its mission to advance and transform public health practice by championing performance improvement, strong infrastructure, and innovation. As PHAB continues its focus on public health transformation and innovation, carries out initiatives of the Centers for Disease Control’s Public Health Infrastructure Grant (PHIG) program, and continuously improves our Accreditation and Recognition programming, having a highly skilled, diverse, and dedicated Board will be crucial to our success. 

“We are pleased to welcome such strong and dedicated public health leaders as officers on our Board,” said PHAB President and CEO Paul Kuehnert, DNP, RN, FAAN. “They each bring the unique experiences, diverse perspectives, and the long-standing commitment necessary to guide PHAB in this next phase to strengthen and transform our governmental public health system.” 

PHAB also added five new Board members who have extensive public health experience and leadership skills. The new Board members join an esteemed group of public health leaders that will drive PHAB forward: 

  • Terry Allan, MPH | Former Health Commissioner, Cuyahoga County Health Department 
  • Lisa Pivec | Executive Director of Public Health for Cherokee Nation 
  • David Souleles, MPH | Administrative Director for Occupational Health, University of California, Irvine 
  • Stephen Williams, MEd, MPA | Director, Houston Health Department. Houston, TX 
  • Matt Willis, MD, MPH | Public Health Officer for Marin County, California 

A complete listing of the PHAB Board of Directors, along with bios can be found here. 



About the PHAB Board Officers 

Chair, Claude A. Jacob, DrPH, MPH  

Claude A. Jacob, DrPH, MPH is the Health Director of the San Antonio Metropolitan Health District where he is responsible for a jurisdiction of over 2 million residents.  His previous work experiences include serving as a senior health administrator at the Cambridge Health Alliance, Illinois Department of Public Health, Baltimore City Health Department, and Sinai Health System in Chicago.  He led the Cambridge Public Health Department to become one of the first health departments in Massachusetts to earn PHAB’s designation as an accredited health department. In April 2022, he spearheaded the launch of SA Forward which is the community’s blueprint for addressing the health conditions that have been impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic across the City of San Antonio and the greater Bexar County. Dr. Jacob is a Past President of the National Association of County and City Health Officials and currently serves on the Executive Board of the American Public Health Association.  Dr. Jacob received certificate training at the National Public Health Leadership Institute (Year 11) and earned his doctor of public health degree at the University of North Carolina Gillings School of Global Public Health. 


Vice Chair, Colleen Svoboda, MPH 

Colleen is an experienced facilitator, planner, and community health coach. Colleen started her public health career supporting Nebraska’s governmental public health system by providing technical assistance and training to local health departments in Nebraska. She helped coordinate a successful accreditation effort at the Nebraska Department of Health and Human Services where she developed extensive experience in community health assessment, strategic planning, health improvement planning, quality improvement, performance management, and workforce development. Colleen also spent time as a Program Coordinator at Children’s Hospital & Medical Center managing community grants, implementing community health needs assessments, and coaching community organizations in their efforts to prevent childhood obesity. Currently, she is the Partnerships and Assessment Manager at the UNMC, College of Public Health where she provides support to public health departments in meeting national standards and measures and helps coordinate statewide public health modernization efforts. Colleen also maintains an independent facilitation business and is a certified Technology of Participation (ToP) facilitator. 


Secretary/Treasurer, Julie Willems Van Dijk, PhD 

Julie Willems Van Dijk, PhD most recently served in Governor Tony Evers’ administration as the Deputy Secretary and State Health Officer for the Wisconsin Department of Health Services. From the beginning of the pandemic until her retirement in September 2021, she led the Department’s COVID-19 response, building an infrastructure for COVID-19 testing, contact tracing, surveillance, and vaccination to control and contain disease spread. Prior to joining the Evers Administration in 2019, she was a Senior Scientist at the University of Wisconsin Population Health Institute (UWPHI) and served as the Director of County Health Rankings and Roadmaps, a national collaboration between the UWPHI and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. She also directed the RWJF Culture of Health Prize program, recognizing communities across the nation who were advancing health and health equity.  


Julie served for 21 years as a public health nurse, director of nursing, and a health officer for Marathon County Health Department. In addition to her traditional public health work, Julie has served on the boards of Aspirus Wausau Hospital Board of Directors, Bridge Community Health Clinic, and as an elected member of the Wausau School District Board of Education. 


Julie received a PhD in Nursing with an emphasis in Public Health Leadership from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee. She is a graduate of the Robert Wood Johnson Nurse Executive Fellows program, the National Public Health Leadership Institute, and is a Fellow in the American Academy of Nursing. She currently serves as an Adjunct Assistant Professor at the Medical College of Wisconsin. 


Immediate Past Chair, Wilma Wooten, MD, MPH 

Dr. Wilma Wooten has been with the County of San Diego Health and Human Services Agency since 2001, initially as Deputy Health Officer and, since 2007, as the Public Health Officer. Trained in family medicine, public health, and preventive medicine, she has oversight for almost 500 employees and a budget of over $100M, serving a county of 3.1 million residents. 


In addition to being a member of PHAB’s Board of Directors, Dr. Wooten is president of the Health Officers Association of California. She also serves on the Board of the California Conference of Local Health Officers, currently holding the role of immediate past president and co-chair of its Chronic Disease Committee. From 2009-2011, she served on the board of directors of the National Association of County and City Health Officials.