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BYU Romney Institute board member honored by Utah health agencies

Tamara Lewis earned MPA from Romney Institute

Two statewide awards were given to Tamara Lewis, a member of Brigham Young University’s Romney Institute Advisory Board, in recognition of her efforts to improve the health of Utah residents. Lewis was named a 2006 Health Care Hero by Utah Business magazine and also received a 2006 Public Health Hero Award from the Utah Public Health Association.

“Once I got out into the community managing nonprofit programs, I discovered the great preparation the Romney program provided,” she said. “At the same time, I found that you never stop learning on the job. I enjoy working with the Romney Institute because I can share the new things I am learning.”

As an advisory board member, Lewis provides direction to the department and is available to mentor students.

After earning her undergraduate degree from BYU and a medical degree from the University of Utah, Lewis pursued a Master of Public Administration degree at BYU’s Romney Institute of Public Management. Upon completion, she went on to earn a master’s degree in public health from the Medical College of Wisconsin. The combination of her degrees uniquely qualifies her for wide-reaching health projects.

“These days, my work is to create large-scale changes in the community, rather than one-on-one interactions with patients,” Lewis says.

Lewis became a well-known face in Utah when she spent 18 months as the spokesperson for the Intermountain Health Highlights media campaign. “When people would stop me on the street and ask me if I was a real doctor, I would tell them I was actually a doctor playing an actress on TV,” she said.

As medical director for Intermountain Healthcare’s community health and prevention, “she diagnoses and challenges the cultural messages, such as those that encourage overeating or glorify cigarette smoking, that lead to poor health,” according to Utah Business magazine.

Her assignments have allowed her to work with national groups such as the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and to participate in a fellowship with the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

In her current position, Lewis is responsible for developing policies, guidelines, tools and programs in the areas of immunizations, tobacco cessation, weight management and obesity therapy, heart health and cancer prevention services. The Romney Institute of Public Management was named in 1998 for three-term Michigan Governor George W. Romney. Part of Brigham Young University’s Marriott School of Management, the Romney Institute offers a master’s degree in public administration through both pre-service and executive programs.

Writer: Cindy Glad

tamara lewis 2.jpg
Photo by Mark A. Philbrick/BYU Photo

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