Laura Brinson has been a friendly and reliable member of NKY Health staff for the past four years. Her NKY Health career began as a Health Educator for the Boone County Alliance/Drug-Free Communities before becoming a Substance Abuse Health Educator. Her dedication to her duties and tireless efforts to improve the lives of one of the most vulnerable populations in Northern Kentucky made her the perfect candidate for the position she now holds: Public Health Impacts Administrator.
As the Public Health Impacts Administrator, Laura develops, implements and oversees long-range internal and community plans, and manages the Northern Kentucky Public Health Institute which focuses on workforce development and public health research. Laura also administers NKY Health communications, branding/marketing and media relations. As the newest member of Senior Staff, we asked Laura about her life and career. This is what she had to say:
What role do you play here at NKY Health?
I work in the Office of the District Director of Health, and oversee internal/external planning and communications. NKY Health’s planning efforts include not only the agency’s strategic, operational, and workforce development plans, but also the region’s Community Health Assessment/Community Health Improvement Plan. Quality Improvement, Performance Management, internships, research and accreditation/re-accreditation efforts are under Planning as well. Our communication outlets are News ‘n’ Views, social media, the website, press releases, printed materials, and much more. Our team includes Debbie Young (Informatics), Ned Kalapasev (GIS) and Stephanie Haggard (Public Information).
Describe a typical workday for you. When does it start? When does it end? What are your duties?
I am not sure that any of us have a “typical” day here at NKY Health! Media requests from local news outlets, on topics ranging from e-cigarettes to influenza to rabies, can really make or break my plans for the day, as they can be unpredictable and urgent in nature. On any given day, I do a lot of jumping back and forth between planning and communications, including preparing updates for reports on our planning activities, applying for grants, reviewing communication materials, and supporting staff.
What is the thing you like most about your job?
What I like most about my job is the ability to work with staff and programs across NKY Health. I love getting to know staff with whom I have never previously worked, and learning about all the great work we do to keep Northern Kentucky healthy.
What are you the proudest of?
I am most proud of the work I did in my role as Substance Abuse Health Educator helping create the naloxone distribution and evaluation program. It was a lot of fun to be part of the project from the beginning, and it’s just one example of how we as a health department have been a trailblazer for public health initiatives. Other local health departments have asked us for resources as they set up their own naloxone programs, and it feels good to have not only an impact here locally, but across the state as well.
What brought you to NKY Health (previous positions, schooling, etc.)?
I have a Bachelor’s Degree in International Affairs and a Master of Education in Health Education and Promotion, both from the University of Cincinnati. Prior to coming to NKY Health, I oversaw wellness programs in two local non-profit organizations, doing everything from organizing health fairs to helping clients navigate their personal health care needs.
What made you decide to apply to NKY Health?
While I loved working directly with clients, I was definitely ready for a change when I saw the Boone County Alliance/Drug-Free Communities Health Educator job posting. I was facilitating an addiction recovery group at the time, so I was interested in the focus on substance use prevention, and had always wanted to work in a health department setting.
If you could do anything – besides what you are doing now, what would it be?
I actually switched majors several times in college. I guess I have a lot of interests, and have wanted to be everything from a journalist to a nurse to a psychiatrist. If I could do anything, however, and money was not an object, I would probably open a sanctuary for homeless dogs and cats. I’ve done volunteer work in animal shelters, and there is definitely a great need.
Tell us about yourself. Where are you from? What are your hobbies? What do you do for fun?
I was born and raised in Cincinnati. Currently, I live in Deer Park, which is a small community between Kenwood and Blue Ash. I have been married to my husband Roger for 14 years. We have 2 dogs and 3 cats (I guess I have already gotten a start on that animal sanctuary!). My hobbies include running and crafting with my Cricut. I love Cincinnati Reds baseball. Last but not least, I am a huge Walking Dead fan!
If you were to write your autobiography, what would its title be?
“Working Hard So My Pets Can Have a Better Life” – seriously, pets are expensive!
What is something that no one would ever guess about you?
In high school, I was in the marching band, as well as captain of the Academic Team. On the flip side, I was also a huge Eminem fan, so much so that my nickname was, “The Real Slim Lady.”