Tracing Health

Oregon Public Health Institute’s Emily Henke Recognized by the de Beaumont Foundation as a Leader in Public Health

September 15, 2021 | PressThought Leadership

Henke joins a cohort of 40 rising leaders improving health and equity across the country 

September 14, 2021 (Portland, Oregon): – The de Beaumont Foundation today announced that Emily Henke, executive director of the Oregon Public Health Institute (OPHI)–a nonprofit dedicated to advancing health and equity–has been selected from among hundreds of applicants as one of its “40 Under 40 in Public Health” leaders. 

The de Beaumont Foundation announced its 2021 list on September 14, 2021 after reviewing applications from hundreds of rising leaders in public health. The cohort was selected by a distinguished panel of public health professionals for their leadership and impact on their community’s health. 

Founded in 1998, the de Beaumont Foundation creates and invests in bold solutions that improve the health of communities across the country. The de Beaumont Foundation focuses on improving health at the community level by investing in tools, partnerships, policies, and the public health workforce. Their vision is a nation where every person in every community has the opportunity to achieve their best possible health.

“At a time when health professionals are being required to adapt and take on monumental challenges, we are incredibly proud of these leaders,” said Brian C. Castrucci, DrPH, president and CEO of the de Beaumont Foundation. “We created the 40 Under 40 program to recognize and tell the stories of rising leaders who are making a difference in communities across the country. By promoting their work and accomplishments, we hope to attract and inspire a new generation of leaders.” 

As the only honoree from Oregon, Henke hopes to use this recognition to connect with other leaders from around the nation and advance public health systems change in the Pacific Northwest. “It’s an honor to be among such an impressive group of public health leaders,” said Henke. “This is more than a list–it’s a diverse network of brilliant public health professionals from across the nation who are focused on health equity and eager to collaborate. I can’t wait to see the impact we’ll have together.”

Henke began her public health career as a bilingual community outreach worker in Washington County, Oregon. She joined OPHI as policy manager in 2014 and later served as the organization’s health and outdoors program director, co-founding the Oregon Health & Outdoors Initiative. She became OPHI’s executive director just weeks before COVID-19 arrived in the United States in 2020 and soon led the organization into a strategic partnership with the Public Health Institute (PHI), a larger, like-minded public health nonprofit based in Oakland, CA. When public health departments needed to quickly grow their COVID-19 response teams, Henke and PHI colleagues quickly launched Tracing Health, a pandemic response program that provides culturally- and linguistically-reflective public health staffing to health departments and healthcare organizations. 

As the pandemic continues to hammer an already weak public health system and exacerbates health inequities, Tracing Health has saved countless lives, created living wage jobs in communities impacted by the economic crisis, and kick-started a diverse workforce development pipeline of future public health professionals. Under Henke’s leadership, OPHI has grown from a team of three staff to nearly 200 diverse team members saving lives and building well-being in the Pacific Northwest. OPHI board chair Ben Duncan celebrated Henke’s inclusion in the 40 Under 40 list, saying, “I’m confident that Emily’s inclusion in this group will lead to more public health and equity impact for OPHI, for Oregon communities, and beyond.” 

Applications for inclusion in the 40 Under 40 in Public Health list were submitted to the de Beaumont Foundation between February and April 2021. The pool of applicants represented a diverse set of backgrounds and a wide range of professional roles. For more information about the 40 Under 40 in Public Health, including a full list of honorees, visit

About the Oregon Public Health Institute
OPHI is a critical nonprofit partner to communities, public agencies, private organizations, and other groups who make Oregon and the Pacific Northwest a healthy, thriving place for all. Our mission is to improve health, advance equity, and respond to public health needs. For more information, visit

About Tracing Health
Tracing Health launched in spring of 2020 as a COVID-19 response initiative and strategic partnership program of the Public Health Institute and the Oregon Public Health Institute.

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