Think Like Zink with Dr. Anne Zink

The Other 80

May 1 2024 • 43 mins

One thing is clear from the last four years: public health leaders need to seriously upgrade their skills in communication and partnering. In this episode Anne Zink, who is stepping down as Alaska’s Chief Medical Officer, brings us a master class in both topics.  Guiding the state through COVID she inspired both a Facebook fan group and the hashtag #ThinkLikeZink. Take a listen and you will see why.

We discuss:

  • How we might have avoided the politicization of COVID
  • Partnering with Alaska’s tribes to get vaccines to every corner of the state
  • The ways her background as a fine art major, mountaineer and emergency medicine doctor shapes her leadership approach

Anne is committed to breaking the silos between medical care and public health:

“Public health is population health and if you want to make a difference  … public health and health care have to be braided together. We need to not think about this in terms of separate systems, but we need to think in terms of patients and to get there, public health is that key chief strategist for population health and needs to be at the table.”

Relevant Links

NPR Story on #ThinkLikeZink

Article on the Five Reasons Dr. Zink is crushing it as a crisis communicator

An interview with Alaska’s top doctor

Article on the rural Alaskan towns leading the country in vaccination

Case study on the partnership between public health and tribes for vaccine distribution in Alaska

Information on the Watson Fellowship

About Our Guest

Anne Zink grew up in Colorado and moved through her training from College in Philadelphia to Medical School at Stanford and then Residency at the University of Utah. As a mountaineering guide she had fallen in love with Alaska and after residency in Emergency Medicine became lucky enough to call Alaska home. Not only does she love the people and the place, but also the medicine. She quickly became involved in helping improve systems of care as the medical director of her group, then in her hospital and with state and federal legislation, including state legislation to improve care coordination, opioid addiction treatment options, and integration between private systems and the VA, DOD, and IHS facilities and more.

Dr. Zink became Alaska’s Chief Medical Officer in July 2019. In all the work she does, she strives to create work environments, policies and practices that are data-driven, foster collaboration and build system efficiencies that put patients first. Zink was a visible public presence in the early months of the pandemic,...

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