James Whitfield is the President of the Washington Health Foundation. James oversees all programs and operations on behalf of the Board of Trustees including the Personal Health Advocates Service, which helps individuals and small employers find health insurance and maximize their coverage to improve health.
James’s experience being appointed by the White House to oversee the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Pacific Northwest Region, making him the HHS Secretary’s top representative in the region, splitting his time between Seattle and D.C and managing staff across the nation. Whitfield is a licensed insurance broker who has managed his own small business and has also served as COO of a high-tech company.
A graduate of the University of Iowa, Mr. Whitfield has studied health care policy at Harvard, is a noted public speaker on leadership issues; is the author of the hospital patient guide, “Just What the Patient Ordered,” and is a member of the board of elders at Overlake Christian Church – one of the largest congregations in the Pacific Northwest.
Kelly studied National Security and Foreign Policy at the University of Washington, then received her Master’s in Organization Systems Renewal at Seattle University. She came to the WHF by accident, when she met the founder of the WHF and arranged for an informational interview. She joined the WHF as an intern, which later turned into an opportunity to serve as the WHF’s Managing Director. Now Kelly works with the President to make sure that everything at the WHF is running smoothly.
The WHF’s mission appeals to Kelly because of its emphasis on relationships and community. She has a firm belief that the 5-10 primary relationships in a person’s life will play a large role in determining his or her health. Kelly is very curious about how supportive relationships and communities are created, she is grateful to work at an organization where she can help people live the most rewarding life possible.
Emmy Award winning broadcast journalist Joe Furia brings a wealth of media experience to the Washington Health Foundation where he serves as Director of Media & Technology. The longtime KOMO-TV news reporter joined the WHF team in 2007 as Communications Specialist. Joe spent more than 23 years working in television newsrooms across the country. He now focuses much of his attention on generaqting stories and media coverage that capture the essence of the Healthiest State in the Nation Campaign, the Healthiest State xChange and other programs key to the success of the Washington Health Foundation. Joe is a University of Florida graduate who has called the Pacific Northwest “home” since 1995.
In his free time, Joe enjoys running, biking and coaching youth softball, baseball and soccer. Joe is married and has two children, Savannah (16) and Peter (13).
Dave Heupel has been a licensed insurance agent since 1984 and an insurance instructor for more than 25 years. He is a founding member of the Willamette Valley Health Underwriters, a long term member of the National Association of Health Underwriters, and a past president of a local chapter of the National Association of Insurance and Financial Advisors. He has been actively involved with health planning and insurance issues for most of his career in the Pacific Northwest. Dave’s career and experience spans the realm of insurance products from employee benefits, to financial planning, to personal insurance. He is just one of the Personal Health Advocate’s who can provide answers to almost all your insurance questions.
In his personal life, Dave enjoys restoring 1950’s through 70’s vehicles and is an avid ocean fisherman.
With over 20 years of experience in the corporate world Jet decided that he needed a change. The WHF’s vision and purpose of change is what brought him here. Jet is passionate about serving the needs of people as an advocate. During his career, Jet has worked with thousands of individuals. It is his experience, knowledge, and dedication that has empowered him to be an effective advocate and champion for his clients in dealing with insurance and its many challenges.
Jet has a degree in Human Services from Hawaii Pacific University. He credits his education and diverse background with providing him the unique ability to consider the needs of each person holistically. In his free time, Jet enjoys hanging out with his wife and daughter, playing golf, mountain biking & ocean sports.
With an educational background that includes dance, athletics (swimming, water polo and soccer), and academic studies in history, religion, and university administration, Fisher brings a variety of perspectives and experiences to his role with the foundation. At WHF, Fisher fills in where needed. Sometimes that means managing grant programs while at other times it means tracking developments in how software gets made and translating that into patterns that matter for people’s health.
Fisher believes that reason, exuberance, athleticism and liberty are the core principles of living a healthy, happy, and more productive life. He draws inspiration from a wide variety of positively deviant activity – liberating structures, contact improvisation, tactical urbanism – to create opportunities for others to participate in processes they are too frequently excluded from, particularly design. Fisher is guided in his work by the simple paradox that the only thing we can be certain of is that something unexpected will happen.
Maria was drawn to the Washington Health Foundation with the idea that connecting key individuals in order to improve health is the most sustainable way to create positive change within our health system. With a background in Public Health, she is directed to make change through cultivation of strong interpersonal relationships, practicing prevention, and encouraging thriving communities. Currently, she is interested in learning as much about the changes being made in our Health Policy in order to provide informed support about ways to access appropriate care.
Maria loves learning about food in all of its stages and being a part of each step from planting and growing to cooking and eating. Movement, language, and design are also interests of hers that frequently seep into the other parts of her life.
A recent graduate of the University of Washington, Noelle is passionate about helping others through working in the nonprofit sector. As a Medical Anthropology and Global Health major, she is motivated to collaborate with different cultures, ideologies, and understandings of health. Everyone has their own health narrative, which lends itself to their perception of healthcare. Washington Health Foundation is an opportune outlet for her to grow within a collaborative community while simultaneously expanding her knowledge about health policy. She is excited to learn from all this foundation has to offer.
In her free time, Noelle writes for an online arts magazine and teaches ballet. Expression through movement has always been an important part of her life. Having just returned from Romania, she loves to travel and can’t wait to see where she ends up next.
After spending the last year in NYC working in an Emergency Room, Josh is excited to be part of the Washington Health Foundation. He plans on pursuing a career in Medicine and through the WHF he hopes to gain an understanding of how the healthcare changes will affect individuals and communities within Washington State. He is interested in promoting health by supporting the WHF’s Personal Health Advocates and being involved in community outreach.
Josh enjoys traveling, skiing, and life.
Sarah comes to the WHF with a passion for public policy and a background in the healthcare field. With a Political Science degree from Washington State University and three years in primary care, Sarah is eager to contribute her experiences from the Seattle community as well as from her international mission work. She believes in grassroots organizing and plans to pursue her interest in health policy by exploring a bottom-up approach to our health as a state.
Sarah loves the city of Seattle, travelling and surfing. When she can’t be in warm waters, she is a mentor for a local young women’s leadership organization and can be found trekking the city in search of new nooks and crannies.
Recent Graduates of the Internship Program
Eliza joined the Foundation while working in public relations for the Health Authority in Vancouver. She came to the WHF looking for further opportunities to work in communications for a nonprofit and to learn more about the US health care system. At the WHF, Eliza took the role of a graphic designer, designing icons, layouts, infographics, app wireframes, and other illustrations. She contributed to a variety of projects, including an app and tearaway calendar related to type 2 diabetes, a health design event in collaboration with the University of Washington, and a series of health insurance presentations for entrepreneurs. Eliza was also responsible for designing and implementing a new and sophisticated social media marketing strategy for the Foundation.
During his time at the WHF, Michael worked to improve the Foundation’s communication and public relations efforts, beginning with an overhaul of the WHF website. In addition to his web maintenance duties, Michael worked with other members of the Foundation to brainstorm, draft, and polish all kinds of communications projects, including presentations, radio PSAs, blog posts, social media, and several infographics. Michael also wrote a series of educational articles about navigating problems in health insurance.
As an intern at the Foundation, Taylor worked on various community outreach projects, including a radio PSA to increase awareness of the WHF’s work to improve the lives of type 2 diabetics. She also performed research and development for a variety of Foundation projects relating to diabetes, dementia, and caregiving, including a project designed to help those with type 2 diabetes navigate their first months after a diagnosis.
Bronwen came to the Foundation in 2012 to support the WHF’s Personal Health Advocates and remained with the Foundation for a year. Bronwen initially worked with the Personal Health Advocate team to research and prepare insurance bids for clients. In her later months at the Foundation, Bronwen was on the team responsible for the Care Harmony card deck, eventually taking a leadership role in the project. Bronwen was involved in designing the card deck’s content, reaching out to the caregiver community for feedback, working with artists to collect artwork for the deck, and editing and producing the final product.
Mylinh came to the WHF due to her desire to understand the US health care system while working with underserved communities. The WHF’s work appealed to her personally, as she knows firsthand the frustration and uncertainty that immigrants can feel when navigating the US health care system. At the WHF, Mylinh conducted research, shaped the Foundation’s online presence, played a large role in the Care Harmony card deck, and performed a variety of graphic design and illustration. As the Foundation’s design specialist, she created the WHF logo, informational inserts, icon, infographics, flyers, and packaging for the card deck.