Dr. John Wiesman

When John Wiesman, DrPH, was searching for a doctoral program in leadership as a mid-career public health professional, he wanted one that allowed him to continue working full-time while studying full-time in a practice-based program—and to integrate that learning into his work along the way.

He said he got all that—and more—from his experience at the UNC Gillings School of Global Public Health. Now, he wants to pay his good fortune forward with a legacy gift from his estate. The John Wiesman and Ted Broussard Scholarship fund, a gift made jointly with his husband, will support student scholarships in the Department of Health Policy and Management’s executive Doctor of Public Health program in leadership.

Wiesman, who graduated from the program in December 2012, now serves as Secretary of Health for the State of Washington and is an adjunct assistant professor in health policy and management at the Gillings School.

His purpose in making the scholarships available, he says, is particularly to empower those working on public health issues in government positions, “to make the program affordable and accessible” for students who might not have funding.

Wiesman was inspired by his studies at the Gillings School. “It was a classroom experience that I could take into my work, and I could take my work into the classroom,” he says. “I also was looking for a cohort of people outside my normal networks to share invigorating ideas and teach me about systems I hadn’t been exposed to.”
From his first visit to campus, Wiesman says, he realized there was something special about Carolina.

“It was clear that the faculty here, especially in this program, saw themselves as guides and that we were going through the journey together,” he says. “They learned as much as we did from the program, and they brought out the ability in us to learn from each other in the cohort. It modeled for us that learning is lifelong.”—Elizabeth Witherspoon