On November 17, the College of Health and Human Services will host the 2022 Health and Human Services Hero Awards to recognize individuals who are making a bold difference right here in the Central Valley. We will highlight the ten honorees in our Heroes Blog Series.

hero22_rwood_smName: Robin Wood

Occupation: Health Program Manager, California’s Valued Trust

Nominated by: Department of Public Health

Robin Wood has led a seasoned career in the public health sector and she is quick to credit her education at Fresno State for helping her to address many key health issues in the Central Valley. 

If it wasn’t for my master’s in public health, I wouldn’t have advanced in my career and had the opportunities to work in many types of public health environments,” Wood said. “To this day, I stay close to Fresno State as it is my alma mater, but also because I feel a deep connection to the mission of the Department of Public Health, their faculty and the like-minded students they serve.” 

Wood graduated with honors from the MPH program in 2007 and has remained active with the University ever since, oftentimes serving as a guest speaker and as a mentor for students in the field. In 2019, she became chair of the MPH Advisory Board, where she has worked diligently to increase the number of board members from the public sector. 

Wood says it’s her passion for public health that drives her activism and dedicated career. 

“I believe in the core value of health and saw the need to instill health promotion into my life and the lives of others,” she said of her initial career journey. “Public health was not on my radar in high school or even while studying at my small liberal arts college in upstate New York. I got into the field through process of elimination – knowing what I didn’t want to do and leaning toward something closest to my values and interests.” 

This led to Wood spending 14 years with the California Health Collaborative, where she implemented innovative interventions to address smoking and secondhand tobacco prevention programs among diverse groups in both Fresno and Tulare counties; as well as 10 years with Kaiser Permanente, where she served as a senior health educator, implementing programs for KP members. Today, she is the health program manager for California’s Valued Trust and uses her expertise to help build cultures of wellness on school campuses across California. 

At each of these positions, Wood has made it a point to provide hands-on experience, networking opportunities and mentorship for both undergraduate and graduate public health students. Of her time with the students Wood says, 

“I love sharing what I’ve learned throughout my public health career, guiding students through mutually created projects so we both gain from the experience.” 

The 2022 Health and Human Services Hero Awards, which celebrates heroes from each of the seven departments, as well as centers and institutes within our college, will be held virtually this year. For more information on the event, contact Beth Wilkinson at bwilkinson@csufresno.edu.