Jill Ness is the Deputy Director at Health First Wisconsin,
and she is currently preceptor to Carly Hood. Health First Wisconsin advances policy
solutions to make our state a healthier place. Health is not something that
begins in a doctor's office. It starts in our homes, schools, workplaces and in
our playgrounds and parks. It's in the air we breathe and the water we drink.
Viewing health in this way, offers a unique and effective opportunity to
improve health before the onset of disease.
Jill earned her BA from Luther College in Decorah, IA, in
Political Science, Sociology and Russian Studies and her MPH from University of
Michigan School of Public Health, Department of Health Behavior and Health
Education. Jill’s main interest has always been at the intersection of politics
and health, and her career has centered on facilitating healthy,
community-level changes through the democratic process.
Her first public health job was with Hennepin County (MN)
Health Department where she worked as a tobacco control coordinator in the
western suburbs of Minneapolis before moving to Madison to join the team at SmokeFree
Wisconsin. Initially Jill worked with communities around the state as they
pursued local smoke-free workplace ordinances and provided technical assistance
on grassroots organizing and coalition building for statewide policy efforts,
such as cigarette tax increases and preserving funding for the state’s tobacco
In 2011, SmokeFree Wisconsin became Health First Wisconsin
in order to incorporate other pressing public health issues into its agenda.
With the organizational realignment, Jill’s role shifted to oversee a staff who
offers policy and grassroots technical assistance in the areas of tobacco
prevention, alcohol abuse prevention, healthy eating, and physical activity.
Jill lives in Madison with her husband, two sons, and two
cats. She spends her free time wrestling with such important questions as: “Which
part of the yard should we convert to a vegetable garden next?” and “When is
our next trip somewhere cool, and which friends will be coming with us?” and,
“What’s for dinner tonight, anyway?”