After three years at the helm of the Verdant Health Commission, Superintendent Robin Fenn is leaving in November. That’s according to an announcement issued Monday morning by Verdant.
During her time leading the Verdant Health Commission and Public Hospital District No. 2, Snohomish County, Verdant has invested nearly $17.8 million in community health and wellness program grants. These programs focus on disease and injury prevention, health education, and access to health care services for the residents of South Snohomish County.
Highlights of Fenn’s tenure include leading the behavioral health focus of the organization’s work during a time when the visibility of community mental health and substance use needs has increased. Fenn spearheaded the creation of the Chronic Utilizer Alternative Response Team (CHART) in South Snohomish County to help reduce costs and get appropriate care to frequent utilizers of the South Snohomish County crisis response system.
In addition, Fenn developed an evaluation process to better measure the impact of Verdant’s programs and classes. She created standardized objective grant scoring criteria and provided trainings to grantees and community partners on conducting evaluations of their programs.
She also served on a number of community boards and committees, including the North Sound Accountable Community of Health, Leadership Snohomish County, and the YMCA of Snohomish County. And she worked with legislators to amend RCW 70.44.007 to expand the ability of public hospital districts to focus on injury and illness prevention.
“I am particularly proud of this community’s ability to collaborate and work together to tackle difficult issues,” Fenn said. “From government, education, and health care to social services and other non-profits, we care about one another, and I am very proud of the collective work we have accomplished.”
The Board of Commissioners will soon begin a search for a new superintendent.
“On behalf of the board, we are very appreciative of Dr. Fenn’s service and leadership at Verdant,” said Board of Commissioners Chair Deana Knutsen. “She brought skills to the organization that will be difficult to replace, and we wish her all the best.”
The board plans to appoint Jennifer Piplic as interim superintendent. Piplic has served as Verdant’s Director of Marketing & Communication since 2011 and will work alongside Fenn during a transition period.
In 2010, South Snohomish County’s Public Hospital District No. 2 commissioners — elected by a public vote — agreed to move away from running the existing Stevens Hospital and decided to instead own the hospital building and lease it to Swedish Health Systems. That’s when Stevens Hospital became Swedish Edmonds.
The Verdant service area is approximately the same footprint as the Edmonds School District, serving about 180,000 people in Edmonds, Esperance, Woodway, Mountlake Terrace, Brier, Lynnwood, plus portions of Bothell and unincorporated Snohomish County.