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Karya Lustig is director of the Public Health Institute’s (PHI) Program Office CDC Cooperative Agreement (POCA), and co-director of the Center for Health Leadership & Impact (CHLI). With 25+ years of experience as a visionary and strategic leader, Lustig is driven by the foundations of social justice and equity. Creating opportunity for all individuals and families to thrive in healthy communities is the passion behind all of her work. Areas of expertise include serving as a thought leader applying strategic design and industry leading approaches (systems, triple impact, human design thinking) to solve population health challenges. Her career has been grounded in work on the most pressing public health challenges of our time including overdose prevention, homelessness, HIV prevention, and behavioral/mental health.

Lustig brings her extensive background in organizational learning and innovative program development to advance health equity. She leads a team dedicated to delivering and supporting cross-sector national, state, regional, and local leadership programs that are part of CHLI’s strategy, and continually assesses CHLI’s organizational performance. CHLI programs have served people in over 53 states and territories and include the Leadership Academy for the Public’s Health; pathways initiatives including the largest AmeriCorps VISTA program in the western region and the California Academic Health Department; scaling initiatives including the Overdose Prevention Network and Lead-Free Communities; and serving as regional hub for both the EPA TA center and the CDC Public Health Infrastructure Grant. Lustig ensures that CHLI’s research and evaluation initiatives, which have been integral to its success and have informed the field of leadership as a whole, receive widespread dissemination. Finally, Lustig provides vision, strategy, and design on PHI’s approach to the potential and opportunity of the CDC Cooperative Agreement. She works both internally and externally to lead this, inspiring collaboration and strategic approaches to work on chronic disease that supports the CDC’s vision for healthy communities.

Lustig came to PHI from her independent consultancy where she provided program development and evaluation services to the Community Health Center Network and La Clinica de la Raza. She served as training manager and developed the first staff training department (serving over 700 staff) in a community health center in California. Lustig’s commitment to public health spans over three decades from policy work to providing direct service to underserved individuals as a case manager and social worker.

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