MPH Program grad Alison Traynor given “40 Under 40” designation by de Beaumont Foundation

Alison Traynor, Suicide Prevention Program Director for the North Dakota Department of Health and UND School of Medicine & Health Sciences (SMSH) graduate, was recently named to the de Beaumont Foundation’s “40 under 40 in public health” list for 2019.

Alison is a 2018 graduate of the SMHS Master of Public Health (MPH) Program.

The de Beaumont Foundation was created in 1998 by Pete de Beaumont, who molded the organization to support efforts that improve public health in the United States. The Foundation is a national leader in Public Health, setting national priorities and advancing health at the level of policy. It’s 40 under 40 list “recognizes leaders in public health who are strengthening communities with new ideas, creative problem-solving, and innovative solutions.”

Calling herself “surprised” at winning the award, Traynor noted that what didn’t surprise her was that her partners in public health in North Dakota would want to promote the exceptional public health work ongoing in the state.

“There are unsung public health heroes all over the state working in communities or universities to address everything from domestic violence to drug use to suicide,” said Traynor, who was the only recipient of the award in North Dakota, having been nominated by Mylynn Tufte, state health officer for North Dakota. “No one does public health alone—we all do this together.”

According to the de Beaumont Foundation, this national recognition is the first ever list of rising leaders in public health.

“It is no surprise that Alison has been recognized as one of the 40 Under 40 in Public Health by the de Beaumont Foundation,” added Laura Hand, PhD, MPP, assistant professor in the UND Master of Public Health Program who worked with Traynor on suicide prevention projects at the School. “During her time here, she consistently exemplified the values, skills, and intellectual curiosity that we strive to encourage and develop in our students. Her passion for her work in suicide prevention, excellent communication skills, and demonstrated interest in collaborative solutions contribute to her potential as transformational leader in public health.”

“For the past 10 years, Alison has served as a Licensed Social Worker in mental health, violence, human trafficking, suicide crisis response, and administration to save lives,” noted the de Beaumont website, using language taken from Tufte’s nomination. “Prior to her current role, Alison worked in two regions in North Dakota as well as three American Indian tribal reservations, responding to crises day and night. She has worked across systems and sectors not only to prevent suicide, but to encourage people to realize their most meaningful and fulfilled lives.”

Alison is currently working toward a clinical social work graduate degree at UND.