Robin Fenn


faculty headshot

Department of Public Health



Public Health

Robin Fenn, Ph.D., LICSW is a Professor and the Chair of the Department of Public Health.  


Dr. Fenn’s academic experience includes teaching research, program evaluation and statistics as well as addictions, counseling skills, and policy to undergraduate and graduate students including medical students. In addition to over 20 years of experience providing behavioral health and addiction counseling to individuals and families, she has provided program design and evaluation consultation to numerous government and community health projects.

Recognizing that students come to class with rich and varied backgrounds and experiences, her goal is to create a teaching space that allows them to draw upon their strengths to sharpen their critical thinking skills in addressing contemporary public health issues. By providing them with opportunities to practice concrete public health skills and allowing for candid discussions, all students will be able to engage in meaningful learning. Learning should be fun, and a supportive environment that reflects real-world situations will help best prepare the next generation of public health practitioners.


  • Ph.D. in Urban Studies and Public Affairs, University of Akron, Ohio

  • MS in Social Work, University of Texas

Awards & Honours

  • Invited Participant, “Common Goals, Exploring, Depolarizing: Building Healthy Communities,” facilitated conversation with community leaders by Seattle Seahawks, 2022
  • Seattle Storm Honorary Coach/Swedish Hospitals, 2018
  • Invited Respondent, “Better Health Care and Lower Cost” United State President’s Council Advisors on Science & Technology, 2014

Professional affiliations

  • Board of Directors, Domestic Violence Services of Snohomish County, October 2022 to present
  • Washington State Patrol Independent Investigation Team, Non-Law Enforcement Community Representative, November 2021 to present
  • Sound Foundation for Public Health, September 2020 to present
  • UW Bothell School of Nursing/Health Studies Advisory Board, April 2014 to present

Research Interests

  • Access to care system response to frequent utilization of crisis response systems
  • Advancing health literacy in vulnerable populations
  • Behavioral health
  • Community health improvement


Quantitative, qualitative and mixed methods

Research highlights

  • Grant Recipient, Department of Health and Human Services Office of Minority Health: Advancing Health Literacy to Enhance Equitable Community Responses to COVID-19.
  • Author of a copyrighted tool to assess self sufficiency in vulnerable populations ("Fenn Jorstad Self Sufficiency Matrix")
  • The Role of the City of Lynnwood in Access to and Affordability of Primary Care, Behavioral Health Care and Dental Health Services: Results of a Consumer Focus Group and Key Stakeholder Interviews.


  • Fenn, R. (2022.) Summary of Results from the Survey of Providers and Organizational Leaders on Health Literacy Skills and Training Needs Department of Health and Human Services Office of Minority Health under award number 1 CPIMP211298-01-00
  • McCarty, R.L., Zarn, J., Fenn, R. & Collins, R. (2015.) Frequent ED utilizers: A case management program to address patient needs. Nursing Management, 46(9), 24-31.
  • Adler, P. & Fenn, R. (2015.) Public/private collaboration to improve health: Simple—not easy. Washington Healthcare News, September 8, 2015.
  • McCarty, R., Fenn, R. et al(2011.) Building bridges: Qualitative assessment of a clinical faculty exchange between a naturopathic and an allopathic medical training program. Explore: The Journal of Science and Healing, 7(4), 249-253.