Robyn M. Atkinson, PhD, HCLD
Tennessee Department of Health Division of Laboratory Services
Knoxville, TN 37920
Robyn M Atkinson, PhD is currently the Director of the Knoxville Regional Laboratory for the Tennessee Department of Health Division of Laboratory Services. She also serves as the Deputy Director for the state laboratory system. Dr Atkinson holds a Bachelor's Degree in Biochemisty from
Leadership Development Opportunities
This year being a fellow in the National Environmental Public Health Leadership Institute has been very rewarding offering many opportunities for personal growth and reflection. When I began this fellowship, I was new to my position in TN and was facing for the first time the complicated world of management and administration. I was hesitant to take on this task at first but the knowledge and perspective I have gained have been immeasurable. Last year, I was quick to make decisions, often short sighted thereby missing the bigger picture or meaning of the situation, and taking on responsibilities that I should have delegated to others. By working with a personal coach, I was able to see how these traits were hurting not helping and I was able to define strategies to help manage my staff rather than micro-manage them. The orientation to Systems Thinking and how to speak to people and fully understand what they are saying has helped me from the moment I returned from the learning sessions. As a manager, I am much more comfortable delegating responsibility. I have received positive feedback from staff members regarding my ability to listen and respond to the situation at hand and not get caught up in "off the track" ideas. In meetings, I am able to see all sides of a problem and offer a compromise that may help all involved. Overall, I am a more aware project manager, a much calmer staff manager, and a better representative of the public health community. This experience has been invaluable and I strive to remember all of the lessons learned as we are ushered out and others are ushered in to this amazing leadership experience.