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David W. Pluymers

Director of Public Health Preparedness

Wisconsin Division of Public Health

Madison, WI 53701-2659


David W. Pluymers holds a Bachelor of Science in Biology from Hope College in Holland, Michigan, and a Master of Science in Technology and Human Affairs from the Washington University in St. Louis’ Department of Engineering and Policy. David has held public sector positions with the Illinois Environmental Protection Agency, Illinois Office of the State Fire Marshal, Oregon Health Services, Wisconsin Division of Public Health and - through an Intergovernmental Personnel Act agreement - the National Center for Environmental Health. He also spent several years working for environmental science and engineering consulting firms. Since entering the Environmental Public Health Leadership Institute, he has become the Director of Public Health Preparedness for the Wisconsin Division of Public Health.


David currently serves as a Regional Vice President of the Wisconsin Environmental Health Association.

What I Learned at EPHLI

Overall, the EPHLI provided a tremendous personal growth experience. In particular, two program elements - the self assessments and the systems thinking exercises - stood out. The greatest benefits were yielded from the various self-assessment tools and the related coaching provided by Lou Rowitz of the University of Illinois - Chicago. The self assessments (MTBI, Skillscope, CSI) caused me to more closely examine my personality, my strengths, my weaknesses, how I perceive information, how my perception differs from others, and how I should integrate others' perceptions and thought processes into my work. The assessment tools provided the raw information and Lou Rowitz guided me regarding how I should put that information into perspective and into use.


The systems thinking demonstrations and exercises also supplied many useful tools and resources. Systems thinking provided an organized framework and methodical structure for my thought processes - allowing me to more constructively identify workplace systems, the underlying forces that influences those systems, and how to make minor adjustments to the systems to correct problems and improve outputs. I have and will continue to use system thinking methods.


I am very grateful for the opportunity to study and participate in the EPHLI and I'm particularly grateful to the National Center for Environmental Health for creating the Institute and financially supporting our participation.