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Thomas Schlenker, MD, MPH

Director of Public Health

Public Health Madison & Dane County

Madison, Wisconsin 53703


Thomas Schlenker, MD, MPH is a pediatrician and Director of Public Health for Madison and Dane County, Wisconsin.  Previously he has been health officer in Salt Lake, Utah, Milwaukee, Wisconsin and a senior Fulbright fellow at the National Institute of Public Health in Cuernavaca, Mexico.  At the local level, Dr. Schlenker has built and guided programs in childhood lead poisoning prevention, immunizations, HIV outreach, drinking water quality assurance and has published research on a variety of environmental health, infectious disease and public health policy issues.  He has served as advisor and national faculty for the CDC’s lead poisoning prevention training program for many years.


Leadership Development Opportunities

EPHLI has provided an excellent opportunity to meet and get to know environmental public health professionals from many different places, with a great variety of skills and interests.  Most helpful has been spending time with big picture thinkers who relate environmental health issues with the greater universe of public health and life of communties, the nation and world.  During the year I have been able to identify and establish relationships with key partners in local public health, at the CDC and ATSDR, in academia and at national foundations.   I thought the EPHLI curriculum was, in large part, inadequate.  Systems thinking is a valuable concept but overreliance on a few diagramming tools vulgarized and trivialized the experience.    The real life experience of the Grand Canyon park service team made for worthwhile thought and discussion, but beyond that little environmental health content or methodology was not effectively presented.  The St. Louis sessions were especially low quality.  Small groups led by a mentor works well and should be continued.  Tim Murphy is an interesting and delightful person.