Joanne Wellman, RDH, MPH

California Department of Public Health

Joanne Wellman retired in 2017 after working for 27 years as a health educator. After she received her Master’s in Public Health in 1990, she worked in the dental public health field for 10 years, which was an easy transition from her first career as a dental hygienist, having practiced for 13 years.

In 2000 she began working for the Tobacco Control Section of the CA Department of Public Health, where she was the lead on secondhand smoke issues. She also worked for the CA Cancer Registry and Every Woman Counts, which provided free breast and cervical screenings to low income women. This program also housed the CA Colorectal Cancer Control Program where she did in-kind work, and where she gained first-hand experience about this disease and how to prevent it.

Her final three years of working for state service was at the CA Department of Health Care Services, where she worked for the Medi-Cal Managed Care Program. However, it was the diagnosis of a tumor in her small intestine in 2011, discovered through a colonoscopy while working for the CA Cancer Registry, that made her a strong advocate for raising awareness about colon cancer prevention and screening. She has raised thousands of dollars for the annual Sacramento Undy Run/Walk, and helped to plan this event in 2018 and 2019.

Since her retirement, she serves on several cancer and tobacco control-related boards and coalitions, and is a consultant on tobacco prevention and control grants that are Medi-Cal managed care-related.