The National Academy of Public Administration has selected Chet P. Hewitt, president and CEO of Sierra Health Foundation and The Center at Sierra Health Foundation, for inclusion in its 2021 Class of Academy Fellows. The lifetime honor recognizes Hewitt’s years of public administration service and expertise.
“I am deeply grateful to receive this recognition, which is among the highest honors those working in public administration can hope to achieve,” Hewitt said. “It’s just as much about partnership as it is leadership. This reflects the efforts of people coming together and working collectively in service of the public.”
Leading an organization that includes both a philanthropic foundation and health equity nonprofit, Hewitt is known for his innovative approaches to community investment and partnership on behalf of historically marginalized communities. He achieved national recognition for transforming Alameda County’s failing child welfare system into a national model and using technology to improve the management and accessibility of human service programs. Today, he and his team at Sierra Health Foundation and The Center are spearheading new models for public-private partnership to address the COVID-19 pandemic in California.
“One of Chet’s greatest achievements throughout his career is his consistent drive to improve the lives of populations and individuals most disproportionately impacted by poor health outcomes due to social, economic, and environmental conditions and policies,” said Dr. Georges Benjamin, MD, executive director of the American Public Health Association. “He has demonstrated visionary leadership with significant societal, institutional and community impact.”
Under Hewitt’s leadership, Sierra Health Foundation and The Center launched numerous programs in pursuit of health, racial equity and justice, including California Funders for Boys and Men of Color, Positive Youth Justice Initiative, Black Child Legacy Campaign and San Joaquin Valley Health Fund.
“One reason Chet Hewitt is so effective, and of such value to the National Academy, is that he is deeply experienced in the operations, management, and leadership of local human services programs,” said Dr. John Kirlin, PhD, distinguished professor of public policy at McGeorge School of Law, University of the Pacific. “His own early experiences with poverty in New York inform and motivate his commitment to ensuring public programs are as effective as is possible.”
Prior to joining Sierra Health Foundation in 2007, Hewitt served as director of Alameda County’s Social Services Agency, associate director for the Rockefeller Foundation in New York, and director of the Center on Juvenile and Criminal Justice in San Francisco. With each role, Hewitt has sharpened its focus on effective partnerships to advance important efforts designed to achieve equity, health, and economic and educational opportunities.
“Chet is known for taking on the most pressing and complex issues facing communities at a local, regional, and state level,” said Dr. Richard Callahan, PhD, professor and co-director of the University of San Francisco (USF) Master of Public Health Program in Sacramento and director of the Health Services Administration concentration in USF’s School of Management. “Through his collaborative leadership style, innovative approach to program design and management, and willingness to take thoughtful risk, Chet has increased Sierra Health Foundation’s influence, reach and impact throughout California.”
Chartered by Congress to provide non-partisan expert advice, NAPA is an independent, nonprofit and non-partisan organization established in 1967 to assist government leaders in building more effective, efficient, accountable and transparent organizations. In addition to advancing the theory and practice of public administration and public policy, NAPA established The 12 Grand Challenges to acknowledge the important issues that those who work in public administration are working to resolve. The goal is to better position government at all levels to be of service to all.
Selection of the Academy’s new Fellows follows a rigorous review of the individual’s contributions to the field of public administration and policy. A Fellows Nominating Committee makes its recommendations to the full Fellowship, which then votes on those individuals to be elected. The 2021 class joins more than 940 Academy Fellows who hold the title for life – including former cabinet officers, members of Congress, governors, mayors and state legislators, as well as prominent scholars, business executives and public administrators.
“I am very pleased to welcome Chet P. Hewitt to the Academy’s 2021 class of Fellows,” said Terry Gerton, president and CEO of the Academy. “Our distinguished Fellows are nationally recognized for their expertise in the field of public administration and Mr. Hewitt is no exception. As government at every level continues to manage the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic in addition to addressing public concerns regarding equity, the environment, the nation’s fiscal health and others, we welcome his experience and perspective as we work collaboratively to find intergovernmental solutions to the Grand Challenges in Public Administration.”
Induction of the new Fellows will occur during the annual Academy Fall Meeting, which will take place virtually and in-person at five host sites across the country Nov. 3 through 9.