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Elaine Collison

Associate Director - Operations
Start Date: 
January, 2006
Elaine Collison

What is your favorite accomplishment at the University of Minnesota, so far? 

Providing leadership for the creation of a CIDRAP IT/Web technology strategic plan that led to the initiation of an ambitious Web (content management system) Transformation Project. All of CIDRAP’s content that was previously maintained on 4 separate custom-built websites was integrated into a single, fresh-looking and user-friendly website that launched this past summer (cidrap.umn.edu). The project team was fantastic! We worked really hard and achieved a great deal. In addition to a great new website that provides infectious disease news, shares public health practices, and offers influenza training, we now have a nimble and responsive IT infrastructure. We are all so proud!

What brought you to your current professional field? What brought you to the University of Minnesota and the Academic Health Center?

I began working at the Minnesota Department of Health (MDH) while I was a student at the U of M. After graduation I worked full-time and was promoted to various positions throughout the department. I found that I loved working in public health and especially in infectious disease epidemiology, prevention and control. There was always something new to learn and respond to – never a dull moment - and we had a significant impact in improving the public’s health. I found my niche and passion – management, operations, and preparedness – within the field of public health. I went on to earn my master’s degree in Public Administration and when I left MDH I had been the assistant director of the infectious disease division for 5 years. I was drawn to the U of M/AHC by CIDRAP’s mission and its highly regarded leadership. I knew that I would be working with top-notch public health professionals whom I admired. 

What is your favorite part of what you do?

I like all aspects of my job - planning, problem-solving, organizing and streamlining processes, and being able to apply my management expertise and public health experience to CIDRAP programs. I like being in a leadership position that crosses all program areas, connecting the dots and being able to maximize employee and organizational strengths. I get satisfaction from serving as a resource to others. Most importantly, it’s gratifying to work with people that really care about what they do, are extremely competent, and pitch in to help others whenever needed. I’m enjoying the same experience in OER, as we work with internal and external stakeholders to prepare and effectively respond to health emergencies on campus. It’s important work and there are many more opportunities to make a difference!

Favorite source of inspiration: 

I love quotations – serious to funny and from obscure to famous people. I find them engaging and uplifting. I usually write one or more in each greeting card I give.

What I fear most: 

I have a healthy respect for elevators and hope I never get stuck in one. (I have a bit of claustrophobia.)

People would be surprised to know:

I like the music/guitar of Jimi Hendrix, B.B. King, Bob Marley and Etta James.

My absolute favorite place to be is at the library and I could happily spend hours at the Anoka County Library – Rum River Branch. The minute I walk in the door I relax, then I start browsing and lose track of time. There’s something special about being in a place where you can learn about anything you want as well as discover new topics to explore. Sometimes I just pull a few random books off the shelves, check them out and bring them home. I also admit to loving the smell of the pages in a new book. Although I try to be circumspect, I’ve received a few odd glances when I’ve lifted an open book to my nose.

Favorite spot on campus:

Standing in the middle of the footbridge from Ford Hall to the other side of Washington Avenue facing downtown Minneapolis.


About the Employee Spotlight

The Employee Spotlight is a feature of the Academic Health Center Resource Hub and published every Monday. This is driven by nominations from colleagues. By nominating a colleague, you are letting them know that their contribution to our community is valued. Getting to know more about one another is a great way to feel more connected!