Dr. Petersen is a professor of public health at the University of South Florida. She earned her masters and doctoral degrees in maternal and child health from the Johns Hopkins School of Hygiene and Public Health. She has held faculty and senior leadership positions at the University of Alabama at Birmingham School of Public Health, at the University of Minnesota School of Public Health, and served as Director of the Division of Family Health at the Minnesota Department of Health.
Dr. Petersen is the author of numerous publications, book chapters and a textbook on needs assessment in public health. She is a frequent lecturer on topics related to educational innovation in public health, maternal and child health, health care reform, and systems change and leadership, and has provided extensive technical assistance and training to over 25 state health departments in the areas of needs assessment, data system development, systems level accountability and the development of population-based indicators. She has served on numerous boards, commissions and task forces and is Editor Emerita of the Maternal and Child Health Journal, founding member and past president of the National Board of Public Health Examiners, immediate-past Chair of the Council on Education for Public Health, and Chair of the Association of Schools and Programs of Public Health.
From 2011-2015 she led the Framing the Future Task Force on the future of education in public health and is a member of the national advisory committee for the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation’s Public Health Systems and Services Research Initiative. Locally she is a member of the Tampa Bay Partnership’s OneBay Healthy Communities Executive Committee, the Hillsborough County Health Care Advisory Board, the Foundation for a Healthy St. Petersburg Board of Trustees, the Hillsborough County Commission on the Status of Women Advisory Council on Women’s Health, and formerly served on the Tampa Preparatory School’s Board of Trustees.
Dr. Petersen has been honored for her work by the American Public Health Association, the Association of Teachers of Maternal and Child Health, the National Healthy Mothers, Healthy Babies Coalition, the Delta Omega National Public Health Honor Society, the National Coalition for Excellence in MCH Epidemiology, the federal Bureau of Maternal and Child Health and the Association of Maternal and Child Health Programs. In August of 2011 she was presented a Distinguished Alumna Award by The Johns Hopkins University.