Dr. William Datema named SOPHE Chief Executive Officer

Following a national search, the SOPHE Board has appointed Dr. William Datema as SOPHE’s Chief Executive Officer, effective immediately.

A longtime leader and presence in the field, Dr. Datema has served in education and public health for over 40 years, including service from local to international levels. Most recently, he was SOPHE’s interim CEO for the last 10 months. He has held several national leadership positions in the United States including branch chief roles at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) in school health and community health, Director of Partnerships for Children’s Health at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, and Executive Director of Eta Sigma Gamma national health education honorary society and the Society of State Leaders of Health and Physical Education.

“I am excited to work with SOPHE’s volunteers and staff to build on our 75-year legacy of excellence and leadership in health education,” Dr. Datema said. “I look forward to serving with the rest of the staff to strengthen SOPHE’s partnerships, build our portfolio of services, and continuously improve our influence, especially to benefit traditionally marginalized populations and the field at large.”

SOPHE President Dr. Raffy Luquis said: “Bill has done a remarkable job over the past 10 months, so we are so delighted to keep him on as the full-time CEO. We could not have a better individual to lead us forward. His experience, leadership, relationships, and institutional knowledge are unmatched, and we are very excited to see what new heights he can lead SOPHE to.”

In his decorated career, Datema has volunteered in many prominent roles including currently as the President-Elect of the National Parent-Teacher Association (PTA), President of the Foundation for the Advancement of Health Education, and Chair-Elect of the Missouri State University Alumni Association. He is also a board member of the CATCH Global Foundation and Action for Healthy Kids. He previously served on the global boards of ASCD and the International Union for Health Promotion and Education; the national boards of the American Association for Health Education (AAHE), American School Health Association (ASHA), National Commission for Health Education Credentialing, and National PTA; and as chair of the national board and a founding board member of Action for Healthy Kids. He is the United States representative for the UNESCO Chair for Global Health and Education.

He holds a Doctor of Public Health in health policy and management from the University of Georgia, and a Master of Science and Bachelor of Science in Education from Missouri State University. Dr. Datema has presented in 48 U.S. states and 12 other nations, and he has authored and contributed to numerous publications. He is a fellow of ASHA and AAHE, a Master Certified Health Education Specialist (MCHES), and a member of Delta Omega national public health honorary society and Eta Sigma Gamma.

Dr. Datema may be reached at wdatema@sophe.org.