Alumni Spotlight: Q&A with Wendy Wang, MPP ’01
Wendy Wang is the president of the USC Price Alumni Association Board of Directors and a member of the Athenian Society’s Leadership Council. A Dean’s Merit Scholar, Wang graduated in 2001 with a Master of Public Policy. In May 2014, Wang was honored by the Graduate Policy and Administration Community (GPAC) as one of the Co-Alumni of the Year, and by the USC Price Student Health Council as an Honorary Alumna.
Presently, she serves as the corporate director of community education, outreach, and public policy at Pacific Clinics, the largest non-profit behavioral health care provider in Los Angeles County.
Prior to this role, Wang worked for the Association of Community Human Service Agencies as the Mental Health Policy Director.
Beyond her current work in the non-profit sector, Wang boasts extensive experience in public service. She was a member of Los Angeles Mayor James K. Hahn’s administration, library commissioner for the cities of Torrance and Pasadena, Pasadena Northwest neighborhood commissioner, and board member for the Organization of Chinese Americans (OCA) Los Angeles Chapter.
In addition to lending her time and leadership to the Price School, Wang was involved in the Altadena/Pasadena Soroptomist Chapter as Correspondence Secretary and served on the Board of Directors of the USC Asian Pacific Alumni Association, where she chaired the Scholarship Committee in 2012.
As president, what are your goals for the Price Alumni Association?
I envision that the Alumni Association will serve as a conduit for alumni to remain connected to the Price School and the larger Trojan Family based on individual passions, skills and interest areas. Additionally, the Alumni Board is committed to championing the school’s initiatives, maximizing its reach through our collective networks, and supporting students (both informally and formally).
Why do you feel it’s important for Price alumni to stay engaged with the school and its students?
Reflecting on the immediate years after my graduation from USC, I wished that there had been a cross-section of Price alumni group whom I could contact to help me during my post-graduate school transition and to think critically about the best way to “give back” to the school and broader university. My own experience as a young alumna fuels my passion to ensure that our alumni have different avenues to stay engaged with the Price School and its students.
What do you find most rewarding about serving as Alumni Association president?
As president of the Alumni Board, I have the opportunity of serving alongside dedicated alumni across different disciplines and graduation cohorts — they have inspired me by their collective service to the Price School and Trojan Family. This leadership role has enhanced the occasions where I meet individual students and the leaders of different student organizations; all of them serve as a daily reminder of the strong Price School connection. I am grateful to Dean Jack Knott and the Alumni Association for allowing me to serve as president.
Can you elaborate on your role as corporate director of community education, outreach, and public policy at Pacific Clinics?
My role as corporate director initially focused on articulating a standardized message and public policy agenda to elected officials on behalf of an agency that operates programs in five counties with an operating budget of $96 million. This includes close monitoring of budget processes and legislative cycles across all government levels. More recently, in conjunction with the president of the organization, I serve as co-chair of the Integrated Care Services Initiative, a key component of our three-year strategic plan. I am also responsible for keeping a close eye on California’s implementation of health care reform, best practices nationwide on payment reform models, and understanding the implications of the Affordable Care Act on agency operations and clients. For the last three years, I have served as a close health policy advisor to the executive director of a local community clinic, a legal affiliate of Pacific Clinics.
In what ways has USC Price informed your work?
My Price education has taught me how to think analytically and critically about macro-level policy issues and to articulate policy solutions in a succinct manner.
Was there any class or faculty member at USC Price you found particularly inspirational?
My fondest memory was taking Quantitative Analysis I (at the time) with Dr. Elizabeth Graddy! Her passion for data and the ability to interpret data accurately has always stayed with me.