Karyn Clark

First Female Director of Public Health for the City of Worcester

The biggest thing about public health is [that] it’s complicated. It’s really a huge topic. It can be anything from West Nile Virus and mosquitos that are biting people to our homeless population. There's a lot of folks that have Hepatitis A so we’re trying to vaccinate them. To flu shots, to medical marijuana dispensaries, to doing food inspections, to preparing for emergencies. So it’s very broad and it’s so interesting and all of the people that I get to work with are so committed to making sure that our residents and our community, and really the region [itself], really has the best possible public health services provided to them and their families.

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Karyn Clark was born in 1974 in Lancaster, Massachusetts and later raised in Leominster, Massachusetts. She went to Framingham State College for her Bachelor’s degree in Psychology and a Master’s in Counseling Psychology. She later put that career path aside after she met her mentor, Jill Dagilis, who saw a great deal of potential in her and gave her the exposure to the field of public health. She fell in love with the field as she started working in the field in 2000. With many years of hard work, she became the first female Director of Public Health for the City of Worcester. She has also decided to go back to school and get her Master’s in Public Health as it would help her in her position as director. Although she is not from the Worcester area, she has grown to love the city as if it was her second home and is excited to see all the changes and improvements that the city has to offer. In her interview, Karyn reflects on the major accomplishes that she has made for the city, such as getting national public health accreditation, having an Academic Health Collaborative and improving the Community Health Improvement Plan. She not only reflects on the importance of her mentor, but also reflects on the need for equal access to quality healthcare, equality for women, and overall, a better future for the Worcester community. Being grateful for the opportunities she was given, she wants to give back by being a mentor herself in order to give other women the same tools that were presented to her for success.

Interview Date: 
October 3, 2018
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