Discovery Spotlight

Colleen McLaughlin, Chair, Dept. of Population Health Sciences

Colleen McLaughlin, Chair, Dept. of Population Health Sciences

Walk into the office of Colleen McLaughlin, Ph.D., and certain things strike you immediately – an array of multi-colored post-it notes affixed to the wall, figurines of a tortoise and hare placed conspicuously on her desk, and a sign that says, “Culture eats strategy for lunch.”

Dr. McLaughlin joined the College in February 2017 as the founding chair of the Department of Population Health Sciences. Prior to coming to ACPHS, she spent 25 years at the New York State Department of Health (DOH) where she worked in multiple bureaus of the department including the Bureau of Sexually Transmitted Disease Prevention and Epidemiology, the Office of Primary Care and Health Systems Management, and the Bureau of Cancer Epidemiology.

“I strongly believe that cultures don’t just happen, they are formed,” she says. “It starts with how people treat each other, how they communicate, and how they lead. It’s important to me that the faculty members here feel like they are part of a community, not simply members of a department.”

The Department of Population Health Sciences is home to the B.S. in Public Health (introduced in 2016) and the M.S. in Health Outcomes Research and Informatics, two programs with natural synergies that haven’t been fully tapped.

“Prior to my arrival, the faculty did an excellent job of developing and launching these two academic programs, which are still relatively new,” says Dr. McLaughlin. “I’m looking to build upon the foundation they have established by adding what I have learned through my experiences in the workplace. Together, we will ensure that our students graduate with the skills needed to excel in the field of public health.”