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City Manager Jason Gage has formally selected Katie Towns as director of health for Springfield-Greene County effective July 18. Towns has served as acting director the past five months, following the departure of Clay Goddard. She has served as operational lead in responding to the COVID-19 pandemic locally, and has provided regional consultation and coordination.

"Over the years, Katie has been a highly skilled leader for the health department. She has also done a terrific job in the acting director role and carries with her the highest level of confidence from our community healthcare providers. I am very excited to name Katie Towns as the next Springfield-Greene County Director of Health," Gage said.

Towns has been with Springfield-Greene County Health Department in the role of assistant director since 2015 and previously served as public information administrator, chronic disease administrator and in a variety of other roles in the community promoting health and safety. She helped lead Springfield's efforts to restrict indoor smoking and later to get a local Tobacco 21 bill passed, which made it illegal for a retailer to sell any tobacco product—including cigarettes, cigars, and e-cigarettes—to anyone under 21. Towns also has a passion for improving mental health and her role in coordinating a regionwide mental health needs assessment for the community resulted in additional resources and improved care for individuals with mental health concerns.

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"I fell in love with this work because the basis of public health is to make life the best it can be," Towns said. "We do that by creating a community that is healthy and full of people who have the best quality of life possible. This past year and a half have been full of strife, but overcoming these challenges is how we will learn, grow, and ultimately get better. I moved to this community when I began college, and I've loved it ever since. I am honored to serve in this role alongside the greatest team of public health professionals you will ever know. Eventually, we will emerge from this pandemic, and I am sure that we will be stronger than we ever have been before."

Towns' education includes a Master's Degree in Public Health and a Bachelor's Degree in Sport Medicine/Athletic Training from Missouri State University. She is a graduate of the Missouri Foundation for Health – Health Leadership Fellow program and Leadership Springfield.

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Towns is currently a member of the Missouri Women's Health Council and has served on the Missouri State University Master's of Public Health Advisory Council and Master's of Public Health Accreditation Self Study Committee since 2009.

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For more information, contact Cora Scott at 417-380-3352 or [email protected]

Filed Under: Government, City

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