What’s Next for the Class of 2013: Kathleen Crowley

Kathleen Crowley, MPH ‘91, DrPH ‘13

Kathleen_CrowleyI am the Associate Vice President for Environmental Health and Safety at Columbia University. Our vision statement is that EH&S provides expert guidance and timely service to the University Community through our commitment to health and safety. Employing best practices and collaboration, and by building long term relationships, we promote a productive and safety conscious work environment. EH&S is committed to establishing and maintaining a healthful and safe work environment for our faculty, staff, students, neighbors and surrounding communities. Through the recognition, evaluation, and control of personal and environmental hazards, the University strives to eliminate individual risk and the environmental impact of its activities.

I’m a clinician by training, and I spent the first 15 or 20 years working in a hospital setting, most recently at NewYork-Presbyterian. During this time, I decided to pursue a Masters in Public Health at Columbia. My degree really opened both my eyes and doors for me. My studies expanded my skills and my role at the hospital, both administratively and professionally. If I didn’t have my MPH and the course work associated, I would not have advanced in my career today.

One of the many wonderful things about the Mailman School of Public Health is that your classmates come from varying backgrounds—professional backgrounds, different parts of the world, different cultural experiences. It’s a real melting pot. When I finished my MPH in 1991, I actually went through withdrawal. While I was glad to have accomplished my MPH, I remember really missing the classroom experience.

When I returned to the Mailman School for the doctoral program in EHS, my children were in middle and high school, and involved in their studies and outside activities (sports, music, scouting). We could study together. My daughter has since graduated from college and joined me when I walked in Commencement on May 21. My son will be graduating college next year. It has all come together. Balancing school, family and career is just that—a balance. It takes a combination of support from family along with communication and organizational skills. But it can be done successfully and with grace.

Having been a student here in the late 80s and 90s and again in the 21st Century, I have seen how the School has evolved to become more student-centered with networks and support systems. Dean Linda Fried does a remarkable job making students feel welcome, at home, and comfortable. And the curriculum just gets better all the time. I’m very proud for being a graduate of the Mailman School of Public Health and to have been able to take what I’ve learned here and bring it back to my workplace.

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