Amherst names Jennifer Brown new health director

  • Amherst Town Hall GAZETTE FILE PHOTO

Staff Writer
Monday, November 22, 2021

AMHERST — Jennifer Brown, Amherst’s public health nurse, will be the town’s new health director, subject to review by the Town Council.

Town Manager Paul Bockelman announced Nov. 9 that Brown, who has been the temporary health director since the departure of Emma Dragon in July, would be named to the permanent role.

In a statement, Bockelman praised Brown’s strong medical background and ongoing work to vaccinate residents against COVID-19.

“She has been on the front lines in the town during the COVID-19 pandemic, working with first responders to provide vaccinations to the Amherst community, along with the many other responsibilities of the town’s Health Department,” Bockelman said.

In her interviews, Brown spoke to a commitment to developing staff capacity and their skills, and observed how disparities in public health have been apparent during the pandemic.

Brown said she hopes to build on work already done by the town and the Board of Health, such as the focus on racism as a public health crisis and a community-centered commitment to reduce health disparities. “Of course, a priority focus will be to continue to vaccinate those residents who are not vaccinated, and provide third and booster shots who need them,” Brown said.

Brown has worked for Amherst since 2012, at first dividing her time as nurse between Amherst and Northampton. She also has experience working as a medical professional in hospitals such as Baystate Medical Center in Springfield, South Coast Hospital in New Bedford, New England Medical Center in Boston and New York Hospital in New York.

She holds a bachelor’s degree in nursing from Boston University and a master’s degree in nursing science from the University of Massachusetts.