The role of Jan Carney, M.D., M.P.H., was recently expanded to associate dean for public health and health policy and senior advisor to the dean at the Larner College of Medicine. Larner Medicine caught up with her for a quick chat about her past and current work in public health. Dr. Carney is currently the program director for UVM’s popular Master of Public Health online program.
Larner Medicine: Why are you so passionate about public health?
Dr. Jan Carney: Many of the diseases we see as physicians, including several chronic conditions, are preventable and linked to such behaviors as tobacco, alcohol or drug use, poor nutrition or sedentary behavior. Helping to make even a small improvement in that behavior can have a beneficial impact on many people. I have seen this happen and it is immensely gratifying.
Larner Medicine: You served as Vermont’s Commissioner of Health from 1989 to 2003, launched the College’s Master of Public Health (MPH) online program, and have served as a leader at UVM and nationally. What accomplishments and activities are you most proud of?
Dr. Jan Carney: During my tenure as Commissioner, Vermont improved access to prenatal care and health insurance for pregnant women; further expanded health insurance for Vermont children; and we implemented policy initiatives to help prevent young people from using tobacco products. We also created a cancer registry and made breast and cervical cancer screening accessible.
At UVM, I worked with other faculty and UVM Continuing and Distance Education to develop the online Master of Public Health program to bring the science and practice of public health to more people. As part of the Northern New England Clinical and Translational Research (NNE-CTR) network, I’m working with colleagues to promote rural research and ultimately improve the health of the rural residents of our states. I’m also proud of my past service on the American College of Physicians national Health and Public Policy Committee.
Larner Medicine: In this expanded role, what do you see as opportunities and top priorities for the College of Medicine looking forward?
Dr. Jan Carney: Many of today’s health issues connect medicine and public health, and I want our students to have the benefit of this perspective. Advocating for evidence-based health policy is critically important for patients and the public and can lead to such achievements as improving access to health care, addressing social determinants of health, and preventing drug misuse and addiction. I would like to see the Larner College of Medicine play a greater role in shaping health policy, especially through our national professional organizations, like AAMC.
Read more about Dr. Carney.
This story was originally posted by Larner College of Medicine.