SPRINGFIELD, Mo.- Katie Towns has served as acting director of the Springfield-Greene County Health Department for the past five months but has now been officially selected as the director.
Springfield City Manager Jason Gage formally selected Towns to the position Friday. Towns took over the duties as acting health director after Clay Goddard moved on to the Missouri Foundation for Health at the end of February.
“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.
According to a press release, Towns has served many roles with the Health Department and 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 mental health needs assessment for the community resulted in additional resources and improved care for individuals with mental health concerns.
“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.”