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Student & Alumni Achievements

Student & Alumni Achievements

BU Alumna Named Healthy Policy Champion

Boston University School of Public Health (BUSPH) alumna Ms. Brandi Harless, who currently serves as the mayor of Paducah, Kentucky, has been named a Healthy Kentucky Policy Champion by the Foundation for a Healthy Kentucky for her leadership toward enacting a stronger smoke-free ordinance in the city.

The award recognizes individuals and organizations working to improve the health of Kentuckians through policy change.

Mayor Harless is now eligible for the Healthy Kentucky Policy Champion of the Year Award, which includes a $5,000 grant from the foundation to a Kentucky-based nonprofit of the winner’s choice. The winner will be announced on September 24 at the foundation’s Howard L. Bost Memorial Health Policy Forum in Lexington, Kentucky.

“I am honored to receive the recognition from the foundation,” Mayor Harless says. “It was a community effort, and I am thankful to be on the team working towards better health in my hometown.”

Mr. Michael Muscarella, executive director of ambulatory services at Baptist Health Paducah, nominated Mayor Harless for the award. He says that Mayor Harless worked with several organizations to strengthen Paducah’s existing smoke-free law for years before she was elected mayor, and that she helped communicate evidence-based health messages to the city council and to the public.

“Our coalitions could not have done this without Mayor Harless’ wisdom and keen sense of timing,” Mr. Muscarella says.

A Paducah native, Mayor Harless has previously worked in community development, grant writing, management, and research, including a stint as a research assistant at Harvard University serving in Sierra Leone, West Africa. After earning her MPH at BUSPH, Mayor Harless returned to Paducah in 2009, where she became the CEO and co-founder of the automated preventive medicine company PreventScripts. She was elected mayor in November 2016.

“My degree in public health has shaped the way I see my role as mayor,” Mayor Harless says. “Local government represents diverse groups of people, and public health taught me how to appreciate that when trying to solve problems.”

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