Clarkson University Honors St. Lawrence County Public Health Department, Former Director Dana McGuire, Ph.D., and Interim Director Jolene Munger with the Bertrand H. Snell Award for Community Service

Clarkson University’s highest community service honor, the Bertrand H. Snell Award, was bestowed upon the St. Lawrence County Public Health Department, including its recent former Director Dana McGuire, Ph.D., and Interim Director Jolene Munger, MPH, at a reception in their honor co-hosted by Clarkson President Tony Collins and University Trustees on October 15, 2021.

From left to right: Dr. Andrew Williams, Dana Olzenak McGuire ’02, Marcella McGuire, Sabrina Fredrick, Chelsea Bice, Pam Charleston, Alexandra Horner, Shannon Beldock, Renae Johnson, Jolene Munger, and Clarkson President Tony Collins

The St. Lawrence County Public Health Department, McGuire and Munger were recognized, in part, for leading the county’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic. Under the direction of then-director McGuire and current interim director Munger, the Department of Public Health helped to guide residents of the country through unprecedented times while fulfilling the department’s commitment to its 17 other programs, including rabies and flu clinics, early intervention referrals and other communicable disease investigations. The department had a hand in nearly every phase of the fight against the pandemic, including coordinating efforts at hospitals, rescue services, schools and colleges.

“The measured and comprehensive manner with which the St. Lawrence County Public Health Department responded to the pandemic cannot be understated. The swift action of the department reflected the invaluable leadership shown by Dana McGuire and Jolene Munger,” said Tony Collins, President of Clarkson University. “The knowledge, work ethic and capability to strive for excellence during this health crisis served residents of the county well and saved countless lives.”

Raised in Minnesota, McGuire first moved to the North Country in 1998, working as a physical therapist for United Helpers. She studied and taught at Clarkson, earning her master’s degree in business administration and serving on the task force for the St. Lawrence Health Initiative. She later earned her doctorate in epidemiology at the University of Rochester in 2015.

After working as an epidemiologist for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta, McGuire returned to the North Country to serve as the county’s public health director. In her role with the St. Lawrence County, McGuire directed local health department programs, activities and grants, and led countywide opioid response efforts. She regularly briefed community stakeholders and the county Board of Legislators on the COVID-19 pandemic. She also led the department’s testing-contact tracing and initial community vaccination efforts. McGuire returned to Clarkson this summer as clinical associate professor of physical therapy.

Munger, a native of Croghan, NY, in Lewis County, was appointed interim public health director when McGuire resigned to take on her new role at Clarkson. She has taken on responsibilities once held by McGuire, which have expanded to include vaccination efforts and screening and testing at local schools.

She is an experienced project manager with a demonstrated history of working in the hospital and health care industry. Prior to joining the public health department in 2020 as deputy director of public health, Munger served for three years as practice transformation program manager at the Adirondack Health Institute in Glens Falls, NY. She also served as DSRIP/population health coordinator for Carthage Area Hospital in Carthage, NY.

A strong business development professional, Munger earned a master’s degree in biological anthropology from the University of Kansas and a second master’s degree in public health from the University of Kansas Medical Center. She received her bachelor’s degree in history and archeology from State University of New York College in Potsdam. She returned to the North Country in 2015.

McGuire, Munger and the department, along with were Garry F. Douglas, long-time President and CEO of the North Country Chamber of Commerce; Kate Fish, retired executive director of the Adirondack North Country Association (ANCA); Betty Little, former New York State Senator; Ellen Rocco, longtime station manager for North Country Public Radio (NCPR) were honored at a ceremony during dinner with the Board of Trustees on October 15 in the Caporali Atrium in Snell Hall on Clarkson University’s Hill Campus. The Bertrand H. Snell award honors Congressman Snell’s service to the community, Clarkson and the nation. It was created by the University’s Board of Trustees in 1981 to assure the remembrance of Clarkson’s patron while recognizing a new generation of leaders who share his commitment to the University’s greater community. Recipients of the award are chosen for their professional, business or educational accomplishments, combined with demonstrated integrity and concern for the community. To learn more about past award recipients, click here:

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