St. Lawrence County Health Department receives highest Clarkson University community service award

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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 (photo: Clarkson University)

POTSDAM, N.Y. (WWTI) — Leaders of the St. Lawrence County Health Department were honored and recognized by Clarkson University for their efforts during the COVID-19 pandemic.

On October 15, Clarkson University recognized the St. Lawrence County Public Health Department and awarded its highest community service honor, the Bertrand H. Snell Award to the department. This honored former Director Dana McGuire, Ph.D., and Interim Director Jolene Munger, MPH, and was awarded at a reception in their honor co-hosted by Clarkson President Tony Collins and University Trustees.

According to Clarkson, both McGuire and Munger were recognized for leading the county’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic, as they helped guide residents “through unprecedented times while fulfilling the department’s commitments to its other programs.”

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,” Clarkson University President Collins said in a press release. “The knowledge, work ethic and capability to strive for excellence during this health crisis served residents of the county well and saved countless lives.”

Dana McGuire first moved to the North Country in 1998, starting her work as physical therapist for United Helpers. She then studied and taught at Clarkson University where she earned a master’s degree in business administration. 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 in St. Lawrence County, she directed local health department programs and helped lead the county’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic. McGuire then resigned in March 2021.

Jolene Munger is a native of Croghan, New York. She was appointed interim public health director when McGuire resigned after serving as deputy director of public health. She now is helping to lead local vaccination efforts and screening and testing at local school districts.

Prior to joining the health department in 2020, she served for three years as a 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.

Along with McGuire, Munger and the St. Lawrence County Health Department, Clarkson University honored additional community members. This included 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; Betty Little, former New York State Senator; Ellen Rocco, longtime station manager for North Country Public Radio.

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