The mission of the Academic Health Collaborative of Worcester is to foster collaboration between the Worcester Division of Public Health, UMass Memorial Health, and academic partners to improve community health and develop public health research and practice leaders.


The vision is to deploy, share, and leverage the resources of the region’s health and academic institutions to make Greater Worcester the healthiest region in New England by 2020.


In the spring of 2014, the Worcester Division of Public Health entered into a formal Memorandum of Understanding with Clark University to establish Center for Public Health Practice (CPHP). Similar MOUs were extended to Worcester State University and The University of Massachusetts Medical School. The Center, now known as the Academic Health Collaborative of Worcester (AHC-W) assists the WDPH and key community stakeholders with the development and implementation of various public health programs and interventions while developing a potential pipeline of public health professionals.

The model is a simple one: Students work closely with faculty to create a study or project from initial design, to data gathering, to reporting. Deliverables are co-designed by faculty and WDPH staff to advance the work of the WDPH. To allow for knowledge to be used and built upon, and to minimize research fatigue, this unique model is designed to respond to public health needs efficiently, collaboratively and in a sustainable manner. The AHC-W aims to increase the public’s awareness on health and wellness, and increase participation in the work of all of WDPH’s service areas.

Student engagement and experiences are tailored to address identified WDPH health improvement, environmental health, grant and programmatic needs, thereby ensuring that essential elements and domains of the Division’s Strategic Plan are addressed and implemented. WDPH staff and key community stakeholders, in concert with area academic faculty, serve as the foundation for the AHC-W and foster an academic environment for lecture, research, practice and sharing.


Karyn Clark: Director, Worcester Division of Public Health/ Central MA Regional Public Health Alliance

Dr. Michael Hirsh: Medical Director, Worcester Division of Public Health/Central MA Regional Public Health Alliance

Colleen Bolen: Deputy Director, WDPH/CMRPHA

Alexis Travis: Chief of Community Health, WDPH/CMRPHA

Cassandra Andersen: Manager of Strategic Partnerships, WDPH/CMRPHA

James Gomes: Director, Mosakowski Institute, Clark University

Kolawole Akindele: Senior Director, Community & Government Relations, UMass Medical School

Suzanne Cashman: Professor, UMass Medical School

Heather-Lyn Haley: AHC-W Consultant, UMass Medical School

Linda Larrivee: Dean of Education, Health, and Natural Sciences, Worcester State University

Cheryl Hersperger: Assistant Professor, Worcester State University

Monica Lowell: Vice President, Department of Community Relations, UMass Memorial Health Care

Visit our website: Academic Health Collaborative of Worcester




Worcester DPH  |  25 Meade Street  |  Worcester, MA  01610