Dr. Townsend has an extensive and diverse public health background, previously serving as a Public Health Sanitarian for the City of Hartford, CT. She has also served as a Project Manager responsible for a Vaccine Response Team for the United Way of Connecticut and as a Project Manager responsible for a COVID Response Team for the Connecticut State Department of Public Health. Her work experience also includes serving as an Assistant Program Manager managing and processing health data and statistics in Lagos, Nigeria, serving as a Public Health Analyst Contractor for Caduceus Healthcare with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention out of Dulles, Virginia, serving as a Laboratory Coordinator for Oglethorpe University in Brookhaven, Georgia, a Peer Reviewing/Editor for SCOPUS/Elsevier out of London, United Kingdom, and as a Program Manager for HIV/AIDS for the Capacity Project in San Jose Costa Rica.
Mayor Sarno stated, “It was great to welcome our new Health and Human Services Deputy Public Health Commissioner Dr. Aretha Townsend. HHS Commissioner Helen Caulton-Harris and I are glad to have Dr. Townsend on board. She is highly qualified and brings a wealth of experience with her impressive resume working with a wide variety of institutions. She truly is a renaissance woman. Her experience, education and passion to helping the community is commendable and I have no doubts that she will serve our residents and business community with distinction. Public health is always important, but sometimes it is taken for granted. This was never more evident than during the COVID-19 pandemic when the realities of health disparities with our underserved populations came to the forefront. Working with HHS Commissioner Helen Caulton-Harris and her dedicated team and all of our community partners, my administration will continue to proactively pursue all programs and initiatives to help close the gap in health disparities in our community, including addressing such issues as food insecurities, mental health outreach, community health centers, Climate Action and Resiliency, and preventative healthcare, just to name a few.”
HHS Commissioner Caulton-Harris states, “I am excited that Dr. Aretha Townsend has accepted the position of Deputy Public Health Commissioner. Dr. Townsend is a strong and capable public health professional who has an impressive work history in the public health field. Her experience working in a wide variety of positions in the public health field will not doubt prove invaluable as she joins our Springfield Department of Health and Human Services. I am confident she will excel in this new role and position.”
Deputy Commissioner Dr. Aretha Townsend stated, “I want to thank Mayor Sarno and Commissioner Helen Caulton-Harris for their vote of confidence in my abilities. I am excited to work together with Commissioner Helen Caulton-Harris, the dedicated city team at the Department of Health and Human Services, all of our community partners, and especially our residents. This is a great opportunity and I believe that my unique experience and background will help me achieve the mission and goals of the Springfield Department of Health and Human Services.”
Townsend holds a PhD in Public Health from Walden University, Masters of Public Health from A.T. Still University, and a Bachelor’s degree in Biology from Western Connecticut State University.