Who will lead Milford’s Health Department? Search for director to begin soon

MILFORD — After nearly three years on the job, Director of Public Health Jacquelyn Murphy has resigned, and town health officials will soon begin their search for someone to take up the mantle.

Murphy, who holds a doctorate in public health, submitted her letter of resignation to the Board of Health on May 31, marking her last day on June 17. She had led the Health Department since September 2019, coming to Milford by way of the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment, the Daily News previously reported.

“I am endlessly grateful for the Board of Health team and the unforgettable experiences I have had in Milford during the global COVID-19 pandemic,” Murphy wrote in her letter, a copy of which the Daily News obtained.

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The pandemic highlighted longstanding public health challenges — including a lack of affordable housing — and exacerbated others, such as mental health and substance abuse issues, she said.

“However, as with all of life’s difficult seasons, I was humbled to bear witness to the most generous, determined and kind-hearted people,” Murphy continued. “When everything felt unfamiliar at the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, recent and longtime Milfordians still dedicated their time and talent to helping each other.”

She added: “Working creatively and collaboratively alongside some of these residents, other town departments, and local partner organizations has been one of the greatest honors of my life.”

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Murphy, who did not immediately return a request for comment, offered to help with wrapping up responsibilities and training other team members during the department’s transition.

Board of Health member Paul Mazzuchelli, who helmed the Health Department for nearly 42 years before retreating in 2019, said Murphy had gotten an offer to teach public health at the college level.

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The Board of Health will advertise to fill the position soon, said Mazzuchelli, who also sits on the Select Board. He said there is also a vacant health inspector position to fill.

However, Mazzuchelli said it can take a while to find candidates for local health department vacancies, noting that recent searches in Framingham and Natick each took several months.

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“It’s a tough position,” he said.

Milford’s diversity — both in population and types of businesses — and the presence of Milford Regional Medical Center make it “a pretty unique town,” he added.

Likely, the town will look for someone who has public health experience and is ready to hit the ground running, Mazzuchelli said.

“Milford isn’t really a training ground,” he added.

This article originally appeared on The Milford Daily News: Milford health director search: Officials will soon seek candidates

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