Public Health Leader in Residence

A Resource for MPH Students’ Professional and Career Development

The public health leader-in-residence (PHLIR) enhances MPH students’ contact with and knowledge about the world of practice.

Anticipated Activities

  • One or two career development group meetings (e.g. with mock interviews) with students
  • One or two lunch and learn lectures by the PHLIR regarding leadership, professional development and public health practice
  • Individual career counseling meetings as requested
  • The PHLIR is an ex officio member of the National Advisory Committee (NAC) and will participate in the NAC annual meeting
  • Meetings with the faculty and the PHLIR will be scheduled in order to bring the curriculum and research closer to the needs of the practice world

Minimize 2022–2023: Carolyn Byrnes

CAROLYN BYRNES 090722Carolyn Byrnes, MPH, CPH is a Senior Advisor to the Secretary of Health and Physician General for Pennsylvania. She has served as a Senior Advisor since 2018, and previously as Special Assistant to the Secretary of Health. Since joining the Pennsylvania Department of Health in 2015 Ms. Byrnes has worked on a myriad of public health issues, including improving maternal and child health, addressing health equity issues, and responding to the opioid epidemic and COVID-19 pandemic. Her efforts to improve maternal health include Act 24 of 2018 establishing the Pennsylvania Maternal Mortality Review Committee (MMRC), securing millions in federal funding to support the MMRC, and establishing Pennsylvania as a member of the Alliance for Innovation in Maternal Health.

Prior to her time at the department, Ms. Byrnes worked as a Clinical Research Associate at Roswell Park Cancer Institute’s Department of Cancer Prevention and Control in Buffalo, NY, managing the daily operations of a clinical trial from 2012 to 2015.

She currently serves as a member of Pennsylvania MMRC, the Pennsylvania Perinatal Quality Collaborative Advisory Board and Policy Group, the Pennsylvania State Board of Medicine, the Pennsylvania Osteopathic Board of Medicine, the Pennsylvania Medical Marijuana Advisory Board, and the Pennsylvania Lyme and Other Tickborne Diseases Interagency Workgroup.

Ms. Byrnes received her Master of Public Health in Epidemiology from the University of Pittsburgh, and her Bachelor of Science in Biology from Loyola University Chicago. She is certified in Public Health by the National Board of Public Health Examiners. 

Minimize 2020–2022: Jason Orcena


Jason E. Orcena is the health commissioner of the Union County Health Department in Marysville, Ohio—a position he has held since 2008.  Prior to assuming this position, Dr. Orcena served as the division director for the Department’s Division of Health Education and Community Partnerships. He currently serves on the Board of Directors for the Health Policy Institute of Ohio, the Local Public Health Services Collaborative, LLC, and the Association of Ohio Health Commissioners, where he has also served as president. Dr. Orcena is an active member of the National Association of City/County Health Officials, serving on their Public Health Transformation Workgroup. He is a lecturer at The Ohio State University and his research interests include the governance and funding of public health. Most recently, he worked on Ohio’s new Public Health Alert Advisory System, a COVID-19 risk communication system.  Dr. Orcena received his Doctor of Public Health from the University of Illinois at Chicago (2015) and also holds a Masters of Arts in sociology (1999) and a Bachelor of Arts in psychology (1995). He is supported by Alycia, his partner of 25 years, and their two sons—Ben and Nicholas.

Maximize 2019–2020: Patricia Sweeney