Kathleen MacVarish, MS

Associate Professor of the Practice, Environmental Health
Kathleen MacVarish
(617) 358-4076kmacvar@bu.edu
Talbot – 220E
View full profile at BUMC


Kathleen oversees the workforce development programs of the Activist Lab at the Boston University School of Public Health and has a faculty appointment in the Environmental Health department. She teaches MPH courses that focus on environmental health, community engagement, and public health preparedness and develops and delivers online, classroom, and blended trainings for the public health workforce. Kathleen is Principal Investigator (PI) for the Local Public Health Institute of MA, co-PI for the School Health Institute for Education and Leadership Development, and director of the Massachusetts Local Performance Site of the New England Public Health Training Center. A number of workforce development programs and courses under her direction have received state and national recognition for innovation, impact, and best practices. Kathleen was a local Board of Health Agent in Massachusetts for 15 years and also directed local tobacco control programs and worked as a Sanitarian/Inspector in California and New York. She has been a Registered Sanitarian since 1986 and currently holds national (Registered Environmental Health Specialist) and state (Registered Sanitarian) credentials. She received a BS in Food Science from Cornell University and an MS in Environmental Studies from UMass Lowell. In 2012 she graduated from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Environmental Public Health Leadership Institute and in 2016 she matriculated in the MEd Instructional Design program at UMass Boston. Kathleen’s professional activities have included a variety of appointed and elected positions in national and state associations. She serves by Governor appointment as chair of the MA Board of Registration of Sanitarians. She is a past-president of the Massachusetts Health Officers Association and currently serves as co-chair of their education committee. She is a former executive board member of the Massachusetts Environmental Health Association and an active member of its parent organization, the National Environmental Health Association (NEHA). Kathleen served as a site visitor for the Council on Education for Public Health and peer reviewer for the Journal of Environmental Health. She also served on a work group and a think tank for the Public Health Accreditation Board and on a NEHA and International Food Protection Training Institute committee to develop the retail food curriculum within the Food and Drug Administration framework for professional food safety education. Kathleen’s work with the Activist Lab allows us to build and improve the specialized and strategic competencies of students and public health workers who are (or will be) on the front lines delivering essential public health services.


  • University of Massachusetts Lowell, MS
  • Cornell University, BS

Classes Taught

  • SPHPH712


  • Published on 10/5/2017

    MacVarish K, Kenefick H, Fidler A, Cohen B, Orellana Y, Todd K. Building Professionalism Through Management Training: New England Public Health Training Center's Low-Cost, High-Impact Model. J Public Health Manag Pract. 2017 Oct 05. PMID: 28991053.

    Read at: PubMed
  • Published on 3/15/2014

    Worden Kenefick, Hope MSW, PhD; Ravid Sharon MPH; MacVarish, Kathleen REHS/RS, MS; Tsoi, Jennifer MPH; Weill, Kenny MS; Faye, Elizabeth BS; Fidler, Anne MS, ScD. On Your Time: Online Training for the Public Health Workforce. Health Promotion Practice. 2014; Suppl 1(15):48S - 55S.

    Read at: Custom
  • Published on 3/1/2014

    Kenefick HW, Ravid S, MacVarish K, Tsoi J, Weill K, Faye E, Fidler A. On your time: online training for the public health workforce. Health Promot Pract. 2014 Mar; 15(1 Suppl):48S-55S. PMID: 24578365.

    Read at: PubMed
  • Published on 11/1/2012

    Hyde J, Arsenault L, Waggett J, Mills B, Cox H, MacVarish K, Fried L. Structural and organizational characteristics associated with performance of essential public health services in small jurisdictions: findings from a statewide study in Massachusetts. J Public Health Manag Pract. 2012 Nov; 18(6):585-94. PMID: 23023284.

    Read at: PubMed
  • Published on 1/1/2010

    MacVarish K, Moultrup D, Ward SJ. Meeting the environmental health training challenges of the local public health workforce in Massachusetts. J Environ Health. 2010 Jan-Feb; 72(6):50-2. PMID: 20104835.

    Read at: PubMed

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