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 2019–2020: Patricia Sweeney

Patricia Sweeney, JD, MPH, RN has served as the Health Commissioner for the Mahoning County District Board of Health since 2012. In this role Ms. Sweeney and a staff of 68 public health nurses, sanitarians, health educators, dieticians and professional support staff endeavor to improve the health and well-being of Mahoning County’s 230,000 residents by monitoring community health status; diagnosing and investigating health hazards; informing, educating, and empowering residents about health issues; and mobilizing community partnerships to identify and solve health problems.

Prior to joining the Health Department Ms. Sweeney was an Assistant Professor at the University of Pittsburgh Graduate School of Public Health where she taught public health law and ethics courses, directed the school’s JD/MPH program and secured grant funding from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the National Science Foundation, Pfizer, Inc., the Robert Woods Johnson Foundation and more, to conduct public health law research analyzing the impact of law and ethics upon public health outcomes. At Pitt Ms. Sweeney also served as the Associate Director for Law and Policy at the Center for Public Health Practice. In that role she worked extensively with state and national organizations to enhance legal preparedness for public health emergencies. Ms. Sweeney earned a Bachelor of Science in Nursing from Youngstown State University, a Juris Doctorate from the University of Pittsburgh School of Law and a Master of Public Health from the University of Pittsburgh Graduate School of Public Health.  In addition, she holds a certificate in the Advanced Study of Health Law from the University of Pittsburgh School of Law. Ms. Sweeney has served as a community health nurse and a local, state and national population health advocate for 40 years. 

During her career she has received numerous awards including being designated a Bitonti College of Health and Human Services Nursing Alumna of the year, a University of Pittsburgh Faculty Scholar, a National Public Health Leadership Balderson Award, a Pfizer Foundation Public Health Scholar, an Ohio State University Champion of Public Health and most recently receiving a national Kresge Foundation Emerging Leaders in Public Health Award.