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Karen Butler is new COO at NEON Health Center

James W. Wade III | 6/11/2014, 10:27 a.m.
Prior to this appointment, Butler served as the Commissioner of Health for the City of Cleveland and supervised all of ...
Karen Butler

Karen K. Butler was appointed to the position of Chief Operating Officer for Northeast Ohio Neighborhood Health Services, Inc. (NEON). She brings a wealth of experience in operations management, public administration, health service delivery, provider relations, organizational development, public health, program planning, budgeting and financial analysis, health policy, community relations, grants management, health center operations, strategic planning and staff development.

NEON is a nonprofit community healthcare with seven locations headed by Mr. Willie F. Austin, who serves as president and CEO. Established in 1967, it is the largest and oldest Federally Qualified Health Center system in the Greater Cleveland area.

Butler previously served as the director of the Cleveland Department of Public Health (CDPH) under the leadership of Mayor Frank G. Jackson. In this capacity, she managed a $19 million total budget supplemented by more than $14 million in grant funds. Butler directed the Divisions of Environment, Health, Air Quality and Administration, which work to ensure the health and well-being of Cleveland residents by improving access to health care, promoting healthy behavior, protecting the environment, preventing disease, monitoring air pollution and enforcing health codes.

Under Butler’s leadership, CDPH received three national awards for excellence in health literacy innovation for its Pandemic Flu Awareness Campaign, was recognized nationally for its implementation of the Text4Baby Program (a free mobile information service that provides timely health information to pregnant women and new moms), received national recognition for its Lead Safe Living Campaign, and was recognized by the federal Baywatch Program for excellence in regional coordination.

CDPH was also honored by Mayor Frank Jackson as the Most Improved Department for Employee Health and Safety.

Under Butler, the CDPH helped launch the Healthy Cleveland Initiative; obtained Title X funding to expand reproductive health services; established new Teen Wellness Clinics targeting the health needs of Cleveland’s youth; launched a weekly public health talk show which Ms. Butler hosted; automated the day care licensing process; provided access to free medical care through the city’s first-ever affiliation with the MedWorks Network; processed a record number of asbestos notifications (1,409) while transitioning to a new Ohio EPA asbestos program and facilitated the restoration of primary health care services at the Miles-Broadway Health Center in partnership with NEON.

Prior to this appointment, Butler served as the Commissioner of Health for the City of Cleveland and supervised all of the programs and services within the Division of Health including health promotion and disease prevention, health center operations, emergency preparedness, maternal and child health services, communicable disease surveillance and control, biostatistics, HIV/AIDS education and prevention, mental health and substance abuse treatment, immunizations, birth and death certificates and the Cleveland Office of Minority Health.

Butler has the unique distinction of serving twice as the Commissioner of Health for the City of Cleveland under the leadership of two Cleveland Mayors – Mayor Frank G. Jackson and Mayor Michael R. White.

Butler previously served as the vice president and chief operating officer for Total Care, Inc., a Medicaid managed care plan in Syracuse, N.Y; was the director of the Southeast Health Center and was appointed as an executive vice president of Total Health Care Plan, Inc.