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Director of Public Health

Karen K. Butler was appointed as the Director of the Cleveland Department of Public Health under the leadership of Mayor Frank G. Jackson. In this capacity, she manages a $19 million general fund budget supplemented by more than $14 million in grant funds. Butler oversees the Divisions of Environment, Health, Air Quality and Administration, which work to ensure the health and wellbeing of Cleveland residents by improving access to health care, promoting healthy behavior, protecting the environment, preventing disease, monitoring air pollution and enforcing health codes.

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.

Prior to re-joining the Cleveland Department of Public Health in January, 2008, Butler served as the Vice President and Chief Operating Officer for Total Care, Inc., a Medicaid managed care plan in Syracuse, N.Y. Her responsibilities included planning, directing, marketing and maintaining managed care programs; managing provider relations, overseeing utilization review programs and ensuring compliance with all laws and regulations.

Butler also served as the Director of the Southeast Health Center, a community–based medical center operated by Northeast Ohio Neighborhood Health Services, Inc. She was also appointed as the Executive Vice President of Total Health Care Plan, Inc., a local Medicaid managed care plan. Additionally, she was responsible for generating the utilization and financial indicators for the Greater Cleveland Hospital Association; served in the Division of Public Affairs at the Cleveland Clinic Foundation; and as the Program Director for the American Red Cross.

Butler earned a master’s degree in Health Care Administration from the University of Cincinnati, Ohio and a bachelor’s degree from Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland, Ohio.

She has been involved in several civic and professional organizations such as the American Public Health Association, the Association of Ohio Health Commissioners, the National Association of County & City Health Officials, the Ohio Public Health Association, and the Ohio Association of Boards of Health. Additionally, Butler serves as an adjunct instructor at Case Western Reserve University in the Department of Epidemiology and Biostatistics.

Butler was honored for her outstanding contributions by the City of Cleveland’s 2009 Women’s History Month Committee and by the Call and Post newspaper as one of Cleveland’s most influential leaders in the health/medical field for 2008. She was also selected among the Top 40 leaders in Cleveland by Kaleidoscope magazine. Butler was designated as one of Cleveland’s Top 10 Community Leaders by the National Council of Negro Women, Inc., and selected as an “Outstanding Young Woman of America” honoree. Additionally, she received the ward of Excellence for dedicated service and leadership from the National Forum for Black Public Health Administrators.

Department of Public Health
Karen Butler, Director
75 Erieview Plaza, 2nd Floor
Cleveland, Ohio 44114

P: 216.664.2324
F: 216.664.2197
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We are committed to improving the quality of life in the City of Cleveland by strengthening our neighborhoods, delivering superior services, embracing the diversity of our citizens, and making Cleveland a desirable, safe city in which to live, work, raise a family, shop, study, play and grow old.


– City of Cleveland