Featured Alumni Profiles

Karen Denard Goldman

PhD '92, Health Education

After graduating from Beloit College in 1971 with a degree in French literature, Karen Denard Goldman found herself working in a hospital as a clinic coordinator. She took the job to pay the bills, but became increasingly engaged. "I began translating into everyday language what the physicians and nurses were saying to the patients and their family members," she remembers. "Then I'd advocate for clarification or different kinds of interventions on behalf of the patients." Goldman was working as a health educator but she didn't yet know it.

It wasn't until she moved to
New York several years later that she discovered such a profession existed. "I was in a library trying to figure out what I would do with my life," she explains. "I reached for a school catalogue and it fell open to Health Education." She enrolled in Hunter College's School of Health Sciences and received an MS in 1980. That same year she entered NYU's doctoral program in Health Education.

As she pursued her doctorate, she funded her studies by teaching as an adjunct instructor at Hunter. She also worked in the field. "I knew I eventually wanted to teach at the college level, but I wouldn't dare do it without having the practical knowledge that came from working in my profession." This philosophy led her to such positions as program director for the New York Lung Association, director of training for the New York City Department of Health Bureau of Public Health Education, and director of program development for The Greater New York March of Dimes.

Goldman received her PhD in 1992 and since that time she has taught full time at
Hunter College, The University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey, Rutgers University and Lehman College. She has been teaching as an adjunct associate professor in health studies at NYU since Fall 2000 and holding increasingly more prestigious appointments within her profession. From 2001-2002 she was president of the National Society for Public Health Education, the only autonomous non-profit international organization serving public health educators. In February of this year, Goldman was appointed Assistant Commissioner for Citywide Personnel Development within the Department of Citywide Administrative Services. The Bureau provides training and career management services to all City employees. "We have a major facility – the Citywide Training Center – where we do managerial, administrative, computer, procurement, auditing, and clerical training – “offering a wonderful array of employee training and career development services to City employees."

Goldman attributes a good deal of her success to finding "great role models at NYU, including the legendary human sexuality educator Mary Calderone. But it was the day-to-day guidance of faculty members Alyson Taub and Marion Hamburg that made all the difference," she offers. "As I was growing in the field, I looked to these women. They were doing exactly what I wanted to do: taking leadership roles in organizations. I could go to them and talk about what they were experiencing. I'm very proud of the relationships I forged with these leaders of my profession while at NYU."