Interview with Karen Hopkins of the New York State Department of Health, Bureau of Women, Infant and Adolescent Health

This quarter, the NYS COE is pleased to highlight Karen Hopkins, a familiar and ever-helpful member of the New York State Department of Health (NYS DOH) Comprehensive Family Planning and Reproductive Health Care Services Program team. We sat down with Karen to ask her a few questions about herself and her role at NYS DOH.

What is your role with the New York State Comprehensive Family Planning and Reproductive Health Care Services Program?
My primary responsibility with NYS DOH's Family Planning Program is to provide contract management assistance to our grant funded agencies, which includes reviewing contract documents, program monitoring reports, and performance management data reports. I also oversee the work of our Regional Family Planning Benefit Program (FPBP) Coordinators, which involves close collaboration with staff from the NYS DOH Office of Health Insurance Programs; work on projects related to health education and outreach initiatives; and keeping track of anything related to the 340B Drug Pricing Program. Of course, there are also projects, reports, or requests related to our role as a Title X grantee that the Family Planning Program team responds to.

You certainly keep busy! Tell us a little bit about your background and how you prepared for your current role.
I have a Bachelor of Science in Education from SUNY Cortland with some additional heath education graduate courses. I began my professional career as a physical education and health teacher, and then moved on to working at a major health insurance company designing employee wellness programs and working for a Medicare Managed Care organization. Now, I'm with the NYS DOH Family Planning Program. I like to say that I’ve traveled a life course in my career, working with all ages--children, adolescents, adults, and seniors.

What do you like most about your job?
Although I’ve had 10 years with the Family Planning Program, I’m still learning new things and the program continues to evolve, which is exciting and stimulating. I also enjoy the opportunity to communicate with the people in our funded agencies to hear about their many successes. There are so many inspired, dedicated people across the State, who are the heart of this program.

What are your interests outside of work?
I try to make sure that I get my “10,000 steps” every day. I have three granddaughters who, fortunately, don’t live too far from me, so I can easily be convinced to spend quality time with them (always a lot of steps). I also live in a century-old Victorian house. Ask anyone who lives in an old house how they spend their time!