HCN News & Notes

Helen Caulton-Harris to Receive Honorary Degree at Bay Path Commencement

LONGMEADOW — Bay Path University will hold its 126th Commencement on Sunday, May 7 at 2 p.m. at the MassMutual Center in Springfield. At the commencement, the university will bestow a doctor of humane letters degree to Helen Caulton-Harris.

For more than 25 years, Caulton-Harris has been the leader of the health and human-services infrastructure for the city of Springfield. She is the commissioner of Health and Human Services for the city, the first Black woman to hold that title. In that capacity, she is responsible for administrative oversight of four city departments, including Veterans, Elder Affairs, the Thomas J. O’Connor Animal Control Shelter, and Libraries. She is also responsible for the direct supervision of the Springfield Department of Health and Human Services and Health Services for the Homeless, a federally funded health center.

She has played a prominent role in developing policy for the health and human-services needs of underserved populations on the local and national level. As a testament to her public policy work, she has received numerous awards, including the AIDS Action Award from the Action Committee and the Rebecca Lee Award from the Harvard School of Public Health.

In addition, her efforts in response to the COVID-19 public-health crisis, as well as her consistent communications and her collaboration across public-health entities at the community, state, and national level, have earned her many accolades, including being named a Healthcare Hero by BusinessWest and the Healthcare News in 2022 in the category of Lifetime Achievement.