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Springfield, MO

2017 40 Under 40 Honoree: Katie Towns, 38

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As the first female in the assistant director role, Katie Towns navigates a complex health system to advocate for the health of area residents. She’s no stranger to tackling challenging and controversial topics, having been instrumental in forming One Air Alliance, the local coalition to create a comprehensive smoke-free ordinance in the city. The measure passed by a general vote remains one of her proudest accomplishments. She returned to the health department in 2015, after being picked as part of a succession plan for leadership development. Now, she’s working with the city of Springfield on Health in All Policies, a national strategic model for collaboration.

What was your first job? Old Navy

What is your theme song? “Dream On,” by Aerosmith

What are you doing to make the Ozarks better? Always thinking about how we can help make people healthier and happier. And then doing my best to make those things happen.

What’s your most treasured possession? It may seem cliche, but photographs of my family and friends are one of the possessions that I would be devastated to lose.

What about your job would shock clients? The topics at work deal a lot with disease transmission and that leads to some interesting conversations.

What’s your greatest regret?
I regret not taking an extra semester in college to study abroad.

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