Karen Edlund, RN, BSN, was the Director of the Sexual and Reproductive Health Program at the Massachusetts Department of Public Health for 23 years, from 1992 until her retirement in May 2015. In this leadership position, she developed and managed the state’s family planning program and other sexual and reproductive health initiatives, with the goals of reducing unintended pregnancies and sexually transmitted diseases statewide. She created two innovative programs to address abortion issues in MA: the Access Program, a highly successful program that provides case management services to women seeking abortion services and a statewide Abortion Access Working Group which serves as a critical statewide network of legal and public health advocates, providers, abortion funds, and researchers.
Ms. Edlund has a background in maternal and child health nursing with experiences in Medicaid and community health care settings such as the Visiting Nurses and Headstart. She holds a Bachelor of Arts in Sociology from Boston University and a Bachelor in Science in Nursing from Boston College. She has received multiple awards including the Commonwealth Citation for Outstanding Performance twice, the State Family Planning Administrators Annual Award, and the NARAL Pro-Choice Massachusetts Champion for Choice Award. Ms. Edlund has served on several boards including the Cambridge Health Alliance Public Health Board, Provide, and the National Family Planning and Reproductive Health Association. She currently is the Secretary of the New England Mosaic Society, an organization she helped establish in 2015 with other New England mosaic artists. She has two adult children and two grandchildren and lives in Somerville, MA with her husband and two cats.