Department of Health Policy and Management

Zachary and Volmar to become new HPM Program Directors

The Department of Health Policy and Management is pleased to announce the appointment of two new program directors.

HPM Assistant Professor Ciara Zachary, PhD will become the Health Policy Concentration Lead in the Gillings School of Global Public Health MPH Program on October 1, 2020.

Portrait of HPM Assistant Professor Ciara Zachary, PhD

Ciara Zachary, PhD

Before joining HPM this past June, Dr. Zachary was engaged in research and advocacy to increase access to affordable, high-quality health coverage to underserved populations. She has led policy advocacy initiatives, lobbied state and federal lawmakers, and worked with partners across North Carolina on issues such as Medicaid Transformation, Medicaid Expansion, and the Affordable Care Act.

Complementing her advocacy work, Dr. Zachary has participated in program evaluations on reducing the rate of high school noncompletion by students residing in low-resource communities, and injury prevention programs with American Indian and Alaska Native tribes and tribal organizations. Her evaluation work has addressed health programs, such as school-based behavioral health services and older adult injury prevention.

Her experience in, and passion for, developing and supporting policies that impact health equity and health disparities make her an ideal leader of our concentration.


HPM Associate Professor Karen Volmar, JD, will become the Director of both the HPM Residential and Executive Masters’ Programs on January 1, 2021.

Ms. Volmar began her public health career as a managed care coordinator at Fenway Community Health Center in Boston, MA.  After completing her JD and MPH at Boston University, she served as in-house counsel for Pioneer Behavioral Health and then as Employee Benefits Manager at Penn State University where she led the transition to a population health management approach to benefit programs.

Portrait of HPM Associate Professor Karen Volmar, JD

Karen Volmar, JD

Ms. Volmar transitioned full time to academia in 2006. For six years, she served as Executive Program Director for the Master of Health Administration program at Penn State University, where she led two successful CAHME accreditation reviews for the program.

In 2013, she joined the faculty at Oregon State University as an Associate Professor of Health Policy and Management where she also served as Director of the Health Management and Policy programs and Associate School Head for the School of Social and Behavioral Health Sciences. In these administrative roles, she led curricular efforts to re-align the Health Management and Policy program curriculum with industry needs by adding and enhancing coursework in policy analysis and population health management to prepare students for emerging roles as well as expand offerings to the online environment. Additionally, she developed program objectives and metrics and implemented a recruitment plan that resulted in a 60% increase in Masters-level enrollment and a two-fold increase in the percentage of students from underrepresented groups.

Ms. Volmar also worked to establish online degree programs and joint degree programs with local law schools, and to enhance partnerships with the College of Business to provide more interprofessional training opportunities for students.

Her research informs health policy development through program evaluation and legal research.  Her work has addressed health care provider and payer performance measurement, most recently in support of Oregon Medicaid Coordinated Care Organization’s efforts to develop integrated health, public health, and education initiatives.

Ms. Volmar is a Fellow of the American College of Healthcare Executives and served on the board of the Oregon Society of Healthcare Executives.

Her leadership, teaching, and research experience makes her an ideal Director of our Masters’ programs.