Lauren Buck


Lauren Buck


Lauren Buck is the Revere public health director, a nurse, and a 2018 Boston University School of Public Health graduate. She jumped into local public health mid-pandemic, and calls it her dream job despite the long hours, stress and unique responsibilities.

It’s her dream job.

Most people wouldn’t call a position that includes sleep-interrupting stress, less than ideal eating times, and an unpredictable work schedule their dream job. But Revere public health director Lauren Buck is confident she’ll be working in her local public health role for many years to come.

Buck, a BUSPH 2018 MPH graduate, joined the Revere Health Department mid-pandemic in October 2020. She had been a clinical nurse for more than a decade, and knew she wanted to transition to public health. But she didn’t have a clear sense of what that job would be until she spotted the Revere posting.

“Everything we see on a national level—structural racism, politics, climate change—all of those things happen in Revere too, and what I like about this role is you can make a little bit of change in one city at least on all of those things.”

Jumping into local public health during a pandemic has been challenging, Buck said, but she has felt supported by colleagues within her small department and within the city.

“I, along with everyone else who’s worked with me, have never worked harder. You just put so much of yourself into this,” she said.

The collective scope and impact of the public health work, and overcoming the day-to-day challenges are the memories Buck says will stick with her long after this pandemic is over.

The public health director has contended with a malfunctioning vaccine temperature monitor in the pre-dawn hours before a clinic. She’s changed a home visit client’s smoke detector battery during the 15-minute waiting period after administering a Covid-19 vaccine. And she’s dealt with overwhelming loss in the community she joined mid-crisis by coordinating the solution – vaccines – for three towns: Revere, Chelsea and Winthrop.

“We’d been in the red for months and months and months in terms of our Covid cases. Our Covid burden remained extremely high,” Buck said. “I had been on the job three or four months by the time vaccine was available in January, then we in Revere took the lead of pulling off vaccine clinics for all three communities.”

The department has by now vaccinated more than 9,000 people, and counting. It continues to partner with Chelsea and Winthrop on public health projects under new state funding offered to encourage shared services. A shared epidemiologist is next.

“We definitely are trying to move more towards regionalization in many ways. But in some ways, I think we’re always going to be focused on our own little city.”

As her pandemic response duties fade, Buck is making time to figure out what the rest of the job looks like, and to re-establish some heathier lifestyle habits for herself. The department head position is new to the town which previously supported only a public health nurse.

Climate change, mental health and ensuring that the world (and Revere) doesn’t forget the broader significance of public health post-pandemic are all topics on her mind.

“Local public health has gotten a lot of attention, has gotten a lot of accolades, has gotten a lot of praise, but it’s going to become something that doesn’t have the global spotlight anymore as we move past Covid.”


“Local public health has gotten a lot of attention, has gotten a lot of accolades, has gotten a lot of praise, but it’s going to become something that doesn’t have the global spotlight anymore as we move past Covid.”

Sustaining tools developed during the pandemic is important, she says. For example, Revere’s local ambassador program run by the director of community health and engagement has been invaluable in supporting public health messaging and resources for harder-to-reach residents. Buck recognizes its value and wants to support the program going forward.

As Buck looks toward her post-pandemic to-do list, she’s grateful to have found this work and has some advice for those struggling to find their footing in the world of public health. Buck remembers having a hard time, even after completing her MPH degree, when she tried to articulate what she wanted to do next. “But I found it, and if you just recognize that not having it all figured out right away in terms of life and professional career ambitions, it’s okay. You’ll get there eventually, hopefully.”

“This is my dream job. This is what I was looking for. This is where I wanted to be, and I hope to be here for a long time.”

This is the first article in an occasional series profiling local public health professionals in Massachusetts. This series will ask the people who led their communities through the pandemic their lessons learned with an eye toward what’s next for local public health departments.

Photo provided by Lauren Buck