Karen O'Rourke

Karen O’Rourke, MPH is the Director of the Maine AHEC Network and Assistantl Professor of Public Health in the School of Community and Population Health.  Karen also coordinates the local performance site at UNE of the New England Public Health Training Center.  She is the Co-Chair of the Maine Health Workforce Forum and Co-Chair of the Cumberland District Public Health Council’s Obesity Work Group. 

Prior to coming to UNE in 2010, Karen spent 25 years in various public health agencies and organizations including a public health institute, state and local health departments and a national voluntary health organization.  Her special interest is in public health policy where she has held leadership positions in efforts to increase tobacco tax, restrict smoking in public buildings, eliminate soda and junk food in schools, prohibit advertising of junk food on school grounds, fluoridate community water supplies, and require menu labeling at chain restaurants.  Karen received her BA from the University of California, Berkeley and her Masters in Public Health from San Jose State University.



San Jose State University


University of California, Berkeley


Public Health Policy


Public Health Systems

Health Workforce Development


Selected Publications


Levin Martin S, Martin M W, Cook B, Knaus R, O’Rourke K. Notes from the Field: The Evaluation of Maine Nutrition and Physical Activity Self-Assessment for Child Care (NAPSACC) Experience.  Eval Health Prof, published online 28 May 2014. http://ehp.sagepub.com/cgi/reprint/0163278714536032v1.pdf?ijkey=6VmaqZyeYBh9FNz&keytype=ref


Polacsek M, O’Rourke K, O’Brien L, Whatley Blum J, Donahue S.  Examining compliance with a statewide law banning junk food and beverage marketing in Maine schools.  Public Health Reports, Vol. 127, March/April 2012.

Other Scholarly Activity

Polacsek M, O’Rourke K, Why We need a Sugar Sweetened Beverage Revolution: The Maine Response, Presentation at the Maine Public Health Association Annual Meeting, October 2013.

O’Rourke K. Maine's Approach to Reduce Junk-food Marketing in Schools.  Selected for Oral presentation during the 136th APHA Annual Meeting & Exposition October 25-29, 2008 in San Diego, CA. 

Karen O'Rourke



Associate Director

Director, Maine AHEC Network

Assistant Professor of Public Health

Linnell Hall


(207) 221-4620

On Campus