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Ashland - Local Town Pages

Meet Ashland’s Health Director, Rajit Gupta

Ashland’s new health director, Rajit Gupta, with his wife Poonam and son Ruhan. (Photo/supplied)

By Cynthia Whitty
Ashland’s new health director, Rajit Gupta, was hired in May after longtime director Mark Oram retired. Ashland Local Town Pages asked Gupta about his background, what prepared him for this job, and what he wants to accomplish.
Whitty: Some readers may not know what a health director does. Could you describe your job?
I am a public health professional. Public health is a very vast subject, anything that can affect more than an individual comes under the purview of public health.
Whitty: What prepared you for this job and what attracted you to Ashland?
I have a Master’s in Public Health along with other required credentials to practice public health. My experience from my previous work in other health departments, and being in the field for more than 12 years, has prepared me for this position. I worked for the Framingham Health Department early in my public sector experience. I love the community; having many peers in the surrounding communities made Ashland a great choice.
Whitty: What attracts you to this field in general? What or who influenced you the most?
I am a graduate in dentistry and, while on a volunteer assignment during the devastation of the 2004 Tsunami, I was pulled towards public health. I saw many people suffering and saw a great need for public health professionals. I realized the impact one can have as a public health professional and the tremendous benefit to entire communities.
Whitty: Could you talk about what it’s like for you to take over as director during a pandemic?
Yes, it is very challenging to be shifting positions in the midst of a pandemic, yet there is so much need for public health professionals during this time. Especially as many veterans in the field have recently retired, which may in part be due to the unprecedented circumstances brought on by the pandemic.
Whitty: What is most challenging in your job right now?
I feel I am settling in well in the community and hope that we will be out of this pandemic soon; getting through this pandemic is the greatest challenge at the moment.
Whitty: What are your plans and goals for the job?
Some of my long-term goals are to improve nursing services through outreach, vaccine clinics, and emergency preparedness; ensuring we are utilizing all state funding and grant opportunities that are available to us, and using this funding to increase, or upgrade, services available to our residents.
Whitty: What is your background and interests?
I was born and raised by my lovely parents in a small town in India. I am a very social and community-oriented person, so I am always doing something when I am not in Ashland. I have a beautiful wife, Poonam, and a very energetic five-year-old son named Ruhan. We live in Newton. I love gardening. It gives me so much peace when I am around nature. You can often find me visiting Ashland Community Gardens during my lunch break.