Instructor Profile

Colleen M. Bridger, MPH

Colleen Bridger has been a local health director since 1997. She currently is the Gaston County (North Carolina) Health Director. In her capacity as the Gaston County Health Director she is responsible for the administration of the Health Department’s 200 employees and over 20 different public health programs. Under her leadership, the Gaston County Health Department has won numerous awards including two consecutive Ralph Ketner awards for Innovation in Government, and two GlaxoSmithKlein Child Health Recognition awards. Known for promoting public health innovation, she and her staff are much sought after speakers for county, state and national audiences.

Colleen was raised on a farm in Michigan. She is trilingual, having spent her senior year of high school in France as an exchange student and her senior year of college in Mexico working with poor children and their families. She has a Bachelor of International Development degree from the School for International Training in Vermont and a Master of Public Health degree from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. She is currently pursuing her Ph.D. in Health Services Research at UNC-Charlotte. Prior to coming to Gaston County in 2002, she served as the Stokes County Health Director for five years. She has also worked as a social worker for Spanish-only speaking pregnant women and a health systems researcher for the state of North Carolina and international development organizations (FHI and IPAS).