July 08, 2024

Cambridge Public Health Department Welcomes New Clinical Leaders

The Cambridge Public Health Department is pleased to welcome two physicians who will lead the clinical efforts of the department following the retirement of long-time Medical Director Dr. Lisa Dobberteen. The individuals in these positions will serve as the stewards of public health for the children in the Cambridge Public Schools and all who live, work, and study in the community. As of July 1, 2024, Dr. Linda Shipton assumed the role of CPHD’s Medical Director. Dr. Sam Cohen will become CPHD’s School Health Physician on July 15. 

Headshot of Linda Shipton

Linda Shipton, MD

Dr. Linda Shipton, CPHD’s new Medical Director, joined the Cambridge Health Alliance (CHA) in 2007 as an infectious disease physician. She obtained her medical degree at the University of Missouri in Columbia, Missouri, completed her internal medicine residency at Brown University and her infectious disease fellowship at the Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center. She is an assistant professor at the Harvard Medical School.  

Dr. Shipton’s main clinical interests include caring for those living with HIV, TB, and viral hepatitis. She maintains a continuity clinic at the Zinberg HIV Clinic, serves as the medical director of CHA’s Schipellite Chest Center run through the Cambridge Public Health Department, and is a member of the Massachusetts Medical Advisory Committee for the Elimination of TB. She is the recipient of the 2016 New England TB Hero Award awarded by the New England TB Consortium, the 2017 Collaborative Colleague Award and the 2020 Academic Counsel Award awarded by the medical staff of CHA, and numerous other teaching awards recognizing her commitment to medical education. She has worked to create systems of healthcare delivery including programs to improve primary care capacity to manage patients with viral hepatitis, increase HIV testing and follow-up in emergency departments, engage patients struggling with IV drug use in a pre-exposure prophylaxis program to prevent HIV, and improve the safety of outpatients on antibiotics. Dr. Shipton enjoys her roles as a clinical educator, mentoring Harvard medical students in a clinical reasoning course, internal medicine and family medicine residents in both the inpatient and outpatient settings, and infectious disease fellows in various specialty clinics.  

Outside of work she enjoys planning the family camping and kayaking trips with her husband, swimming in Walden pond with her son, and coaching her daughter’s soccer team. Anticipating her role with CPHD, Dr. Shipton noted, “I am very excited about this opportunity to serve as the medical director for the Cambridge Public Health Department. A strong public health and preventive medicine infrastructure is critical to promoting health and wellness of the community.  I look forward to partnering with community members across the City of Cambridge as we strive to ensure high quality, accessible, and equitable health systems for our entire community.”

The CPHD Medical Director serves as the chief medical consultant for the department. Responsibilities include:

  • Participating in Cambridge City Council meetings and reviewing City Council Policy Orders related to public health;
  • Facilitating regular clinical planning meetings with CPHD staff;
  • Reviewing and signing all vaccine standing orders for department vaccination efforts and emergency medication dispensing;
  • Serving as clinical lead for vaccination clinic efforts;
  • Serving as a liaison between CHA medical staff and CPHD;
  • Providing consultation to CHA TB clinic and CPHD’s Commissioner of Laboratory Animal, School Health physician, and Chief Public Health Officer; and
  • Responding as needed to infectious diseases, outbreaks, pandemics, epidemics, and other public health issues.

Sam Cohen, MD

Dr. Sam Cohen, CPHD’s incoming School Health Physician, is a primary care pediatrician at Boston Medical Center and an Assistant Professor of Pediatrics at the Boston University School of Medicine. He received his medical degree from the University of California, San Francisco and completed residency at Massachusetts General Hospital. Before attending medical school, Sam taught 6th and 7th grade in New York while completing a masters in education at Lesley University. In addition to caring for patients, Sam supervises residents in the Boston Combined Residency Program and teaches medical students. Importantly for this role, he is a graduate of the Cambridge Public Schools (CPS) and currently a CPS parent.

About joining the CPHD and CPS teams, Dr. Cohen said, “I am excited about the opportunity to partner with our amazing school nurses as they care for all of our students. Student academic achievement and overall success is closely tied to physical and mental health, and I hope to work with the school health team to find ways to support wellbeing across the school community.”

The CPHD School Health Physician provides oversight of the department’s School Health program. The School Health team is deployed across the elementary, middle, and high schools in the Cambridge Public School Department. The School Health Physician is in regular consultation with school health staff, providing medical supervision of RN and allied health staff, currently 18 nurses and 4 health assistants who report directly to the School Nurse manager. The School Health Physician participates in Situation Room meetings with CPS senior administration; consults on care plans, 504 plans, and IEP plans for children with complex medical needs; and provides education for nursing staff at the start of the school year, staff meetings, and staff professional development days. The individual in this role also serves as the school health physician and oversees school health programs for charter schools in Cambridge. The School Health Physician is responsible for the creation of annual review and signing of standing orders for School Health staff and supporting school health education efforts. Additional responsibilities include oversight and implementation of state DPH School Health mandates and medication delegation. The School Health Physician is in regular consultation with CPHD’s Medical Director, Commissioner of Laboratory Animals, School Nurse Manager, Sr. Director of Clinical Services, and Deputy Chief Public Health Officer.