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Irene Trowell-Harris


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Irene Trowell-Harris


Years active at Yale: YSPH Class of 1973

Dr. Trowell-Harris is being recognized as a public health practitioner. She knew what she wanted to do from a very young age. While working on her parent’s Ohio farm with her 10 siblings, she watched planes as they passed overhead and dreamed that someday she would fly for a living. Her mother, however, wanted her to be a nurse. She earned a nursing diploma from the Columbia Hospital School of Nursing. Her dream of flying would not die and in 1963, she was commissioned as a first lieutenant in the Air National Guard. She advanced quickly, earning promotion to flight nurse instructor in 1966 and then to chief nurse. During her 30 years with the Guard, she excelled at academics, earning her MPH from Yale in 1973 and a Doctorate in Health Education from Columbia in 1983. In 1986, she was appointed commander of the 105th USAF Clinic in NY, making her the first Air National Guard nurse to command a medical clinic. She was appointed director of the Center for Women Veterans in October 2001.