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Larry D. Jones, MPH

Executive Director | MOCPHE

Missouri Center for Public Health Excellence


Jones has served as the first Executive Director for the Missouri Center for Public Health Excellence since January 2015. Previously, Jones was the health director for the City of Independence, beginning in December 2001. In this role, he provided leadership for the health department, the Kansas City metropolitan region and the state.


Jones has been working in public health since 1970 when he began his career with the Kirksville College of Osteopathic Medicine in their federally funded Children and Youth Project, a program that is dedicated to providing primary care services, dental services and hospital services to children of low income families, from birth to 18 years of age.  While Jones was at the Kirksville College of Osteopathic Medicine, he applied for and received one of the first Women, Infants and Children (WIC) Supplemental Food Program grants in the nation.


In 1974, Jones joined the staff at the Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services, where he continued to serve until December 2001. During his time at the Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services, one of his accomplishments included beginning the High Risk Maternity and Infant Care Program. This program obtained prenatal and delivery services for low income women and infants with high risk medical conditions. His work on this program eventually led to the expansion of the Missouri Medicaid Program to include women and children under their coverage that were not on Aid for Dependent Children (AFDC). Before this expansion, only women and children under approximately 37 percent of poverty were covered, and only if they were also receiving AFDC payments.


Jones also worked to expand WIC to a statewide system, overseeing many improvements in the system, which made it easier for participants to become qualified and for agencies to administer the program. 


Jones served for several years on the Governor’s Interagency Coordinating Council for Public Law 99-457. He worked to establish the implementation of this program in Missouri in cooperation with the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education. 


Because of his commitment to improving the public health system, Jones transferred to the Center for Local Public Health Services during its formation to help with strengthening local public health agencies. He continues to provide mentoring to many local public health administrators and staff across the state, even though he no longer works for the state health department.


Jones represented both state health departments and local health departments on the Robert Wood Johnson Turning Points National Collaborative for Performance Based Management in the early 2000s. This collaborative was a four-year project to develop tools that enable public health agencies at the local, state and national levels to implement Performance Based Management.


Jones served as a consultant to the Center for Health Policy at the Columbia University School of Nursing, New York, NY in the development of planning, designing, conducting and evaluating local public health emergency exercises. This has included the development of core competency education, standards and evaluation.


Jones was a member of the Mid-America Regional Council’s Homeland Security Coordinating Council where he served as Co-chair of the Public Health Sub-committee.


He also founded the Independence Coalition for Child Safety. This community coalition has worked to increase the child abuse prevention activities throughout the City of Independence and Eastern Jackson County.


In addition, he founded the Healthy Independence Coalition, a community coalition dedicated to reducing chronic disease in Independence through increased physical activity, improved nutrition, and a reduction in tobacco use.


Jones served as chair of the Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services Director’s Advisory Council for Local Public Health Services. 


In 2008, Jones was recognized for distinguished service by the Missouri Association of Local Public Health Agencies and the Missouri Public Health Association, receiving the W. Scott Johnson Award. Johnson was an environmental public health specialist who worked in public health in the State of Missouri from the 1940s to the 1960s and was noted for his outstanding commitment to public health, his integrity in carrying out major sanitation efforts of those times and for the strong ideals demonstrated in a public health career that spanned three decades. The award is given in commemoration of “the skills, integrity, devotion to duty, and constructive leadership which characterized the life of W. Scott Johnson.”  W. Scott Johnson Award is the most prestigious award presented by the Missouri Public Health Association to an individual for distinguished service in the field of public health in Missouri. 


Jones is past president of the Missouri Public Health Association, finance committee chair for the Missouri Association of Public Health Agencies, board member for the National Association of County and City Health Officials (NACCHO) from 2008 -2014, and Workforce Committee member for NACCHO for 12 years.


In addition, Jones represented NACCHO on the Council on Public Health Linkages Between Academia and Public Health Practice, helped found the National Perinatal Foundation where he continues to serve on the board and was Treasurer from 1994 -2006, and served on the National Perinatal Association Board of Directors from 1986-1995 and as Treasurer from 1988-1995. Jones was also recognized by the National Perinatal Association with their Stanley Graven Award for outstanding dedication to the field of Perinatology.


Jones served on a number of other boards and committees dedicated to public health and public health practice, including the Jackson County Free Health Clinic Board of Directors. 


Jones holds a Master of Public Health degree from St. Louis University, as well as a Master of Arts degree in Secondary School Administration from Truman State University, Kirksville. He received a Bachelor of Science degree in Education (Business Education) from Truman State University.


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