Karin McGowan serves as the department's deputy director and director of the Community Relations Division. In late 2018 and early 2019, she served as the department's interim executive director. From 2009 until July 2011, she was director of Policy/External Affairs and Planning at the department.
McGowan served as director of policy development and communications at the Denver Regional Council of Governments (DRCOG), where her responsibilities included DRCOG's legislative agenda, and programs including state and federal policy initiatives. She served as assistant director for external affairs with Great Outdoors Colorado and in various policy and legislative capacities under Gov. Roy Romer from 1996 to 1998. She has extensive communications experience.
As director of community relations, McGowan is responsible for the department's internal/external communications; legislative affairs; the Office of Health Equity; the Office of Emergency Preparedness and Response; and the Office of Planning, Partnerships and Improvement, which serves as the operational link between the state health department and local public health agencies.