May 27, 2024


Where does public health take you? 

In Outreach, we focus on geographic areas or populations where there’s an identified need, typically in low-income areas or populations that are often the most marginalized. These are folks who have barriers related to the social determinants of health that may hinder them from reaching services like medical appointments and or social needs. In Richmond most of our focus has been in the Black and LatinX communities while in Henrico we have identified the need to be present for our newcomer/refugee communities. As public health issues and concerns arise, we pivot our efforts to get communities the information and resource connections they need. For instance, during Mpox, we found ways to be present in some of the frequently visited areas, places, and businesses for folks who were most affected. 

The health department has been around for a long time, but unfortunately, we still have folks who are unaware of continued services here. I believe the more folks know, the more they’re willing to use the tools that are given to them but also keeping in mind our need to help in breaking down any barriers to get services. 

We want people to get excited and be more knowledgeable about the things we’re continuing to do especially in our clinical spaces, like immunizations, TB, STI and family planning clinics. When people hear health department in today’s climate, they often think about our environmental health services (health inspectors). From what I gather they forget about vital records, population health teams, and our ever-evolving Maternal/Child health services. Programs that are doing great works in our communities. And we (The Outreachables) are here to make sure folks don’t forget by showing up and promoting all these great services. 

And how can I forget our Community Health Worker Education and Training program, which is another available opportunity to give community members career opportunities in serving in the very communities they grew up in.  In this virtual classroom space, we’re able to reach a larger audience across the state and even the country. Since 2022, we’ve trained 136 community health workers. CHWs ROCK! 

Where were you before you worked at RHHD?

I was working in mental health supporting individuals with intellectual disabilities. Prior to that, I had my undergraduate degree in exercise science and kinesiotherapy. In my younger years, I aspired to be an occupational therapist. I’ve always had a passion for wanting to help people. 

I did a lot of praying and researching to figure out what that looked like for me, knowing that folks in my community are often faced with more barriers and obstacles, I also identified that young teens often get looked over. When I got my master’s in public health with a concentration in health promotion, I felt like I’d been doing it all my life—specially making sure our young teens were educated on health in all the parts of their life.   

Where do you see public health needs in our community?  

I wish there was more synchronicity among community-based organizations (CBOs) and the government sector. There are some things we can’t do that our CBOs can do, and they often have a larger reach, but they’re limited in their resources. I hope we find ways of continuing to support their great ideas and great programming, because typically they’re right in those communities, they’re already doing the thing.   

Where would we be likely to find you after work?  

I’m a homebody, so I don’t mind being home, kicking my feet up and turning on a good show or movie. I also like to travel so much so I’ve added to my bucket list to visit a majority of the Spanish-speaking countries. I took this interest because I love culture immersion  and I’ve always wanted to learn Spanish as a second language and what better way to learn and practice.  I’ll be going to Costa Rica in June which is my fourth country since starting in 2022. 

Rapid round!  

What’s Richmond’s best month? September 

What’s your walk-up song? My pick is also my karaoke song: “Show Me Love,” by Robin S.   

Which sandwich best describes your style of working? A club sandwich with toasted, crunchy white bread. There are layers to how I work, and a structure to keep things together. And I love things to be super-structured, but I know it’s not the reality! When there’s a little bit of mess, that’s okay!   

Would you rather be a dog or a ghost? Neither. I’m not an animal person, and I DO NOT mess with ghosts. 


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