Skip to main content

Student Spotlight: Kelsie Parker


Meet Kelsie Parker

Kelsie Parker—a student in the Department of Health, Behavior and Society’s MHS in Social Factors in Health program—reflects on applying her sociology training to address health inequities, conducting research with CCP and The Lighthouse, and connecting with an interdisciplinary Departmental community.

Program: MHS in Social Factors in Health
Entry year: 2022
Fun fact: “I am a triplet!”
Hometown: Cincinnati, Ohio

What sparked your interest in public health?

As a sociology undergraduate, I joined a multidisciplinary team in 2020 to investigate and respond to the social and economic impacts of COVID-19 among historically marginalized communities in the state of Ohio. This experience propelled my interest in public health, a space where I could apply my sociological perspective to health inequities at community and structural levels.

What led you to join the Department of Health, Behavior and Society?

I was drawn to the interdisciplinary background of the faculty and students in HBS. I felt that I could foster a truly holistic understanding of inequality, and structural approaches to ameliorate it, by gaining experience alongside a diversity of social scientists.

What’s an academic highlight you've experienced during your time as an HBS student?

I thoroughly enjoyed several topical and skills courses in my time at the Bloomberg School. I loved learning from one of my favorite scholars, Dr. Vicente Navarro, in his course on the social and health consequences of the political economy, in particular. His candid and fervent approach to his work as a scholar, activist, and educator inspired my mindset about how I take on my research and practice in public health.

What’s a research or practice highlight you've experienced during your time as an HBS student?

I have loved my time working as a graduate research assistant with the Center for Communication Programs (CCP) and The Lighthouse

With CCP, I had the opportunity to facilitate the analysis and writing of a participatory evaluation for a USAID-funded project on child, early, and forced marriage in Nepal and gain meaningful mentorship from Dr. Carol Underwood. With The Lighthouse, I have been able to work with Dr. Carl Latkin and Dr. Lauren Dayton to examine the facilitators and barriers to climate change activism.

What are some of your favorite places in Baltimore? 

When I lived in Baltimore, I loved going to Patterson Park to read, eat takeout, or spend time with friends. Some of my favorite places to eat are Ekiben, La Barrita, and Pitango (obviously). Baltimore is a great city to live in and explore.

What advice do you have for prospective students interested in joining the HBS community?

Don't be afraid to ask questions and talk to people!

This interview has been edited for length and clarity. Views expressed are the subject's own.