Alumni Profile: Lani Rice Marquez
Lani Marquez, MHS, is an alumnus of the Department of International Health. She is the Knowledge Management Director at University Research Co., LLC (URC). Lani has worked for over 30 years in international health systems, focusing much of her work on strengthening the performance of community-based care and health workers in low- and middle-income countries. For the past 10 years, she has led URC’s efforts to develop comprehensive knowledge management concepts and techniques to strengthen the implementation of quality improvement projects.
Her pathway into public health began in high school when she volunteered with Amigos de las Américas, a nonprofit organization that works to inspire youth leadership and service through immersion experiences in Latin American countries. Over the five summers, she worked with Amigos, Lani worked in Nicaragua, Honduras, and Paraguay throughout high school and college. She began as a volunteer providing dental hygiene education in rural areas of Nicaragua, eventually becoming an Assistant Program Director and Director within the organization.
After earning her undergraduate degree in human biology, where she studied the intersection of anthropology, sociology, and economics with traditional biology methods, Lani continued her education here at Hopkins in the Master of Health Sciences program. She said her college coursework and previous experiences in Latin America were the main gateways to discovering her future in the field of public health.
Upon working towards completing her graduate education in the Department, Lani began an internship with distinguished International Health professor Timothy Baker, MD, MPH, through a USAID-funded project, Primary Health Care Operations Research. Through her work on the PRICOR project, Lani helped identify and solve operational problems in the delivery of primary health care by community health workers in Brazil.
After completing her degree Lani continued to work for URC as an intern, eventually transitioning to a research associate position working on various projects focused on strengthening operations and performance of health programs in Latin America. Lani has worked on a variety of projects during her 30 plus year tenure at URC, namely the Latin American Health and Nutrition Sustainability Project, USAID Healthcare Improvement Project, Quality Assurance Project, and the ASSIST Project.
Reflecting on her time here at the Bloomberg School, Lani found the coursework and training she received was valuable to understand and create effective health management solutions. She notes her knowledge of epidemiology and the workings of health systems has allowed her to continue to improve health systems all over the world while creating valuable knowledge management tools.
Lani is grateful for the time she spent here in International Health, saying that her favorite memories are the engaging discussions with her peers from all over the world while also learning from renowned faculty members such as Carl Taylor and Tim Baker who were “ahead of their time focusing on primary health care and health equity.” Fun fact, Lani also met her husband while they were both students here at the Bloomberg School.
Lani believes the field of public health has much to offer but to succeed you need to "find what your niche is. Once you identify what it is you can offer people, you will be much more valuable. Also, be a lifelong learner, there is always something, somewhere to learn. Talk to people and find out what the tacit knowledge you can learn from others might be."