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Healthy Teams, Healthy Communities
After spending a year abroad in college studying community health across five countries, Rachel Larson graduated a year early in 2015 to take a job in Liberia with the nonprofit organization Last Mile Health, where she worked on community health workforce and vaccine delivery programs for six years.
During her time in Liberia, Larson saw how camaraderie among her coworkers and intentional adjustments to the balance of power on teams furthered Last Mile Health’s mission to deliver accessible primary care to remote communities around the world.
“It’s the right thing to do, and if our teams represent the kind of society we want to live in, our work is also much more likely to be effective.”
“Too often, people who look like me have disproportionate influence in public health programs,” says Larson, who is white. “To achieve health equity, we need to put patients and communities first. And to do that, we need to be willing to confront racism, sexism, white supremacy, and other forms of exclusion within our own public health institutions and programs."
“It’s the right thing to do, and if our teams represent the kind of society we want to live in, our work is also much more likely to be effective,” she says.
In the MPH/MBA program, Larson plans to explore her interests in vaccine equity, patient-driven health service design, and organizational leadership and culture.
BA, Global Health and Justice and Peace Studies, University of St. Thomas, 2015