Suzanne Gaulocher, MA, MPH, PhD [Alumni]

Suzanne was a Population Health Service Fellow from 2007 through 2009, placed with Public Health – Madison & Dane County in the Health Promotion Program. Prior to the Fellowship, she received an MPH from the University of Wisconsin School of Medicine and Public Health, an MA in medical anthropology from Oregon State University, and a BS in cultural anthropology. Suzanne combines approaches from all of these disciplines into her research and practice in the US and abroad. Her work thus far has centered on increasing knowledge that supports the intersection between health and place research, with a focus on community engagement and equity. She earned her PhD in Environment and Resources from the UW-Madison’s Nelson Institute for Environmental Studies.

Suzanne recently relocated to the San Francisco Bay Area of California, where she works at Stanford University as the Director of Community Engaged Learning, specifically leading the health thematic area of the program. Together with her colleagues, she provides support to students, faculty, and community partners in community engaged learning opportunities on and off campus. Before taking this position at Stanford, Suzanne worked at the University of Wisconsin’s University Health Services as a researcher and evaluation specialist. Most recently, she worked on the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s Community Transformation Grant (CTG). Prior to CTG, she was part of a team providing national technical support and evaluation services for the Communities Putting Prevention to Work Program, in which storytelling was used as a tool to improve health policy and communication at the local level.

In her work, Suzanne builds upon a framework that addresses interconnected human and non-human systems to positively impact human health outcomes. She uses community-based participatory research (CBPR) techniques to engage with community members, academics, stakeholders, and professionals to learn how people use places and how health supports and barriers to health are assessed, addressed, and translated into action. 

For fun, Suzanne loves to spend time with her two boys, practice yoga, run, knit, love as deeply as possible, and visit the ocean and the mountains as often as she can. She enjoys exploring the beautiful cityscapes and landscapes across the state of California and she is about to embark on a stairway-seeking adventure in San Francisco.

What advice does Suzanne have for current and prospective Fellows? “This is a wonderful gift, both to you and to the community in which you are working. My advice is to understand the complex mechanisms that make up our directive in public health and to think strategically about engaging diverse disciplines in your work. How can we crosscut disciplinary thinking in order to effectively improve population health outcomes across the board? Be creative, think big, challenge yourself, and, most importantly, don't be afraid to step out of your comfort zone. That is where learning happens. In the words of Pete Seeger, There is something about participating; it is almost my religion. If the world is still here in 100 years, people will know the importance of participating, not just being spectators.’"

"W" for Wisconsin. Suzanne Gaulocher leading a Service Learning Trip through the Global Health Institute in Sri Lanka, pictured with UW students, John Beck, Hasan Nadeem, and Tudor Byas at the Botanical Gardens in Kandy, Sri Lanka. Most of the students who took part in this trip were part of the global health certificate program.