Amanda was a Population Health Service Fellow from 2007 to 2009. During her Fellowship, she participated in a dual placement with the City of Milwaukee Health Department and CORE/El Centro, a nonprofit working to improve the health of Milwaukee’s Latino community. Prior to the Fellowship, she earned her MPH in Community Health Sciences with a focus on Maternal and Child Health Leadership from the University of Illinois at Chicago and a BA in Psychology and Spanish from Lake Forest College.
Since her time in the Fellowship, Amanda has worked both internationally and domestically to provide public health perspectives in nontraditional settings. For two years, she worked in Central America, offering technical assistance to a local nonprofit focused on developing communities through female leadership development, micro-financing, food security, and environmental conservation. She currently provides leadership on domestic food security as the CalFresh (SNAP) Outreach Director for the San Diego HungerCoalition. Amanda is passionate about her role at the Coalition, bridging the anti-hunger and public health communities to develop pathways to food and health through program development and state and federal policy change. As a part of her work, she is currently spearheading a partnership with the UC-San Diego School of Medicine to develop curriculum focused on food security as a social determinant of health. Amanda also recently received state-level recognition for her use of GIS mapping to improve SNAP outreach efforts.
Outside of work, Amanda loves taking advantage of “Sunny San Diego,” and the opportunity to be outdoors. She practices yoga, bikes, and looks forward to any excuse to “dust off the old backpack.”
Amanda’s time in the Fellowship helped solidify her interest in multi-disciplinary approaches to community health. As she explains, “The experience of developing the Milwaukee Latino Health Coalition and working on the City of Milwaukee’s Community Health Assessment allowed me to see firsthand the power of bringing together leaders from various sectors, and instilled a belief in collaboration to create sustainable change.” The Fellowship also planted the seeds of policy as a vehicle to systemic change. She continues to fine-tune this skill, identifying the best areas to influence and improve systems to create pathways to health.
Her advice for future Fellows is to take advantage of every opportunity the Fellowship offers and to utilize this experience as a space to explore new areas, build new skills sets, and further develop areas of interest. She notes that the Fellowship is a unique opportunity for reflection, experimentation, and supported development. Amanda’s hope for all current and future Fellows is that they “are able to fully appreciate and take advantage of all the program has to offer!”