I have spent 20 plus years working in health communications, strategy and policy. As Director of External Relations and Strategic Initiatives at The Ohio State University’s College of Public Health, I oversee marketing, communications, community relations and support development efforts.
I previously worked for Columbus Public Health where I provided marketing and strategic communications leadership for important initiatives such as infant mortality and opioid substance abuse. I was the voice of the organization in matters of health safety.
When not working, I regularly volunteer for Safe Point@Equitas Health, a harm reduction project serving people living with opioid related substance use disorder. I serve as vice president for the board of directors for Harm Reduction Ohio, a statewide not-for-profit agency. I also volunteer at Buckeye Bulldog Rescue, an organization dedicated to rescuing homeless and abandoned English and French Bulldogs from high-kill shelters and owners who can no longer care for them. I have had bulldogs for 20 plus years, some of them rescues.
Why are you passionate about the Homeport mission?
As a public health practitioner, I understand safe affordable housing can help our residents improve and communities thrive. Its critical for good health, education, mental health, employment, just to name a few.
What would you tell a friend who was considering getting involved with Homeport as a donor or volunteer?
I was recruited to serve on the board by my friend Chris Hune, Homeport's Board chair. I share her passion for improving neighborhoods and the communities we live in.
What do you feel is the most critical aspect of affordable housing in Columbus and Central Ohio?
Affordable housing is important to the economic vitality of communities, but it is also a critical and important social determinant of physical and mental health and well-being.
We know today that it reduces stress, toxins, and infectious disease, which leads to improvement in both physical and mental health.
If you think of some of the major health issues impacting health in our community, we cannot move the needle if we do not address affordable and safe housing.
HIV, Infant Mortality and Opioid related substance use disorder are three great examples. How do you adhere to a complicated HIV meds schedule without stable housing? How does a mother stay in good health throughout her pregnancy without safe housing? And, how does one achieve and maintain sobriety without a safe environment at home where you can thrive.
So affordable, safe housing is critical to building a healthy community.