Alixandria James, a third-year student in Manhattan College’s Public Health program, has been a leader in efforts for transformational change on campus. She was awarded a Jasper Summer Scholars grant to analyze the results of the College’s first Diversity & Equity Campus Climate survey. As a result of her findings, which she presented to the President’s cabinet and other stakeholders on campus, the College created a Bias Education and Response Team, of which Alixandria is an active member. The Team has created an online platform where students and employees can report bias incidents, and they are designing a curriculum to educate members of our college community, so that we can reduce bias incidents and respond more effectively to those that occur. Alixandria is committed to making her career in improving health care access for low-income people and people of color, drawing on innovative health delivery systems that provide low-cost, high quality services. She is contributing to COVID response efforts in NYC by working with New York-Presbyterian Hospital’s community outreach programs, helping to spread the word about vaccine availability and inviting city residents to vaccine pop-up clinics.
Growing up with a mother working in education, and a father working in healthcare, one could argue that my passion for public service is innate. Both the healthcare and education systems are responsible for providing services that are fundamental human rights, however certain populations continuously fall through the cracks. As a Public Health major, I aim to better understand the intricacies of our healthcare delivery system, with the intention of expanding healthcare access, improving quality, and lowering costs. As an Outreach Program Intern with NewYork-Presbyterian’s Division of Community and Population Health, I help provide basic, preventive healthcare services to Black and Brown communities throughout New York City. This experience has taught me that healthcare is not just about giving a service, but about using education to create trusting relationships with community members. In addition, I have been able to use my research skills to create change within my collegiate community. My research project focused on addressing individual perceptions of Manhattan College’s campus climate, with respect to our commitment to diversity, equity and inclusion. The findings from my project have led to the formation of new policies and interventions aimed at increasing spatial and resource accessibility for minority populations on campus.