Alumni Profile: Kayla Storrs, MPH

February 10, 2021

 

In recognition of Black History Month, the College of Public Health is sharing interviews with some of our outstanding Black alumni. We asked each of these individuals to reflect on the meaning of diversity, equity, and inclusion in their personal worldviews and in the field of public health. 

 

Kayla Storrs, MPH 2016 

Director of Equity & Inclusion at Brebeuf Jesuit Preparatory School

 

What do diversity, equity, and inclusion mean to you? 

 

Diversity, equity, and inclusion means that the spaces we occupy are representative of our actual country and world that we live in, and that regardless of who one is, what one looks like, how much ones' family makes, etc., one is able to easily enter into spaces knowing that they can be fully, authentically themselves. Every aspect of a person's identity is seen, acknowledged, and valued. 

 

Why are diversity, equity, and inclusion important to public health? 

Well…who makes up the “public” in public health? Public encompasses a multiplicity and diversity of people and groups, health status, complex interplays of determinants of  health and wellbeing, and plurality of environments. We cannot adequately, efficiently,  and effectively address the public health needs of our population without recognizing the importance of addressing issues of diversity, equity, and inclusion. 

 

How does your work contribute to the conversation regarding diversity, equity, and inclusion in public health? 

 

My current work contributes largely to the conversation of mental health and the implications of racism and discrimination on one's mental health. Working with high school students, I see firsthand the effects of racial battle fatigue and the literal exhaustion of having to live in fear simply because of who they are/what they look like. I find myself counseling underrepresented students and providing resources to manage their mental health. I also work with students who are exploring career options and looking for ways to make impact in their home communities. This allows me to expose students to careers in public health that have the potential to create positive change in communities that need it the most.