A Passion for Serving and Contributing to Impactful Change
Published on March 1, 2022, in Dornsife SPH Magazine Vol. 25 (Pg. 63)
Kylie Brinson is a second-year MPH student with a concentration in health management and policy and a Dornsife Fellow at the Dornsife School of Public Health (DSPH). She chose DSPH’s MPH program for the structured and expansive real-world experiences integrated into the curriculum.
“DSPH’s practice experiences stood out to me as opportunities to continue to serve the greater Philadelphia area prior to completing my MPH,” said Brinson. “Additionally, I knew that at DSPH I would be connected to amazing resources in the Philadelphia area, particularly the phenomenal faculty and staff.”
Through her Dornsife fellowship, Brinson was matched with faculty advisor Jonathan Purtle, DrPH, MPH, MSc, associate professor of health management and policy at DSPH, due to their similar research interests. She has been working on a tax policy research project that Purtle leads which assesses earmarked taxes in the United States and their impact on health.
“This project has exposed me to connections between socioeconomics, politics, and public health,” she said. “Specifically, we look at mental and behavioral health, and tax policy decisions that improve (or fail to improve) mental and behavioral health for people in this country.”
In addition to staying busy on campus, Brinson completed her Applied Practical Experience (APE) at Philadelphia’s Department of Behavioral Health and Intellectual DisAbility Services (DBHIDS) over the summer. She then decided to complete her Integrative Learning Experience (ILE) there as well at the start of the new academic year.
For her ILE, she is collecting data on current opioid use and fatal/non-fatal overdoses in Philadelphia while considering the impact of COVID and availability of resources, particularly in primarily Black and Brown communities. This information will be used to form policy recommendations which employ harm reduction strategies and seek equity.
Before coming to DSPH, Brinson completed her undergraduate studies at Villanova University. It was during this time that she founded her own health-driven nonprofit organization, Mission 4 Nutrition (M4N). The nonprofit serves low-income families in her hometown of Norristown, PA, by helping to increase access to nutritious foods and promote healthy lifestyle practices.
“I started M4N because I wanted to give back to the community that gave so much to me and made me the woman that I am today. I grew up in predominantly Black and Brown spaces and witnessed the impact of social determinants of health before I knew what they were,” shared Brinson. “Black and Brown people have a lower life expectancy, and nutrition and health education are leading factors. Knowing that from personal and educational experience, I was motivated to start an organization that could contribute to changing that.”
Brinson looks forward to graduating in 2022 and pursuing a meaningful career. “My passion for serving and contributing impactful change has grown and continues to grow,” she shared.