Kaylee Lammers PHAP

Kaylee Lammers

Public Health Administration & Policy MPH

"I moved halfway across the country without knowing anyone that lives here. SPH has really provided me with a lot of support and mentors. They’ve all made sure that I’ve always had someone to turn to."

First, I’d like to know a little bit about you as a person. Where did you grow up? Where did you attend undergrad and what was your degree/area of study? [Kaylee] I’m from a suburb right outside of Syracuse NY, I went to Stony Brook University and got my BS in Biology with a concentration in developmental genetics. I graduated a semester early and then took a year-and-a-half gap working and volunteering for two crisis prevention centers – the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline (988) and an information and referral service called 211. You can get information on referrals about anything you may need like food pantries, medical transfers, mental health services, and any public good. 

How did you become interested in public health? [Kaylee] I always knew I wanted to help people but very quickly I realized I did not like the idea of having someone’s life in my hands, like in a clinical setting. I wanted to help people while also using my background in biology. Public health seemed like that perfect fit.

What specific issue, problem, or area of research in public health do you care the most about and why? [Kaylee] I’m really interested in mental health and healthcare access. In my work with 988 and 211 I learned a lot more about the barriers that exist for people and feel like there are still lots of barriers.

How would you like to help address or explore this issue? [Kaylee] I’m still looking for different job or internship opportunities related to those issues. I believe the best way to address any issue is to talk to the community members that this most affects. You shouldn’t just assume what the problems are and what the solutions are, you need to involve the people who are being affected by these things to make real progress.  

Are you currently involved in any public health research or professional work? [Kaylee] In one of my courses I was able to pick a policy problem to focus on for the whole semester. Within that course, I had shared my issue brief with my state senator and I am starting to work with his office to see how we can better support child protective services workers in terms of training, turnover, and resources to create better outcomes for kids.

Why did you choose to come to the U of M School of Public Health? [Kaylee] When I was researching schools and searching for programs, I had met with Stuart Grande and during our conversation I just knew that he really wanted me to succeed. I knew he would support me not only through my search of schools but also once I was in the program.

PHAP Student Kaylee Lammers
PHAP Student Kaylee Lammers with friends

What are the reasons why you chose your program? What do you like about it? [Kaylee] When I chose the program, I knew I was interested in administration work and the policy side really intrigued me, so I decided to pursue it. The interactive experience and hands-on learning I’m doing in my classes is giving me the skills to make change in the real world after graduation. I like it because I feel like what I’m learning in class will lead to really meaningful work that will help people.

What has been your favorite class so far? [Kaylee] PubH 6735 Principles of Health Policy with Professor Katy Kozhimannil and Samantha Mills! They were both so helpful and really wanted us to succeed. As part of a project in their class, we had to contact one of our State Senators and share with them our issue briefs. I sent mine to my state senator in New York, Senator John Mannion, and I actually received a response and have begun meeting with him to create change. My policy proposal was directly tied to an op-ed I wrote on supporting child protective workers

In what ways is the school a good fit for you? [Kaylee] I moved halfway across the country without knowing anyone that lives here. SPH has really provided me with a lot of support and mentors. They’ve all made sure that I’ve always had someone to turn to. I’m actually the cohort rep for my cohort so I get to create events for us to get together and get to learn more about each other. 

What do you like about being in Minnesota? [Kaylee] I always knew I wanted to be in a big city and the Twin Cities is the perfect size. There is always something to do but you don’t get overwhelmed by the number of options. I love the food, music, and the coffee shops. You can experience so many different cultures through food. I don’t have a car so I love that everything is accessible and I can get around town via the light rail and bus system.

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