Morriam Yarrow is a Masters of Healthcare Administration (MHA) student at the University of Minnesota School of Public Health. After an internship as a clinical researcher in Chicago, Moriam came to UMN SPH for her MHA degree to learn how she could effectively improve healthcare systems. Learn more about her experience as a public health student by reading her responses below.
Where did you attend undergrad and what did you study?
[Moriam] I attended the University of Illinois in Chicago. My bachelor’s degree was in neuroscience and I was on the pre-med track — I learned a lot throughout my internships there. For one internship, I was a researcher in a clinical setting at the Cook County Hospital. While there, I noticed a lot of physician burnout and process inefficiencies, and I realized I didn’t want to be a doctor because it wasn’t going to be possible to make a change to the healthcare system at that level.
What drew you to public health?
[Moriam] I chose to pursue a Masters of Healthcare Administration (MHA) degree because it’s so versatile. An MHA degree is a great step towards changing healthcare to the way I think it should be run. Healthcare doesn’t have to be limited to the hospital and thanks to public health it can be extended throughout the community. I think having an MHA degree will give me the skills to leverage community organizations and at the same time understand the processes and lingo of healthcare systems.
What specific issue, problem, or area of research in public health do you care the most about and why? [Moriam] I really care about reducing racial disparities. I never thought it was a problem. I just thought it was normal, but it’s not. In a lot of these communities, you think they’re broken, but they’re not — there are strengths that we need to build up and support. Everyone shouldn’t be on different playing fields. Tackling racial injustices through public health is important work and I look forward to engaging with everyone who’s part of the problem.
How are you addressing this issue? [Moriam] Before coming to the University of Minnesota School of Public Health I started a non-profit with a friend of mine called the YO Scholarship Foundation. I’m very passionate about education; especially for the African American community. Through the YO Scholarship Foundation, we provide mentorship, scholarship, and community engagement opportunities for African American students. I’m also part of an anti-racist practice committee here at SPH, where I get to help make sure SPH is doing the best they can to help with encouraging diversity, equity, and inclusion across the school.
Why did you choose to come to the UMN School of Public Health?
[Moriam] I chose to be uncomfortable. I’m very outgoing and motivated but I usually choose things that are comfortable to me. To grow as a leader and a person, I knew I needed to step outside of that and that’s what the University of Minnesota SPH was for me. I wanted to challenge myself to be away from an environment I was familiar with in Chicago and to immerse myself in different perspectives.
In what ways is the school a good fit for you?
[Moriam] I think being online is definitely hard but as I’m growing the program has grown on me as well. The MHA program is really flexible and the professors genuinely listen to us. I thought being online I would be more distant from my classmates but we’re close and I feel like I made the right choice.
What do you like about being in Minnesota?
[Moriam] I like how there’s a lot of walking areas because I enjoy being outside. There are a lot of parks and it’s especially convenient when it’s warm outside. I’m still exploring the Twin Cities but I’ve found lots of great restaurants as well.