The HEWG was founded in spring 2005 with the mission of conducting, promoting, and providing greater visibility to health equity research; strengthening collaborative efforts through research; and ensuring School of Public Health students and faculty work effectively in a diverse society. HEWG currently has three subcommittees to support its mission: research and training, community engagement, and student engagement.
HEWG Member Spotlights
Elliot Forrest (he/him)
I am completing a Masters of Healthcare Administration and am from Portland, OR. I majored in public health with a community health focus in my undergraduate.
I have always been very passionate about improving the healthcare system as my mom is a labor and delivery nurse. I was immediately drawn to the Health Equity Minor as combating systemic health disparities is the key reason why I decided to work in healthcare. Knowing how fragmented and broken the US healthcare system is, I am dedicated to improving it for those who have faced the most discrimination and harm. Since coming to Minnesota, I have worked at Hennepin Health, a Medicaid managed care plan in Minneapolis. I am very passionate about improving access and care experience for Medicaid populations. I love healthcare innovation and care deeply about patient experience, especially for those from politically and socially disenfranchised communities. The Health Equity Minor will be something I am proud to have and carry throughout my career as a healthcare professional. I will apply the concepts of addressing health disparities and systemic harm throughout my work and will promote projects that align with my values in health equity. This June I am excited to be starting a role as an Administrative Fellow at HealthPartners here in the Twin Cities.
Mariah Geiger-Williams (she/her/hers)
Mariah graduated in May 2023 with a Master of Public Health (MPH) in Community Health Promotion. She is currently a Communications Assistant in the Minnesota Department of Health Cardiovascular Health Unit. Mariah holds a Bachelor of Arts from Macalester College.
Mariah returned to school after a six-year career in public health. She has served as an Adolescent Health Consultant at the Wisconsin Department of Health Services, a Public Health Associate for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and a Community Health Worker on the Hennepin County COVID-19 response. In her first year at SPH, Mariah served as a Graduate Assistant on a Community-Based Participatory Research project in partnership with Northside Achievement Zone. This project created a new College-Bound Scholars curriculum for middle and high school students and their parents.
Mariah’s public health career has emphasized the necessity of working toward health equity and justice. She is committed to carrying forward what she has learned in her future roles, ideally continuing on her path of community-driven systems change work.
Jenna Kacheroski (she/her)
Jenna is a Master of Public Health student in Maternal and Child Health and graduated in May 2023 with minors in Health Equity and Sexual Health.
Before SPH, she worked as an AmeriCorps VISTA and public health educator at a rural Oregon County Public Health Department. There, she helped improve internal equity efforts and sexual and reproductive health education and promotion in the community through various settings. She graduated with her B.S. in Forensic Biology in 2019 from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln.
Jenna was drawn to the health equity minor because social justice and equity have been intrinsic values that call to her personal and professional life. The courses provided through the Health Equity minor were pivotal in her educational experience at the SPH. Classes such as Rural Health, Adolescent Health, Sex, Sexuality, and Reproductive Health were favorites among all the curricula Jenna took at SPH. She wants to use all that she has learned and absorbed through class discussions and readings apply it to her future work. Jenna wants to pursue medical school after graduation, to intentionally incorporate the fundamental values of health as a human right, social justice, and equity into her medical career. She wants to take a public health approach to medicine and our medical system.
Jenna goes to concerts, camping, and thrifting in her free time.