Lorraine Twohey-Jacobs

MS in Epidemiology
Glendora, CA

What motivates you about public health?

Public health argues for everyone’s right to health and it recognizes the physical, social, biological, environmental, genetic and economic factors that impact someone’s health and well-being. People in the field are dedicated to improving health for communities around the world – and that inspires me.

Why did you decide to pursue an MS in epidemiology?

I see epidemiology as a tool to explore health disparities within communities, evaluate measures to reduce poor health outcomes, and influence policy-level change in health care systems. By investigating how and why poor health outcomes burden particular communities, I could do my part to prevent them.

Why did you choose the UW?

Because of the collaborative environment and emphasis on the social determinants of health. The School of Public Health and Department of Epidemiology are truly committed to improving health for communities around the world. Receiving the Grayston-Day Fellowship was also a large factor in my decision. My biggest anxiety as a low-income, independent and out-of-state student is not having disposable income or other sources of financial support.

How did your work with Planned Parenthood impact the work you do?

I learned about sexual and reproductive health, the impact of legislation on health, advocacy and event planning. It also exposed me to the themes of intersectionality and social justice that still frame the way I think about public health today. Planned Parenthood’s aim of inclusive sexual and reproductive health care regardless of income influenced my beliefs around the obligations we have as public health researchers – to provide inclusive health care to all.

And as an LGBTQ+ peer educator?

This experience helped me think holistically about how LGBTQ+ people are impacted in different aspects of life outside of what is traditionally thought of as public health.

What are your research interests?

Health equity and health disparities, social epidemiology, the social determinants of health and LGBTQ+ health. I hope to explore the impact of poverty, access to health care and insurance, and other socioeconomic factors on the health and well-being of communities in the U.S., particularly for LGBTQ+ populations.

Do you have any jobs or extracurricular activities?

I’m the advancement assistant at the UW School of Pharmacy’s Office of Advancement and Alumni Relations. Also, one of my goals in moving to Seattle was to learn how to keep plants alive. Right now, four of my five plants are thriving. In my free time, I like to dance, hike and travel.

What are your future goals?

I plan to pursue at PhD in epidemiology and conduct research in health disparities, social epidemiology and LGBTQ+ health. I hope to bridge the gap between the artificial distinctions of applied public health and research through policy analysis, community-based research and intervention studies.

What do you like most about Seattle?

The nature! In Southern California, you have to drive at least two hours in traffic to be immersed in nature away from the crowds. In Seattle, there’s beautiful parks and waterfront views in so many neighborhoods. And you can drive about a half an hour and be in a forest, at a mountain or on a lake. And people here don’t let the rain stop them.


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