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Public Health Culture

Join Leonore Okwara, MPH as she discusses public health research, initiatives, and how to engage the community in it all.

Jul 27, 2020

Nicole D. Vick, is an Author, Speaker, Public Health Advocate, Professor, and Image Consultant based in Los Angeles, CA. She is a Health Educator Coordinator at the Los Angeles County Department of Health and an adjunct professor at Occidental College where she teaches about health equity and social determinants of health.  She is on the board of three community-based organizations: Esperanza Community Housing, Public Health Advocates and Physicians for Social Responsibility (LA chapter).  She “fell in love with public health 20 years ago” and has never looked back.  She believes in using her professional, educational and lived experience to teach, engage, and inspire.   


In This Episode We Cover:

  • What is at the heart of public health and her work.
  • How she works with her undergraduate students to look inside themselves and start to formulate ideas on how each of them can make a difference in this field.  
  • Why commitment to your local community on a small scale is crucial in order to make bigger public health impacts.
  • How to pursue being on your local community-based organization boards.
  • What lived experiences have shaped her life and career path.
  • How educational attainment is one of the top ten social determinants of health and how it affects all aspects of a person’s life.
  • The need for eliminating current unfair systemic structures and the need to start over creating new systemic foundations.
  • Top tips for managing public health projects and creating change.


Action Steps:

  • Purchase her Book: Pushing Through: Finding the Light in Every Lesson where she talks about her life journey, her “ah-ha” moments, her struggles as a teen mom, and how public health concepts play out in a person’s life.
  • Watch her TED talk on YouTube “Seeing Faces and Not Just Numbers.” In this talk, she amplifies the importance of understanding the lived experiences behind statistics, particularly in the field of public health education.  
  • Watch the documentary “Unnatural Causes: Is Inequality Making Us Sick” - a seven-part documentary series exploring racial and socioeconomic inequalities in health.  


Stand-Out Quotes:

  • “Ultimately public health is about community and trying to make communities better and healthier.”  
  • “People’s civil rights are not being met.  Black people have to fight to have their humanity validated.”  
  • “We see health disparities. We see inequalities in quality of education.  We see housing is unaffordable.  We see high homelessness rates.”  
  • “Racism is the reason why we see so many different health outcomes.”
  • “Poverty predicts poor health in such a profound way that if we could eliminate poverty, we could raise the status of our population in regards to health.”  
  • “It is an unfair situation as to how our community and society is structured. It keeps certain people in poverty.  We need to do a better job of working towards eliminating those structures.”


Reach Out: