Encompassing equity and elements of public health
Environmental Health Sciences
For Jourdan Clements, it’s important for her work to be people centric. That’s why she was curious to learn how environmental issues can impact human health
After receiving a bachelor’s degree in Ecology, Evolution, and Biodiversity from the University of Michigan College of Literature, Science, and the Arts, Clements began working toward a master’s degree in Ecosystem Science and Management from the School for Environment and Sustainability (SEAS).
She then was inspired to pursue a Master of Public Health in Environmental Health Sciences because of her passion to understand how environmental issues impact human health.
“When I began graduate school, I was kind of still left searching a little bit for a focus on human-related health exposures,” said Clements, who is graduating with a dual degree this spring. “Because one thing about the School for Environment and Sustainability is they're very encompassing and super biocentric in their view. Because of that, a lot of the outlets I was finding were more focused on animal systems or greater environmental systems.
“So to fill that niche, I initiated a dual degree in Environmental Health Sciences. Now, I have that balance of looking at a very human-centric focus in public health but also a bio-centric focus thanks to SEAS.”
I learned a lot about how medical professionals approach issues such as HIV and abortion access and seeing this positive shift into preventative treatment and educating patients and giving them autonomy in their health."
Her dedication to transforming and improving healthcare also showed in her work outside the classroom. She volunteered as a health policy student association education committee member. She also served as a Rackham representative for Central Student Government and as a director of sustainability for Rackham Student Government.
“I think it’s really important in the School of Public Health to always reach out to people, especially if you’re interested in their work,” Clements said. “I've had very great experiences with faculty and administration being super helpful in helping me expand my interest and reach my goals.”
She is particularly proud of her capstone, a collaboration between Michigan Public Health and Michigan Medicine. It’s called ObGyn Delivered and it helps expand access to knowledge of the field of obstetrics and gynecology by providing students with practice questions, topic reviews and novel research in order to better women’s healthcare.
“I learned a lot about how medical professionals approach issues such as HIV and abortion access and seeing this positive shift into preventative treatment and educating patients and giving them autonomy in their health,” Clements said. “I've also learned about a lot of intricacies that are involved on the policy side when it comes to health. It is unfortunate that health is rooted so much in policy and, unfortunately, sometimes what women are allowed to do with their own bodies is left up to someone else.”
“I think that coming together and distributing resources and trying to make positive changes to accessibility is a huge thing that I think will continue to be a big push, especially in medicine with more education and more integration of public health practices.”
She aspires to look at how human health is going to be altered and ways healthcare can create upstream measures to prevent exposure and disease. Clements believes that impactful change occurs when such practices are equitable and inclusive of identities like the One Health model.
“I think impactful change is altering practices so that we are sort of giving more equitable preventative measures to people across the scope of different identities, races, ethnicities and making sure that people are not being exposed to things that may lead to disease down the line,” she said. “We can improve human health by bettering the way we view and treat human health.”
Upon graduation, Clements hopes to continue to further her reach in public health and better educate herself by using the foundations she has gathered in Ann Arbor.