Lauren R. Powell

Lauren R. Powell
Location: Richmond, Virginia Cohort Start Year: 2018 Project Topics: Disease Prevention and Health Promotion, Food Systems and Nutrition, Health Care Access, Oral Health, Public Policy, Public, Population and Community Health Populations Served: African-American/Black, Asian/Asian American, At-Risk/Vulnerable Populations, Hispanic/Latino/Latinx, Homeless Populations, LGBTQ+ Communities, Low-Income Communities, Migrant Workers, Native Hawaiian and Pacific Islanders (NHPI), Native/Tribal/Indigenous People, People with Disabilities, Rural Communities, Urban Communities
Office of Health Equity

Empowered. Independent. Free. Lauren’s vision for Virginia is one in which people feel empowered to live a long life, love without a limit, and relish in the freedom to just be. Compassion, justice, and a reverence for humanity are central to her work. In Virginia, the opportunity to achieve health varies by place. In Lauren’s work as the Director of Health Equity for the Commonwealth of Virginia, she focuses on the need to build racial equity, recognize intersections of identity in communities, and address the social causes of disease to create a Virginia where all have the opportunity to be healthy, well, and free.

STRATEGIC INITIATIVE: Operationalize Anti-racism Within Healthcare & Public Health Organizations
 Given the #BlackLivesMatter movement sparked by the murders of George Floyd, Rayshard Brooks, Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery, and countless others, antiracism is prominent now more than ever in recent history. Hundreds of healthcare and public health organizations have voiced their public denouncement of racism while vowing to “be anti-racist,”however, few understand what these words mean in application and practice. Operationalizing anti-racism will require intentional systemic changes to workplace policies and practices that perpetuate oppressive forces within and throughout these systems. Through this strategic initiative, we aim to focus on dismantling the systems of racism, sexism, and other systems of oppression at play within healthcare and public health organizations. To do so, we will leverage the network of TIME’S UP Healthcare and the extensive networks of our ideal community partners: the American Medical Association and the American Public Health Association.

Lauren is passionate and unapologetic about her commitment to justice and her love for people. Though formally educated on health equity and population health, it is her life experience as a black woman born and raised in Indianapolis, Indiana, that fuels her mission to create a culture of health.