Reflecting on Why Representation Matters

Celebrating Black History Month with PhD Student Amanda Valentine

Headshot of Amanda Valentine with text on right that reads
Honoring Black History Month with PhD student Amanda Valentine, MEng, MSHI.
Amanda Valentine pictured.
Amanda Valentine, MEng, MSHI
Amanda Valentine pictured in front of desk with three students in lab coats.

Amanda Valentine, MEng, MSHI, is a third-year PhD student pursuing her doctorate in healthcare management. For Valentine, public health is a field that catalyzes change and one where she can utilize her passions in several meaningful ways. As an African American woman, she also recognizes the importance of representation in this field, where diverse perspectives and voices are crucial for addressing the unique health challenges faced by marginalized communities. Valentine aspires towards a career in public service with a clear objective to create political changes that impact the health and wellness of entire communities. 

As students embark on their public health academic journey students can infuse their expertise and diverse backgrounds into groundbreaking research to promote the betterment of communities' health. Valentine draws from disciplines like engineering, health informatics, and psychology to contribute specialized solutions for solving today's complex healthcare challenges. 

Valentine sees Black History Month as an opportunity to contemplate the historical and current struggles of marginalized communities, and their relevance to present and future health equity challenges. "This month serves as a poignant reminder of how the resilience of those who came before us has paved the way for the progress we see today," said Valentine. "It encourages us to continue striving for excellence, pushing boundaries, and breaking new ground." 

She is a member of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc., the first intercollegiate historically African American sorority, and chapter Alpha Alpha Eta Omega Chapter located in South Texas, the Junior League of Houston, and the National Coalition of 100 Black Women: Houston Metropolitan Chapter. Each organization embodies her unwavering commitment to public service, advancing equity, and expanding representation of marginalized individuals. 

These organizations encourage and inspire Valentine to lead and think critically as an emerging public health leader. "Black leaders bring essential perspectives that can identify and address specific health challenges faced by their communities, leading to more effective and culturally aware health solutions," she said. 

"Representation acts as a catalyst for engagement, encouraging community members to participate more actively in health programs and to pursue careers in public health themselves," said Valentine. 

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