Meet Jamie Martina, Health Justice Scholar


Jamie Martina (BCHS MPH '23) grew up most of her life in Pittsburgh, spending quite a bit of time in North Carolina before moving back to the city. She is a first-year student who graduated from UNC Chapel Hill with a degree in communications and women and gender studies in 2015 where her background was in documentary studies with work centering mainly on people in the sex industry, how people conceptualize the sef and stand in relationship to the other roles they inhabit. 

"Over the summer, I conducted my first qualitative research study to gauge the experiences sex workers have had with health care professionals and the barriers to obtaining regular health care," said Martina. "Preliminary findings showed that there was a desire to trust health care providers but that trust was not there due to historically being stigmatized in a health setting. So I applied for the Health Justice Scholars program to develop next steps to expand this research." 

Martina decided to pursue this work in earnest eight months ago but she was led here through five years' experience working adjacent to health equity in advocacy and professional work. "It took the pause given by the pandemic, and the fire from the civil rights movement from this past summer to motivate me to pursue advocacy through public health.

"The last few years, our society witnessed a paradigm shift in how we value, treat, and takl about capitalism and its inherent structural barriers. I'm excited to add my unique perspective to the evolving conversation. More so, I look forward to being a conduit for people in my community to lead the charge of the next shift." 

Martina is eager to get her hands dirty with this work - reframe how she approaches research to be more equitable. She's excited to learn from her colleagues and to come out of this experience with more and better questions. 

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