Meet Kayla Ortiz, Health Justice Scholar


Kayla Ortiz (BCHS ’23) is a first year MPH student from Bucks County, PA with a BA in history and philosophy of science from Pitt.

“This work is exciting to me because knowledge is power. The more we know about health outcomes for specific populations, the better we can address their needs,” Ortiz said.

Specifically, they look forward to working closely with the other Health Justice Scholars and to get to know the Pitt Public Health faculty working in health equity.

Currently, their research interests lie in addressing the gap in research on health outcomes of trans and nonbinary and bisexual individuals, as well as of individuals identifying with an emerging gender or sexuality identity.

Ortiz started pursuing this topic after volunteering full-time with a domestic violence agency last year. Working as an education facilitator and implementing teen violence prevention education in local high schools, they observed significant gaps in LGBTQIA+ specific information and services.

“At my core, I am a health educator. However, I know that we can’t address health inequities by simply looking at the individual. We must interrogate the structural and historical causes that disproportionately impact the health of BIPOC and LGBTQIA+ folks.”

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