Meet Noelle Serino, new Lown Institute policy analyst 

Noelle Serino joined the Lown Institute as a Policy Analyst in August 2023 after receiving her Master of Public Health degree in Social and Behavioral Sciences from the Yale School of Public Health. In her first blog for the Lown Institute, Noelle shares her journey into public health.

My passion for and commitment to the field of public health was neither the culmination of a long-held childhood dream, nor was it something I headed into college having prepared to study for the next four years. Rather, it was the product of a singular, life-changing event: When I was 17, I lost a loved one to a synthetic opioid overdose.

In the months after her passing, I struggled to reconcile with the “What if’s?” surrounding her death. Was there something myself or others could have done to prevent it? In the journey to answer this question and cope with her loss, I began to reflect on the community in which we were raised: namely, one that was rural, relatively isolated, and lacked access to critical health and social services that may have saved her life if only she had them at her disposal. 

This led me to delve into research on programs and policies surrounding the opioid crisis during my time at the Yale School of Public Health, such as analyzing barriers to substance use disorder treatment in rural communities and exploring innovative state strategies to reduce opioid-related deaths in their communities. Along the way, I recognized there was a much larger (and equally-challenging) goal to be explored: What can we, as a society, do to interrupt the structures and systems that prevent us from leading our happiest, healthiest, and most-fulfilling lives?

In alignment with the Lown Institute, I believe we can answer this question by forging a healthcare system that places people over profit by promoting health equity, honoring clinician-patient relationships, and holding our health care institutions accountable. I look forward to putting this piece of the puzzle together by analyzing fair share spending in this country and exploring how hospital systems are (and aren’t) working to place community wellness at the heart of their operations.

When I’m not catching up on the latest health policy developments, you’ll find me reading my collection of self-improvement books, spending time outdoors with my dogs, or listening to my carefully-curated vinyl collection.


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