Did you know? The Equitas Project offers internships year-round. These internships offer in-depth experience in the mental health and criminal justice advocacy arena. This summer at Equitas, we have two undergraduate interns and one master’s practicum student working with us. Learn more about MPH candidate Lindsay Houston below!
Lindsay Houston, Master of Public Health candidate
University of Colorado at Anschutz
Concentration: Community and Behavioral Health
1.) Where are you from originally and what do you love most about Colorado?
I am originally from a small town called Kent in the Northwest corner of Connecticut. The town is so small, I grew up knowing nearly everyone, including our long time UPS driver! I moved to Colorado right after graduating from college and love the endless opportunities for adventure and exploring that Colorado has to offer. I also enjoy the frequent sun and warm winters, which are welcome after growing up with East Coast weather.
2.) Why did you choose to pursue a degree in public health?
I have a background in the more clinical side of health and pursued a career in nursing for a while before realizing that I wanted to have more of an impact at a population or community level instead of at the individual patient level. I wanted to maintain some connection to health, but wanted to have a slightly different and bigger lens. Public health enables me to work with a wider lens to address the bigger questions and problems I am interested in.
3.) What interested you about doing your practicum with Equitas?
My interest in working with Equitas for my practicum stems from our joint interest in mental health. I am interested in understanding how addressing the social determinants of health can influence mental health and the community response to those in the criminal justice system. I was also attracted to working with Equitas because they are a relatively small organization, which will enable to me to get a lot of exposure to different areas and participate in stakeholder meetings.
4.) What types of projects will you be working on?
One of the projects I will be partnering with The Equitas Project on is the development of a strategic concept map that explores the community response to the opioid epidemic and its intersection with the criminal justice system. The concept map will document what work is occurring in this area from a variety of angles and perspectives to form a centralized narrative of the problem.
5.) At this time, what are your goals for after you graduate?
I am still exploring new areas of public health to help inform my answer, but right now I would like to stay in Colorado and work towards influencing policy in the areas of mental health and substance abuse. Ask me again in a year!
6.) Who or what inspires you?
I could name about ten people who inspire me, but I think the thing they all have in common that sparks my inspiration is their passion for their work. When someone is passionate about something and they really care, they influence others to be interested and care too. Passion is infectious and I am motivated by people who display that kind of hope and optimism even in the face of barriers.
7.) What are you currently reading or watching?
I am currently reading three books: Chasing the Scream by Johan Hari, Anatomy of an Epidemic by Robert Whitaker, and Let my People go Surfing by Yvon Chouinard.
8.) What are some recent projects—school related, volunteer related, or work related—that you’ve enjoyed?
In my Methods of Research and Evaluation course this spring, we designed individual programs for a specific population from start to finish. I focused on developing a mobile texting application to help pregnant mothers reduce or end their use of marijuana while pregnant. I had not had much exposure to program evaluation or development prior to this class and I enjoyed learning the intricacies required to run a successful program, especially with a protected population.
9.) Three things you can’t live without?
- My mountain bike
- Strawberry rhubarb pie
Interview has been edited for length and clarity.