Strong Women Inspired Kerrissa to Pursue Career in Community Health

Mar 1 2023

Health care isn’t all needles and bloodwork – there are many other roles within the industry outside of the clinical space. One of those roles is in community health, ensuring the communities we serve have access to quality health care and that the specific needs of the communities are represented in our offerings.

So, while she may not be donning a mask and gown, Kerrissa MacPherson, program manager of community health, plays an integral part in collaborating with the people of Richmond, Va. to provide the necessary care the community actually needs.

“I’ve worked across this community for almost a decade to collaborate with key community partners and to break down silos inside and outside the health system, seeking to bring together diverse entities to focus on community health and effective community engagement,” Kerrissa shares. “My goal is to work in partnership with our ministry’s leaders, frontline team members and community organizations to work toward a more just community.”

It’s a unique role within health care, and one that Kerrissa prepared for by seeking advice from some influential women.

“When I think about which women have inspired me to a career in community health, my first thoughts are about some of the female professors I was privileged to learn from during my time at the University of Richmond.”

In particular, Kerrissa draws specific inspiration from individual women throughout her educational journey.

“I think of Dr. Crystal Hoyt teaching me about how gender intersects with career for women in particular. I think of Dr. Jennifer Smith-Slabaugh speaking about what it was like to navigate a professional career as a mother.”

She continues, “I think of Dr. Jennifer Cable encouraging me to find my own voice and not listen only to what others wanted me to be or to do. And I think of Dean Juliette Landphair reminding me that I could decide what career I wanted to have – that I didn’t have to follow a predefined path to make an impact in my community. These four women impacted me deeply as a young woman. I continue to be inspired by them a decade later!”

Kerrissa spends her days serving our Mission and is a walking example of how a story of determination and compassion comes to life throughout the communities we serve. We’re made up of women who empower those around them to better bring our mission to life.

Learn more about our ministry’s community commitment.

Also, read more stories celebrating our team members during Women’s History Month.

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