Jing Murray

Jing Murray

What was your background before enrolling in the MPH program?

Prior to Gillings I was a Peace Corps Volunteer in Guatemala. My service was interrupted due to COVID. While in the Peace Corps, I worked on the Healthy Schools project. The goal of the project was to reduce incidence of non-communicable diseases amongst the rural, predominately Mayan community I was living in. After Peace Corps, I worked at a girls and gender non-binary centered education nonprofit based in Orange County, CA.

What was your favorite course during your first year of the MPH program?

My favorite course during my first year was Dr. Aunchalee Palmquist’s Cultural Humility class. That class is so thoughtful. It felt student centered and Dr. Palmquist is an amazing facilitator and lecturer. The way Dr. Palmquist had us interact with positionality, reckoning with the history of field of Global Health, and had us imagine how we might navigate complex systems in the field was invaluable.

Will you tell us about your MPH practicum?

I’m doing my practicum at MDC Rural Forward. Rural Forward provides various forms of capacity-building support to 10 rural counties in North Carolina with the long-term goal to help community organizations fulfill their missions and improve their communities, and network within and beyond their county to promote long term health in rural North Carolina. My work this summer will be based in Western North Carolina. I will be working with community groups to strengthen their capacities to continue their behavioral health and food systems related work. One of the projects I will be assisting on is strategic planning with a Latinx community group and supporting a behavioral health group as they prepare for receiving some of the NC Opioid Settlement money.

Could you tell us more about your areas of interest in global health?

My interest in the health complexities surrounding adopted people stems from my own experience as a transracial adopted person. My experience within health systems has always been different than people who are biologically related to their parent(s) and/or caregiver(s). Adoptees face a multitude of health issues that traditional health systems are simply not prepared to deal with due to America’s fixation on blood relations (see “one drop rule” and “blood quantum” laws). I’m specifically interested in the implications of the health complexities adoptees in the U.S face and how it compounds or subverts the gaps in services the marginalized groups in the U.S face. As I move through the Gillings program and my career, I’m also interested in adoption rhetoric in the U.S particularly as it relates to reproductive justice, bodily autonomy (or lack thereof), and increasing access to adoptee competent medical and mental health services.

What does “global health” mean to you?

To me, global health means reaching across differences such as borders, culture, sectors, economic status, to work towards achieving better health outcomes or tackle emerging health issues.

What drew you to the Gillings School of Global Public Health?

Gillings’ rank was definitely a factor, tuition cost (both for instate and out of state residents), and where it is geographically located. Beyond my time with the Peace Corps, I have only ever lived on the west coast of the United States and have been wanting to experience living in other parts of the country.

What is your dream job?

I’m not sure what my dream job is but I know what qualities I want in a “dream job.” Ideally, there will be an element of service to it. I would like to be working in the community that I live in. I would also like to be a part of an organization that is employee centered meaning, employer provided health insurance, a culture in which rest and vacation are not shamed.

What is your favorite summertime activity and why?

My favorite summertime activity is sitting anywhere outside and reading something that’s not related to academia!

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