'Health is the Foundation for Human Beings'
A drive to create equitable access to healthcare
Kobe Walker, a health policy fellow with the Congressional Black Caucus Foundation in the U.S., discusses her passion for public health. Baxter is proud to sponsor Kobe's fellowship through our Activating Change Today program.
Question: Tell me a little bit about yourself.
Kobe: I was born and raised in Kansas City, Missouri. After graduating from the University of Arkansas, I decided to pursue a Master's degree in Public Health from Tulane University. I graduated almost a year ago, and am now enjoying my move to Washington D.C., exploring, making new friends and starting my professional life.
Q: Why did you pursue a degree in Public Health?
Kobe: Growing up I always thought I wanted to be a doctor, but when I got to college I was introduced to the field of Public Health. This offered the possibility of impacting an entire society versus individual patients. I was really intrigued. And with health policy, I can help create legislation that creates change on a large scale.
Q: Why are you interested in addressing healthcare disparities?
Kobe: Making healthcare accessible to everyone is extremely important. Health is the foundation for human beings – we aren’t able to do much without it. Equal access to healthcare can help make lives better, especially for people who live in marginalized communities and don’t always have the opportunity to receive primary care.
Is there a specific topic you are most interested in?
Kobe: I focused a lot on the inequities in maternal mortality during the first six months of my fellowship. In the U.S., there are disparities between how often Black women are dying during childbirth and postpartum, and the issues they face during pregnancy. I was able to write a lot on these issues – investigating why they are occurring and how we can hopefully prevent them through access. This is a topic I hope to take with me forever.
Q: What are you most looking forward to in the second half of your fellowship?
Kobe: For the next six months I’ll be working in the National Institutes of Health's office of legislative policy and analysis, where I’ll be able to focus a lot more on my passion: healthcare. In graduate school, I did a lot of research on how a variety of legislation – for example, housing – can impact healthcare access. I’m excited to do more of this kind of work and expand my knowledge.
Q: What's been your favorite part of your fellowship so far?
Kobe: The fast-paced environment of Capitol Hill is very rewarding. I've learned so much. Through the Congressional Black Caucus Foundation, I've met and built a great community. And, I had the incredible opportunity to meet Dr. Fauci, former director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, and tell him what a public health inspiration he's been to me!