RonAsia Rouse has been committed to public health, equity, and her community since high school. A graduate of Edward M. Kennedy Academy for Health Careers, she went on to earn bachelor’s and master’s degrees in public health.
RonAsia first worked with ABCD as a summer intern through the Brigham and Women’s Student Success jobs program. When the pandemic hit, she was a program manager at BWH in the Center for Community Health and Health Equity. There she helped to establish the Equity and Diversity in Community Health Response Team, supporting the community around vaccinations, resources, and information sharing.
She remembers connecting with a resident at Mass General Brigham’s Juneteenth Celebration who arrived to their Community Care Van mobile clinic and initially refused the vaccine. RonAsia told her she understood her hesitation, shared her own experience, and provided her with information that enabled her to be vaccinated right then. Interactions such as these were crucial in supporting vaccination while respecting perspectives around hesitancy and acknowledging mistrust in healthcare.
Promoted to interim director of community engagement, she connected with ABCD Parker Hill/Fenway to provide families with essentials by distributing gift cards during the holidays, coordinating a canned-food drive, and providing clothing, books and toys. RonAsia has also helped ABCD to establish new partnerships.
In serving the community, she says, “rather than a top-down approach, we must collaborate in ways that honor community members as the experts in their own lives, meeting them where they are and being vehicles for support.”