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Improving Maternal Health in Vulnerable Communities

Yale Public Health Magazine, Focus: Spring 2022
by Devina Buckshee


Paige Farrenkopf’s interest in maternal and child health is much broader than her innate desire to simply help people.

For one, looking at maternal and reproductive health within humanitarian settings during her Yale School of Public Health internship last summer truly opened her eyes to the global scale of health inequities.

The Yale Institute of Global Health fellowship in July 2021 with Save the Children’s Maternal, Newborn and Reproductive Health in Emergencies Team was an “incredible experience,” she said.

Farrenkopf, M.P.H. ’22, assisted with family planning services and specifically looked at the resources available to survivors of sexual violence among various health facilities throughout Yemen. “It fueled my passion for public health and interest in protecting vulnerable communities within the maternal and child health space,” she said.

But it was a reproductive health class that focused on people of color and health equity that first sparked her interest in the field.

“I took it as an undergraduate in college and was thrilled to be able to pursue this field at YSPH and through student organizations like ReproJustice to advocate for sexual and reproductive health,” Farrenkopf said.

I want to look at the bigger picture and create a lasting impact for the populations I work with.

Paige Farrenkopf

ReproJustice helped her dive deeper into education, advocacy and community engagement around reproductive health. The group held seminars on sexual and reproductive health law, as well as a discussion on a Connecticut bill that would prohibit institutions from spreading misinformation about pregnancy-related services. “It's been really interesting to learn how the legal sector intersects with public health in regards to maternal and reproductive health,” said Farrenkopf.

She says a large focus of her work is on preventive health care within the maternal and reproductive health sector as she believes this aspect is often overlooked despite its potential to have “significant impacts later on in life.”

Looking forward, Farrenkopf is eager to use her public health training and background in an impactful way on a broad scale.

“I want to look at the bigger picture and create a lasting impact for the populations I work with,” she said emphatically.

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