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Project Manager, SC Department of Health and Human Services
Graduated: 2016
Specialization: Transportation

Christina serves as a subject matter expert in Health Programs for the agency’s Replacement Medicaid Management Information System (RMMIS) project. She also co-chairs the City of Columbia’s Bike and Pedestrian Advisory Committee and is a commissioner for the Newberry County Joint Planning Commission.

Why did I pursue a career in city planning?
The socio-ecological model, a key framework in the field of public health, calls attention to the power of policy, systems, and environmental change for influencing behaviors and improving health and quality of life. What better way to achieve community-wide impact than through city planning? Through interdisciplinary studies in city planning and public health in the dual master’s program, I learned how to bridge disciplines and leverage planning as a tool for health. I focused on the intersection of planning and public health through the lens of transportation, particularly in the areas of active transportation, traffic-related injury prevention, and transportation access to medical services. In addition to my studies, I trained state public health professionals to use mapping software for place-based policy change in the tobacco retail environment as a project assistant at Counter Tools.

Where am I now?
After graduating, I began a Government Innovation Fellowship with the SC Department of Health and Human Services (SC DHHS). I applied tools for improving government performance, managing contracts, and assessing effectiveness of social programs through mentorship from the Harvard Kennedy School’s Government Performance Lab. I’ve continued my work at SC DHHS after the fellowship, now supporting the agency’s transition to more modern information technology that will improve our delivery of Medicaid services. I am also working to coordinate training and support plans for adoption of new business processes.
I’ve also had the opportunity to highlight planning and public health connections at the University of South Carolina’s Arnold School of Public Health. I was a guest lecturer for “Health Problems in a Changing Society” and engaged a master’s student to support the City of Columbia’s Open Streets initiative.

What does the future hold?
SC DHHS’ new information system will have greater capacity for data analytics to improve quality of care and reduce health care costs, and I hope to support increased use of spatial analytics and consideration of transportation costs in episodes of health care. I’ve found that health care is the “third leg” on the stool that supports broad-reaching policy impact, and medical, public health, and planning professionals are working toward mutual understanding and greater collaboration.
Further, I hope to continue to leverage my city planning background to inform my work as a civic leader, from contributing to land use and zoning decisions in my county to advocating for regional public transportation opportunities.

Shortly after graduation from her master’s program, Christina participated in an 800-mile journey from Bar Harbor to New York City with Bike&Build, a program that raises money and awareness for the affordable housing cause.

You can check out more about her experience through her blog: