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Discover insights and stories about how community residents are coming together to drive positive change on our most pressing issues.

Member Spotlight: Jazmine Richardson (Health Equity '24)


Cat Green


June 26, 2024

One thing that Jazmine Richardson knows about change is that it demands consistency. “One day becomes two,” she says, “and there’s a compounding effect.” It doesn’t happen overnight, but it does happen when people work at it. And Jazmine has been working towards change in her communities for years, from peer advocacy to contact tracing to developing her leadership skills to drive health equity. She has always looked for ways to connect people to the resources they need, and she’s continuing that work in the professional world, the GenUnity community, and the city of Boston.

Jazmine grew up in Buffalo, New York, and went to Syracuse University for her undergraduate education. She spent her college years sharing resources with her classmates as a Peer Health Educator and an RA. She led open, honest conversations about substance use, campus resources, and health more broadly. In 2020, when the COVID Pandemic began, Jazmine says, “I knew I had to do something.” So while still a full-time student, she became a contact tracer for five counties in Western New York. In that role, she continued to connect people with what they needed most. She shared information and resources with COVID patients, working hard to understand what their needs were.

After completing her undergraduate education, Jazmine knew she had more to learn, so she enrolled in a dual Masters program at Tufts University in Innovation and Management and Biomedical Engineering. “I [wanted] to enhance my scientific acumen alongside my business acumen,” she says. In the program, Jazmine developed deep critical thinking skills and a deeper understanding of her place in the healthcare industry. She brought a learning and service mindset to her time at Tufts: “I’m here to learn,” she says, “but I’m also here to give back to the community that’s important to me.”

It was during her last semester at Tufts that Jazmine participated in GenUnity’s Health Equity program. She was struck by the health disparities in Boston and wanted to understand more about the ecosystem of healthcare in the city. She also wanted to connect with people embedded in the community: “Boston wouldn’t be Boston without them.” And her time in the program provided her with exactly that. “This cohort opened my eyes to the different ways people approach the power that we have and the systems embedded around us,” she says.

Jazmine loved hearing about the work different people and organizations do in Boston through Community Partner sessions, too. She connected with people from Boston Community Pediatrics, Massachusetts Public Health Association (MPHA) , and other groups, and came to see that “it’s a fabric, a network of folks who are of the same mind.” Jazmine is always looking for ways to connect people to the resources they need, and through GenUnity, she came to understand more about the resources available in Boston.

Now that Jazmine has graduated, she’s interested in working in the industry as well as continuing her community work. Now, she’s an Analytical Development Intern at Vertex Pharmaceuticals, and she’s also creating connections in Boston. She volunteers with We Got Us: A Community Empowerment Project , bringing health care education to people who need it most, and she leads youth programming for The Boston Alumnae Chapter of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Incorporated. “Being in community as much as possible is more important than work…it’s about building relationships,” she says.

From undergraduate to graduate studies, from volunteering in the community to participating in GenUnity, Jazmine reflects on three things that are fundamental to making change happen: embracing discomfort, being vulnerable with yourself and others, and grounding in your truth. It’s natural to have days where you wonder if the work matters, but by leaning into discomfort, vulnerability, and truth, Jazmine says, you can become a force for change that will “sway the whole boat.”

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