Jessica Meyer, a 2021 Pisacano Scholar, graduated from the University of Rochester School of Medicine and Dentistry, and is currently a 2nd-year resident in Rochester, New York. Originally from Belmont, MA, Jessica graduated from Colorado College with a Bachelor of Arts in public health.
As an undergraduate, Jessica was captivated by the intersection of health and community. She developed her own major in public health and traveled to Costa Rica to do research on childhood obesity and to Kenya to study the Catholic Church’s role in HIV/AIDs prevention. Her passion for reproductive justice was planted while working as a clinic volunteer at the local Planned Parenthood and became deeply rooted as a Global Youth Advocacy Fellow for Planned Parenthood Federation of America.
After college Jessica initially pursued a career in public health and worked at Colorado Health Progress, where she facilitated community-based, multi-stakeholder alliances across Colorado to increase health equity through local initiatives and state-wide collaboration. The passionate community leaders she worked with taught her communities hold the best solutions to the challenges they face. She also learned the delicate art of driving on mountain passes and wide-open plains in all sorts of weather. When her path turned towards medical school, she worked as a clinic and research assistant at Planned Parenthood North Central States. While working in the Twin Cities, she developed a love for cheese curds, and a deeper understanding of how clinical care and research can be tools to investigate the causes and identify solutions to unjust health outcomes.
During medical school Jessica sought out a broad range of experiences to learn innovative and non-traditional models of primary care to increase health equity via clinical care, advocacy, and research. She led a community-academic, mixed-methods research project to evaluate the sexual and reproductive health needs and practices of women who inject drugs, taught and evaluated Medication Assisted Treatment trainings targeted to primary care providers, and served as a community advocate for im/migrant workers including organizing conferences on im/migrant worker health. She served in a variety of student-leadership positions at the New York State Academy of Family Physicians and the American Academy of Family Physicians and completed an International Research Fellowship with a team based in Santiago, Chile. She worked with the team on a variety of research projects including a pilot of a positive parenting program to reduce substance use in adolescents, telemedicine trends during the COVID-19 pandemic, and a randomized-control trial to evaluate the impact of interferon on COVID-19 transmission.
In her future career, Jessica plans to focus on the areas of reproductive health and addiction medicine and identifying solutions to better care for marginalized patients through advocacy and mixed-methods research. Jessica enjoys outside activities including trying to grow new vegetables in her garden and exploring new trails on foot, skis, or by bike. If she is inside, she enjoys any activity in the kitchen and learning how to throw pottery on a wheel.