Laarni San Juan, RN, PHN, MPH

What is your favorite public health experience and why?

“I truly enjoy being out in the community with families and children. Listening to their stories and how they live life is a window for me to learn about how communities thrive, survive, maintain, and access their livelihood. What I directly learn is beyond the textbooks and often times surpasses what I know as a Public Health Nurse. To BE in the community is a never-ending flow of knowledge.”

What is your proudest public health moment and why?

“It’s an honor and privilege to meet mothers prenatally, follow their journey into the postpartum period, and meet them at their home settings to watch them raise their children. A proud moment is getting a a call from a mother who was able to invest in herself, pursue her educational goals, buy a family home, and hear the news that the children successfully graduated from high school.”

What has been your most challenging public health experience and why?

“My most challenging experience is working with the public health systems and directly coming face to face with injustices and barriers to accessing information and services.”

Why do you care about public health?

“Public health is the backbone of our daily existence. To understand and interpret its complex moving parts such as healthcare, environment, and prevention programs is a gift we as public health practitioners can give back.”

What is your public health story?

“I grew up in an immigrant household where I qualified for free lunch meals and I went to the public health clinics for free dental care. I grew up in a loving, supportive and hardworking environment that allowed me to flourish in the public school system, gain meaningful employment and seek out healthy relationships. I also witnessed abuse, poor parenting, substance use and incarceration at an arms length within my own family circle in a different neighborhood. At a young age, I literally saw and felt the inequities. I was convinced and also curious to learn more about those social indicators that determine one’s life course. I pursued nursing to understand the medical aspect and eventually sought out public health education to address my curiosities of why communities thrive. I followed my desires to be a healthcare professional directly in the community – my journey as a Public Health Nurse has been rewarding, fulfilling and beyond what I imagined it to be.”

What public health advice would you like to give?

“Everyone is different. Everyone has a story to tell. The stories create the fabric of health. It’s important to listen closely. We are all impacted by the health of everyone (near and far) and it is up to us to recognize what we can contribute to make the public’s health better.”

Anything else you’d like to share?

“It’s been an honor and privilege to work in the community.”

Instagram: @laarnisanjuanx

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