Mercedes Conkin, MPH, recently joined the Meharry-Vanderbilt Alliance (MVA) as an associate program manager, working collaboratively with the MVA’s leadership team. Mercedes has always been interested in health care, focusing on diverse, underserved populations. She is excited to apply her expertise to support the Nashville community.
Mercedes received a bachelor’s in sociology from the University of Alabama at Birmingham (UAB). While completing her degree, she volunteered at Children’s of Alabama as a college aide alongside hospital providers to offer comfort and reassurance to patients and their families. After graduation, she spent several years working in a family medicine residency clinic with UAB’s School of Medicine, where her passion for social inequities and health disparities emerged.
Mercedes explains, “At one of the largest clinics in North Alabama for primary care, there were so many hoops patients had to jump through to receive basic care. On top of other stressors people encounter, health care should not be one of them.”
Mercedes later returned to UAB for her graduate studies, earning a Master of Public Health degree with a concentration in Healthcare Organization & Policy. While pursuing her MPH, she had the chance to intern with Aletheia House, a community-based organization in Birmingham, Alabama that provides substance abuse treatment, women’s health, and affordable housing.
“Interning with Aletheia House exposed me to a new side of health care,” she says. “I really grew to admire the people who brought these programs to life.”
After completing her graduate education, Mercedes felt an increasing urge to transition out of a clinical environment and into community health. She made the move to Nashville two years ago and began her career at Vanderbilt University Medical Center. When a position with the MVA opened, Mercedes knew it was the opportunity she had been waiting for:
“It was an easy decision. This role provides a direct path that intertwines social inequities and public health. I was looking for something that encompasses what I loved throughout my education, and I think I have found it.”
About the Meharry-Vanderbilt Alliance