Following her ‘deep sense of purpose’

Krysta Hill

Krysta Hill’s journey has taken her from the fashion and entertainment industry in New York City to a pain management clinic in Milwaukee and now to the School of Public Health, where she’s pursuing a master of healthcare administration. In this Q&A she talks about her previous work experiences and her education and cohort  at the School of Public Health. 

Where did you grow up? Where did you attend undergrad, and what was your degree/area of study?

K.H. I grew up in Milwaukee, WI, and pursued my undergraduate degree in fashion marketing and management at the Art Institutes in Chicago. I have always been a deeply creative person, finding joy in self-expression through clothing and fashion.

After graduation, I spent three crazy years in New York City, working in the fashion and entertainment industry. I was fortunate to work with some of the biggest fashion brands and events, including the Victoria’s Secret Fashion Show. As exciting as it was, I quickly realized that the work didn’t truly provide me with a sense of purpose, and I made the decision to return to Milwaukee. 

After a period of nannying and personal growth, I embraced the opportunity to manage a pain management clinic in Milwaukee, right as the COVID-19 pandemic began. It gave me a deep sense of purpose.

What drew you to public health? 

K.H. While at the pain management clinic, we provided care for a diverse range of individuals, predominantly from marginalized communities. This experience granted me invaluable insights into the healthcare challenges they faced. It marked my first involvement in a role linked to public health and sparked my interest in pursuing a career in healthcare administration.

Additionally, I’ve held a long-standing interest in mental health, largely due to my upbringing. Growing up in poverty in a family affected by mental illness, I realized that mental health challenges not only impact those with the health conditions, but also the people living with them.

How would you like to help address or explore this issue? 

K.H. In addition to graduate school, I volunteer at Open Arms Minnesota every week. We prepare, package, and deliver medically tailored, nutritious meals to individuals facing critical health issues and their families for free. It’s a wonderful opportunity to give back to the community and has connected me with truly amazing people.

What has been your favorite class at SPH so far?

K.H. Intro to Population Health with senior lecturer Stuart Grande has been my favorite class. I am interested in the diversity, equity, and inclusion  space, and this class significantly delves into health equity and the intersection of various social identities—how they compound health disparities and contribute to unique health challenges within marginalized groups. 

I believe it’s crucial to understand and respect cultural differences, tailoring healthcare approaches to meet the specific needs of diverse communities.

In what ways is the School of Public Health a good fit for you? 

K.H. My classmates. I genuinely appreciate and love my cohort. Initially, I was worried about not fitting in due to being much older than my peers. However, they’ve become my favorite people, and I’ve only ever felt supported. Each one of us contributes valuable perspectives, and I take great pride in being alongside them. They all exhibit exceptional intelligence and are destined to become remarkable leaders in healthcare. Just watch!