Kayla Morris

Kayla Morris Photo

Kayla Morris
  • Health Sciences
  • Public Health

Class of: 2021

I graduated Cum Laude from Carroll College in 2021 with degrees in Health Sciences and Public Health, and a Biology minor. I selected Carroll for its robust pre-med program and impressive success with matriculating  students into medical school. I chose Health Sciences as my primary course of study. Within my first year, I added Public Health as a second major because I saw its value for my future. As biology is also important for medicine, I was happy that Carroll offered the option as a minor.

Through my coursework and relationships with my professors, I had the opportunity to work on the Culture of Respect grant, and completed a community needs assessment of sexual assault victim services and advocacy on the Carroll campus. The findings were tough to share, but led to the foundation of the establishment of the MPWRMNT (empowerment) center. This center opened up the year after I graduated, and has significantly improved Carroll's victim resources for sexual assault on campus.

I elected to take a gap year between college and immediately applied to medical schools after graduation. I was accepted by four medical schools, and will be attending Western University in Lebanon, OR. Throughout my medical school interviews, I was continually asked about the public health work I completed at Carroll, and the admissions committee was impressed each time. I believe the public health program contributed to my success as a medical school applicant. Public health taught me to think broadly, problem solve, and connect public health theories with day-to-day clinical medicine.

Public Health and COVID directly lead to my post-graduation gap-year employment. During my gap year, I worked in the Population Health Department at St. Peter’s Health. I served as the Supervisor of Community Based Services. I was the project lead for the Housing is Health Care Grant, a community-based initiative tasked with bringing community partners together to improve support systems for unhoused and unstably housed individuals who have high utilization of emergency services. I was also able to develop, implement, and oversee the St. Peter’s Health Community Health Worker Program, including hiring and supervising Community Health Workers. In addition to my two main responsibilities, I participate in many local community coalitions and oversee the Zero to Five project. My experience in Public Health and the Culture of Respect grant at Carroll allowed me to enter directly into a leadership role in population health after graduating. My co-workers and the community partners I work with continue to be surprised when they learn I graduated less than a year ago. Had it not been for my experience majoring in Public Health at Carroll, I would not be as successful as I am today.

The professors I encountered at Carroll have supported me in numerous ways, including after graduation. While Carroll was not the ‘traditional’ college experience, Carroll allowed me to impact my community and fostered a passion for public health that I would not have had if it was not for my time there.