May 11, 2022
“This work, to me, is a life mission, and it’s driven by passion and interest and expertise in the field of public health.”
Maram Museitif is a public health and health care professional with more than 10 years of experience working in large research, academic, and government health settings, and has a solid understanding of the challenges facing health care delivery in the United States and globally.
Ms. Museitif holds a master’s degree in public health and is certified in public health and clinical research. She is the chair of the Legislative, Policy and Advocacy Committee for the Texas Public Health Association, where she prioritizes and advocates for statewide policies, programming, and funding to address public health issues.
Ms. Museitif also served on Central Health’s Health Equity Council, whose efforts led to the amendment of the Smoking in Public Places Ordinance (SIPPO) to include e-cigarettes.
She was a member of Central Health’s inaugural Community Health Champions class in 2016 where she was presented an appreciation award and was nominated alumni president by her classmates. The Texas Public Health Association recognized her advocacy work for health equity in 2016 with the presentation of the Jessie A. Yoas Memorial Advocacy Award.
Prior to her role at the Texas Public Health Association she worked for Yale University, UT Southwestern, Department of State Health Services, The United Nations Relief and Works Agency, and the US Department of Veterans Affairs in Dallas. In addition to her professional career, she sits on several health committees working to empower patients, students, and providers. She is also a recent graduate of Leadership Austin and a founding member of The Society of Health Communication.
Q: What made you want to become a Community Health Champion?
A: I believe what happens on the local level, and my whole concept of affecting global change is act local and global. So when I heard about this opportunity, I felt like this was the right place for me to be, to learn about the local health issues and how healthcare is being delivered locally in Austin, Texas. At the time, I was new to Austin, so it was a good opportunity for me to interact and network with other like-minded individuals in this field.
Q: How was the experience of being a Community Health Champion compared to your expectations?
A: I was part of the inaugural Health Champions class, and we did not really have a lot of expectations. We were learning as we go. It was evolving. It was about learning what this Health Champions concept is. I know it was a new initiative by the Board of Managers. It was a great experience, because this was never done before. The expectation was to network and understand the health landscape of Austin.
Q: Was there anything interesting or surprising about your experience?
A: What was really interesting was the interest of people for the work we were doing. At that time, it was the early development of Dell Medical School, so there was a lot of interest as to how healthcare would be delivered. It was really a wonderful opportunity that raised my interest in this space and my commitment to do more on a local level.
Q: What did you gain personally from your experience?
A: I gained the friendships, the networking, the knowledge and the commitment of health. It made me want to continue on, realizing there was a tremendous need in addressing health inequities and health disparities in under-served and uninsured individuals living in Travis County.
Q: What advice would you give to someone who is considering becoming a Community Health Champion?
A: I would definitely encourage anyone, regardless of their health background, to join whatever their expertise or knowledge, because everyone will add a valuable piece to this component. Overall, we are trying to address health inequities for all, so everyone brings in a valuable input that can really benefit the overall goal and mission of Central Health. So my advice is to get your feet wet and step into the program. I personally went in with an open heart and open mind to broaden your horizon, because you will learn something new and you will ultimately find your mission in this work and the value that it makes. Everyone’s voice is valued and needed, and everyone brings in a unique perspective that we encourage.
Q: How did being a Community Health Champion influence your work for healthcare equity?
A: What influenced me to become a board member of Central Health is my experience with the Health Champions, and at that time, I also became President of the Health Champions, so it took me on a path that I never really imagined or expected. You never know where this work will lead you, and it has led me to this path where I’m able to make a larger impact on our community. This work, to me, is a life mission, and it’s driven by passion and interest and expertise in the field of public health.
Equity involves all the work I personally do and all the work our organization does. So it’s embedded in the DNA of our work. It’s incorporated and threaded into the decision-making of every vote I’ve made thus far was made by understanding the need and disparities of our uninsured members of our community.
Everyone’s a champion, and every small act we do helps Central Health move forward with their mission. This is where I encourage everyone to take part in their local community, any small act. Everyone has a role, and it could be literally a life-saving role. The role of a Health Champion is to carry on that baton. It’s a life mission, and you’ll definitely carry it on forever.
Community Health Champions is an annual Central Health program that brings together diverse community members from across Travis County to learn about, discuss, and collaborate on our work to improve the health of Central Texas.
Through a five-month workshop series, participants learn about the healthcare system for Travis County residents with low income and how Central Health and its partners come together to address health disparities.
Health Champions are challenged to think outside of their individual realities to become advocates for healthcare access and equity in their own communities.
Enrollment is Now Open Through June 15, 2022. Learn more at communityhealthchampions.net.