ASPPH logo


Student & Alumni Achievements

Student & Alumni Achievements

Yale: Student Identifies Hair Discrimination

Ms. Faith Crittenden’s innate desire to care for others set her on the path to be a pediatrician. Now between her third and fourth years of medical school at the University of Connecticut, Ms. Crittenden is enrolled in the Yale School of Public Health’s Advanced Professional MPH Program in the Health Policy Track.

This 11-month degree is allowing Ms. Crittenden to develop a set of skills and perspectives to address addressing health equity. She is particularly interested in bringing a greater understanding of how health policy affects one’s own health to minority and underserved communities through the media and her own writing. She plans to use her electives this year to study public health law and journalism.

Ms. Crittenden recently published an essay, “More Than Just Hair: Combating Hair Discrimination in Medicine,”  that outlines the expense and stress that black professional women invest into their hair to try to blend into “professional communities.” Natural hair, argues Ms. Crittenden, is an expression of who we are and if we are accepting of ourselves, we do our patients a greater service. While some states have begun passing anti-discrimination laws protecting people’s hair styles and head coverings, the medical profession is behind, she says. “This is not vanity, we just need to bring the issue to the forefront.”

This fundamental acceptance of identity is important not just for minority physicians, says Ms. Crittenden. Life experience has been shown to have tremendous effect on health. Ultimately, she hopes that every child can have a happy and healthy childhood full of play and positive interactions with other kids because these childhood interactions with the world effect how we are as adults.

Tags: ,