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CDA Student Spotlight: Jordan Jurinsky

Posted by on Sunday, November 25, 2018 in Current Students, .

Jordan Jurinksy

B.S. Sociology


Q: Where are you from originally and what did you do before Vanderbilt? 

I spent most of my childhood living in small town named Maryville right outside of Knoxville in east Tennessee, but I’ve also lived in North Carolina, Colorado, California, Texas, Florida, and Nagoya, Japan. Immediately prior to coming to Vanderbilt, I was working at an inpatient psychiatric hospital. Before that I worked in substance abuse and mental health as a case worker, care coordinator, house manager, and educator.

Q: Why did you choose CDA?

I choose CDA because although I felt and still feel a passion for both micro (i.e. social work, psychology) and macro (i.e. sociology), I wanted a program that included those two components as well as delved into the space in between and the relationships between the varying circles of the ecological model (meso). I also sought and found a program that valued interdisciplinary collaboration. On top of those academic-ish aspects, I wanted a program that featured an action-oriented mindset housed in social justice.

Q: What are your academic/professional interests and how have you been pursuing those during your time here?

A major area of personal interest are the social determinants of health. I have been pursuing this through my work with Dr. Jessica Perkins by researching health behaviors through social norms theory, especially in relation to substance use/abuse. I’m also working with Dr. Yolanda McDonald conducting a systematic literature review exploring the comparison of home hemodialysis versus in center hemodialysis.

Over the summer, I interned with the Meharry-Vanderbilt Alliance working on projects within the Precision Medicine and Health Disparities Consortium as well assisted in conducting community engaged research.

Q: Are you involved with any other cool things on campus?

I am also a board member and Summit Chair of the Turner Family Center for the 18-19 academic year. I’ll be spearheading/organizing the Summit conference as well as various other board member responsibilities. I, along with my team, was a semi-finalist at the Global Health Case Competition through the Vanderbilt Institute for Global Health this past year. Myself, along with a fellow CDA student (Karah Palmer), an MBA student, and an MBA/JD student, traveled to Oxford University in the UK this summer as representatives of Vanderbilt University and the Turner Family Center to present our work mapping the system of correctional healthcare in the United States.

In addition, a colleague of mine, Rachel Underwood, and I have been accepted to the Third International Housing First Conference in Padova, Italy for our work exploring the compounding nature of health and homelessness for older adult women. I am also the Service Chair for Vanderbilt Recovery Services, through which I look to make partnerships between VRS and the campus at large and the outside community. I am also an editor and contributor (under review) for the Community Practice Bulletin, which is published by the Practice Council of the Society for Community Research and Action.

Q: Is there anything else people should know about you?

I love meditation and yoga. I practice both almost every day. In addition, whether in Nashville, UK, or Knoxville, I love the people and relationships that I have because of my time here, and those relationships and people are what gives meaning to my study and work. In the words of my six-year old son when I brought him to campus, “your school is pretty cool daddy. Maybe I’ll go here one day.”

Q: Do you have any advice for prospective or current CDA students?

One thing that I continually try and remind myself is that while graduate school can be stressful and have some long hours, the practice and theory being learned will help to become an impactful change agent. The mentorship that I’ve received from faculty has been invaluable and truly one of the defining aspects of my time here.


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