SPH Alumni Reflection: Britta Orr, MPH ‘09, PHAP

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																			December 15, 2014
					
Britta Orr.
Britta Orr.

Britta Orr has watched and helped seriously ill loved ones navigate the healthcare system—a challenging task even though they had insurance coverage, primary care, and basic levels of health literacy.

“I thought about the barriers to care and lack of incentives for prevention for those not so fortunate,” says Orr. “Public health, to me, is a common sense approach that cuts through the complexity of our system and seeks to solve health problems upstream—where they start—and for the greatest number of people possible.”

Orr’s interest in changing how health systems function drove her to pursue a career in health policy with a focus on law, public health, and advocacy.

She believes the field of public health continues to shift across sectors toward preventative approaches. Local public health is no longer just delivering services, but actively advocating for all kinds of policy shifts, many outside of traditional health realms.

As a member of the Public Health Administration & Policy (PHAP) Community Advisory Board, Orr wants to ensure that students bridge the gap between the “real world” and foundational classroom learning. She believes the board does that for students in order to support a better understanding of practical applications of academic knowledge.

Orr also encourages students to take risks in their learning experiences and in their careers.

“Take your opportunities when they come, and don’t be afraid to be out in front,” she says. “If you think about it, sitting back and watching the world go by is about the biggest risk you can take.”

Orr holds JD and MPH degrees through the Joint Degree Program in Law, Health and the Life Sciences and the PHAP MPH program at the University of Minnesota. She is a senior policy consultant at BlueCross and BlueShield of Minnesota in Policy and Legislative Affairs.

~ Post by Mona Rath

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