Heather Olden, ’23
From: Detroit, MI
Degrees Held: MPH, University of Michigan
BS, Hampton University
Heather A. Olden, originally from Durham, NC, is an Epidemiologist at Henry Ford Health System (HFHS) in Detroit, MI. When provided the funding opportunity, she developed the Patient Advisor Program and has recruited, trained, placed, and retained more than 450 Patient Advisors who serve on quality improvement, design, research, and service excellence initiatives across the health system. In 2015 she received the “The Power of One Award,” given by HFHS’ Board of Trustees, and was awarded, “Poster of the Year” at the Health Care System Research Network (HCSRN) Annual Meeting in 2016. She has presented at multiple national academic and advocacy conferences and consults with health systems across the country on how to effectively implement patient engagement. Outside of her work at Henry Ford, Heather serves as workgroup Chair and Steering Committee member for the National Maternal Health PCOR Network (NMHPN), comprised of patients/patient representatives, researchers, clinicians, and other stakeholders dedicated to developing a national patient-centered outcome research (PCOR) agenda to improve maternal health outcomes. Her research interests are largely centered on the impact of social justice on the intersection of maternal health and health equity and using patient engagement methodology to authentically translate research into clinical practice and policy. Following the completion of the Harvard School of Public Health DrPH program, she plans to leverage her varied experiences to bridge the gap between maternal health research and social justice policy. Her vision is to create a pipeline from research to policy development that is grounded by the voices of those with lived experiences, as they are often not given the proper platform to be heard.
Heather is an active member of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc. and volunteers frequently with the Detroit Branch of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP). Additionally, she served as Mentorship Chair for the Detroit Chapter of New Leaders Council (NLC), a non-profit that equips emerging progressive leaders to be civic change agents and drivers for collective impact in their professions and communities. For the past 5 summers, she served as a mentor for the Future Public Health Leadership Program, funded by the Centers for Disease Control, where she mentored first-generation public health college students as they navigated their internships. Outside of her community work, Heather is an entrepreneur and owns Bella Blossoms, LLC, dedicated to the unique, handmade event and home décor, specializing in paper flowers. In her spare time, she enjoys crafting, cooking, salsa dancing, and spoiling her Chihuahua, Ziggy.