Penny Sun is a 2021 graduate from the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health with an MPH in global health and concentrations in leadership studies and humanitarian, ethics, and human rights. At Harvard Chan, she also served as the 2020-2021 Diversity & Inclusion Advocate for the Student Association. She graduated magna cum laude from Williams College with a BA in biology and a concentration in public health. Afterwards, Penny worked for two years at the Broad Institute of Harvard and MIT, researching the latent stage of Mycobacterium Tuberculosis, and for eight months on health systems strengthening projects with the Partnership for Health Advancement in Vietnam. For her MPH practicum project, Penny worked with the Children’s Foundation of Mississippi on designing a Blueprint for Children’s Health and Well-being. During her time at Chan, Penny has worked on policy research, health and homelessness, religion and health, primary healthcare, health equity, community engaged learning, student advocacy, children’s health and type 1 diabetes, market access, career development, teaching, and antiracism. Penny is passionate about connecting people to information, opportunities, and each other. In her free time, Penny helps edit the Harvard Public Health Review and enjoys keeping up with TV, podcasts, and comics.
Ms. Sun is a recipient of the 2021 Gareth M. Green Award for Public Health Practice.
Detailed Project Description: The Children’s Foundation of Mississippi (CFM) is a new, independent operating foundation focused upon improving the policies and systems that affect the well-being of children in Mississippi. The CFM is serving as a convener, facilitator, advocate and catalyst for positive change in the state. The goal of this project was to help the CFM develop a blueprint to advance children’s health and well-being throughout the state, to be used as a strategic guide for the CFM’s activities. This blueprint would not only articulate the top challenges faced by children in the state for an audience of state agencies, nonprofits, and private sector partners, but also the priority areas where the CFM could maximize their impact on children’s health, education, and well-being outcomes (e.g. the most feasible interventions where the Foundation had expertise). This statewide, multisectoral plan would fill a major gap in the state: Mississippi has no overarching strategic plan to align actors in addressing the challenges that children face. Finally, the project was intended to draw primarily from Mississippians’ expertise and lived experience. Following the analysis of Mississippians’ concerns and recommendations, we then researched best practices from other geographies to adapt for Mississippi.