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HEALTH Research Institute's Community Outreach Director Takes a Grassroots Approach to Community Empowerment

For Immediate Release: February 1, 2024 

Embracing a natural gift for being “boots on the ground” in community engagement is what drives HEALTH Research Institute’s new Community Education and Outreach Director, Kristen Morrison. With an authentic passion for public health, Morrison has been dedicated to giving back to her community since she was a teen. 

“I knew when I graduated that I wanted to do grassroots work in the community, ‘boots-on-the-ground type of work,” Morrison said. “I am a natural extrovert and conversationalist. I never go into a room with strangers. I ask--who are you? What makes you tick? Why are you here today? There’s very much a need for that engagement in public health.”   

Morrison brings creativity, innovation, and enthusiasm to her new outreach role with HEALTH-RCMI. 

“I’m excited to continue the great work of the HEALTH-RCMI,” Morrison said. “There are places where my skill sets of organization, community engagement, and relationship building are going to shine. I seek to be a great asset in the development of strong collaborations.” 

Morrison’s learning journey is defined by an intrinsic commitment to serving her community through the realm of public health. She graduated from Georgia Southern University with a Master of Public Health and a focus in Community Health Education. Morrison served in AmeriCorps VISTA as a Capacity Building Consultant. 

What resonates deeply with Morrison is a passion to empower underserved communities. In her new role as Community Outreach Director, she directly collaborates with HEALTH-RCMI's Community Advisory Board [CAB] and Community Research Advisory Board [CRAB]. 

“I think both boards are extremely beneficial and will continue to develop lasting relationships with community members that want to speak up for their communities,” Morrison said. "Let’s ask community partners for their thoughts. They are the experts. I love to empower the community.’ My specific objective is to make time to get to know each of our community partners.” 

This year, Morrison’s overarching objective is to nurture and strengthen those community partnerships within the HEALTH-RCMI Community Engagement Core. 

“My biggest goal this year—is to establish relationships in the community,” Morrison said. “I want to make sure that the team is well supported. Is there something else that these relationships need?” 

Beyond her work at HEALTH-RCMI, Morrison is a devoted mom who has a passion for providing health education classes with a focus in pre-natal care. 

“If we could help all our students understand that health doesn’t just happen in clinic," Morrison said. "It happens everywhere:, the safety and walkability of streets, the presence of grocery stores and parks, everywhere people work, play and live. This is so important to understand that the quality of the environment often impacts the health outcomes and quality of life, more than a visit to the doctor.” 

Stepping confidently into her next career chapter with HEALTH Research Institute, Morrison is excited about putting the work in that will result in improved health outcomes for the Houston community. 

“I love this opportunity, because it has stretched my skill set, allowing me to use the best parts of who I am and what I love to do,” Morrison said. “I enjoy being able to walk into a public health space and find out what others are doing, find out what their needs are. Being here at the HEALTH-RCMI gives me the ability to have that impact across the whole city to work within our Latinx, African American, but also our Native and Asian communities.


-Alison Medley 

If you would like more information about this topic, please contact Alison Medley at 713.320.0933 or email 


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