BOONE, N.C. — Jalyn Howard ’17, of Chapel Hill, is in the business of providing free health care to uninsured or underinsured patients with chronic conditions such as diabetes, hypertension and asthma.
An Appalachian State University alumnus, Howard earned a B.S. in health care management — and added a healthy dose of service and leadership to his coursework. He minored in philosophy and general business, a combo that contributes to the way he approaches issues in the health care industry.
Howard — who is currently pursuing his master’s degree in health care management at the University of North Carolina Gillings School of Global Public Health — serves as director of Bridge to Care, managing three teams of medical and pharmaceutical students who operate a free clinic for uninsured and underinsured members of the community.
A branch of the UNC School of Medicine’s Student Health Action Coalition, Bridge to Care provides long-term care to patients with chronic illnesses and works to refer patients to primary care physicians who offer free and/or low-cost treatments.
As the clinic’s administrative leader, Howard has the opportunity to interact with health professionals outside the classroom and gain practical experience for his future career while advocating for underrepresented populations — a passion and skill he developed while a student at Appalachian.
“Jalyn is someone who cares deeply about social justice and about using the resources and opportunities he has to make the world a more humane place,” said Dr. Rick Elmore, assistant professor in Appalachian’s Department of Philosophy and Religion.
Based on his work and accomplishments, Howard was named the 2019 UNC Health Scholar, a program initiated in collaboration with UNC Health Care Hospitals in 2015 to build leadership roles for minority populations in the health care industry. The scholarship funds his tuition and provides opportunities to strengthen his professional skills and to job shadow administrative professionals within the hospitals.
While a student at Appalachian, Howard:
- Served as president of the Student Government Association (SGA) during his senior year, a role in which he gained governance experience and developed professionalism in his personal presentation.
- Served as SGA’s director of cultural affairs during his sophomore year, through which he learned about diversity and inclusion and how to advocate for underrepresented populations.
- Participated in the Emerging Leaders program during his first semester, where he began building leadership skills. Howard continued with the program as an Emerging Leaders Coordinator during his second semester.
- Earned a Beaver College of Health Sciences Leadership Award in 2017.
- Was a member of Phi Beta Sigma Fraternity Inc., through which he formed relationships and served the local community.
Howard, who transferred to Appalachian as a sophomore, said he chose the university because of its mountain location and its strong program in health care management. However, he said his minor in philosophy — which he called an “eye-opening” experience — proved to be particularly beneficial in his education.
“It changed me as a person and changed the way I approached issues. It inspired me to think more deeply and to consider ethical approaches to topics in health care such as insurance — thinking about them from a philosophical point of view instead of simply an administrative point of view,” Howard said.
Elmore, Howard’s professor, said, “In order to change the world, you have to understand it. Without the commitment to critically interrogate the structures and relations that produce inequality and social harm, one can’t hope to address these problems. This is the commitment I saw in everything Jalyn did — both as a student and a member of the Appalachian Community.”
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About the Department of Nutrition and Health Care Management
The Department of Nutrition and Health Care Management in Appalachian State University’s Beaver College of Health Sciences provides graduate and undergraduate programs. The undergraduate health care management program prepares students for entry-level management positions, while the online Master of Health Administration degree is designed for working professionals who desire to advance their careers. The undergraduate nutrition and foods program prepares students for careers in dietetics or food systems management in a variety of settings, including schools, hospitals, nursing homes and food banks. The highly competitive master’s degree in nutrition provides a pathway for students to become registered dietitians. Learn more at https://nhm.appstate.edu.
About the Beaver College of Health Sciences
Appalachian State University’s Beaver College of Health Sciences (BCHS), opened in 2010, is transforming the health and quality of life for the communities it serves through interprofessional collaboration and innovation in teaching, scholarship, service and clinical outreach. BCHS offers nine undergraduate degree programs and seven graduate degree programs, which are organized into six departments: Nursing, Nutrition and Health Care Management, Public Health and Exercise Science, Recreation Management and Physical Education, Rehabilitation Sciences, and Social Work. The college’s academic programs are located in the Holmes Convocation Center on App State’s main campus and the Leon Levine Hall of Health Sciences, a state-of-the-art, 203,000-square-foot facility that is the cornerstone of the Wellness District. In addition, the college supports the Blue Cross NC Institute for Health and Human Services and has collaborative partnerships with the Wake Forest School of Medicine’s Physician Assistant Program, the Appalachian Regional Health System and numerous other health agencies. Learn more at https://healthsciences.appstate.edu.
About the Department of Philosophy and Religion
The Department of Philosophy and Religion invites students to explore the world, examine beliefs, understand a diversity of worldviews, and challenge the ideas and values that instruct our lives. The department offers a Bachelor of Arts in philosophy and a Bachelor of Arts in religious studies, as well as a minor in both of these areas. Learn more at https://philrel.appstate.edu.
About the College of Arts and Sciences
The College of Arts and Sciences (CAS) at Appalachian State University is home to 17 academic departments, two centers and one residential college. These units span the humanities and the social, mathematical and natural sciences. CAS aims to develop a distinctive identity built upon our university's strengths, traditions and unique location. The college’s values lie not only in service to the university and local community, but through inspiring, training, educating and sustaining the development of its students as global citizens. More than 6,400 student majors are enrolled in the college. As the college is also largely responsible for implementing App State’s general education curriculum, it is heavily involved in the education of all students at the university, including those pursuing majors in other colleges. Learn more at https://cas.appstate.edu.
About Appalachian State University
As the premier public undergraduate institution in the Southeast, Appalachian State University prepares students to lead purposeful lives as global citizens who understand and engage their responsibilities in creating a sustainable future for all. The Appalachian Experience promotes a spirit of inclusion that brings people together in inspiring ways to acquire and create knowledge, to grow holistically, to act with passion and determination, and to embrace diversity and difference. Located in the Blue Ridge Mountains, Appalachian is one of 17 campuses in the University of North Carolina System. Appalachian enrolls nearly 21,000 students, has a low student-to-faculty ratio and offers more than 150 undergraduate and graduate majors.