NAAHP Member Spotlight on Laura Francois
Every month the NAAHP turns the spotlight on members who are making an impact in their professional field and in their community. These members exemplify the mission of the NAAHP to make it the organization Haitian professionals trust.
Tell us a bit about your personal background.
Laura Francois is a sophomore studying Public Health and French at the University of Miami on the pre-med track. Her goal is to become a general practitioner or internal medicine physician. With this, she wishes to serve the underrepresented communities of the Caribbean, specifically Haiti where not only is there a lack of medical practice, but also an overall lack of public health infrastructure for its citizens. As a young Haitian girl who was raised in a very traditional and marginalized household there are many health disparities that affected her personally growing up.
What’s your current job?
She works as a Security Assistant at the University of Miami’s Housing and Residential. They are responsible for the nighttime security operations for all of the Residential Colleges and work to maximize the safety and security of resident students. In addition to this she also volunteers for the Center of Haitian Studies in Miami, Florida.
How did your background prepare you for your current role?
The career she intends to pursue is one that encompasses her love for promoting healthy behaviors and decreasing health disparities in which becoming a physician allows her direct access to do so by practicing medicine. As a Creole Translator for the Center of Haitian Studies created by the Miller School of Medicine, She volunteers at a weekly medical clinic that is designated for Haitian populations and sits in on the physician’s visits with patients to help the doctors efficiently communicate with the patients in need of medical attention. Her background has strengthened her passion to help others and service the community that she comes from. Her primary goal is to serve minority populations.
What is the biggest challenge of your work?
The biggest challenge she’s found is balancing her work requirements with school and her extracurricular activities. Since high school she’s always enjoyed staying involved and in her transition to college she found ways to continue pursuing what she’s always loved to do which is dancing, helping others, and working to uplift the Haitian culture.
What would you say have been your greatest career or personal accomplishments so far?
She believes her greatest career/personal accomplishment was graduating high school and moving on to college. Although this may seem like a normal thing, high school at times was a very challenging experience in her words, so being able to finish was an extremely rewarding experience for her. Graduation provided the gateway for her to be admitted into the University of Miami and be a part of all the organizations and academic programs she’s in now.
What’s the most important leadership lesson you’ve learned?
The most important leadership lesson that she’s learned is working in a group and recognizing everyone’s individual strengths and weaknesses. By doing so, she’s realized that in order to function and uphold the organization’s mission everyone must fill in where others are lacking. While it is easy to dwell when others mess up, she’s learned to look past this and prioritize the goals of the organization.
How long have you been a member of the NAAHP? What’s your best experience thus far?
She has only been an official member of NAAHP since January, but before this she served on the planning committee as a volunteer for the annual NAAHP conference at FIU in November. The best experience she’s had thus far is seeing her work on the presentations being displayed at the conference and effectively communicating with the Haitian professionals and students attending the conference.
What kind of advice would you give to fellow NAAHP members looking to grow professionally?
The advice she would give to fellow NAAHP members looking to grow professionally is to remain focused and make meaningful connections with those in the position that they aspire to be. Doing this will give them the inspiration to follow the career path they choose. By seeing firsthand someone like them whether it be race, gender, or upbringing this will be a motivation to ensure their success as achievable.
Who or what inspires you?
Her mother is her biggest inspiration because she’s always pushed her to be proud of who she is and to not limit herself. Her mother works so hard to continuously provide for the family. Her mother is resilient and talented and despite any difficult situation, she does not let it weigh her down, instead looking to God for comfort. Her relationship with God also inspires Laura because it was through this that Laura is even alive today. Laura wishes to be just like her mom, no matter what career or job she has in the future. She intends to be loving, hardworking, and a woman of faith just like her mother.
When you are not working, where can we find you?
When she is not working, you can find Laura in a dance studio or in her dorm room dancing. This is because that is a passion she is had since she was young and that she’s grown into especially being in college and having the opportunity to branch out.