Dominique Lee, MPH’20
Chief Operating Officer, Planned Parenthood Mar Monte
Dominique Lee’s life’s work has centered around improving healthcare access and creating health policy for the most marginalized communities. In her leadership roles at Planned Parenthood Mar Monte, the largest Planned Parenthood affiliate in the U.S., Lee has sought to make a greater impact on program development in support of the 220,000 adults and children the organization serves across California and Nevada.
Her passion to transform healthcare and improve health inequities, and to continue advancing her career while pursuing a graduate degree, led her to Dartmouth’s 22-month online/on-campus hybrid MPH program. From Day 1 she was inspired by her classmates and how they also answered the call to drive change where it is needed most.
“We were asked to share with our cohort our personal commitments to ourselves and what we hoped to change in healthcare for the future. This exercise really gave life to the philosophy of what The Dartmouth Institute stands for,” Lee says.
“True leadership development requires self-exploration and awareness; true transformation requires thoughtful leaders who are compassionate and centered. Intentionality gives us purpose, and this purpose inspired us from that day out and throughout the course of our program.”
That inspiration propelled Lee’s desire to strengthen her skills as a public health advocate and administrator, while gaining fundamental knowledge in all areas of public health, including epidemiology, clinical research, and quality improvement. Right away, she was able to take concepts from her classes and implement those in her work at Planned Parenthood. At the height of the COVID-19 pandemic, her Dartmouth Institute training enabled Lee to craft a strategy and lead a successful implementation of telemedicine for the organization, resulting in almost 200,000 patient visits taking place through this modality.
“The Dartmouth Institute does an outstanding job of creating an environment in which working professionals can thrive while also encouraging growth,” says Lee, who was promoted to her current role as Chief Operations Officer upon graduating.
Lee and her classmates completed their MPH degree as the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic unfolded globally. Lee says that while the pandemic exacerbated the weaknesses of the U.S. healthcare system and highlighted racial and socioeconomic disparities that have existed for generations, it strengthened her commitment for improving public health measures.
“I had to make difficult decisions rapidly in my organization as we dealt with understanding how to deal with the pandemic,” Lee says.
“The Dartmouth Institute equipped me with the knowledge, education, and critical thinking skills to promote policies and procedures that protected patient and employee safety, but also critical access to care during a difficult time for the most vulnerable populations. It also helped me collaborate on policy development for telehealth services.”
The Dartmouth Institute is more than an academic institution; it is a family, and that is true when we talk about the exceptional relationships you will build during this program. These relationships are invaluable and immeasurable. Our MPH program is rigorous, but the support provided by your cohort, and from faculty and staff, are essential to our collaborative learning community. It is these lasting relationships that provide the best experience at Dartmouth.
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