Jianna Howard: A Young, Curly-Haired Scholar


Jianna Howard graduated from the College at Brockport in 2017 with dual B.S. degrees in Health Science and Kinesiology.  This year she is serving as Rochester Youth Year Fellow/AmeriCorps VISTA at Jefferson Family Medicine. At Jefferson Family Medicine, Jianna is working on educational outreach efforts in the community, developing connections between other health agencies and services, and improving health parameters for current patients through volunteer exercise and wellness programs. 

We are excited to celebrate that Jianna will be attending the University of Maryland for a Masters in Public Health starting next fall!

What attracted you to Rochester Youth Year?
During my senior year I knew grad school was in my future, but I felt like I needed a break before I was a full-time student again. I also wasn’t ready to go out and search for a grown-up job. I received an e-mail about Rochester Youth Year and after reading up on it, it sounded like a great fit for my gap year.

How would you describe yourself?
“a young, curly-haired scholar”

(That’s what I have written in my Instagram bio.)

Why do you find meaning in service?
I like to help people; I know that’s one of the most cliché statements ever, but it’s true. When I know I’m helping someone, even in a small way, it makes me so happy.

How does RYY fit into your professional goals?
My site has given me a firsthand look at something I’ve researched from the outside: health disparities. With JFM being in the inner city, the majority of patients come from low SES backgrounds and seeing the inner-workings of the healthcare system up close and personal has been very eye opening and has reaffirmed my passion for working toward social and health equity.

What’s one fact that some people don’t know about you?
I can draw and paint really well, but I’m a perfectionist and if something I’m working on isn’t coming out exactly how I want it to, I usually just stop. (I need to work on that). I got a bunch of new materials for Christmas and have barely touched them.

If you could be any animal, what would you be?
I always say an elephant when asked what animal I’d be because they say elephants remember everything and I have a good memory, but if I could choose I’d say a crab or something on the beach because I’d love to be in warm weather 24/7 and beaches are relaxing.

As you’re very well aware, making exercise and movement routine in our lives is critical for our health. What are the Top 10 ways that folks can get moving in Rochester?

  1. Exercise Express – a locally owned black business that offers personal training and various group exercise classes like spinning, yoga, twerking, & insanity; first class is free, drop in classes after that are $5 each.
  2. Yoga 4 a Good Hood – weekly yoga classes tailored to people of color to promote yoga in areas where it is not often found, classes are strictly donation based so participants can give whatever they’d like, mats & materials are provided.
  3. Slow Rides – last summer the city put on a 4 week series of police escorted bike rides through the streets of each quadrant of Rochester, registration was free, but participants needed to bring their own bikes. Hopefully it’ll be back for summer 2018!
  4. World Gym – There are two locations in the Rochester area, The Mall at Greece Ridge and East Ave. Prices on memberships vary but they start as low as $10 a month and the gym offers fitness classes like circuit training, cycling, etc.
  5. 540WMain – 540WMain is a locally owned community learning center that offers a wide range of classes, trainings, and discussions. They offer yoga classes, hip hop dance classes, and other exercise opportunities taught by members of the Rochester community. Classes range in price and their schedule can be found online.
  6. Bike rides with Conkey Cruisers – a weekly biking group started by Theresa Bowick that takes place in the summer. Rides take place on the East side of the city on the El Camino Trail.
  7. Bike/walking Trails – Rochester has an abundance of trails for bikers & joggers. Layouts of trails can be found on the city’s website.
  8. Ice skating at Martin Luther King Jr. Park – Skating runs from December through St. Patrick’s Day. Skate rental is $3 and admission is $5. There are tons of special events where admission fees are reduced or waived. They also have ice bikes for those that can’t skate!
  9. Zagster Bikes – in 2017, a bike sharing program started in Rochester, NY. To take advantage of the opportunity, participants need smart phones to download the Zagster app. Rides start at $1 per half hour.
  10. Jefferson Family Medicine – as community liaison, I’ve put together exercise groups and classes for the office, we currently offer a walking group that meets twice a week and are working toward restarting our biking group! Check out our Facebook page for more info.
Thank you, jianna! We are grateful for your service and we’re excited to follow you in your career in public health!

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