Eli J. & Phyllis N. Segal Citizen Leadership Program

Fellows in Action

Banner of congratulations to 2022 Brandeis Fellows with headshots and partner logos

2022 Segal Internships

Congrats to our 2022 Brandeis Segal Fellows on their Segal Summer Internships, and thank you to our organizational partners. Our Fellows tackled issues related to Appalachian economic development and environmental justice, US-Israeli relations, voting rights, racial justice, aging policy, and women's rights. See full details on each internship, our partners, and their great work together.

You can read the full bios of all of our 2022 Brandeis/Heller Segal Fellows online.


 

2009 Heller MPP Segal Fellow Audrey Etlinger Cohen

Segal Fellow Spotlight: Audrey Etlinger Cohen

"Because of The Segal Program, I value my contribution as an individual citizen. I know with service as my goal, I cannot fail."

2009 Heller MPP Segal Fellow Audrey Etlinger Cohen graduated from Brandeis University in 2010 with an M.P.P. degree with a health policy focus. She spent several years conducting health policy research and implementation before going back to school to obtain her RN. Currently, Audrey is Director Of Nursing and Clinical Services at Women’s Health Services, which is an independent abortion clinic in Brookline, MA. Previously, she was a Nurse Case Manager for high risk populations at a federally qualified community health center.

Audrey has remained an active Segal Fellow, connecting with other Segal Fellows and Founders from across the Segal Network over the years. During her Segal Summer Internship, she interned in Senator Kennedy’s Office as part of the Senate Majority Health Policy Office in the HELP Committee. Her Segal Coach was Segal Founder Mike McCurry. Audrey enjoys being outside, weight lifting, and spending time with her husband Jeff and two children.

In July 2022, Audrey spoke as a part of our Segal Convening on Reproductive Rights, where she shared the following about her career path, her work, and how she invites others to take action around reproductive freedoms:

“I was a Brandeis undergrad as well, and I had wanted to go into medicine. And then, when I learned about health policy, I recognized how I wanted to be able to serve individually, but also with my mind on fixing the healthcare system. So I went to the Heller school to get my masters in health policy, but I still wanted to be involved in direct patient care, so I went to nursing school several years later…. It's really an ideal combination, and I think a lot more nurses and doctors and providers should have public policy or health policy education, and a lot more public policy and health policy professionals should come from direct service fields as well. Because you can't separate one from the other: it's impossible to provide medical care to someone without considering the circumstances they're in….”

“I feel like I use my MPP every single day. Not only just management, but also how I provide the best care that I can in this climate and within these systems. How do I use my one clinic, my tiny center, to advance the goals of providing higher quality care and increase access and increase racial justice within the healthcare system overall. So if you're on the fence about a nursing degree, a medical degree, in addition to your Heller degree, I say 100%....”

“I came to this job because women's health and sexual reproductive health have always been my passion. Women’s Health Services offers second trimester procedures, up to the legal limit of 24 weeks here in Massachusetts. It's been open for about 30 years with the primary mission to ensure that women have financial access to abortion, as well as legal access. While some of the hospitals in Massachusetts offer abortions, frequently the hospital-level services can be financially prohibitive for patients seeking abortion. So we work primarily with a lower income population, as well as folks that need an outpatient independent setting for a variety of different reasons….”

“I want everybody to understand that, right now, the power that you have is as an individual. Not only are the systems that are currently in place not protecting women and people with reproductive ability, they're actively harmful. And so I want you to think about what you can do as a private citizen to assist with the movement. And the good news is that there is a lot, because a lot of the barriers that people who are trying to access care face are incredibly simple and things that we may take for granted… [such as] $20 for a copay… a ride to the clinic… someone to watch their children, or… $100 for a hotel room. Or, there are people who don't access abortion care because they don't understand the political climate, and they think that abortion in Massachusetts is illegal.”

“You know, I understand that it feels very overwhelming and depressing and feels like there's nothing that you can do. And I'm telling you as someone who provides these services every day, there is a lot that you can do. And it even can start with publicly and in your private lives, acknowledging your support for this issue…. I think a lot of us that are pro-choice, we’re not very openly and loudly pro-choice in the way that we needed to be. I think that there was still a stigma around abortion and reproductive health services…. And so I encourage you to talk with your friends about abortion and sexual and reproductive health care .Talk about it on Facebook, talk about it at Thanksgiving. There's a lot that you can do, and it can start even with just the conversations that you're having with your family and friends.”

In addition to hearing more from Audrey, you can hear more about what Segal Fellow Emily Bishop and Segal Partner Julie F. Kay shared about systemic and individual ways to project reproductive freedoms in the video from the July 2022 Segal Convening on Reproductive Rights.

 


 

Fellow in Action Highlights

Learn more about how are Segal Fellows are also making a difference around voting rights/election engagement and the COVID pandemic.

Segal Fellow COVID-19 Frontline Workers

Segal Fellows Election Spotlight 

Segal Fellows in Media