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Jennifer Leigh

Class of 2016-2017

About Jennifer

(updated 3/2020) Jenny Leigh is placed at the School of Human Welfare Studies at Kwansei Gakuin Universityin Nishinomiyaand the Center for the Health and Rights of Migrants (CHARM) in Osaka, Japan. At Kwansei Gakuin, she is supervised by Professors Li-Mei Chen and Konomi Imai in the Department of Social Work and is studying contemporary and early twentieth-century social reform movements. In her fieldwork at CHARM, she is able to put the academic study of social welfare into practice by providing support and advocacy for people living with HIV/AIDS, foreign residents, and other populations who have difficulties accessing health care and other social services. She is currently working on a maternal health project that draws from the experiences of foreign mothers who have given birth in Osaka City in order to develop proposals for how they can be better supported in the health care system.  
Jenny graduated from Barnard College of Columbia University with B.A. degrees in Ethnomusicology and Neuroscience, and aspires to a career in mental health that combines her passions for biomedical science, social justice, and anthropology to provide equitable and culturally informed patient care. Originally from the Bay Area, Jenny began her work in community health volunteering with AMIGOS de las Américas in Rivas, Nicaragua at age fifteen. After her first year at Barnard, she returned to AMIGOS to run a 50-person project, collaborating with the Servicios de Salud de Oaxaca on public health projects in Oaxaca, México. At Barnard, she served as the director of Nightline Peer Listening, Columbia’s student-run mental health hotline, and as a crisis counselor for the national text hotline Crisis Text Line. She also worked as an advocate for survivors of sexual violence at Columbia’s Rape Crisis/Anti-Violence Support Center and the Crime Victims Treatment Center, and has undergone over 200 hours of crisis intervention training. In her fieldwork at the Lucy Wicks Adult Psychiatry Clinic at New York-Presbyterian Hospital, she assisted in developing a toolkit for clinics looking to improve their services to the LGBT+ community. Through Barnard’s New York City Civic Engagement Fellowship, she planned a city-wide conference on student mental health activism. In her free time, Jenny enjoys analyzing pop music videos through a feminist lens, eating spicy guacamole, and laughing.

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