Graduate School: Communication Studies Graduate
Ninon Richartz ’08, Manager of New Business Development, Institute for Healthcare Improvement
Ninon’s interest in health communication and community organizing began at a young age, watching her mother advocate for the health justice of migrant workers in rural Oregon. After obtaining a BA in Communication from Lewis & Clark College, Ninon worked for several years in the health communications field, coordinating large-scale patient education campaigns. This continued passion for the power of discourse lead her to UP’s Management Communication graduate program, where she combined her academic, personal and professional interest in Communication theory with the business tools offered in the Pamplin School of Business. While in school, Ninon tailored her study with research focuses in stakeholder theory, dialogue and collaboration, organizational communication and health communication, and operationalized this research in the professional setting, as she managed a national initiative founded by the Office of the US Surgeon General to identify workable and sustainable community-based solutions to the nation’s childhood obesity crisis. “The knowledge and skills I learned through the Communication department at UP had direct applications in my daily work, as I traveled around the country, working with community-based coalitions, and gaining grassroots dialogue-driven input into solutions to the childhood obesity epidemic. The faculty see the classroom as a collaborative environment and draw upon students’ outside experiences in life and work to bring theory to life in the classroom. This fundamental respect for the contribution of each student, combined with an ability to create a safe environment for discussion and new thought continually challenged me to think critically in my research, become deeper entrenched in the literature, and apply that to my professional and personal life.” Ninon is now based in Cambridge, MA, developing programmatic initiatives with senior staff at the Institute for Healthcare Improvement, an independent not-for-profit organization helping to lead the improvement of health care throughout the world.