Sara Rogers, M.P.H.,  serves as Public Health Policy Analyst, Health Equity. An innovative systems, policy, and public health specialist, Sara provides expertise and research on legislation impacting health and racial equity and building capacity of health agencies and community coalitions to effectively use law and policy to improve health outcomes. To the public health policy analyst role, Sara brings previous experience as a senior program coordinator for the Network’s National Office where she led data collection and evaluation projects and planned national conferences and summits. Prior to joining the Network, Sara worked at the Public Health Law Center, the Minnesota Department of Human Services, and the International Rescue Committee. She also served as a Peace Corps Volunteer in Bulgaria. Sara is Certified in Public Health by the National Board of Public Health Examiners. She holds a B.A. in global studies from the University of Minnesota and her M.P.H. in public health administration and policy from the University of Minnesota School of Public Health.


Articles & Resources

Showing Up and Sharing Space: Reflections on Five Years of Community Collaboration

Law & Policy InsightsEast Side Health and Well-Being CollaborativeMechanisms for Advancing Public HealthMechanisms for Advancing Health Equity

May 15, 2024
by Sara Rogers

Since 2019, the Network has participated in the East Side Health and Well-being Collaborative (“the Collaborative”), a dynamic and diverse coalition of two dozen organizations dedicated to advancing community health equity on St. Paul’s East Side in Minnesota. Serving as a core Partner on the Collaborative, the Network plays a pivotal role, co-founding and leading the Collaborative’s Policy Work Group; providing training on the intersection between health equity, public health, and law and policy; helping identify specific policies that support the Collaborative’s program goals; and participating in and contributing to collaborative activities. We hope by sharing the Collaborative’s unique approach and our learnings as a Partner, we can inform how the public health law field can engage in similar efforts which can positively impact the people and populations we serve, the sectors we reside in, the communities in which we live, and the systems we seek to change.

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­Racial Equity Interests and Needs Assessment

ReportMechanisms for Advancing Health EquityMechanisms for Advancing Public Health

September 22, 2023
by Betsy Lawton, Carrie Waggoner, Chris Alibrandi O’Connor, Dawn Hunter, Kerri McGowan Lowrey, Phyllis Jeden and Sara Rogers

By May of 2020, the realities of the inequitable toll of COVID-19 on communities of color became starkly evident, and the murder of George Floyd sparked a renewed movement for racial justice in the United States. During this time, the Network began earnestly exploring how best to respond and be of assistance in a rapidly changing environment. An internal Health Equity Work Group (HEWG) was established to create a space for connection and learning, and to identify ways to collaborate across regions to be responsive to what we were observing and experiencing. One of the early actions identified by the HEWG was to “evaluate what services and supports Network users are interested in” via tools like an environmental scan, stakeholder interviews, and focus groups. This report explores the process that was undertaken to answer that question and the key findings and themes relevant to health and racial equity work across a variety of public health practitioners and organizations.

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­Creating an Equitable Landscape for Lactation Consultant Licensure in Rhode Island

Policy BriefHealth and Health CareWorkforce ExpansionMaternal and Child HealthReproductive Health and Equity 

June 21, 2023
by Dawn Hunter and Sara Rogers

Requiring licensure for lactation consultants (a healthcare professional who specializes in the clinical management of breastfeeding) can lead to increased quality of lactation-based care, but it can also lead to barriers to entry into the lactation consulting profession resulting in a workforce lacking in diversity. The regulatory environment in Rhode Island for lactation consultants provides valuable insights into the challenges and opportunities faced by states interested in ensuring the quality of care provided to parents and infants while also ensuring that competent and trained professionals do not experience unnecessary occupational barriers.

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­Minnesota Community Health Workers – Defining Care Coordination

Policy BriefHealth and Health CareWorkforce Expansion

May 11, 2023
by Phyllis Jeden and Sara Rogers

This policy brief focuses on the definition of care coordination services provided by Community Health Workers (CHWs) in the state of Minnesota and was written in response to a request for research on how other state statutes and regulations define care coordination services. Minnesota is investigating the potential to expand CHW service coverage to ensure the sustainability of CHWs in the state. The state is looking into ways to define care coordination that allows the service to be covered. Definitions for care coordination or for CHW services that address care coordination (or comparable services) may be found in the statutes or regulations of at least nine states.

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Six Policies that Advance Black Health and Wellbeing

Policy BriefMechanisms for Advancing Public HealthCivic Engagement and VotingMechanisms for Advancing Health EquityReproductive Health and Equity 

February 23, 2023
by April Shaw, Betsy Lawton, Dawn Hunter, Jennifer Piatt, Kathleen Hoke, Mosalewa Ani and Sara Rogers

In honor of Black History Month, Network attorneys and staff have highlighted six policies that have the power to reduce health disparities and improve outcomes for Black people and communities of color throughout the United States. This policy brief serves as a practical tool to help public health professionals, leaders, and partners share strategies that can advance, rather than threaten, Black health and wellbeing over the long-term.

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Legislative Trends in Health and Racial Equity, 2021-2022

Law & Policy InsightsMechanisms for Advancing Health EquityLegislation and Legal Challenges

December 9, 2022
by Dawn Hunter and Sara Rogers

Creating a government that is truly for everyone requires laws and policies that eliminate racial and ethnic disparities and improve outcomes for all. As 2023 state legislative sessions approach, it is important to look back at trends over the last few years in legislation impacting health and racial equity to understand how states are trying to address the health impacts of racism, be accountable for commitments to address racism as a public health crisis, and ensure the conditions for all people to thrive. State legislation is one important mechanism for creating the infrastructure for healthy communities. We assessed legislation for the past two years, looking at 447 bills. Below, we discuss two important trends.

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