As an incoming freshman at Johns Hopkins University, Natalie Draisin had no inclination to pursue a career in public health. Then, in 2009, a sorority sister was killed by a drunk driver. “I thought it was so unjust that she would never live to see age 21,” says Draisin. “I dealt with her death by advocating for drunk driving prevention.” With Bloomberg School associate professor Jon Vernick, JD, MPH, Draisin worked on legislation requiring drunk driving offenders to use an ignition interlock device—apparatus that prevents drivers from starting their cars when blood-alcohol levels register too high. Maryland voters passed a version of the law in 2011. The experience convinced Draisin that public health was the career path she’d been seeking. After graduation, she landed a health policy job with the Pew Charitable Trusts, and subsequently decided to explore the opposite end of the policy spectrum. “I wanted a closer connection to the people actually affected by policy,” she says. “So I got as close to the ground as I could, working in a small, community-based public health organization in rural Kenya.” Draisin returned to Hopkins for her MPH/MBA, focusing on injury prevention, with the goal of improving road safety internationally.
Director, North American Office & United Nations Representative, FIA Foundation