PHOTO: Tiffany Vang

Tiffany Vang

Tiffany Vang is the recipient of the 2020 Liesel M. Hiemenz Memorial Scholarship, which is awarded to students interested in public health. Tiffany obtained her Bachelor of Science in Nursing from Winona State University. She is currently pursuing her Master of Science in Nursing as a Family Nurse Practitioner from Frontier Nursing University, and her anticipated graduation date is Fall 2020.

Tiffany became interested in nursing during high school. Growing up in Saint Paul, MN, she was exposed to several barriers to success for herself and her peers. Many of the students in her community had unstable households and experienced high levels of toxic stress, which made for a very distracting learning environment. At her lowest, Tiffany lacked ambition and could not visualize what opportunities her future may hold. Several influential figures, including her mother, school counselors, therapists, and social workers, saw a potential in her that she could not see in herself. Without their unwavering support in a time of need, Tiffany would not have been able to complete high school or find her calling to become a nurse walking alongside others during their most challenging times like they did with her.

Tiffany has been a Public Health Nurse providing home visiting services to disadvantaged pregnant women and families with young children for most of her career. Once again, she was confronted with the multidimensional obstacles that families face in maintaining their health and establishing secure parent-child attachment styles. Over the years, she grew frustrated by the barriers that policies, systems, and healthcare providers impose on marginalized groups making it more difficult for them to access quality care. These experiences prompted her to advance her education so she could have the power to provide trauma-informed care to individuals who are left out of traditional methods of healthcare delivery and begin to build partnerships between healthcare providers and underserved communities.

Tiffany's career and personal life have perpetually reminded her that not everyone is dealt the same hand when it comes to opportunities. Unfortunately, things that are out of one's control can dramatically affect the future, health status, and quality of life of an individual like the neighborhood someone grows up in, the color of their skin, or the presence of a caring adult who has an invested interest in the well-being of a child. Thankfully, she has also experienced first- hand how supportive caring professionals can make a difference in the lives of individuals who otherwise have little support or chance of reaching their full potential.

Upon graduation, Tiffany hopes to provide holistic, evidence-based care to individuals and families across the lifespan in a health provider shortage area. She would like to focus on addressing social determinants of health and strengthening community partnerships to mobilize the resources her patients need to optimize their health. To accomplish these goals, Tiffany plans to complete her Doctor of Nurse Practice to gain the necessary skills of policymaking, quality improvement, and systems leadership to make her dream of health equity a reality.

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