Now the executive director for the National Library of Medicine Training and Education Center (TEC), supporting the All of Us Research Program, Jen grew up in Shippensburg, Pennsylvania, and selected Juniata to be relatively close to home while pursuing her undergraduate degree.

“I came to Juniata at the age of 18 with aspirations to be a physician assistant,” Jen says. “I recognized that a lot of time and energy would be needed for a pre-med POE and decided to shift after my first semester.”

Consulting with academic support services, Jen worked with advisers to develop a curriculum that would incorporate her interests and her strengths.

“Health communication was a good middle area for me. I was able to take biology classes and sciences and it introduced me to the world of communication, which I really love,” she says. “Spanish was my secondary emphasis.”

Jen spent the fall semester of her junior year studying in Puebla, Mexico.

“I lived on campus in Mexico. It was great to interact and be immersed in the culture and language,” says Jen, who added that she traveled to Guatemala as part of an educational and medical outreach trip with the Stone Church of the Brethren, adjacent to campus. “It gave me so many more opportunities to travel and use the language.”

Jen credits the College’s commitment to partnering with students with putting her on the path to success.

“I am so thankful. I think if I had gone anywhere else and realized that the hard-core science program wasn’t for me, I would have been lost,” she says. “The communication faculty were great mentors to me. I still keep in touch with them today.”

“That experience led to me getting an internship with the Association of Schools and Programs of Public Health (ASPPH) in Washington, D.C.,” Jen says.

At ASPPH, she was introduced to the concept of public health, defined as “The art and science of preventing disease, prolonging life, and promoting health through the organized efforts of society.”

“I was able to come into my own using everything I’d learned at Juniata,” she says. “I knew I wanted to work in the health field and public health was a whole new world, where I didn’t have to practice medicine to make a positive impact to improve health.”

After a 10-week internship which culminated in a full-time staff position, Jones attended the University of Pittsburgh for graduate school, where she earned her master’s degree in public health, a certificate in community-based participatory research, and a certificate in evaluation of public health programs.

“I like to say that typically you go to the doctor, once a year for 20 minutes of one-on-one time, and everything else is public health,” Jen explains.

When the opportunity to serve as executive director and to work on the ground-breaking All of Us Research Program came about, Jen saw it as the natural next step in her career. A national effort directed by the National Institutes of Health, the program is a precision medicine initiative designed to speed up research and breakthroughs.

“I was already so passionate about what the All of Us program stood for, bringing community inclusion into public health, along with social demographics,” she says. “This program treats participants as partners by giving them the program data. That’s not typical in clinical trials. This study is changing the way research is being done.”

“The Pennsylvania program is set up under the national program, with a lot of individual awardees and great partners including hospitals, academic institutions, federallyqualified health centers, and community-based organizations and libraries,” says Jen. “A lot of people recognize this is a great way to do research.”

“I am so thankful. I think if I had gone anywhere else and realized that the hard-core science program wasn’t for me, I would have been lost. The communications faculty were great mentors to me. I still keep in touch with them today.”Jennifer Jones, ’07 Geneva

The goal of All of Us is to create a 1,000,000-person diverse cohort. The goal of Jen’s program is to provide interactive educational training and engagement deliverables for and about the program.

“To get this cohort, you have to meet people where they are. You have to create awareness and you have to educate,” she says. “With this information, doctors will be able to treat people based on all of the things that make them unique versus one size fits all.”

The joining of individual voices and experiences for the betterment of the community is something Jen came to know and appreciate during her time at Juniata.

“Everything at Juniata is about looking at people individually,” Jen says. “It was my time at Juniata that led me to public health. That was really the foundation for my career and I hope to continue to connect the dots and keep on adding to it.