By Adelle Schubarg, Environmental Research Assistant
Krishnaveni Balakrishnan is a Senior Public Health Educator with the Orange County Health Department and coordinator for the department’s Healthy Homes program. In this position, she works with the local community, families, and public service members to promote healthful living and wellbeing in homes across Orange County.
From a young age, Krishnaveni had a passion to serve others and an investment in her community. While earning an undergraduate degree in Human Development and Family Studies at the University of North Carolina at Greensboro (UNC-G), Krishnaveni educated immigrant and refugee communities in the area, on communicable and non-communicable diseases in relation to diabetes, hypertension, and asthma, and analyzed risk factors for these diseases. This experience sparked her interest in the public health field and prompted her return to UNC-G to pursue a master’s degree in Public Health.
Seeing environmental triggers in the homes of families she worked with solidified her interest in healthy homes. Through this experience, she was able to see the impact of housing on a person’s wellbeing and how having a healthy home can make managing a non-communicable disease less of a struggle.
Within her work, Krishnaveni notes the importance of partner organizations and establishing connections within the local community.
She says, “It’s not just housing that the family might be having issues with, it could be several other things, so it’s my job to make sure I network and partner with other organizations because that’s beneficial to the community”.
Krishnaveni enjoys the community involvement in her profession and says that working with families is her favorite part of the job.
Despite the wealth of resources she and the Orange County Health Department provide to families, Krishnaveni admits that there are some situations that can’t be easily addressed or that are beyond their jurisdiction. She says the hardest part of her job is knowing that there is a lot she alone can’t fix in a short amount of time and notes the frustration in the politics of housing and barriers related to both affordable and accessible housing, particularly for communities of color.
Krishnaveni became involved with the Lead and Healthy Homes Outreach Task Force while in Greensboro and enjoys collaborating with others interested and passionate about the same topics. She appreciates learning about the work being done across the state and the many connections the Task Force helps establish.