Veronika Scavacini is a queer Latine advocate who works as a Public Health Diversity Educator in the School of Public Health at the University of Nevada, Reno. They spend their time at the University conducting practice-based research on a variety of public health and economic topics. Scavacini advocates for all underserved communities, especially the LGBTQ+ and Hispanic/Latine communities. They graduated Magna Cum Laude from the University of Nevada Reno in 2020, where they received a Bachelor of Science in Business, Economics and International Business.
Scavacini’s journey of self-identity was a skillful maneuver. As their Spanish native language is heavily gendered, it was complicated finding a sense of belonging. Initially, they felt the need to hide their identity for fear of discrimination. Since finding a place here at the University, Scavacini reports feeling, “much more comfortable” expressing their identity.
Their current goals at the University include someday pursuing a Ph.D. program where they can combine their passion for applied economics and tackling health disparities among the Hispanic and other underserved communities in hopes of initiating change. They also look forward to future opportunities to publish their work.
When asked what advice they would give to another member of the LGBTQ+ community looking to get into a similar line of work, Scavacini said, “Work hard and be firm in who you are. There may be people who don’t want to see you succeed but know that our community is strong and wants to support you.”
Currently, Scavacini and their team at the Nevada Public Health Training Center are organizing a Harm Reduction Summit that will take place in Southern Nevada on July 19, 2022. Harm reduction refers to policies, programs and practices that aim to minimize negative health, social and legal impacts associated with drug use, drug policies and drug laws. The 2022 Harm Reduction Summit aims to train and build capacity for people with lived experience, public health workers and advocates on foundational harm reduction knowledge, national and international best practices, policy change and innovative programming.
Scavacini encourages anyone who is interested in learning more or attending the Harm Reduction Summit to visit the Making Health Happen website.