Meet a Fordie: Yoni Siden

Where are you from?
I grew up in Ann Arbor, but lived in Chicago and New York for about 10 years before returning for medical school.

What were you doing before you came to Ford?
I started my career as a social worker, primarily working on teen leadership development. My work included sexual health education, community dialogue on race, and much more. I then decided to change careers and pursue medicine, so am currently an MD/MPP student. I am about to enter my fourth year of medical school and will be applying for residency in ob/gyn. My clinical and advocacy interests are in maternal health, with a focus on health disparities.

Why did you choose Ford?
The COVID pandemic really highlighted the intersections between health and every sector of society, from our transportation system to social insurance. Ford has given me the opportunity to build both knowledge and skills to better understand these connections. I have really appreciated the opportunity to build strong quantitative skills in economics, and then apply those to coursework on social policy. Even though I already have a degree in social work, I’ve been able to understand social programs completely differently because of Ford. There is also a focus on practical skills, including our incredible writing center. I feel much more comfortable structuring policy arguments and presenting complex data now. Ford has given me opportunities to put these skills into action in really exciting ways. For example, I completed an independent study with retired Representative Sandy Levin on the intersections between unemployment insurance and health.

What do you want to do with your Ford degree?
There is growing momentum in medicine to think about the ways systems outside of healthcare can better promote health and well-being. My hope is to help structure social policies that provide my patients with the scaffolding to live healthier lives. Yes, Medicaid is important, but so is labor, childcare, and housing policy! I imagine my career will mix clinical practice in ob/gyn with advocacy, but the specific path is still being built.