Andie Hession Joins Endowment for Health Team

June 2, 2021

A Q&A with Andie Hession

Tell us about your role at the Endowment for Health

I’ll be serving as Grants Program Associate where I’ll help facilitate the grant application process, as well tracking, monitoring, and managing the grantmaking system and generally supporting the Endowment’s program staff. I’ve already had the pleasure of interacting with some of the Endowment’s community partners and it’s great to hear about the important work that so many organizations are doing around the state.

What draws you to the Endowment for Health?

I’m excited about the Endowment’s mission and values as well as having the opportunity to work at a statewide level to make New Hampshire a better place. The Endowment’s focus on the social determinants of health as well as equity and access are all themes that align with my beliefs. In much of my past career, expanding access to community resources has been a top priority.

What led you to pursue a public health education?

When I first began my education at George Washington University, I majored in international affairs. I took a global public health course, and knew instantly that it was my passion. I saw how public health professionals could step back from problems, take a look at whole systems, consider the social determinants of health, and create approaches to make positive impact for a lot of people. I can see that the Endowment takes the same big-picture systems approach to complex social problems. I also resonate with the equity value at the Endowment. My recent work within communities has certainly shed light on the need for greater equity. The pandemic clearly heightened and exposed those inequities that have existed for a very long time. Public health professionals have played an important role in addressing those inequities.

You’ve done some interesting world travel. Tell us about it and how it enhances your cultural curiosity.

I spent a semester in Kenya studying community health and development. I was fortunate to observe unique strategies used by organizations to serve their communities in settings as diverse as Kibera in urban Nairobi and the rural coastal village of Shirazi. Learning about Kenya’s past also provided perspective of the influence of history and policy on current challenges faced by communities.

Culturally, it was a great opportunity to realize how connected we are in humanity. Sharing a meal with others or attending a wedding showed me the similarities in the ways people come together, nourish and care for each other, even when our cultures are worlds apart.

And I learned that, despite huge divides in vulnerable populations, organizations should always incorporate people’s experience. I’ve tried to take that lesson into every community setting that I’ve since worked in. Community members know what the needs are. Listening to those voices is the only way to create sustainable solutions – in partnership.

How would you describe your working style?

I like to try new things and never hesitate to jump in with both feet. I’m detail oriented and I also love working with people. For instance, the Endowment’s value of compassion strikes a chord with me. I always try to understand the reasons why people or communities are facing the kind of challenges that they do. That understanding has to be there first before any problems can be collectively solved.

What brought you to New Hampshire?

I grew up in Massachusetts, but when I decided to return to New England, I was attracted to the abundance of outdoor opportunities found in New Hampshire. I enjoy hiking, skiing and running around the state I now consider home. As my past work experiences hint at, I also love to garden. After the long winter, I look forward to when my tomatoes will be ripe and it will be time to make my spicy salsa.