The Ford School is proud to recognize Olivia Morris (MPP/MSW ‘25) and Jennie Scheerer (MPP/MPH ‘24) as the 2023 Rebecca A. Copeland Fellows. They were chosen for their commitment to public service and focus on promoting health equity. Morris and Scheerer will facilitate the Q&A for the 2023 Omenn-Darling Health Policy Lecture, featuring Pregnancy Justice president Lourdes Rivera on November 8.
Morris’s interdisciplinary studies and experiences in policy and social work inspire her to shape and reform health policy. Prior to graduate school, Morris served as a mental health counselor for unhoused clients with concurrent mental and physical health diagnoses in Los Angeles, California, developing a commitment to making state-wide healthcare systems more equitable. Most recently, Morris served as the legislative intern for the Michigan 47th House District State Representative Carrie Rheingans. She supported the office’s introduction of MiCare–a state-based single-payer healthcare system that would provide universal coverage to all Michiganders–and is finalizing two opioid reform bills that focus on harm reduction.
Morris believes that too often the cost of healthcare prevents vulnerable people from accessing necessary health services, an ever-present sentiment expressed by her clients over the years. After graduation, Morris plans to reform state-level health policy to address intersectional health challenges faced by America’s most vulnerable people.
Scheerer’s interests lie in the intersections between maternal and reproductive health, anti-racism, and U.S. domestic policy. She strongly believes that every person with a uterus should have access to safe and affordable healthcare, regardless of income status and race.
She currently interns at the Center for Health and Research Transformation (CHRT) where she researches how to create better collaborations between social service agencies and OB-GYN physicians. In 2022, Scheerer interned with the U-M’s OB-GYN Department and the Institute for Healthcare Policy & Innovation (IHPI), where she managed research related to abortion access and Title X family planning programs in Michigan.
Through her research, Scheerer aims to inform healthcare policy that meets the diverse needs of our country’s population. She specifically hopes to improve health systems for people capable of pregnancy and address the racial disparities that exist within U.S. maternal mortality rates. Scheerer emphasizes that reproductive choice is an essential human right, and that high quality policy is key to creating sustainable healthcare for all people capable of pregnancy.
The fellowship was established by the Copeland family in fall 2021 in memory of Rebecca Copeland (MPP/MPH ’21). Rebecca passed just months after completing her dual master’s degrees at the University of Michigan and on the verge of beginning a career of tremendous impact in health policy. Rebecca was devoted to achieving health equity by improving health and health care for everyone through bold policy change and health system reform.