Raised in Northern Virginia with roots in Puerto Rico, Lara is a passionate health educator and social justice advocate driven to serve the communities she belongs to and those around her, striving toward equity in all forms. Lara currently works at Grassroots Health: a community-based organization that was founded in 2012 with the philosophy that sexual health education must begin in classrooms, happening concurrently with active prevention and treatment options for those living with HIV. In 2018, Lara began as a volunteer; in 2021, she was hired to start as a Program Coordinator serving as the main point of contact for stakeholders of the organization. Lara is excited to showcase how Grassroots Health engages middle school students in conversations around health – conversations that might seem too taboo or mature at that age. Lara looks forward to learning from the nation’s leading HIV scholars and advocates on how to best implement current strategies to enact change in Black and Brown communities. She is excited to see how her takeaways from the program will inform and guide her organization’s work and her personal trajectory during a critical time for health education. Lara holds a BA in International Affairs and Latin American Studies from George Washington University, though she actively pursues interests in public health, community organizing, and education. ¡Viva Puerto Rico libre!
Lara Negrón Ocasio (she/ella)