Jaren Lockridge, director of The Well and chair of the Ward 8 Health Council (Courtesy photo)
Jaren Lockridge, director of The Well and chair of the Ward 8 Health Council (Courtesy photo)

As a mother, former government employee, director of The Well at Oxon Run Park and now the chair of the Ward 8 Health Council, Jaren Lockridge said she plans to expand resources for Ward 8 residents and make them more accessible.  

“We are so resourceful and we have such an abundance once we’re able to tap into it and see the value of it,” Lockridge said. 

The first Ward 8 Health Council Meeting of 2022 kicked off at United Medical Center in Southeast during which Lockridge included in her opening remarks, the request that everyone share their gifts. She clarified her comment, saying the “gifts” represent anything an individual has within and which they can share with the community.  

“The greatest resource that we have in Ward 8 is our human resources, our people,” she said. “That was on full display in my first meeting as chair of the Ward 8 Health Council.”  

She said “standing on the shoulders of giants” – something which she frequently realizes and relishes – has humbled her, knowing that others have paved the way in Ward 8 whose contributions will serve as a guide in the work before her. 

The council needed a new chairperson after Calvin Smith, the former chair, announced his plan to step down in September 2021.  

Lockridge, a native of Memphis, Tenn., said community is everything to her. She said she hopes some of her innate southern hospitality and charm have been positively received. She hopes those attributes will be beneficial and she works with neighbors and community leaders to empower the residents of Ward 8. 

“The beautiful thing about how my life is aligning right now is that it’s bringing my personal and professional capacities and passions into the forefront,” Lockridge said. 

Health experts and professionals shared the many programs and resources that currently exist and which residents of the ward can now access. But with attendance meager, Lockridge said other methods of sharing that information to a larger audience and in plain language must be found. 

Communicating health information to the public, Lockridge says, is like code-switching and that “when it comes to the subject matter expertise, it can be really jargon-heavy.” 

Prior to working in the nonprofit sector, Lockridge worked in government. 

She said she’ll use her knowledge of how government communicates and apply a version of what she’s learned after retooling it “in a way that’s actually resourceful.” 

“I’m trying to lead by example by understanding firsthand what resources are available when it comes to my own health care team and healthcare system,” she said. “Then, I have to make sure those around me, including our children, are empowered with that same information.” 

Natalie C. Hockaday

Natalie Hockaday is a reporter at The Washington Informer covering health in the Washington, D.C. area. Natalie is part of the Report for America program and through this program, she continues to build...

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