Meet Fautimah El-Mehrik

Fautimah and her cat, Pierre.

Fautimah and her cat, Pierre.

Fautimah is excited to come on board as the office coordinator for Group Health Foundation and apply her lived experiences and educational background to help advance health equity in Washington State. Growing up biracial and Muslim, Fautimah’s personal experiences led her on a path to equity and social justice work.

Fautimah was raised in North Seattle, where she frequently felt like an outsider in a community lacking racial and economic diversity. Often the only person of color in her classrooms, she shared that peers would ask questions like “What are you?” and “Where are you from?” At a young age, she couldn’t quite articulate why her experiences left her feeling unwanted or out of place. It wasn’t until her first year studying sociology at the University of Washington that she could better grasp what she had been experiencing all her life. She was finally able to articulate her personal understanding of the world and translate it into meaningful academic work.

One particularly significant class explored the connection between race and health disparities in America. For Fautimah, learning about the ways a social construct like race could impact one’s physical and mental health resonated deeply with her. “I started being able to intelligently and effectively define the experiences I’ve been having my whole life,” she says.

Exploring how racism can be a determinant of health is what brought Fautimah to Group Health Foundation, and it’s a concept she’s eager to continue delving into. “I’m excited to join a team that is working to address inequity as it relates to health, because I believe that social factors, such as race and income shouldn’t inhibit folks from the right to be healthy,” she says.

Outside of work, Fautimah dabbles in art, including calligraphy, card making, and photography. She also enjoys time with friends, family, and her cat Pierre.