HIP Awards Lorena Quiroz with the 2022 RWJF Award for Health Equity

Lorena Quiroz founder of the Immigrant Alliance for Justice and Equity Recognized for Public Health Leadership in Mississippi

Today, Hispanics in Philanthropy (HIP) announced their annual Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF) Award for Health Equity, a recognition for individuals whose work has changed systems and policies that strive for health equity in Latinx communities. The 2022 recipient, Lorena Quiroz is a mother, organizer, and founder of the Immigrant Alliance for Justice and Equity (IAJE), an organization building an immigrant-led social-economic movement in Mississippi. 

“It is an honor to spotlight such a passionate advocate for Latinxs in the South,” shared Ana Marie Argilagos, President & CEO of Hispanics in Philanthropy. “Lorena is a powerhouse that has taken a holistic approach to the wellbeing of her community. She has built a sustainable multiracial network that will continue to empower so many to address the most urgent needs within Mississippi.” 

In August 2019 a series of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement raids took place in Mississippi and impacted the lives of over 680 Indigenous and Latinx immigrant poultry plant workers. This sparked Lorena to create a space for healing through action by founding ​​IAJE. Since then, the grassroots organization has worked to amplify the voices of multi-racial, intergenerational immigrant communities throughout the state. IAJE works to address intersecting systemic barriers through public education, organizing, and civic engagement.  Their work has addressed climate and public health issues such as the current Jackson, MS water crisis, COVID-19, and the HIV epidemic. 

Lorena Quiroz shared that through initiatives like the Promotoras de Salud, they have been able to lead “public health efforts in remote areas and create access to information, education, and resources where none existed.” 

Lorena Quiroz received her bachelor's degree in International Relations at The City College of New York and kicked off her over two decades of work with an organizing fellowship “Ingles Para la Comunidad'' where she organized and facilitated Know Your Rights and Political Education workshops with newly arrived Latinx, Indigenous, and Russian immigrants in Jamaica, Queens. She continued her advocacy work through her leadership position as the Director Of Outreach Engagement at the Beacon Goodwill Program. In Mississippi, she became a community peer counselor for the State Department of Health. Throughout her time she occupied various leadership roles supporting parental and child health in central Mississippi. She held roles as the Regional Outreach Coordinator, State Director Of Community and Stakeholder Engagement at the Office of Health Disparities Elimination, Lactation Consultant, Full Spectrum Doula, and then the first full-time Lactation Specialist. 

The RWJF Award for Health Equity is awarded via nine partnerships with organizations that support public health, social justice, community development, and more. This year, HIP received an overwhelming number of nominations, making it a very competitive process. The incredible slate of finalists included Aisha M. Babilonia, Executive Director of Habakkuk Vision Charitable Ministries; Noe Paramo, Director of Sustainable Rural Communities Project with California Rural Legal Assistance Foundation; and Karen Aragon, Southern California Director for Building Skills Partnership.