Candidate for PhD, UCLA
Eryn Piper Block, MPP, is a PhD Candidate in UCLA’s Health Policy and Management Program and the President of the Palms Neighborhood Council. She has built her career on bringing together academic research and policymaking from education, health and urban planning to promoting wellbeing for children and young adults from diverse backgrounds. She is currently finishing her dissertation utilizing large, national datasets to investigate how arts education and arts participation impact mental health. A strong believer in the power of community, Eryn has served on the board of her neighborhood council (NC) for over three years and was elected Board President in 2019. In response to the COVID-19 crisis, Eryn led her NC in calling over 2,500 senior citizens to connect those in need with vital services, donating funds and resources to local first responder organizations, and spreading critical health information throughout her community. She expanded her role to a city-wide level, helping organize the first ever series of all-presidents meetings, building a network of progressive NC leaders, collecting and disseminating best practices in COVID-19 response, and writing frequent policy statements urging the LA city council to fight against police brutality and support those experiencing homelessness. Eryn has a long track record of community and policy leadership. While studying at the University of Oregon, she founded a college-readiness mentor program for her own high school, where few students had historically enrolled in post-secondary education. As a South Louisiana Teach For America Corps Member, she founded the Positive Behavior Intervention System, School-wide Management Plan, and track and cross country teams at her school. During her time in Vanderbilt’s Master of Education Policy program, she wrote a white paper which was used to advocate to the state-level steering committee on child mental health for more funding for school-based mental health programs. In her free time, Eryn likes to dance, hike, run, do yoga, skateboard along the beach and do anything outdoors, especially if her dog, Shorty, can come too. She loves to read and is writing a young adult fantasy novel. She is also surprisingly good at macrame.