2020 Tillman Scholar

Madison Esposito

Military Spouse
Harvard University

“Tribal Nations need more voices in public health and I hope to be one.”

Madison is a Tyme Maidu Tribal Nation citizen. The values of medicine have been ingrained in her community for generations. It is from this strong cultural grounding that Madison derived an unshakable drive to become the most valuable and useful healthcare provider she can be for Indigenous peoples.

After becoming the first person in her family to complete a STEM degree, Madison secured a position as a post-bac researcher at the National Institutes of Health. In addition to her genomic and epigenetic research projects in this position, Madison also collaborated with Native researchers and leaders to synthesize separate projects to draft best practices and guidelines concerning data sovereignty and genetic research in Indian Country. These guidelines have been adopted by multiple Native Nations and directly led to the lifting of a moratorium on genetic research within the Navajo Nation.

Her current work as a graduate student at Harvard has been similarly rigorous and demanding. In her dedication to Indigenous peoples, Madison has focused all of her coursework and projects on salient Indigenous health issues. Most recently, she completed a collaborative project with the New Mexico Indian Affairs Department that assessed the behavioral health workforce serving Indigenous youth. Madison has taken no breaks in her commitment to this work and has already started a new public health project in collaboration with her own Tribal Nation’s COVID-19 response team. After finishing her masters, Madison will continue supporting Indigenous community wellness by pursuing an M.D. and Ph.D., specializing in family medicine and Indigenous Health.