21-year-old nursing student Mason Aldrige has always felt troubled by statistics around rural healthcare. According to the CDC, Americans in rural areas are more likely to die from heart disease, cancer, unintentional injury, chronic lower respiratory disease, and stroke than their urban counterparts.
"I want to improve rural healthcare so that others can live happier and healthier lives.”
Motivated to create a healthier future for his neighbors, Mason is committed to advocating for resources, innovation, and rural citizens' healthcare. “Growing up in rural Alabama has affected my life tremendously, from the way I think to the opportunities available to me,” he said. "Rural healthcare has affected not only my life but the lives around me as well. I want to improve rural healthcare so that others can live happier and healthier lives.”
Mason serves as a social media ambassador for The University of Alabama Student Health and Wellbeing. He writes proposals advocating for rural healthcare reforms to send to legislators and works with The University of Alabama Rural Scholars Program and The University of Alabama Student Government Association to educate students.
Mason was honored for his work in Healthcare through The ConversationaLIST, our annual honoree list recognizing exceptional Gen Z'ers making an impact. “I use my voice for good by advocating for resources, innovation, and the health of rural citizens,” he said.
“I use my voice for good by advocating for resources, innovation, and the health of rural citizens.”
Aldrige cites his family and the University of Alabama Rural Health Scholars staff as his most significant sources of inspiration. "They all have encouraged, believed, and helped me as I go through this journey. Through every up and down, they have been my side," he said.
While much of his work revolves around his university, Aldrige plans to dedicate his life to improving rural healthcare. After graduating, he hopes to pursue healthcare as a traveling nurse while studying to become a nurse practitioner. “I hope to have made at least one person's life happier, healthier, and better,” he said.
Mason resonates with The Conversationalist’s mission to build a community everyone's opinion is respected and members treat each other like real people. “I am excited to meet the future leaders of the world,” he said about the community. “There are so many amazing people in The Conversationalist community, and I can't wait to get to know them better.”
For Mason, mutual respect between humans is an important step toward building a unified world. “Unification to me looks beyond the superficial things that divide us as people and strips everything away until we are seen as people,” he said. “People who are worth it, who make mistakes, and who are capable of incredible things.”
“Listening allows us to gain perspective, empathy, and it allows us to learn.”
He believes Gen Z can achieve this goal by speaking less and listening more. “Listening allows us to gain perspective, empathy, and it allows us to learn,” he said.
We couldn't be more grateful to Mason Aldrige and all that he does to improve people's health in rural communities. Keep up with him on Instagram to learn more about his work.