32 Year Old Nurse; Lauren Underwood, Becomes The Youngest Black Woman In Congress

Lauren Underwood
Written by Chioma Gabriel
Woman in Congress


There’s a victorious record of 127 women in the recently sworn in 116th Congress, each of whom have a unique American story.

Talking about a good number of “firsts” in the congress, dark and lovely Lauren Underwood, 32 and a nurse; has made history as the youngest African American woman to be elected to Congress. Representing Illinois 14th Congressional District is the registered nurse who transitioned into politics in 2010.

Lauren earned a Bachelors of Science in Nursing from the University of Michigan and her Masters program at Johns Hopkins University where she also worked as a research nurse.

Lauren has given much of her life and spent her career fighting to expand access to affordable healthcare for communities across the country. When she was eight, Lauren was diagnosed with a pre-existing condition, this was the single experience in her childhood that inspired her to work in healthcare because of the care she received from her doctors and nurses as a child. Some of the life-changing things that stay with us for a life-time.

Being that young girl child with a pre-existing health condition, Lauren says she knows first-hand how important it is to enact laws and policies that preserve and expand healthcare for Illinois families.

She was born in Mayfield Heights, Ohio. She moved to Naperville with her family at age three. Lauren has had a real run in her profession as her registered nurse licensed in three She specializes in public jurisdictions: Maryland, Washington D.C., and Illinois. health nursing, and has a dual Masters degree in Public Health and Nursing. It was in June of 2010 that her transition into politics began, when she joined the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

Starting her career in public service,

Lauren worked to implement the Affordable Care Act; according to her website. She would later join the Obama Administration as an appointee to help with public health emergencies and disasters across the nation, including the water crisis in Flint, Michigan.

In her interview with Lenny, Lauren said” When I first started working in government, I was a career employee. I had just gotten my dream job of helping to transform our health-care system and working to implement the ACA. On my first day, one of the assistants told me, “Sit right there for the next thirty-five years and you can retire.”

I think that she meant it as a compliment, but I was kind of horrified, because the idea of having any one job for thirty-five years is just terrifying. I want to be challenged and have the opportunity to grow, i realized that I was going to have to be intentional about my professional development, that I was going to have to seek out those opportunities myself.

The best advice is to be prepared for the opportunity. I certainly didn’t know that I was going to run. But by taking my professional development into my own hands, I ended up enrolling myself in a variety of women’s leadership and training programs. And so when the time came, I was ready to do what I felt called to do”

Now we have the first woman and person of color ever to represent her district, and the youngest African American woman in congress; Lauren Underwood.

About the author

Chioma Gabriel

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