Never Too Early

ALTHOUGH SHE IS STILL A YOUNG ALUMNA, Raenetta L. Ellison (EPID MPH ’02) is already making plans for her future by including Tulane School of Public Health in her will and estate plan.

It was a family tragedy that motivated Ellison to start planning at such a young age.

Renetta L. Ellison

Renetta L. Ellison

“My mother passed away when I was just 31, and since then I’ve lost both my grandparents and my aunt,” says Ellison. “Not having advanced care directives and wills in place were challenging, and I was forced to make decisions without knowing their wishes. I really wish I knew what they would have wanted.”

Based on those experiences, she decided to “get her life in order” and establish an estate plan that will be a guide for her family members and loved ones.

“I decided to leave a portion of my estate to Tulane because Tulane helped shape who I am today. It is an important piece of my life,” says Ellison.

Following her undergraduate education at Xavier University in New Orleans, Ellison attended SPHTM and received a master’s degree in epidemiology. It was at Tulane that Ellison’s passion for public health flourished.

“Tulane challenged me to think globally about the implications of our behavior,” says Ellison. “It opened up my horizons and broadened how I think. It really gave me a global outlook.”

Ellison is passionate about giving back. She hopes her future gifts to SPHTM will give students the tools and resources they need to establish a career in public health.

“When you put money back into a school, you enhance the school and help maintain its quality of education,” says Ellison. “Tulane gave me so much. Giving back is part of showing your gratitude.”

Ellison is currently employed by the Social Security Administration and is pursuing a law degree from American University in Washington D.C. She hopes to use her law degree to help make policy changes that can broadly influence public health.

To learn more about how you can include SPHTM in your estate plan or will, contact Tatine Frater at 504-314-7331 or


About Tulane University SPHTM

Tulane's School of Public Health and Tropical Medicine is the oldest school of public health in the country and the only American school of tropical medicine. Our mission is to advance public health knowledge, promote health and well-being, and prevent disease, disability, and premature mortality. This is accomplished through academic excellence in education of public health professionals, rigorous scientific research of public health problems, creative partnerships to advance the practice of public health, and innovative service to the local, national, and international public health community.
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