PhD student awarded Robert Wood Johnson Foundation fellowship

October 10, 2017

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Brittney Francis and Julie Bower
Brittney Francis, PhD student, with mentor and epidemiology Assistant Professor Julie Bower, PhD

Brittney Francis, a second-year PhD student of epidemiology at the College of Public Health (CPH), was recently awarded a $120,000 fellowship from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF).

The award will provide Francis with financial support for her training and research at CPH, as well as leadership training through RWJF’s Health Policy Research Scholars program, which serves doctoral students from underrepresented backgrounds.

"Receiving this award is a great honor," Francis said. "It will equip me with tools to translate meaningful scientific evidence into policy that will have direct impacts on communities that I research."

The fellowship was a nationally competitive application process, and will provide Francis financial support so that she can focus on her research and coursework.

"Brittney will join a nationwide cohort of scholars committed to conducting important work that directly informs health policy," said Julie Bower, PhD, assistant professor of epidemiology at CPH and Francis’ mentor. "She is passionate about translating scientific evidence into policy, and this program will provide her with a unique set of skills to complement the training that she will receive through our program.”

Francis received her MPH from Washington University in St. Louis and her BA in biology from the University of Miami.

"I hope to use my PhD to understand and address how social inequities affect biological pathways, and contribute to chronic disease development and the diagnosis and management of these diseases in minority women during the perinatal time period," Francis said. "Long term, I hope to use my research to shift the conversation of social determinants as an upstream effect to a more mid-stream effect, and focus on the structural policies that have created these inequities and determinants."

The fellowship will also offer Bower mentorship training as Francis' home institution mentor.

"Brittney is an outstanding student that entered our PhD program with a clear focus on furthering her training in epidemiology so that she can conduct research on the effect of social inequities on maternal and child health outcomes in minority women," Bower said. "I’m extremely proud of Brittney for what she has already achieved, and look forward to the opportunity to continue to work with her in these efforts during her time here at OSU."

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About The Ohio State University College of Public Health

The Ohio State University College of Public Health is a leader in educating students, creating new knowledge through research, and improving the livelihoods and well-being of people in Ohio and beyond.  The College’s divisions include biostatistics, environmental health sciences, epidemiology, health behavior and health promotion, and health services management and policy.   It is ranked 19th among all colleges of public health in the U.S. by U.S. News & World Report, and also includes the top 10-ranked MHA degree program.  The College provides leadership and expertise for Ohio and the world through its Center for Health Outcomes, Policy and Evaluation Studies (HOPES), Center for Public Health Practice, and the NCI-funded Center of Excellence in Regulatory Tobacco Science (CERTS).