UA Public Health Students Named Marshall Foundation Dissertation Fellows

The fellowship will support the students’ research on the impact of state-level immigration policy on health care and American Indian health disparities in the area of food security in Tucson.

TUCSON, Ariz. – Sofía Gómez, MPA, and Carmella Kahn, MPH (Diné-Navajo), Arizona residents and doctoral students at the University of Arizona Mel and Enid Zuckerman College of Public Health, are recipients of the prestigious Marshall Foundation Dissertation Fellowship. They are part of a group of seven UA doctoral students to receive the fellowship on the basis of topic, methodology and potential contributions of dissertation research.

The fellowship award was established by the UA Graduate College with the assistance of the Louise Foucar Marshall Foundation to help Arizona graduate students complete their doctoral dissertations. It includes $10,846 to support completion of the student’s research and dissertation and a tuition scholarship for two semesters from the UA Graduate College.

Gómez is a doctoral candidate in public health policy and management whose research examines the impact of state-level immigration policy on health care. Her work explores how mixed status households access health care when one or several members have varied immigration statuses. Gómez worked with immigrant youth to develop the exhibit, DACAmented Voices in Healthcare, a documentary photography project that brings attention to extreme and polarizing attitudes towards immigrants and their exclusion from health services.

Gómez previously worked with the Arizona Prevention Research Center in the UA Zuckerman College of Public Health and the UA Binational Migration Institute as a graduate research associate. She developed her research in close collaboration with dissertation committee members Michael Halpern, MD, PhD, MPH (chair), College of Public Health, Temple University; Cecilia Rosales, MD, MS, and Samantha Sabo, DrPH, MPH, UA Zuckerman College of Public Health; Anna O’Leary, PhD, Department of Mexican American Studies, UA College of Social and Behavioral Sciences; and Heide Castañeda, PhD, MPH (special committee member), Department of Anthropology, University of South Florida.

Kahn, a doctoral candidate in maternal and child health, is the recipient of the Dr. Maria Teresa Velez – Marshall Foundation Dissertation Scholarship, awarded annually to one of the applicants to the Marshall Foundation Dissertation Fellowship whose dissertation shows a significant impact to the economy of the state of Arizona. Kahn’s research interests are in American Indian (AI) health disparities, resilience and food systems. The fellowship will support her research investigating the food systems for urban AIs, and building knowledge in the development and evaluation of digital storytelling as a tool to promote food security and healthy food access among AI families in Tucson. She will apply a community based participatory research approach in adapting digital story resources to food systems curriculum.

Kahn previously has worked with the Center for American Indian Resilience (CAIR) as a graduate research assistant and received research training and mentorship under her committee chair, Nicolette Teufel-Shone, PhD, professor of health promotion sciences in the UA Zuckerman College of Public Health and co-principal investigator of CAIR.

Kahn’s research was developed in collaboration with dissertation committee members Kerstin Reinschmidt, PhD, and John Ehiri, PhD, from the UA Zuckerman College of Public Health; and Sallie Marston, PhD, School of Geography and Development, UA College of Social and Behavioral Sciences.

The other UA graduate students who received 2017 Marshall Foundation Dissertation Fellowships are: Gabriella Soto, School of Anthropology; Christopher Vasquez-Wright, Second Language Acquisition and Teaching doctoral program; Shellie Knights-Mitchell, Biomedical Engineering Graduate Interdisciplinary Program (GIDP); Rebekah Cross, Department of Physics; and Audra El Vilaly, School of Geography and Development.


About the University of Arizona Mel and Enid Zuckerman College of Public Health

Established in 2000, the Mel and Enid Zuckerman College of Public Health at the University of Arizona Health Sciences is the first nationally accredited college of public health in the Southwest. Today the college remains the only accredited college of public health in the state of Arizona with campuses in Tucson and Phoenix. The college enrolls more than 1,100 students per year across degree programs at the bachelor, master and doctoral levels. Through research, education and community engagement, the UA Zuckerman College of Public Health continues to find solutions to public health problems in Arizona, the southwest and globally.

About the University of Arizona Health Sciences

The University of Arizona Health Sciences is the statewide leader in biomedical research and health professions training. The UA Health Sciences includes the UA Colleges of Medicine (Phoenix and Tucson), Nursing, Pharmacy and Mel and Enid Zuckerman College of Public Health, with main campus locations in Tucson and the growing Phoenix Biomedical Campus in downtown Phoenix. From these vantage points, the UA Health Sciences reaches across the state of Arizona and the greater Southwest to provide cutting-edge health education, research, patient care and community outreach services. A major economic engine, the UA Health Sciences employs almost 5,000 people, has nearly 1,000 faculty members and garners more than $126 million in research grants and contracts annually. For more information: uahs.arizona.edu (Follow us: Facebook | Twitter | YouTube | LinkedIn)