Two students selected as Health Policy Research Scholars

Both are in the PhD in Population Health Sciences program, a joint collaboration between the Harvard Faculty of Arts and Sciences and the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, with Davis concentrating in social and behavioral sciences and Gripper concentrating in environmental health.

As two of 40 selected applicants, Davis and Gripper join a diverse group of scholars from across the country who will collaboratively tackle persistent health challenges by creating innovative solutions through their research. The program is led by George Washington University with support from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation.

Davis’s research focuses on understanding how racism embedded in everyday institutions compounds over the life course to produce health disparities. She hopes to quantify the overall impact of racism on health outcomes in adulthood, while identifying critical periods of opportunity and resilience at all stages of development.

“I have the opportunity to connect with people from all over with a common goal of health equity,” Davis said about the program. “I couldn’t be more excited about the experience.”

Her adviser David Williams, Florence Sprague Norman and Laura Smart Norman Professor of Public Health, said, “Brigette is an absolutely outstanding student with prior experiences in public health, and she is on a wonderful trajectory to make important contributions in the future.”

Gripper’s research examines the connection between agriculture, land access, and the health of farmers of color. She believes that “in order to more effectively advocate for anti-racist federal and local land access policies, new strategies are needed to establish a causal relationship between growing food and the health of farmers and their communities.”

She said that support from the program gives scholars the tools and resources to do meaningful research. “Because I hope to conduct participatory action research, it is essential that I attend conferences, network, and meet with growers from across the country,” she said.

Her adviser Gary Adamkiewicz, assistant professor of environmental health and exposure disparities, said, “I’m very excited to work with Ashley as she continues to ask big questions. Her cross-cutting interests touch on so many critical areas, including food access, equity for farmers and families, environmental issues, and related policy gaps. I’m so glad that Ashley is committed to these issues and I’m convinced that her work will make a difference.”

Through the program, Davis and Gripper will develop high-level leadership skills through professional coaching, mentoring, networking, and an advanced leadership curriculum. While participating in the program they will continue studying full-time and applying new knowledge and leadership at Harvard Chan School to advance a “Culture of Health”—one that places well-being at the center of every aspect of life.

Hannah Cory, a doctoral student in the Population Health Sciences program concentrating in nutrition, was named a Health Policy Research Scholar last year.

– Amy Roeder

Photos: Courtesy of Ashley Gripper; Brigette Davis by Nilagia McCoy

Below are spiritual recipe for health and wellness: Matthew E. McLaren

Accept the one whose faith is weak, without quarreling over disputable matters. Romans 14:1 NIV

But you, man of God, flee from all this, and pursue righteousness, godliness, faith, love, endurance and gentleness. 1 Timothy 6:11 NIV

For everyone born of God overcomes the world. This is the victory that has overcome the world, even our faith. 1 John 5:4 NIV

If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing. 1 Corinthians 13:2 NIV

I have set my heart on your laws. Psalm 119:30 NIV

“Go,” said Jesus, “your faith has healed you.” Immediately he received his sight and followed Jesus along the road. Mark 10:52 NIV

Then Jesus declared, “I am the bread of life. Whoever comes to me will never go hungry, and whoever believes in me will never be thirsty.” John 6:35 NIV

“‘If you can’?” said Jesus. “Everything is possible for one who believes.” Mark 9:23 NIV

For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you profess your faith and are saved. Romans 10:10 NIV

And by faith even Sarah, who was past childbearing age, was enabled to bear children because she considered him faithful who had made the promise. Hebrews 11:11 NIV

For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. John 3:16 NIV

So in Christ Jesus you are all children of God through faith, for all of you who were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ. Galatians 3:26-27 NIV

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