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Learning to Lead

December 18, 2017

Women’s Health Research at Yale’s Undergraduate Fellowship mentors students who seek to expand their studies with a focus on the incorporation of sex and gender in contemporary science and medicine.

This hands-on training program allows students to adopt WHRY as their “scientific home” under the mentorship of WHRY-affiliated faculty members. Whether conducting research in a laboratory, assisting in a clinical setting, or advancing public health literacy through a communications campaign, these students learn “up close” how sex and gender have an influence and an impact on health outcomes.

All our students have the talent and initiative to carry this knowledge wherever their promising careers take them and to continue leading our efforts to change the landscape of medical research and practice to fully consider women and improve public health for everyone.

The New 2017-18 Fellows:

DHIKSHITHA BALAJI, a senior in Pauli Murray College majoring in pre-med and English Language and Literature, is working on science literacy under the mentorship of WHRY Director Carolyn M. Mazure, Ph.D., Communications Officer Rick Harrison, and Media and Design Specialist Carissa Violante, designing, researching, and writing a new blog on the advancement of women’s health research for the center's website. In addition, Balaji is creating public health literacy videos and testing their ability to inform, influence attitudes, and change behavior.

KAVERI CURLIN, a junior in Berkeley College majoring in Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, is mentored by Dr. Njeri Thande, an active cardiologist who has a special interest in women’s cardiovascular health as well as HIV and heart disease. Curlin, who is preparing her medical school applications, is shadowing Dr. Thande and assisting in her ongoing project to integrate data on the influence of sex and gender on health into Yale’s medical school curriculum.

LAUREN MCNEEL, a junior in Timothy Dwight College majoring in Molecular Biology and English, is working with Dr. Kelly Cosgrove on a WHRY-funded study on how smoking cannabis possibly affects the brain differently in women and men. She has received hands-on instruction from Dr. Cosgrove, whose research has focused on understanding the neurochemical, behavioral, and cognitive components of addiction, particularly tobacco smoking and alcohol dependence.

SEYRAM DODOR, a junior in Saybrook College majoring in History of Science, History of Medicine, and Public Health, is also working with Dr. Njeri Thande, studying the factors that influence whether cardiac patients correctly follow medical advice involving medication, self-care, and other steps to improve the effectiveness of treatment. Dodor, a first-generation Ghanaian American from North Carolina, is a member of the Global Health at Yale program interested in how health affects those within the African diaspora. While pursuing a career in medicine and global health, she aims to explore ways of improving reproductive health among women of color and linking the connection between communicable diseases and non-communicable diseases in women.

Returning 2017-18 Fellows:

In addition, we are thrilled to welcome back two students for a second year in the fellowship program.

ROSE DAVIS, a senior majoring in Molecular, Cellular and Developmental Biology (MCDB), will continue to work with Dr. Lisa Freed, Director of Yale New Haven Hospital’s Women’s Heart and Vascular Program, as she explores the unique health challenges women face and pursues a career as a surgeon.

And HALEIGH LARSON, a senior majoring in Molecular Biophysics and Biochemistry (MBB), will work with Dhikshitha Balaji and the Communications staff to expand the production, distribution, and efficacy testing of the center’s health literacy videos, designed to help people make more informed health decisions.

Submitted by Carissa R Violante on December 18, 2017