Six PhD students named Dissertation Fellows

									Charlie Plain |
																			May 16, 2014
					

Six School of Public Health doctoral students have received veritable golden tickets through fellowships awarded by the Graduate School.

Front Row: Hilary Whitham, Gilbert Gonzales and Debashree Ray. Back Row: Kristen Cunanan, Julian Tong and Sung Choi.
Front Row: Hilary Whitham, Gilbert Gonzales and Debashree Ray. Back Row: Kristen Cunanan, Julian Tong and Sung Choi.

The honor in mention is the School’s coveted Doctoral Dissertation Fellowship and it’s been given to SPH’s Sung Choi, Kristen Cunanan, Gilbert Gonzales, Debashree Ray, Hilary Whitham and Julian Tong.

The Doctoral Dissertation Fellowship program gives the University’s most accomplished PhD candidates resources to devote full-time effort to completing their dissertations during the fellowship year.  The award includes a stipend of $22,500, tuition for up to 14 thesis credits each semester and subsidized health insurance for a year.

Read on to learn more about the students’ dissertation research and thoughts on being named Fellows.

Sung Choi, Health Services Research, Policy & Administration PhD
Division of Health Policy & Management
“My research will help hospital managers and policy makers understand how the recent recession affected hospital investment in new equipment and facilities. Hospitals should have access to funds for investing in new equipment and facilities so quality of service does not suffer.”

Kristen Cunanan, Biostatistics PhD
Division of Biostatistics
“I couldn’t believe it for a day or so. Once I came to grips, I was extremely relieved and grateful…I’d really like to thank all of my research advisors for their help and mentoring over the past few years.”

Gilbert Gonzales, Health Services Research, Policy & Administration PhD
Division of Health Policy & Management

“My dissertation informs current policy discussions on the relationship between same-sex marriage and LGBT health… The fellowship will allow me to explore my dissertation with greater depth and detail—and devote the extra time to explore an additional research question and to expand my theories on state health policy.”

Debashree Ray, Biostatistics PhD
Division of Biostatistics

“I had just left my office when my husband called and said ‘Congratulations.’ I couldn’t think of any reason for why he congratulated me. After a brief pause, he divulged the news and I didn’t know how to express my happy feelings! I felt like calling and waking up my parents who were peacefully sleeping back in India!”

Julian Tong, Health Services Research, Policy & Administration PhD
Division of Health Policy & Management

“My dissertation will focus on the influence of patient and provider characteristics on the use of non-recommended medical procedures. As costs and quality of health care become increasingly urgent, I realized how useful and powerful quantitative methods are in solving real-world problems. Results from my work will call for attention from patients, physicians, clinics, and health group practices to reduce overuse of low-value health services.”

Hilary Whitham, Epidemiology PhD
Division of Epidemiology & Community Health
“Now that I can focus solely on my research, I have the time to complete the comprehensive, high quality dissertation that I had envisioned.  The fellowship also provides me the time to publish my research as I proceed through each specific aim, which will help me become more established in the field of epidemiology and secure a research position after I graduate. “

~ Post by Charlie Plain

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