PhD Student Selected for National Leadership Program to Build Health Equity

Posted: March 8, 2018

With the intention of diversifying the next generations of leaders and ensuring equity in policies, Health Policy Research Scholars has selected a group of PhD students from across the country to be part of its second cohort.

As one of 40 selected applicants, Shannon Parsley RN, PhD Student, University of Kentucky, College of Nursing will join a diverse group of scholars from across the country to collaboratively tackle persistent health challenges by creating innovative solutions through their research. The Health Policy Research Scholars program is led by George Washington University with support from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation.

As part of the program Parsley will study policymakers’ decision-making and voters’ political knowledge, aiming to identify the political barriers to enacting or adopting the smoke-free public policies known to significantly improve population health, with the vision of depoliticizing public health policies and highlighting health as a shared value that traverses ideological lines.

“This new cohort of scholars is committed to research that challenges long-held notions about the health of our communities,” says Harolyn M.E. Belcher, MD, MHS, program director, Health Policy Research Scholars, Director of the Center for Diversity in Public Health Leadership Training and professor, Johns Hopkins University. “I am thrilled to work alongside them as they continue to develop into the kind of leaders that can enact real change and ultimately build a Culture of Health.”

 Along the way she will develop high-level leadership skills through professional coaching, mentoring, networking, and an advanced leadership curriculum. While participating in the program she will continue studying full-time and applying new knowledge and leadership within her home institution, to advance a Culture of Health—one that places well-being at the center of every aspect of life.

Additional partners providing training and coaching to scholars include: AcademyHealth, Mayo Clinic, University of California—Los Angeles, and University of Michigan.

Health Policy Research Scholars is one of a number of leadership development programs supported by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF). These programs continue RWJF’s legacy of supporting the development and diversity of leaders. Initially focused on health and health care, the programs have been expanded, because the Foundation knows that building a Culture of Health requires all of us in every sector, profession, and discipline to work together. The next application period for many of these programs will open in early 2019. Additional information is available at