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School & Program Updates

School & Program Updates

South Florida: Graduates Largest Cohort of Black Doctoral Candidates at December Commencement

One hundred and sixty University of South Florida College of Public Health (COPH) students — including six black doctoral candidates, the largest in the college’s history—received degrees at the fall 2019 commencement held in December.

“They are pretty amazing colleagues with an incredible work ethic and goals for themselves, their families and their community. I am honored to be associated with them,” said Dr. Linda Bomboka, one of the six, when asked what it felt like to be part of the accomplished group.

We reached out to the six newly minted doctors and asked them why they chose to study public health, the importance racial diversity has in their work and what their plans are for the future. Here are some of their responses:

What motivated you to study public health?

“I was born and raised in Pulaski, Tennesse,” said Dr. Aldenise Ewing. “Although a small town, historically it is known for racial injustices. Given my place of beginnings, I believe that I was literally born into this world to counteract the social injustices marginalized groups face. Public health then found me during my undergrad education and connected me to a path where I could devote my life to this cause and make it a career.

“I remember the first time I took a ‘public health 101’ course,” added Dr. Rachel Logan. “I learned that in the U.S., black people and other people of color have poorer health outcomes for a myriad of health conditions as compared to their white counterparts. As a black woman, I wanted to know more about why this was the case. My interest really peaked when I learned about sexual and reproductive health and began working on projects related to human immunodeficiency virus/acquired immune deficiency syndrome (HIV/AIDS) and, later, family planning.”

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