McCourt School welcomes 5 new Richmond Foundation Fellows

In partnership with the McCourt School, the George E. Richmond Foundation provides experiential learning opportunities to graduate students with a demonstrated interest in health policy, supporting the Foundation’s mission to advance the connection between oral and overall health. 

Through the Richmond Foundation Fellowship, select students are awarded a partial-tuition scholarship, a full-year paid research assistantship to work with McCourt School faculty and affiliated research centers, and mentorship opportunities. Over the course of the academic year, Richmond Foundation Fellows work on projects related to health care and access, and are invited to participate in special briefings and discussions with oral health experts like Dr. Mark Nehring, former acting chief dental officer of the Health Resources and Services Administration, and recent chair of public health and community service at Tufts School of Dental Medicine.

Under Dr. Nehring’s guidance, Richmond Foundation Fellows receive individualized support and coaching directly on their research interests in oral health and participate in virtual presentations with national experts and leaders.

Introducing the new Richmond Foundation Fellows

For the 2022-2023 academic year, the McCourt School welcomes five new Richmond Foundation Fellows, joining the inaugural cohort of Fellows announced in 2021.

Alekhya Chaparala (MPP’24)

Chaparala’s passion for public health policy was shaped by early exposure to the generational consequences of poor health in India, her family’s native country, and grew through her work in prison education and global health research. “My family’s experiences stood in sharp contrast to the relative safety and greater access to care that I enjoyed growing up in America,” she said.

In partnership with Associate Professor Day Manoli, Chaparala will work with the Virginia Department of Social Services on a project to move individuals who are recovering from substance abuse to locations where they can better access health care services. 

Nadia Stovicek (MPP’23)

As a former legislative aide for the Maine State Senate Democrats, Stovicek delved into a host of health care related issues, from postpartum care to prescription drug costs, and was exposed to constituents’ concerns over access and affordability. As a Richmond Foundation Fellow, she will work with Research Professors Kevin Lucia and JoAnn Volk, senior faculty in McCourt’s Center on Health Insurance Reforms (CHIR), on a project related to CHIR’s study of the regulation of private health insurance and the Affordable Care Act marketplaces. 

“I am committed to working on state-based reform for health care policy,” she said. “The fellowship will allow me to get exclusive access to the mentorship and training that I need to hone in on this industry more completely and excel.”

Rebecca Normile (MPM’23)

Normile brings more than a decade of professional experience to McCourt, including working with states to improve health care access and delivery to underserved communities. “I strive to improve the health systems serving vulnerable populations and break long-standing silos that perpetuate inequities at the state level,” she said.

During her fellowship, Normile will work with McCourt Chair Donald Moynihan and Professor Pamela Herd to identify the administrative burdens vulnerable populations face in accessing services essential to whole-person health, including oral health.

Rehman Liaqat (MPP’24)

Liaqat, whose family of six immigrated to the United States from Pakistan, knows firsthand the difficulties experienced by families who struggle to afford and access health care. “I have come to understand what it takes to survive in a society where our backgrounds or identities determine our access to health care,” said Liaqat. “I hope to build a future towards equitable and inclusive health care using my passion for public policy.”

As a Richmond Foundation Fellow, Liaqat will work with Professor Thomas DeLeire and a team of researchers from the University of Wisconsin-Madison Institute for Research on Poverty to conduct an evaluation of the Wisconsin BadgerCare Reform Demonstration Project.

Rosemary Rhodes (MPP-E’24)

Rhodes, having grown up as the daughter of a physician who served primarily low-income and marginalized populations in DC, has witnessed the many social determinants of health. Over the course of her fellowship, Rhodes will work with Research Professor Amy O’Hara in the Massive Data Institute, exploring the need for place-based indicators for health services, such as the socio-demographic, economic and environmental conditions of a location that might affect access to and level of care. 

“My long-term career interest lies in payment reform, preventative care and reducing disparities in health outcomes,” she said. “To me, the health of society is directly linked to the health of the individuals within the society.”

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