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2015-2016 Fulbright and Boren Awardees

Fulbright and Boren Awardees

From left to right: Aditi Kantipuly, Julia Gall and Azal Ahmadi

Alumna and students gear up to research overlooked issues overseas.


Thanks to prestigious international grants, two Bloomberg School students and an alumna will travel abroad to concentrate on under-researched public health issues, like rare diseases.

Of the 350 million people with rare diseases worldwide, a substantial concentration—about 20 percent—live in India. That’s why Aditi Kantipuly, MHS ’14, intends to travel there as a 2015-2016 Fulbright U.S. Student Award winner.

Kantipuly, a medical writer at the Kennedy Krieger Institute, plans to study how Indian doctors manage childhood glaucoma. Using the condition as a model, she will draft standard-of-care recommendations for Indian physicians to reference when patients present with unknown conditions.

“It’s the stories I’ve heard from families through my work with rare diseases that really drive me to make a difference and advocate for them,” she says.

She encourages other students to apply for a Fulbright award because it’s “a wonderful opportunity, especially if there’s an issue you want to raise more awareness about.”

For Julia Gall, that topic is depression and self-harm behaviors among youth in Moldova, a nation sandwiched between Romania and Ukraine. The MSPH student will collect mental health data in collaboration with a local NGO.

Faculty and staff at the School were eager to help Gall start her Fulbright application even before she began the Social Behavioral Interventions (SBI) program in International Health.

“I had so much support from people who didn’t know me yet and I’m so grateful to them,” she says, referring to Felicity Turner, director of International and Continuing Education, and Elli Leontsini, MD, the MSPH SBI Coordinator and an assistant scientist in International Health.

Azal Ahmadi, who won a 2015-2016 Boren Fellowship, will study a very specific overlooked population: migrant female sex workers living with HIV in Senegal. Her work will build upon a larger stigma reduction project led by Stefan Baral, MD, of Epidemiology.

The PhD candidate will begin her journey domestically, first learning the rare language Wolof; that’s what most locals speak on the streets of Senegal. Her toolkit already includes French and Persian.

“Knowing the barriers to HIV care and treatment can inform programs,” says Ahmadi. “I hope that my findings can be translated into interventions that help migrant women be more adherent to antiretroviral therapy and engage in HIV services.”

Her take-away from the award application process: Bloomberg School faculty is always ready to help.

The on-campus application deadline for the 2016-2017 Fulbright U.S. Student Awards is September 21, 2015.

Learn more about applying for the Fulbright U.S. Student Award.

Learn more about applying for the Boren Fellowship.

—Salma Warshanna-Sparklin