Program News - University of Louisville, Doctoral Student Wins AcademyHealth's Op-ed Contest

By Chris Anne Sanyer posted 30 days ago

UofL School of Public Health & Information Sciences doctoral student wins AcademyHealth's op-ed contest

Carmen Mitchell, doctoral student in the Department of Health Management & Systems Sciences, was selected as the winner of the AcademyHealth Disparities Interest Group’s first student op-ed contest. These editorial submissions were on any health disparities topic with a focus on specific causes or consequences of disparities and/or solutions with the most potential to reduce disparities.

As the winner, Carmen received free registration for the AcademyHealth 2019 Annual Research Meeting, a certificate of recognition, and her op-ed was published on the Health Affairs Blog and shared with interest group meeting attendees.

Chris Johnson, PhD, Chair, Department of Health Management and Systems Sciences, said, “Carmen is the epitome of a model PhD student and this is quite an honor within our health services research profession. We’re proud of her accomplishment and believe she is a great representation of the school and our department.”
Carmen discovered the contest while browsing through social media. She said, “I actually found out about the contest from Twitter (academic Twitter is the best!) and even though I didn’t have a topic in mind, I immediately knew I wanted to try to go for it, especially since just a few weeks beforehand I had gotten my first-ever op-ed submission published on Inside Higher Ed.”

Health disparities is a focus of Carmen’s and something she feels very passionate about. She explained that through her own experience with disparities, whether through research, the classroom, or just talking to people, she finds that sometimes the conversation can stay surface-level.

“If people don’t have a deeper understanding of the root causes of health that go beyond some of the high level factors (like income), and it can especially be tricky to talk about ways where our own societal systems are actually contributing to those problems (whether intentionally designed to or not). I think if we can have more of those discussions, it can help us move forward in research, policy and intervention designs.”

Carmen was shocked to learn she won and honored to have her op-ed published in Health Affairs while representing SPHIS and HMSS. She added, “While I am very honored, I know these are not new ideas and I’m very grateful to all the scholars—both inside and outside of public health—who have been uplifting these ideas for a long time. Most importantly though, I just hope it can help push the conversation forward a little more.”

The June 2-4, 2019 conference was her first time attending the Disparities Interest Group Session. She looked forward to meeting scholars in the field, including the committee that oversaw the contest as well as learn about the latest developments in the field.

Carmen would like to thank her advisor, Dr. Liza Creel, and Dr. Lauren Freeman, philosophy professor, and Christopher Fleming, Health Affairs Blog Editor, for reviewing and providing feedback on her submission.

Read her editorial