Student Awarded Whitney Young, Jr. Fellowship
Jori Fortson, a second-year Master of Public Health student at the School of Public Health, has been awarded the Whitney Young, Jr. Fellowship by Boston University.
The Whitney Young, Jr. Fellowship is awarded to entering or continuing graduate students who have shown a proficiency and commitment to a future career in social justice, race relations, and urban problems—topics that defined the life work of Whitney Young, Jr. The one-year fellowship provides recipients with full-time tuition and a living stipend.
Fortson, who is earning certificates in community assessment, program design, implementation, and evaluation (CAPDIE) and maternal and child health, says the fellowship has alleviated some of the financial burden of graduate school.
“It has been an incredible opportunity for my last year here at SPH,” says Fortson. “The fellowship has granted me a lot of flexibility within my classes, so I am able to dive deeper into my fields of interest, while also volunteering and conducting research outside of the classroom.”
Over the summer, Fortson completed her practicum through the Dr. James A. Ferguson RISE Fellowship at Johns Hopkins University, where she conducted a descriptive analysis of women who have been exposed to intimate partner violence and reproductive coercion, and their attitudes toward the use of long-acting reversible forms of contraception. Fortson presented her preliminary findings to the CDC in July and is working on compiling both a poster and a manuscript.
Fortson also volunteers with the Teen and Tot Program at Boston Medical Center, a specialized program that provides an integrated model of care for adolescent pregnancy and parenting. Fortson offers a public health perspective to the health challenges that the mothers and babies experience, and she will assist in process evaluation when the program launches a group-based component called Centering Parenting in January 2020.
“Receiving the Whitney Young, Jr. Fellowship has given me extra time to serve others and do things that are at the core of my personal values,” says Fortson. “What guides me in my work is a quote by James Baldwin: ‘Not everything that is faced can be changed, but nothing can be changed until it is faced.’”
Fortson plans to continue her public health work to eliminate health inequities, particularly for communities that have been decentralized and marginalized.