Health Justice Scholars

The Health Justice Scholars Program supports the development of Pitt Public Health scholars who have interests and/or projects in health equity and justice. This includes, but is not limited to, health equity research, policy, and practice in areas such as: 

  • Chronic disease
  • Violence prevention
  • Maternal and infant health
  • Mental health
  • Interventions focused on Black, Latinx, and communities of color

All current Pitt Public Health students are eligible to apply. 

Scholars have access to professional development and training opportunities with their peers and CHE-affiliated faculty and experts. 

Scholars engage in monthly meetings to network with other Health Justice Scholars and CHE faculty.

Each scholar will receive a maximum stipend of $1000 for the year with an average time commitment of 2-4 hours per week.

Meet the Health Justice Scholars

Meet Kayla Ortiz, Health Justice Scholar

“At my core, I am a health educator. However, I know that we can’t address health inequities by simply looking at the individual. We must interrogate the structural and historical causes that disproportionately impact the health of BIPOC and LGBTQIA+ folks,” said Kayla Ortiz (BCHS ’23).  

Meet Aparna Ramani, Health Justice Scholar

“The most exciting aspect of my work is the continued mentorship, guidance, and community within the health advocacy space. As someone who has gained much insight from experienced researchers and community leaders, I hope to pass on my wisdom as a peer mentor to future public health professionals,” said Aparna Ramani (HPM ’23).  

Meet Monica Henderson, Health Justice Scholar

“My focus on public health and equity is rooted in my lived experiences as a Black woman but more importantly, the centering of others’ experiences with oppression to let their narratives drive equity work,” explains Monica Henderson (BCHS ’22). Her interests include child health and racial equity and for her thesis she plans to explore Black hair politics and the impact on the health of Black youth.  

Meet Sarah Scott, Health Justice Scholar

Sarah Scott (BCHS ’23) is a first year MPH student and Pittsburgh native who returned home after completing her undergraduate degree in psychology at Pepperdine University. “I am most looking forward to learning more about health equity theories and frameworks to better develop my research projects,” said Scott of joining the Health Justice Scholars program.  

Meet Amy Raslevich, Health Justice Scholar

“I am honored to be a part of the Health Justices Scholars program to continue learning racial health equity frameworks and approaches, and to expand my network in the region as we work to break down silos related to the social determinants of health and to improving the health system for those for whom it does not work,” said Amy Raslevich (HPM ‘22).  

Meet Taylor Robinson, Health Justice Scholar

Research with a health disparities focus is the core of Taylor Robinson's (EPI MPH '22) pursuits. She has been involved in research throughout college and in high school. In college, she was an intern in the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation Internship and was a 2019 Amgen NIH Scholar. Her research topics have included patient-physician communication bias, linear regression correlates of behavioral change techniques for smoking cessation on Twitt... 

Meet Julia Donnelly, Health Justice Scholar

Julia Donnelly (BCHS MPH '21) is a second-year student who is also pursuing a Certificate in Health Equity. "After taking the Seminar in Health Equity, I developed an interest in studying the incarcerated and reentry populations. I am specifically interested in how racial disparities in policing, sentencing, incarceration, and lack of investment in social services supporting re-entry efforts affect the health of offenders, their families, and th... 

Meet Jamie Martina, Health Justice Scholar

"Over the summer, I conducted my first qualitative research study to gauge the experiences sex workers have had with health care professionals and the barriers to obtaining regular health care," said Jamie Martina (BCHS MPH '23). "Preliminary findings showed that there was a desire to trust health care providers but that trust was not there due to historically being stigmatized in a health setting. So I applied for the Health Justice Scholars pr... 

Meet Haley Director, Health Justice Scholar

Through the Health Justice Scholars program, Haley Director (HUGEN MPH '22) looks forward to engaging with the Spanish-speaking population in the Pittsburgh area to assess and address their needs. She plans to use her privilege and knowledge of the health care system to bring about systemic change and support those who have been historically marginalized and overlooked.   

Meet Phoebe Balascio, Health Justice Scholar

Phoebe Balascio (EPI MS '21) is excited to participate in the Health Justice Scholars Program so that she can broaden her knowledge in health equity issues and deepen her critical thinking in her areas of interest.   


Meet the Center for Health Equity team and affiliated faculty.