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Gillings PhD Student Receives Paul and Daisy Soros Fellowship for New Americans

April 17, 2018
Gillings School of Global Public Health

Burcu Bozkurt, a doctor of philosophy candidate in the health policy and management department at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill’s Gillings School of Global Public Health, has received a 2018 Paul and Daisy Soros Fellowships for New Americans.

Now in their 20th year, the Paul and Daisy Soros Fellowships honor the contributions of immigrants and children of immigrants to the United States. The fellowships are awarded each year to 30 immigrants or children of immigrants who are “poised to make significant contributions to U.S. society, culture or their academic field.” The award includes $90,000 in financial support spread over two years.

Bozkurt immigrated to the U.S. from Istanbul with her family when she was seven. Her parents settled in Raleigh, North Carolina. Early on, she saw her immigrant classmates and their families face challenges accessing healthcare. This experience sparked Bozkurt’s interest in ensuring healthcare access for all and led her to study public health at Carolina’s Gillings School as an undergraduate. As a Mahatma Gandhi Fellow and Phillips Ambassador, her field work included reproductive health research in Vietnam and supporting an evaluation system for a health worker program in Bangladesh.

“Burcu has a tenacious work ethic, resilience, and commitment to social justice,” said health policy and management department chair and Vergil N. Slee Distinguished Professor of Healthcare Quality Management Morris Weinberger. “She is especially interested in supporting the provision of comprehensive reproductive health care services for youth around the world. Burcu is a natural leader who will certainly improve the lives of vulnerable populations in both global and domestic settings.”

After graduating from Carolina, Bozkurt co-founded the International Youth Alliance for Family Planning (IYAFP), which she still co-leads. While growing IYAFP, she worked in Washington, D.C., for RTI International, Ipas, and the Advisory Board Company, engaging with public health issues as a researcher, lobbyist, and consultant. In 2016, The Bill & Melinda Gates Institute for Population and Reproductive Health named Bozkurt to its inaugural list of top 120 global family planning leaders under age 40.

Bozkurt is also a Royster Fellow. Her research focuses on understanding and overcoming obstacles that young people and other vulnerable populations face in accessing safe, comprehensive reproductive health services.

The full citation about Bozkurt by the Paul and Daisy Soros Fellowship can be read here.

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