Student Charanya Kaushik receives Fulbright award

Photo of Charanya Kaushik, student
Charanya Kaushik

HOUSTON – Charanya Kaushik, a second-year M.P.H. student at The University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston (UTHealth) School of Public Health, has been awarded a Fulbright U.S. Student Program Research Award.

The Fulbright Program is the flagship international educational exchange program sponsored by the U.S. government. It is designed to increase mutual understanding between the United States and partner countries. Fulbright grant recipients are selected based on academic and professional achievement, as well as demonstrated leadership potential.

“I’m incredibly honored to be selected as a U.S. Fulbright scholar. It’s a unique opportunity to complete a project tailored to my exact interests,” says Kaushik.

A native of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, Kaushik graduated from Washington & Jefferson College with a double major in cell and molecular Biology and Spanish. She was placed in Harlingen, Texas as a Teach for America corps member, where she taught high school chemistry and coached tennis. Her experience in Harlingen cultivated an interest in population health and health disparities, which led Kaushik to pursue her M.P.H. at UTHealth. 

She is currently finishing her M.P.H. degree in epidemiology while working as a graduate assistant at UTHealth School of Public Health. Kaushik is also interning at Station Houston, a co-working space for Houston start-ups, and working as a teaching assistant for a life science entrepreneurship class at Rice University.

Kaushik will spend the 2017-18 academic year at the public health school of Universidad El Bosque in Bogotá, Colombia, a partner institution of UTHealth. Her project aims to analyze and improve clinical services for patients of breast, colon, and prostate cancer, and identify and forge strategic partnerships to improve health care delivery. Improving health care access and quality for underserved populations is the project’s goal.

Kaushik says the award will give her the opportunity to explore Columbia’s health care system, its status as a popular medical tourism destination, and the country’s burgeoning startup economy. When she returns, Kaushik plans to use her insights to forge a non-traditional career path taking an entrepreneurial approach to public health.

“During the school’s Future of Public Health town hall in April, the APHA president stressed the need for innovative partnerships to get our message out to the public,” Kaushik says. “Startups are great at finding creative solutions. I want to build these skills and apply them to a career focused on preventative public health.”

Since its establishment in 1946 by the late U.S. Senator J. William Fulbright of Arkansas, the Fulbright Program has given approximately 360,000 students, scholars, teachers, artists, scientists and other professionals the opportunity to study, teach and conduct research, exchange ideas and contribute to finding solutions to shared international concerns.

— Written by Anissa Anderson Orr