December 3, 2002 — New scholarships in public health at the University of Utah School of Medicine-two for minority students and another for research in public health issues-have been announced.
“These new scholarships are a reflection of the commitment our Public Health Program has to diversity,” said George L. White, Jr., Ph.D., M.S.P.H., professor of family and preventive medicine and program director. “Support for these scholarships has come from many different sources-faculty, staff, alumni, and the private sector-and is very gratifying, given the current economic climate.”
Two scholarships will aid minority public health graduate students. The first recipient of the Suazo Memorial Endowed Hispanic Scholarship in Public Health, Ingrid Sanchez Peterson, is studying for a Master of Science in Public Health degree. The scholarship honors the late Utah State Senator Pete Suazo for his commitment to public health and the well-being of Utah’s growing minority populations.
Peterson, a native of the Dominican Republic, hopes to graduate in two years and then wants to work in the education and prevention of diseases in Salt Lake City’s Latino communities.
“Senator Suazo was a tireless worker when it came to improving the quality of life for the Hispanic community, indeed, for all minority citizens, in Utah,” said White. “He was also a champion of public health issues, such as reducing tobacco use and substance abuse, improving immunization rates for adults and children, and increasing access to health care for all Utah citizens.”
The Suazo scholarship is the first internally initiated scholarship at the U of U Health Sciences Center established specifically for Hispanic students, according to Jesse M. Soriano, director of Health Sciences Ethnic Minority Affairs.
The Public Health Program also established a Minority Endowed Scholarship in Public Health. “Endowed scholarships are priceless,” noted White. “The gifts remain intact. Each scholarship is funded by a portion of the interest generated by the gifts to the individual scholarship. That way, each scholarship continues in perpetuity.”
A third fund established by the Public Health Program is the J. Lynn Lyon, M.D., M.P.H., Research Endowment in Public Health. The award, which will support faculty and student research in public health, recognizes Lyon, professor of family and preventive medicine, for his 29 years of teaching and service to Utah’s public health community.
For the second consecutive year, U.S. News & World Report ranked the Public Health Program at the University of Utah third in the nation among peer public health programs. To date, the program has 607 alumni, many of whom hold key positions in government and private public health organizations.