Health Equity Scholars

About our 2023-24 cohort

Five interprofessional teams of students and faculty mentors are embarking on impactful projects as part of our Health Equity Scholars Program. The program is open to the entire university community through a partnership of the Office of the Chief Wellness Officer, College of Nursing and the Office of Interprofessional Practice and Education serving Ohio State’s seven health science colleges and the Wexner Medical Center.

Mission: To prepare students at The Ohio State University with advanced education and skills to guide the generation or implementation of evidence to improve health equity in our community.

Vision: To build a cadre of future diversity leaders who will have knowledge and skills to improve health outcomes in diverse populations.

Purpose: To provide interprofessional undergraduate and graduate students across Ohio State with an opportunity to expand upon their knowledge and skills to improve health outcomes in diverse populations through a lens of equity and inclusion.

2023-24 Health Equity Scholars Projects

(U – Undergraduate | G – Graduate/Professional)

  • Boosting Immunization Awareness and Resources in Communities with Low Pediatric Vaccination Rates
    • Students: Anjali Doshi (G), College of Public Health and College of Medicine/MD/PhD Program; Durshil Doshi (U), College of Medicine/Biomedical Science
    • Faculty mentor: John Gunn, PhD, faculty director, biomedical science majors
  • Bridging the Gap: Enhancing LGBTQ+ Healthcare Awareness and Competency
    • Students: Anthony Barnes (U), College of Medicine/Neuroscience; Geoffrey Xue (U), College of Arts and Sciences/Psychology
    • Faculty mentor: Courtney Shihabuddin, DNP, APRN-CNP, College of Nursing
  • Gender Comparison of Mental Health Experiences and Resource Preferences Among South Asian College Students
    • Students: Meera Rajeev (U), College of Medicine/Biomedical Sciences; Anahat Dhillon (U), College of Arts and Sciences/Neuroscience
    • Faculty mentor: Paul Granello, PhD, LPCC-S, Department of Educational Studies
  • Educating the Appalachian Community on Commonly Used Over-the-Counter Medications
    • Students: Sagar Shah (U), College of Engineering/Bachelor of Science in Computer Science and Engineering; Sonali Shah (U), Fisher College of Business/Bachelor of Business Administration
    • Faculty mentor: Myriam E. Shaw Ojeda, PharmD, College of Pharmacy
  • The Digital Diabetes Divide: Establishing an Online Learning Community for Refugee Diabetics
    • Students: Angelina Atieh (U), College of Medicine/Biomedical Science; Sara Alsammerai (U), College of Arts and Sciences/Biology
    • Faculty mentor: Naleef Fareed, PhD, MBA, Department of Biomedical Informatics

CareSource, the nationally-recognized non-profit health plan based in Dayton, will sponsor a Health Equity Scholars project for the second year in a row: the Digital Diabetes Divide project. CareSourceCareSource logo provides coverage to more than two million members. It has developed several programs that focus on social determinants of health, using a holistic model of care that breaks down barriers of clinical treatment and social qualities that can lead to poorer health outcomes. CareSource will provide support from its health equity and quality staff, exposure to health equity efforts at the state level and a chance for the team to present its final presentation to CareSource and Ohio Department of Medicaid leadership to further amplify and extend the reach of its work.

2022-23 Health Equity Scholars Projects

(U – Undergraduate | G – Graduate/Professional)

  • Hidden in Plain Sight: Educating Nurses and Physicians on Sex Trafficking Signs in Diverse Patient Populations
    • Students: Isaiah Boateng (U), Biomedical Science major in the College of Medicine; Diana Appiagyei (U), Microbiology major in the College of Arts and Sciences
    • Faculty mentor: Jacquelyn Meshelemiah, PhD, College of Social Work
  • Historical Structural Racism, Neighborhood Disinvestment and Psychological Distress among Central Ohio Residents
    • Students: Diewo Camara (U), Public Health Sociology major in the College of Public Health; Xueting Xia (G), Statistics major in the College of Arts and Sciences
    • Faculty mentor: Jesse J. Plascak, PhD, College of Medicine
  • CONTEXT: Promoting an Intersectional View Using a Dashboard to Support Provider Engagement with Patient Social Determinants of Health and Perceived Biases*
    • Students: Emmanuel Long (U), Medical Anthropology major in the College of Arts and Sciences; Leslie Aguilar Ramos (U), Public Health Sociology major in the College of Public Health
    • Faculty mentor: Naleef Fareed, PhD, MBA, Department of Biomedical Informatics
  • Experiences of Transgender, Nonbinary and Gender-Expansive (TGE) Individuals with Elevated Breast/Chest Cancer Risk
    • Students: Kaleb Masterson (G), Epidemiology major in the College of Public Health; Sanjana Duvvuri (U), Systems and Behavioral Neuroscience major in the College of Arts and Sciences
    • Faculty mentor: Tasleem Padamsee, PhD, College of Public Health
  • From Awareness to Action: Self-Advocacy Education to Address Racial and Ethnic Discrimination in Obstetric Healthcare
    • Students: Hayat Mekonen (U), Environmental Public Health major in the College of Public Health; Deborah Fadoju (G), Doctor of Medicine major in the College of Medicine
    • Faculty mentor: Kamilah Dixon, MD, MA, The Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center
  • Increasing Veterinary Health Literacy for Improved Health Equity in Pets
    • Students: Ariana Parquette (U), Public Health – Environmental Specialization major in the College of Public Health; Jeremiah Cox (G), Veterinary Public Health major in the College of Veterinary Medicine
    • Faculty mentor: Rebecca Garabed, VMD, MPVM, PhD, College of Veterinary Medicine

*The CONTEXT pilot was sponsored by CareSource.

2021-22 Health Equity Scholars Projects

(U – Undergraduate | G – Graduate/Professional)

  • Initiation and maintenance of a Community Fridge to address health disparities resulting from food insecurity
    • Students: Courtney Jewell (G) from Speech and Hearing Science, Jevin Litwiler (U) from Health Sciences
    • Faculty mentor: Dr. Claire Bollinger, School of Health and Rehabilitation Sciences
  • Develop a training program to equip providers caring for underrepresented OB/GYN patients
    • Students: Abigail Berk (U) from Biomedical Science, Alexandria Pickett (G) from Medicine
    • Faculty mentor: Dr. Megan Gregory, Department of Biomedical Informatics
  • Develop a community-based wellness program working with Partnering in Negating Statistics (P.I.N.S.) for Black Women as part of a research project
    • Students: Sarah Addison (G) from Medicine and Faith Metlock (U) from Nursing
    • Faculty mentor: Dr. Timiya Nolan, College of Nursing
  • Create animations to educate the public about the importance of vision and eye health
    • Students: Araba Otoo (G) from Optometry
    • Faculty mentor: Dr. Dean VanNasdale, College of Optometry
  • Address food insecurity by teaching youth about healthy eating in an artistic way
    • Students: Chikamnele Nkwocha (U) from Biomedical Engineering (pending admission) and Studio Art (double major), Nyah Conway (U) from Medical Anthropology and Spanish (double major)
    • Faculty mentor: Dr. Christopher Ratcliff, College of Engineering

collage of photos of Health Equity Scholars presenting at the 27th Annual National Conference on Diversity, Race and Learning
Congratulations to our inaugural 2021-22 cohort on their fantastic presentations at the 27th Annual National Conference on Diversity, Race and Learning hosted by The Ohio State University's Office of Diversity and Inclusion.

Program Leadership


Angela Alston

Angela Alston, DNP, MPH, APRN-CNP
Assistant Clinical Professor
Chief Diversity Officer


Andrea Pfeifle

Andrea Pfeifle, EdD, PT, FNAP
Associate Vice Chancellor for Interprofessional Practice and Education, Ohio State Wexner Medical Center


Karen Rose

Karen Rose, PhD, MS, RN, FGSA, FAAN
Dean and Professor
College of Nursing



What type of projects are acceptable for the Health Equity Scholars Program?

Projects should align with the University Strategic Plan and Office of Diversity and Inclusion. Students are empowered to be as creative as they would like to be in the design of their project.

I don’t have a student to pair with to submit an application. Is there a process to connect me with a student?

Currently, there is not a process to help connect students for this project. If this process changes, we will provide updates on our website or the most current version of the application.

How do I find a faculty mentor to support my application?

Students should consider talking with faculty within their respective programs about supporting their application. Because projects require two students from different programs, both students should be actively involved in the selection of the faculty mentor.

Can staff members serve as a faculty mentor?

No, only Ohio State faculty members may serve as mentors for this project. The faculty member can be full- or part-time.

How are stipends disbursed?

Student stipends are disbursed as scholarships each semester and will post to your student account. Please be sure to review the criteria for how funds are to be used to support your project.

Faculty stipends are disbursed as supplemental income and are considered taxable income, for which faculty members are responsible.

I am not a student from the College of Nursing. Am I eligible to apply for this program?

Yes! This program is interprofessional and all students, undergraduate and graduate, from any program at The Ohio State University are eligible to apply.

I am a dual-major student. Am I able to pair with a student who is from one of my dual-major programs?

Students should be from different programs. For example, if you are a dual major in Psychology and Nursing, the other student cannot be from Psychology or Nursing.

What is the evaluation process for applications?

An interprofessional team reviews all completed applications. Incomplete or late applications are not reviewed. All students and faculty mentors will receive a decision letter.

Are there required activities as part of this program?

New accordion contentYes. Students and their faculty mentors are required to participate in monthly learning activities. A calendar of activities is provided at the beginning of the program academic year.

Is there a template for faculty mentors to use in order to provide their letter of support?

No. Prospective faculty mentors should simply attach a letter indicating their support of the program. Letters should not exceed one page in length.

If I have additional questions about the Health Equity Scholars program, is there a point of contact?

Assistant Professor of Clinical Nursing
Chief Diversity Officer
614-688-3690 Office
Pronouns: she/her/hers