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Second-year student Joshua Woods earns prestigious David A. Winston Scholarship

Posted by on Friday, July 14, 2023 in News .

Second-year Vanderbilt Master of Public Health student Joshua Woods has earned a 2023 David A. Winston Health Policy Scholarship. The program recognizes students’ outstanding early-career contributions to health policy. Awardees demonstrated deep interest in and commitment to health policy in addition to academic achievement.

Woods, a first-generation student from Bolivar, Tennessee, came to the Health Policy track in Vanderbilt MPH after earning his bachelor’s degree in anthropology from Vanderbilt University.

“As a first-gen student, receiving an award like the Winston Scholarship is something you struggle to imagine yourself achieving, but when the reality of accomplishing something like it sinks in, it validates the worth of yourself, the value of your community, the impact of your work, and the quality of the mentors you’ve been gifted – all things a first-gen student questions constantly due to imposter syndrome anxiety,” Woods said.

Woods is dedicated to improving rural health, a policy area important to him as a Bolivar native. He hopes this award will expand his network to provide meaningful resources to rural communities and beyond as his career progresses.

He said this scholarship, comprised of $10,000 and an invitation to attend a two-day health policy symposium featuring top experts in Washington, D.C., supports that mission.

“For me, being awarded this scholarship is a reassurance that, thus far, I’ve chosen a fulfilling path hopefully headed for a meaningful future – a future made more expansive by the national network and professional resources the Winston Scholarship provides,” he said. “I greatly look forward to learning from national experts at the scholarship’s Washington, D.C. symposium in the fall to broaden my horizons outside Tennessee, and I hope that other public health students (especially first-gen students) at Vanderbilt will apply for the same opportunity in future.”

The David A. Winston Health Policy Fellowship program provides financial support for graduate education in health policy with the aim of enhancing knowledge and expertise of individuals in health policy and health care administration at state and federal levels. The program honors the legacy of David A. Winston, a former health policy advisor in President Ronald Reagan’s administration.