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Robert Wood Johnson Foundation awards prestigious public health fellowship to UVI alumnus

Berlina Wallace-Bérubé

Berlina Wallace-Berube, a three-time graduate of the University of the Virgin Islands (UVI), has been named to the 2022-23 cohort of Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF) Health Policy Fellows. This gives him the opportunity to participate in the policy-making process at the federal level.

Wallace-Berube was selected following a national competition among highly accomplished health and behavioral/social science professionals with an interest in health policy.

“Attending UVI, the only HBCU in the Caribbean, gave me a unique perspective,” said Wallace-Berube, who earned a bachelor’s degree in English from UVI in 2005 and went on to earn a master’s degree in education (2008 ) and in Psychology (2016).

“Ms. Wallace’s master’s thesis in psychology asked local teens about their memories of being neglected or abused as children and about their experiences with dating violence. Her results showed that teens who reported having been physically neglected or physically or emotionally abused as children were likely to report having been victims of dating violence.

The database generated by his research is a treasure trove of information that past and future university students have accessed and analyzed. Wallace-Berube has presented her findings at various local and international conferences that have influenced practice and policy,” said Aletha Baumann, Ph.D., who served as Wallace-Berube’s thesis supervisor.

The goal of the RWJF Health Policy Fellows program is to build and sustain strong and diverse leadership and a skilled workforce in health policy. Fellows can work hand-in-hand with key players in federal health policy and use this leadership experience to improve health, health care, and health policy.

“Every day for two and a half years, we have been reminded of the impact public health and health care have on our daily lives and our sense of safety,” said Gregg Margolis, director of the RWJF Health Policy Fellows program at the National Academy of Medicine. “These outstanding health and health care experts will bring experience to Washington that enriches the political process and adds a ‘front-line’ perspective to policy discussions.” This incredible cohort will help shape the healthcare decisions that affect us all.

“Participating in the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Health Policy Fellows program will provide me with the opportunity to enhance my knowledge and skills, increasing my ability to engage in processes that will increase health equity , with a focus on U.S. territories,” Wallace-Bérubé said.

Along with five other healthcare professionals chosen for this prestigious honor, Wallace-Berube will participate in an immersive orientation period followed by a practical internship as a senior advisor to an elected or appointed federal government official. Their experiences in Washington will enrich their understanding of federal policymaking and the relationship between federal and state governments and the mission of their home institutions and local communities.

“In 2016, my father, Berle Wallace, and I were the first father and daughter to graduate from UVI on the same day. Reflecting on our journey has piqued my curiosity about the impact of the social determinants of health on individuals throughout life. This motivated me to apply for the scholarship and I plan to return to USVI so that my community can benefit from the growth and development that this scholarship will bring,” he said. she declared.

After the year in Washington, D.C., Fellows will join an extensive network of alumni who continue to impact health, health care, and health policy in the country.

Wallace-Berube served as Director of the Office of Primary Care for the Virgin Islands Department of Health (VIDOH) as well as Director of the Behavioral Health, Alcohol and Substance Abuse Services Division for VIDOH.

The RWJF Health Policy Fellows program is the nation’s most prestigious learning experience at the crossroads of health, science, and politics in Washington, D.C. Since 1973, this nonpartisan fellowship provides exclusive, hands-on policy experience with the most influential congressional and executive offices in the nation’s capital. More than 300 fellows from across the country have worked hand-in-hand with the best and brightest in federal health policy to gain an insider’s perspective of the political process, develop unparalleled leadership skills, and build a professional network that will lasts a lifetime.

For more information, contact [email protected]

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