woman smiling
Chevelle Davis

University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa public health doctoral student Chevelle Davis has won a national award and will receive funding for four years to support her research on women’s health and sexual and reproductive rights.

Davis was named a Health Policy Research Scholar by the nonprofit Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF). The prestigious leadership development program is awarded to students in specific doctoral disciplines from marginalized backgrounds, and only 60 of 345 applicants were selected this program year nationwide. The leadership program is aimed at helping awardees become effective leaders of change and challenge structural systems of power.

“This program will help me learn how to advocate for systemic change,” Davis said. “The leadership training will inform how and why I conduct research on sexual and reproductive health in Hawaiʻi, and how I think of the long-term public health impacts of reproductive justice.”

Davis will begin attending webinars and training sessions on leadership alongside other doctoral students from across the country this fall. She will receive mentoring from professionals in the field on developing and utilizing research to create lasting change. To support her research and professional development, she will also receive a yearly stipend of $30,000.

“I’m looking forward to connecting with other doctoral students in different disciplines, and learning about their experiences and ways of thinking,” Davis said. “Participating in this program will add another lens to my worldview.”

Tetine L. Sentell, director of the UH Mānoa Office of Public Health Studies, said, “Chevelle’s research is incredibly important to public health in Hawaiʻi, and we look forward to seeing how her work will change and grow as a result of the training she’ll receive.”

Davis learned of the program from fellow UH Mānoa public health student Samantha Scott, who is also a RWJF scholar. Scott encouraged her to apply and supported her throughout the process.

“I am grateful for Samantha’s support, and for the support of the UH public health community,” Davis said. “I look forward to learning and growing with her as Indigenous, female scholars, and applying what we learn to improving health outcomes in Hawaiʻi.”