Published September 15, 2021
A University at Buffalo doctoral student in urban planning has been selected as a recipient of the national Health Policy Research Scholars (HPRS) fellowship from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF).
As an HPRS fellow, Carol E. Ramos-Gerena will examine how agroecological farmers networks in Puerto Rico can change land use policies that better serve them and increase a culture of health in their communities.
“It is extremely exciting to have been selected for this program,” Ramos-Gerena says. “Being an HPRS fellow will give me valuable access to resources that will support the completion of my dissertation and, even more importantly, translate it into policy. I am also very excited to be part of a cohort of students and leaders from diverse disciplines that also center equity in their research.”
RWJF’s Health Policy Research Scholars program is a national leadership program for doctoral students from diverse disciplines who want to connect their research to policy to build a culture of health that is fair and just for everyone.
The program was created for students from historically underrepresented populations and/or disadvantaged backgrounds — students whose race, ethnicity, socioeconomic status, ability or other factors allow them to bring unique and diverse perspectives to their research.
In addition to gaining new leadership skills, scholars receive personal and professional support from expert mentors and peers in applying their research to advance equitable and inclusive policy and practice. They also receive a yearly stipend.
Ramos-Gerena is pursuing a PhD in urban and regional planning as an Arthur A. Schomburg Fellow in UB’s School of Architecture and Planning. She is also a researcher in the Food Systems Planning and Health Communities Lab (Food Lab) at UB.
Prior to joining UB, Ramos-Gerena received her bachelor’s degree in biology at the University of Puerto Rico in Mayaguez Campus and obtained a master’s in environmental planning at the University of Puerto Rico in Rio Piedras.
Ramos-Gerena is studying food systems planning, agroecological food systems, policy literacy, land use policies and food sovereignty. She has worked in governmental and non-governmental organizations that support community development projects in Puerto Rico.
“I am delighted, but not surprised, at this recognition,” says Samina Raja, PhD, director of UB’s Food Lab and a professor of urban and regional planning in UB’s School of Architecture and Planning.
“Ms. Ramos-Gerena came to UB with a commitment to fostering more equitable food systems in Puerto Rico. With the support of the HPRS program, she will be able to identify and test community-centered policy and planning processes that advance food and health equity, an approach that is much needed in communities globally.”