The U.S. Public Health Service (USPHS) will recognize Stephanie Welsh, an M.D./M.P.H. dual-degree student at the Wright State University Boonshoft School of Medicine, with a 2019 Excellence in Public Health Award during the pre-graduation award ceremony on Tuesday, May 28, at the Schuster Center in Dayton.
The award recognizes medical students who are involved in public health issues in their community. In 2018, USPHS presented awards at 78 medical schools throughout the nation. Alexandra Lawson, M.D., ’18, was last year’s winner at the Boonshoft School of Medicine.
Throughout her medical school and public health training, Welsh has focused her clinical and research efforts on women’s health, particularly the importance of addressing obesity and obesity-related bias to improve female reproductive health. Welsh conducted chart reviews and patient surveys to study the impact of the bias on health-seeking behaviors and health outcomes. She authored five publications focused on women’s health.
“I wanted to help raise awareness and improve physician communication skills to ensure that all women receive appropriate health care,” Welsh said.
During her Master of Public Health studies, Welsh also completed a practicum with the Dayton Children’s Hospital Comprehensive Asthma Management Program. The program seeks to reduce childhood emergency room visits related to asthma through education and resources. She participated in home visits to educate children and caregivers about asthma, assess homes for allergens and provide allergen-reducing material like vacuums and mattress covers. She studied the effectiveness of the program in improving asthma childhood control and found a statistically significant improvement. Welsh presented her findings at a national conference of the Association for Prevention, Teaching and Research in Savannah, Georgia, in April 2017.
Welsh pursued both her Doctor of Medicine and Master of Public Health degrees (M.D./M.P.H.) through the Boonshoft School of Medicine Physician Leadership Development Program, a dual-degree program through which medical students can obtain a master’s degree in public health or business while pursuing their medical degree over five years. Welsh spent her third year of medical school finishing her M.P.H. coursework, a 200-hour practicum and a culminating project.
Sabrina Neeley, Ph.D., director of the Population Health Curriculum and director of the Physician Leadership Development Program, praised Welsh’s commitment to public health.
“Stephanie will advocate for her patients and utilize her public health training to address the relationship between medical issues and social determinants of health,” Neeley said. “She is one of the most intelligent, insightful and compassionate medical students I have ever met.”
Welsh will soon begin a residency in Obstetrics and Gynecology at Carolinas Medical Center in Charlotte, North Carolina. After residency, Welsh hopes to serve patients in the United States and abroad. She is committed to promoting the health of women and children throughout her career by practicing medicine in a way that incorporates public health into her practice.
The Wright State University Boonshoft School of Medicine is a community-based medical school affiliated with eight major teaching hospitals. The medical school educates the next generation of physicians by providing medical education for more than 480 medical students and 465 residents and fellows in 13 specialty areas and 10 subspecialties. Its research enterprise encompasses centers in the basic sciences, epidemiology, public health and community outreach programs. More than 1,600 of the medical school’s 3,422 alumni remain in medical practice in Ohio.