University Awards New Public Voices Scholarships

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Twenty faculty members from the University of Miami will be enrolled on a one-year scholarship that aims to empower women and other underrepresented thought leaders in public discourse.



One teaches religion, specializing in Islamic studies. Another is a celebrated flute soloist and advocate of diversity initiatives in classical music. A third is a doctor-attorney who oversees a medical / legal clinic for veterans.

From seven schools at the University of Miami, they are among the 20 diverse and accomplished thought leaders selected for the one-year Public Voices Fellowship, a national initiative of the OpEd project that aims to match the range of voices and quality of ideas expand the important contemporary forms shape conversations.

“Public Voices provides faculties with the skills they need to use their expertise and experience to advocate,” said Erin Kobetz, Vice Province of Research and Science, whose office sponsors the fellowships with the Miami Clinical and Translational Science Institute. “This is an important opportunity for those of us who see our scholarship as a vehicle for social justice and want to raise our voices and reach a diverse audience.”

During the one-year scholarship, which includes four interactive seminars, one-on-one coaching with top journalists, and monthly conversations with seasoned media insiders, the scholars explore how to build credibility, how ideas spread over time, and why people change their minds. But the ultimate goal of Public Voices is to encourage scholars to post their ideas on influential forums, and it has a strong track record in that regard.

Despite the COVID-19 pandemic, the inaugural cohort of 24 scholars selected in 2019 published more than 40 comments in a variety of high-profile publications. Including: The Washington Post, US News & World Report, Scientific American, Ms. Magazine, Chicago Tribune, The Hill, Slate, and Psychology Today. Her articles and opinion contributions also led to interview requests, expert quotes, invitations to conferences and new research opportunities.

“It was really a life changing experience for me,” said Dr. Ana Palacio, professor at Miller School of Medicine whose comments on COVID-19 and Myalgic Encephalomyelitis / Chronic Fatigue Syndrome led to a partnership with a renowned expert on the condition and a $ 1.2 million grant. “Not only because I’ve learned to appreciate my thoughts, but because I’ve gained the confidence to share them.”

The 2021 Public Voices Fellowship Cohort, which includes 17 women and three men, will have similar opportunities. Here you are:

Sharon Andrade-Bucknor, Assistant Professor of Clinical Medicine at the Miller School of Medicine, specializes in echocardiography and directs the Cardiac Rehabilitation Center at the UHealth Towers.

Shweta Anjan, Professor of Clinical Medicine at Miller School, focuses on infectious diseases in transplants.

Marisol Capellan, Lecturer at Miami Herbert Business School and Certified Executive Coach, works with the advancement of women.

Panagiota V. Caralis, Attorney at Law and Professor of Medicine at Miller School, runs a veteran medical law clinic and services survivors of human trafficking.

Donna Coker, Professor in the School of Law, is a nationally recognized expert on law and politics of intimate partner violence.

Charlton Copeland, Professor of Law in the School of Law, examines the relationship between race and American political institutions and structures.

Juan Pablo de Rivero Vaccari, Scientific Associate Professor in the Department of Neurological Surgery and the Miami Project to Cure Paralysis, studies the innate immune system’s response to spinal cord and traumatic brain injuries, stroke, and Alzheimer’s disease.

Heather Diack, Associate Professor of Art History at the College of Arts and Sciences, has many interests that include the history and theory of photography.

Lunthita Duthely, Assistant Professor at Miller School, has a research background that includes precancerous lesions in Hispanic, African-American, and Caribbean-American women with HIV.

Katelein Franca, Clinical Assistant Professor of Dermatology and Skin Surgery and Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences at Miller School, specializes in psychoneurocutaneous medicine, which focuses on the interaction between the mind, nervous system and skin.

Jennifer Grim, a celebrated flute soloist and associate professor at the Frost School of Music, is a passionate advocate of classical music diversity initiatives.

Nebil Husayn, Junior Professor of Religious Studies at the College of Sciences, focuses on Islamic Studies including the development of Islamic theology and historiography.

Neva Kirk-Sanchez, Associate Professor and Chair of the Department of Physiotherapy at Miller School, explores the role of physical activity in the treatment and prevention of chronic diseases.

Christina Lane, Professor in the Department of Cinematic Arts at the School of Communication, teaches film history, directors, cultural studies and gender representation.

Kathryn Nowotny, Assistant Professor of Sociology at the College of Arts and Sciences, examines how mass incarceration contributes to health inequalities.

Asha Pillai, Associate Professor of Pediatrics and Microbiology and Immunology at Miller School, researches immunotherapies for cancer, infectious diseases, and autoimmunity.

Carmen Presti, Assistant Professor of Clinical at the School of Nursing and Health Studies, is an acute nurse in the Cardiothoracic / Surgical Intensive Care Unit at Jackson Memorial Hospital.

Kristin Rojas, Assistant Professor of Surgical Oncology at the Sylvester Comprehensive Cancer Center and the DeWitt Daughtry Family Department of Surgery, has specialties such as breast cancer and post-cancer sexual health.

Shirin Shafazand, Professor of Clinical Medicine in the Department of Lung and Intensive Care Medicine at Miller School, specializes in sleep medicine and lung diseases.





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