Two SESH researchers have won prestigious awards

release date:2021-11-19 10:09


(from left: Takhona Hlatshwako, Dr. Tiarney Ritchwood)

Two SESH researchers have won prestigious awards that have propelled them to the global stage. UNC undergraduate student Takhona Hlatshwako won a Rhodes Scholarship to Oxford University and Dr. Tiarney Ritchwood, an Assistant Professor at Duke, received a US National Institutes of Health New Innovator Award. Both Takhona and Tiarney were part of a SESH/SIHI/TDR team that created a consensus statement on crowdsourcing open calls for health (details

Takhona is a final year student at UNC and works part-time at SESH on the pay-it-forward study. She was recently announced as a recipient of the Rhodes Scholarship, sometimes called the "Nobel Prize for undergraduates.” Takhona is originally from Eswatini and is also the first Rhodes Scholar from that country. She was honored for her contributions to public health, and Takhona's previous involvement in a USAID-funded research project that used crowdsourcing methods to increase men’s engagement in HIV services (see her first-author paper
here). Takhona also played a key role in the Carolina Collective, another crowdsourcing project that helped inform the fall semester at UNC (details here). At Oxford, Takhona will seek a Master's degree in International Health and Tropical Medicine, a program that focuses on the major health challenges of populations in low- and middle-income countries. Takhona hopes her opportunity to study at Oxford will provide a springboard for her to continue giving back to her country and community.

SESH collaborator Dr. Tiarney Ritchwood, a health equity researcher and Assistant Professor of Family Medicine and Community Health from the Duke University School of Medicine, received the NIH Director's New Innovator Award. This is a $1.5 million award for high-risk, high-reward research to support especially creative investigators. Her research will use crowdsourcing methods to identify ideas to promote COVID-19 mitigation strategies in African American communities. Dr. Ritchwood has many years of experience leading community-engaged research studies in underserved communities of North Carolina and also conducts research in South Africa. She also contributed to several scoping reviews that demonstrate how crowdsourcing can be a powerful tool to engage communities and spur change (see
here). More details about her funded research study are available here.

Our SESH team are thrilled to call them colleagues and friends. We wish them the very best as they continue to inspire us.

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