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CGU students receive fellowships to implement health policy in local communities

Thursday, November 03, 2011

Four Claremont Graduate University (CGU) students have been selected for a competitive fellowship program that will allow them to help shape public health policy in Southern California.

The Randall Lewis Health Policy Fellowship aims to put the brightest graduate students in Southern California’s Inland Empire region to work in local communities, where they will tackle issues ranging from healthcare access to environmental sustainability to the impact of tobacco advertising.

The CGU students receiving fellowships are Stefan Gonzales, Jeannette Hughes, and Jessica Jackson from the School of Community and Global Health, and Jason Gurtovoy from the School of Politics and Economics.

“There are few issues as important and topical as assuring health,” said CGU President Deborah Freund, a renowned expert in health care and health care economics “This program will allow some of our extraordinary students to use their knowledge and creativity to solve some of the most intractable problems facing the Inland Empire, the United States, and the world. We are proud of them and grateful to Randall Lewis for creating this opportunity.”

The program will place Gonzalez in the city of Claremont, Hughes in the city of Chino, Jackson in the city of Ontario, and Gurtovoy with the county of San Bernardino.

Fellows will spend nine months working within their municipal agency, with each receiving a stipend of up to $4,000 from the program. CGU is matching the stipend for each student.

In Chino, Hughes will implement a so-called “walking bus” program, which provides students who normally ride the bus to school a walking route with regular stops and adult chaperones.

“With the rise of obesity in America, cities are trying to find innovative ways to combat and overcome this chronic disease,” said Hughes. “Prevention is key, so it is vital that school children get their daily exercise.”

Rancho Cucamonga-based Lewis Operating Companies, one of the nation’s largest privately held real estate development firms, created the fellowship program with the support of Partners for Better Health.

Executive Vice President Randall Lewis said too many promising young minds leave the Inland Empire after graduating from the region’s colleges and universities. He hopes the program will stem the loss of intellectual capital by providing these students a path back to the communities that educated them.

One of last year’s fellows was offered a full-time job at the completion of the fellowship.

“We hope this can be a model that other cities and other communities in other states can say ‘this is great—let’s try to set this up where we are,’” he said.

About Claremont Graduate University

Founded in 1925, Claremont Graduate University is one of the top graduate schools in the United States. Our nine academic schools conduct leading-edge research and award masters and doctoral degrees in 24 disciplines. Because the world’s problems are not simple nor easily defined, diverse faculty and students research and study across the traditional discipline boundaries to create new and practical solutions for the major problems plaguing our world. A Southern California based graduate school devoted entirely to graduate research and study, CGU boasts a low student-to-faculty ratio.

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