Gillings PhD student receives Paul and Daisy Soros Fellowship for New Americans

Burcu Bozkurt, a PhD student in health policy and management at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill’s Gillings School of Global Public Health has received a 2018 Paul and Daisy Soros Fellowships for New Americans.

Burcu Bozkurt

Burcu Bozkurt

Now in its 20th year, the Paul and Daisy Soros Fellowships honors the contributions of immigrants and children of immigrants to the United States. The fellowships are awarded each year to 30 immigrants or children of immigrants who are “poised to make significant contributions to US society, culture or their academic field.” The award includes $90,000 in financial support spread over two years.

Bozkurt immigrated to the United States from Istanbul with her family when she was seven. Her parents settled in Raleigh, North Carolina. Early on, she saw her immigrant classmates and their families face challenges accessing healthcare. This experience created an abiding interest within Bozkurt about public health and ensuring healthcare access for all. Her interests in these areas led her to pursue her passions for public health at UNC’s Gillings School as an undergraduate. As a Mahatma Gandhi Fellow and Phillips Ambassador, her field work included reproductive health research in Vietnam and supporting an evaluation system for a health worker program in Bangladesh.

“Burcu has a tenacious work ethic, resilience, and commitment to social justice,” said Department of Health Policy and Management Chair and Vergil N. Slee Distinguished Professor of Healthcare Quality Management Morris Weinberger, PhD. “She is especially interested in supporting the provision of comprehensive reproductive health care services for youth around the world. Burcu is a natural leader who will certainly improve the lives of vulnerable populations in both global and domestic settings.”

After graduating from UNC, Bozkurt cofounded the International Youth Alliance for Family Planning (IYAFP), which she still co-leads. While growing IYAFP, she worked in Washington, DC, for RTI International, Ipas, and the Advisory Board Company, engaging with public health issues as a researcher, lobbyist, and consultant. In 2016, The Bill & Melinda Gates Institute for Population and Reproductive Health named Bozkurt to its inaugural list of top 120 global family planning leaders under age 40.

Bozkurt is currently a PhD student in UNC’s Department of Health Policy and Management at and a Royster Fellow. Her research focuses on understanding and overcoming obstacles that young people and other vulnerable populations face in accessing safe, comprehensive reproductive health services.

The full citation about Bozkurt by the Paul and Daisy Soros Fellowship can be read here.