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|Graduate Degree: Harvard School of Public Health
Undergraduate Degree: California State University, Fresno
Area of Interest: Public Health Issues
Mentors: Renee Landers, Suffolk University Law School and Kia Davis, Harvard School of Public Health
Agency: Boston Public Health Commission
Supervisor: Dr. Huy Nguyen, Medical Director and Rita Nieves, Director, Bureau of Addiction Prevention, Treatment, and Recovery
Project Description: Gilberto Lopez is a doctoral student in the department of social and behavioral sciences at the Harvard School of Public Health. As a Radcliffe/Rappaport Summer Doctoral Fellow, Gilberto was hosted by the Boston Public Health Commission’s Bureau of Addictions Prevention, Treatment, and Recovery Support Services. Gilberto’s role was twofold; (1) rotate throughout the various programs and services within the bureau and (2) research how print media frames the issue of substance overdose in the Boston metro area. The first project consisted of spending a week in each of the departments within the bureau, including prevention, needle exchange, rehabilitation services, men’s services, and women’s services. Participating in the various programs allowed for a holistic understanding of how services work together in assisting individuals and populations as they attempt recovery. The second project researched how media framed the issue of overdose in the Boston area, consisting of analysis of over 800 newspaper articles. The aim of the project was to understand how print media (newspapers) have written about overdose cases in the Boston area over the past 10 years. The project focused on the relationships between demographics, geography, and temporality in the writing of overdose cases.
Gilberto says: I am honored to have been selected as a Rappaport Summer Fellow; it has been one of the most rewarding summers I have experienced on both personal and professional levels. Personally, interning at Boston Public Health Commission’s Bureau of Addictions Prevention, Treatment, and Recovery Support Services has been a very humbling experience. Interacting with individuals experiencing hardships in their lives, such as homelessness and drug addiction, makes one aware of and grateful for the opportunity of being a student at Harvard; these experiences help reignite the embers of social justice that are often tamed in the midst of coursework, seminars, and exams. This in turn flows into the professional as interning at the bureau has allowed me to gain a broader understanding of the relationship between the academic and the applied public healths. Observing the connections, and disconnections, between what is taught and what is practiced in public health has allowed me to return to my doctoral program with a more nuanced understanding of the preparation required to produce public health professionals/scholars who can navigate both the academic and the applied worlds. Lastly, the Rappaport Fellowship has allowed me to grow professionally in a way that no other program could via its network of scholars, past and present. Becoming a life-long member of this fellowship of passionate, powerful, and connected individuals interested in democracy is an honor.