PhD Student Yohansa Fernández Awarded Two NIH-Funded Pre-Doctoral Fellowships

Yohansa Fernández
Yohansa Fernández

Third-year PhD student Yohansa Fernández has been awarded two prestigious National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA)-funded fellowships to strengthen her training and advance her career in drug abuse and HIV/AIDS research. She has been accepted into both the T32 Behavioral Sciences Training in Drug Abuse Research (BST) pre-doctoral fellowship program at NYU Rory Meyers College of Nursing and the R25 Interdisciplinary Research Training Institute on Hispanic Drug Abuse (IRTI) pre-doctoral fellowship program at the University of Southern California (USC).

The BST training program prepares social scientists for careers in research on drug abuse and HIV/AIDS through intensive training and hands on research on NIDA grants. The IRIT program provides fellows interested in conducting research on drug abuse among Hispanics with educational training, mentoring by senior faculty members, and networking opportunities with leading experts in the field to increase their capacity to conduct, present, publish and acquire funding for National Institutes of Health research.

Fernández said that she was inspired to pursue drug abuse research, which is intrinsic to both fellowships, by her mentor, NYU Silver Associate Professor Dr. Ellen Tuchman. “My focus has always been on HIV research,” she said. “Dr. Tuchman helped me understand how research on drug abuse, a complex disease that often leads to a multitude of other medical and psychological challenges, is crucial to understanding HIV.”

Fernández, who has completed her PhD coursework and is now preparing for her qualifying exam, said, “I am honored to have been selected for these fellowships and look forward to learning from and collaborating with leading researchers and PhD students from schools across the country. I am grateful to Dr. Tuchman for her tremendous support in my pursuit of these fellowships and my ongoing doctoral studies.”

Dr. Tuchman said, “Yohansa is a very promising researcher who is driven to seize every opportunity to expand her knowledge base and enhance her research skills. These fellowships will further her ability to develop innovative interventions in the HIV and addictions fields.”

Dr. Perry N. Halkitis, Director of NYU’s Center for Health, Identity, Behavior and Prevention Studies, where Fernández is a Doctoral Research Assistant, added: “I have known Yohansa since she was working on her MSW and taking classes in public health. Her dedication to eliminating health disparities through sound and meaningful research is an asset to our research center and to our war against the syndemic of AIDS and addiction. Because of her disciplinary training and work at CHIBPS, she is well poised to help both people and populations.”