University awards new Public Voices fellowships

By News@TheU

University awards new Public Voices fellowships

By News@TheU
Twenty faculty members at the University of Miami will participate in a yearlong fellowship designed to amplify the voices of women and other underrepresented thought leaders in the public discourse.

One teaches religion, specializing in Islamic studies. Another is an acclaimed flute soloist and advocate for diversity initiatives in classical music. A third is a physician-lawyer who oversees a medical/legal clinic for veterans.

From seven schools across the University of Miami, they are among the 20 diverse and accomplished thought leaders selected for the yearlong Public Voices Fellowship, a national initiative of The OpEd Project that aims to expand the range of voices and quality of ideas that shape important contemporary conversations. 

“Public Voices provides faculty the necessary skills to leverage their expertise and experience for advocacy,” said Erin Kobetz, vice provost for research and scholarship, whose office is sponsoring the fellowships with the Miami Clinical and Translational Science Institute. “This is an important opportunity for those of us who see our scholarship as a vehicle for social justice and are looking to elevate our voice and reach to include diverse audiences.” 

During the yearlong fellowship, which includes four interactive seminars, one-on-one coaching with top journalists, and monthly talks with senior media insiders, fellows explore how to build credibility, how ideas spread over time, and why people change their minds. But the end goal of Public Voices is to encourage fellows to contribute their ideas to influential forums, and it has a strong track record in that regard.

Despite the COVID-19 pandemic, the inaugural cohort of 24 fellows selected in 2019 published more than 40 op-eds in a variety of high-profile publications. Among them: The Washington Post, U.S. News & World Report, Scientific American, Ms. magazine, Chicago Tribune, The Hill, Slate, and Psychology Today. Their articles and opinion pieces also led to interview requests, expert citations, invitations to speak at conferences, and new research opportunities. 

“It was truly a life-changing experience for me,” said Dr. Ana Palacio, a Miller School of Medicine professor whose commentaries linking COVID-19 and myalgic encephalomyelitis/chronic fatigue syndrome led to a partnership with a renowned expert on the disorder and a $1.2 million grant. “Not only because I learned to value my thoughts, but because I gained the confidence to share them.” 

The 2021 cohort of Public Voices fellows, which includes 17 women and three men, will have similar opportunities. They are listed below.

Sharon Andrade-Bucknor, assistant professor of clinical medicine at the Miller School of Medicine, specializes in echocardiography and directs the Cardiac Rehabilitation Center at UHealth Towers. 

Shweta Anjan, assisant professor of clinical medicine at the Miller School, specializes in transplant and immunocompromised host infectious diseases. 

Marisol Capellan, lecturer in the Miami Herbert Business School and a certified executive coach, works with women empowerment.

Panagiota V. Caralis, a lawyer and professor of medicine at the Miller School, directs a medical legal clinic for veterans and cares for survivors of human trafficking.

Donna Coker, professor at the School of Law, is a nationally recognized expert in intimate partner violence law and policy.

Charlton Copeland, professor of law at the School of Law, explores the relationship between race and American political institutions and structures. 

Juan Pablo de Rivero Vaccari, research associate professor in the Department of Neurological Surgery and the Miami Project to Cure Paralysis, researches the innate immune system’s response to spinal cord and traumatic brain injuries, stroke, and Alzheimer’s disease. 

Heather Diack, associate professor of art history in the College of Arts and Sciences, has many interests that include the history and theory of photography. 

Lunthita Duthely, research assistant professor at the Miller School, has a research background that includes pre-cancerous conditions among Hispanic, African American, and Caribbean American women living with HIV. 

Katlein Franca, clinical assistant professor of dermatology and cutaneous surgery and of psychiatry and behavioral sciences at the Miller School, specializes in psychoneurocutaneous medicine, which focuses on the interaction between the mind, nervous system, and skin. 

Jennifer Grim, an acclaimed flute soloist and associate professor at the Frost School of Music, is a passionate advocate for diversity initiatives classical music. 

Nebil Husayn, assistant professor of religious studies in the College of Arts and Sciences, concentrates on Islamic studies, including the development of Islamic theology and historiography. 

Neva Kirk-Sanchez, associate professor and chair of the Department of Physical Therapy at the Miller School, researches the role of physical activity in the management and prevention of chronic diseases. 

Christina Lane, professor in the Department of Cinematic Arts in the School of Communication, teaches film history, directors, cultural studies, and gender representation.

Kathryn Nowotny, assistant professor of sociology in the College of Arts and Sciences, explores how mass incarceration contributes to health inequalities. 

Asha Pillai, associate professor of pediatrics and of microbiology and immunology at the Miller School, researches immunotherapies for cancer, infectious diseases, and autoimmunity.

Carmen Presti, assistant professor of clinical in the School of Nursing and Health Studies, is an acute care nurse practitioner in Jackson Memorial Hospital’s Cardiothoracic/Surgical Intensive Care Unit.

Kristin Rojas, assistant professor of surgical oncology at Sylvester Comprehensive Cancer Center and the DeWitt Daughtry Family Department of Surgery, has specialties that include breast cancer and sexual health after cancer. 

Shirin Shafazand, professor of clinical medicine in the Miller School’s Division of Pulmonary and Critical Care Medicine, specializes in sleep medicine and pulmonary disease.