MS-PhD Student Wonkyung Chang Receives U.S. Dept. of Health Fellowship

  By Gianluca D'Elia
  Monday, November 14, 2022 3:51 PM
 

Wonkyung accepts an award at the School of Nursing auditorium.

MS-PhD student Wonkyung Chang, RN, BSN has been named the recipient of a Minority Fellowship from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services' Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA).

The minority fellowship program prepares doctoral and master’s students in health care professions to support SAMHSA’s mission of eliminating behavioral health disparities among racial and ethnic minority populations. Throughout the course of the fellowship, students will participate in a series of educational sessions and leadership trainings to grow their expertise.

“I felt so happy and honored when the committee members told me that I was accepted to this prestigious program as a doctoral fellow,” Chang said. “Through my practice and research, I would like to help minority populations and immigrants who need more mental health support. That is my goal during my PhD program, and my life goal.”

Chang is a combined master’s and PhD student at the University of Rochester School of Nursing, and is pursuing the Psychiatric Mental Health Nurse Practitioner specialty. She works as a certified nurse at Hillside Children’s Center, a Rochester-based agency where she cares for youth who have experienced trauma. Before moving to the U.S., she worked as a psychiatric nurse in an inpatient alcohol treatment center in South Korea.

The SAMHSA fellowship is a perfect match for Chang’s research interests, she said. As a nursing researcher, she focuses on substance use disorders among minority populations, particularly immigrants and sexual minorities within immigrant groups. In her work as a psychiatric nurse, Chang has observed racial, ethnic, socio-economic and geographical disparities in violence exposure and mental health outcomes. That firsthand experience has made her passionate about addressing those inequities in her work, and motivated to be an agent of social change.

"I am impressed with Wonkyung's efforts and passion in her research and community involvement to demonstrate a commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion during her studies at the School of Nursing," said Assistant Professor Chen Zhang, PhD, MPH, who is Chang's advisor in the PhD program. "I am confident that through the SAMSHA Minority Fellowship Program, Wonkyung will not only be able to help numerous patients, but also contribute to furthering addiction treatment and research."