Two graduate students, Phong Khải Hồng (MPP/MS, ‘24) and Danielle Wallick (MPP/MURP, ‘23) were recently recognized as the first recipients of the Ford School’s Rebecca A. Copeland Fellowship, for their commitment to public service and focus on promoting health equity.
Hồng is pursuing dual master’s degrees in public policy and computational epidemiology, and studies epidemiologic modeling to better understand health disparities and policy impacts. Wallick is pursuing dual degrees in public policy and urban & regional planning, and her focus is on affordable housing as a social determinant of health.
The fellowship was established by the Copeland family in fall 2021 in memory of Rebecca Copeland (MPP/MPH '21), a beloved graduate of the University of Michigan and an exceptional person, who was on the verge of beginning a career of tremendous impact in health policy.
In a joint statement, Rebecca’s parents, David and Elizabeth Copeland, said, “It is our intention that the Fund at the Ford School support students who share Rebecca’s dreams of improving health and health care for everyone through bold policy change and health system reform. Rebecca believed that health is a basic human right, not a privilege for some. And she believed that major public policy and system reforms were needed to ensure that everyone has equal access to all of the main social determinants of health: quality education, safe physical environments, food security, affordable housing, and affordable and high quality health care – regardless of race, income, or where people live. Rebecca also believed that the U.S. health care system, including hospitals and insurance plans with their major resources and influence, needed to be reformed to have a stronger focus on prevention, community health, and the social factors that drive health inequality.”
“From the tragedy of losing Rebecca, I am so grateful that we can offer fellowships to students who are also committed to public service work focused on health equity and social justice,” said Paula Lantz, James B. Hudak Professor of Health Policy and one of Rebecca’s mentors.