The Horowitz Center for Health Literacy sponsors the Rudd Dissertation Fellowship to foster innovative doctoral-level health literacy research relevant to public health priorities and contexts. Dr. Rudd is one of the founders of the health literacy field in the U.S., and she has trained and influenced thousands of students and practitioners around the world. This fellowship honors her contributions and supports the next generation of health literacy leaders.

There is $30,000 available for the fellowship, and the amount awarded will depend on student need and budget. The funds must be applied to tuition, fees, or research expenses. Within 3 years of award, students must spend the funds and defend the dissertation.  


The application is due by email to the Horowitz Center by January 24, 2020, 4 p.m. No late applications accepted. Announcement of the award will happen by February 28, 2020. The Committee is not required to select a recipient.

Criteria to apply for the grant

Please read the criteria carefully to make sure you qualify.  

  1. Student is an enrolled UMD SPH doctoral candidate in good standing who has successfully passed qualifying examinations and is working on or has defended a dissertation proposal.
  2. Student has taken the SPH health literacy graduate class and received a B or higher grade.
  3. The dissertation proposal has health literacy as a variable or outcome.   
  4. The student’s research will contribute significantly to the health literacy field.
  5. The student intends to continue health literacy research after graduation.  

Application Packet

Submit the following information to the Center by the deadline.

  1. Submit a maximum 5 page (12 point, .5 margins) description of your preparation to do health literacy research and your dissertation project. Include the health literacy definition you use and how the health literacy concept operates in your project (identify research participants, variable, outcome, etc.). The description must include how the proposed research will significantly contribute to the health literacy field and your future research that will include health literacy. Explain how the funds will support your research.
  2. Additional materials
    1. Budget detailing how the funds will be spent
    2. Timeline to complete and defend the dissertation 
    3. 2 letters: 1 letter of recommendation from your dissertation advisor and 1 other faculty letter addressing the quality of your scholarship and potential to contribute to the health literacy field.     


  1. The student must acknowledge the Horowitz Center for Health Literacy on publications and presentations.  
  2. The student must submit progress reports every 6 months to the Dean of the School of Public Health and the Horowitz Center Director.



Prior Rima E. Rudd Fellows

2018 - 2019: Catherine Maybury and Heather Platter

Ms. Maybury's dissertation is a national survey of third- and fourth- year dental students to understand their perspectives on what is taught in U.S. dental schools relating to communication techniques shown to improve patient understanding and three regimens that are effective in preventing dental caries (tooth decay). 

Ms. Platter's dissertation is a mixed methods study examining provider communication techniques and knowledge of lung cancer screening guidelines. Her study will also explore barriers to lung cancer screening among older adult long-term smokers at high risk for developing lung cancer. Using a grounded theory methodology, a final theoretical model will be created, which can be applied and tested in future screening interventions.

2013-2014: Dr. Kathy Ruben