Elsie Essien (PhD '24)
January 13, 2021

Congratulations to Elsie Essien, a Health Services Research doctoral student, for being selected as a recipient of the AcademyHealth Alice S. Hersh Student Scholarship

The scholarship is meant to encourage educational and professional development in health services research and policy among student members. It is named in honor of Alice S. Hersh, the founding executive director of the Association for Health Services Research (AHSR), to uplift the next generation of health services researchers. 

The scholarship provides free registrations to the Health Datapalooza (HDP) and the National Health Policy Conference (NHPC) in February, as well as free registration to the Annual Research Meeting (ARM) in June. 

How did you hear about or find out about the scholarship?

I found out about it through another PhD candidate, Aitalohi Amaize, a fifth-year PhD candidate. She is also the president of the AcademyHealth Student Chapter at the University of Maryland School of Public Health. Once I registered as a student member of AcademyHealth, she came across the scholarship. I’m very grateful that she presented me with that information, and I applied for it. I’m one of two recipients to receive it, so I’m forever grateful. 

What was your initial reaction when you found out that you won the scholarship?

I was overjoyed because I received the email from the office of Dr. Lisa Simpson, AcademyHealth President and CEO, I think after the fall semester ended. The semester was rough to put it gently, so it was a great way to end the semester. 

What was the application process like?

I applied in October, but you had to answer a series of questions, maybe five questions with 250 words each. I also had to have someone recommend me or endorse me. My advisor, Dr. Dahai Yue, was my endorser and wrote my letter of recommendation. I also had to submit a copy of my CV/resume. 

For those who are considering applying for the scholarship, what advice would you give them?

I would say start early. I think I found out about it, maybe a couple of days before it was due. If you are interested in being a student member of AcademyHealth, it helps to register early, join early, go on the website and see what opportunities are out there. Some of the questions they asked were, “Have you attended conferences before?” Or they asked what would I do with this opportunity and what would I gain from it. Even if you don’t apply for this scholarship and receive it, there are multiple opportunities to attend conferences where you can network and meet people within the field and gain valuable experience. 

Prior to coming to UMD as a doctoral student, I was working as a Program Manager at Northwell Health. Through that opportunity, I have presented at national conferences before and presented my research. It also helped me realize that this opportunity is new. I’m new to the health services research field, and it’s important to make that network connection early. That’s also part of the reason why I applied, and then, Datapalooza will enable me to meet people in the field and maybe get access to data that’s relevant to health services research. 

Related Links

AcademyHealth Alice S. Hersh Student Scholarship

AcademyHealth

Northwell Health