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Elizabeth Brown, PhD, and the Op-Ed-Project

by Erica Howell

Elizabeth Brown began at ODU as the director of the B.S. Public Health Program in January 2023. She is a Public Voices Fellow with AcademyHealth and The OpEd Project. AcademyHealth is a national organization for health services research. Dr. Brown was one of only 20 researchers selected for the 2022-2023 cohort. Fellows are expected to publish at least two op-eds. Her first piece, "Use 'racial privilege' — not race — to measure and understand health" was published by Stat News in February.

Her next piece will focus on the similarities between not expanding Medicaid in southern states to the Confederate States of America. She says, "This second op-ed goes back to my policy and healthcare access roots. Essentially, the second op-ed is focused on health policy inaction (not expanding Medicaid) and perpetuating racism." Her goal is to publish this piece around the 13th anniversary of the ACA being signed into law (which was March 23, 2010.)

She is working with two other fellows on a third piece, which will compare current US policies (leisure, mass incarceration, and education) to how slaves were treated. This piece will have a public health spin and they hope to publish during National Public Health Week.

Her advice for others who are interested in this fellowship: "Go for it! There are required meetings about four times during the fellowship year, but the networking and experience I've gained has been ahh-mazing! I've had the greatest mentorship on writing for media." The OpEd Project shops the op-ed pieces around to places for the fellows so the fellows can focus on writing about innovative ways to change the world from an underrepresented voice.

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