JUPS Senior Receives Prestigious Cossiga Scholarship
JUPS Senior Koren Kwag (COL ’12) is the sole recipient of the prestigious Cossiga scholarship from Aspen Institute Italia for the 2012-2013 and 2013-2014 academic years. She will be studying in Milan at the Università Vita-Salute San Raffaele, where she will pursue a master’s degree in molecular and cellular medical biotechnology.
A Biology major and a Justice and Peace studies minor, Kwag has conducted research through the Biology department at Georgetown in the areas of pain perception and schizophrenia. “I hope to merge my passions for biomedical research and justice and peace studies to ultimately address disparities in health care and endeavor towards health equity,” explained Kwag, “Biomedical and clinical research, I believe, are imperative towards understanding the biological foundations underlying health disparities.”
The Cossiga scholarship is a new fellowship funded by the Aspen Institute Italia in memory of Francesco Cossiga, former Honorary Chairman of Aspen Institute Italia and former President of Italy. It will be launched at the start of the 2012 school year to encourage foreign students to study in Milan.
Kwag’s Justice and Peace senior thesis focuses on creating a new framework of justice that creates space for the discourse on health equity. “In my thesis, I endeavored to establish the moral significance of health and health equity by examining structural forms of violence--socioeconomic factors as well as the role of gender and race/ethnicity--that determine individual health outcomes and work together to inhibit access to quality care,” she said. She worked with thesis mentor Professor William McGreevey from the International Health program in the NHS. “Through the thesis, I hoped to construct a new framework of justice that provides space for the discussion of health equity to further facilitate its research and promotion in the United States.”
Kwag hopes to continue on this theme in her master’s studies.
“The program at Università Vita-Salute San Raffaele integrates the study of different branches compromising healthcare work,” said Kwag, “[This] will provide me with a foundation to conduct heath equity-focused research, whether it is through identifying demographic patterns of specific disparities so as to address the structural systems enabling it or developing more affordable treatments.”
Kwag is leaving for Italy in August. After the fellowship, she hopes to continue her graduate studies by pursuing an MD/PhD, while working directly with patients.
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