Fellows & Projects 2021-2022

Kerry Arrington

Urban Educational Leadership, Southern Methodist University

Arrington is addressing the educational loss in mathematics and the mental health effects caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. This program will provide math tutoring to the students of Young Men’s Leadership Academy @ Fred F. Florence middle school located in the Pleasant Grove area, with a social emotional learning component. Social emotional learning strategies will help equip the students with the resiliency to conquer math skills as well as deal with the after-effects that the pandemic has caused such as feelings of isolation, sadness, and depression. Attendance and enrollment in public schools have declined because of this and student engagement is much needed to help students process all that has occurred in this past year. Along with the disparity of their home life, their education has taken a dramatic turn as well. Therefore, this program implements a two-fold solution to closing the achieving gap by providing academic and social interventions.

Community Site: Young Men’s Leadership Academy @Fred F. Florence Middle School


Harini Balakrishnan

Medicine, UT Southwestern Medical Center

Balakrishnan is addressing healthcare disparities faced by transgender individuals in Dallas County, specifically at GENECIS and the Resource Center, by education and individual case management initiatives. For younger individuals, she will hold classes geared towards safe practices and supportive resources while transitioning. This education will also be brought to health professional students enrolled at UTSW as an elective on transgender-inclusive healthcare. Other participants will receive individualized and specific guidance on topics such as accessing hormonal therapy and marker changes.

Community Site: GENECIS Program at Children’s Health


Nusaiba Chowdhury

Anthropology, Southern Methodist University

Chowdhury is addressing stress and acclimation among refugees by creating educational videos which supplement the required Cultural Orientation sessions that refugees attend after resettlement. These videos will describe how specific programs and technologies work so that refugees are able to navigate the time after resettlement with more confidence. The program aims to foster positive attitudes and behaviors around utilizing various social services and aims to build confidence in refugees for using different programs.

Community Site: International Rescue Committee


Megan Doiron

Neonatal Nurse Practitioner (DNP), Baylor University

Megan is addressing infant safety by creating a safe sleep and injury prevention program for current and to be parents and their extended families so they are empowered and confident in providing a safe environment for their babies. In addition to providing family education, the program will also provide outreach to community child care and health care providers to engage the broader community in promoting infant safety. The program also aims to establish a drive and bank for safe sleep items for families in need.

Community Site: TBA


Nathan Guyton

Clinical & Mental Health Counseling, Texas Christian University

Guyton is addressing resource disparities for adolescents suffering from substance use disorders by providing a ‘Preferred Future Program’ to patients at Phoenix House Texas’s Hill A. Feinberg Academy, a non-profit residential treatment facility for teens in Dallas. The program will address the need for skills and knowledge beyond the realm of recovery, providing patients at Phoenix House with experience in resume building, applying to college, and professional development. This project dreams of instilling self-efficacy and empowerment in these young people to pursue their preferred future with hope and optimism.

Community Site: Phoenix House Dallas - Hill A. Feinberg Teen Academy and Outpatient


Avery Hager

Medicine, UT Southwestern Medical Center

Hager is addressing health disparities in individuals experiencing homelessness in the Dallas community by overseeing the implementation and ensuring the sustainability of the Patient Navigator Program at UT Southwestern. This program works with individuals experiencing homelessness to create and reach SMART goals pertaining to their health, housing, or other aspects of their socioeconomic life. Through this program, clients gain a better understanding of the complex medical system and also develop skills in setting and reaching goals.

Community Site: Union Gospel Mission Center of Hope


Zara Khan

Medicine, UT Southwestern Medical Center

Khan is addressing interpersonal violence among teens in Dallas by teaching relationship health skills, organizing peer leadership groups, and providing trainings for caregivers. The program will rely on evidence-based dating violence prevention curricula to teach teens relationship health skills in school and community settings. After completing these sessions, teens may join a leadership program, where they can build advocacy skills as they develop campaigns around the issues of teen dating violence, sexual harassment and sexual assault in their school and home communities. Additionally, the program will train parents/caregivers and adult community members about creating protective environments for teens.  

Community Site: Be Project (The Family Place)


Shubhangi Mehra

Medicine, UT Southwestern Medical Center

Mehra is addressing childhood obesity in Dallas by working with Lumin Education to improve and reimplement a nutrition and physical education program. This program will teach students key nutritional concepts and ways to stay active both inside and outside the classroom. Additional educational sessions targeted towards parents will help them implement healthy behaviors within the home. The goal of this project is to empower students and their parents to adopt healthy behaviors at school and at home and lead healthy lifestyles with far ranging effects.

Community Site: Lumin Education


Maishara Muquith

Medicine, UT Southwestern Medical Center

Muquith is addressing healthcare access at Brother Bill’s Helping Hand by establishing a student-run free clinic in the local community. In addition to providing free health promotion and preventive services, the program will also create a diabetes self-management program to lower the prevalence of diabetes related health issues.

Community Site: Brother Bill’s Helping Hand


Shivani Raman

Medicine/Public Health, UT Southwestern Medical Center

Raman is addressing hypertension in North Dallas by designing a self-measured blood pressure program at the North Dallas Shared Ministries clinic. This program aims to educate patients about various aspects of hypertension and teach them how to monitor their blood pressure at home. Ultimately, the program will promote improved blood pressure control and greater empowerment among patients who participate.

Community Site: North Dallas Shared Ministries


Samantha Redig

Psychological Sciences, UT Dallas

Redig will serve Dallas County families and their infants through the Healthy Connections project which aims to increase parents’ well-being, social support, and parenting skills to lay a strong foundation for children’s healthy development. Healthy Connections will be designed to address the unique challenges facing the families in the program, such as difficulties with feeding, communication, coparenting skills, coping mechanisms, and building social support. Ultimately, Redig hopes to help families develop emotionally supportive parent-infant relationships and strengthen children’s development.

Community Site: Center for Children and Families at The University of Texas at Dallas


Paloma Silva

School Psychology, Texas Woman’s University

Silva seeks to serve families who have been historically disenfranchised from the public school system, and, more specifically, from the Special Education qualification process through her project. Based on previous research, Black, Latinx, and linguistically diverse families run the highest risk of being negatively impacted due the lack of accessibility of information regarding special education. By providing direct parent training on topics such as child rearing, child advocacy, and parental self-care, we can foster a sense of stability and growth. Furthermore, parents can be empowered to become self-advocates to promote their child’s success throughout their life. 

Community Site: Early Childhood Intervention Center, Denton Independent School District


Tamara Starling

School Psychology, Texas Woman’s University

Starling is creating a space for Black high school students to talk with their peers and group leaders about issues related to the Black experience. As Black students navigate stressors implemented by race, relational trauma, social injustice, and microaggressions in the workplace or school it will always be important for them to build a community in which they feel supported. By facilitating this support group, Starling aims to create a safe enriching environment where Black students can find comfort in sharing their experiences and exploring their self-identity through facilitator-led activities.

Community Site: Thr!ve Intern and Leadership Program