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State Department Grant to Expand UMD Education Abroad, Create Public Health Learning Site

By Amy Reiter

The University of Maryland School of Public Health (SPH), partnering with Bowie State University, is expanding its study abroad options for marginalized faculty and students and for students who are Pell Grant recipients with the help of a U.S. State Department grant announced Thursday.

The 18-month, $35,000 grant will connect underrepresented faculty and students from both universities with opportunities to study global public health in Rwanda, focusing on countering violent extremism, preventing emerging tropical infectious diseases and more. The project will enable UMD and BSU to launch a global public health learning site in Rwanda and to expand the schools’ public health efforts in sub-Saharan Africa.

The grant honors the life and legacy of 2nd Lt. Richard Collins III, a Bowie State student who was murdered on the UMD campus by an SPH student in 2017.

“My son would be so heartened to know that his legacy of service and leadership continues beyond his lifetime,” said Collins’ mother, Dawn Collins, now a graduate student in UMD’s School of Public Policy.

SPH Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Activist-in-Residence Beth Douthirt-Cohen conceived of the project with support from SPH Assistant Dean Erin McClure, joining with Bowie State and the Collins Foundation to bring the project to fruition and expand on a restorative partnership with the Collins family.

“This grant gives us an opportunity to build global health partnerships in Rwanda as well as both the momentum and resources to continue breaking down the barriers that keep marginalized students and students from lower-income backgrounds from taking part in the full scope of opportunities to practice global health and engage in global justice issues,” said Douthirt Cohen.

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