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Doctoral Student Michelle Kao Nakphong Recognized by UCLA Fielding School of Public Health for Excellence

UCLA Fielding School of Public Health doctoral student Michelle Kao Nakphong has been recognized for scholastic excellence as a 2021 recipient of the Juneal Marie Smith Fellowship

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Date: 
Tuesday, June 8, 2021
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UCLA Fielding School of Public Health doctoral student Michelle Kao Nakphong has been recognized for academic excellence and commitment to public health as a 2021 recipient of the Juneal Marie Smith Fellowship in International Nutrition.

“It is a great honor to receive this fellowship and to draw more attention to social disparities in maternal and child nutrition,” said Nakphong, a doctoral student in the school’s community health sciences PhD program. “This fellowship allows me to continue research on how social and economic factors influence changes in women’s and children’s health in low and middle-income countries.”

Nakphong is a fourth-year doctoral student whose research at the Fielding School of Public Health (FSPH) has focused on nutrition and health, including nutrition’s relationship with cancer.

“Michelle has a deep commitment to improving maternal and child health in poorer countries and is particularly interested in international nutrition,” said Dr. Anne Pebley, FSPH professor of community health sciences. “She came to FSPH after spending about ten years working on the Thailand-Myanmar border, and her work in Southeast Asia showed her the critical role that socioeconomic factors play in nutrition and health.”

Nakphong, whose hometown is Ann Arbor, MI, has a 3.85 GPA and is a graduate of Azusa Pacific University, in Azusa, California (2015, MA in Urban Leadership) and Johns Hopkins University (2003, BA in Public Health–Natural Sciences). She has worked as a researcher at FSPH, UCSF, and the Siriraj Institute of Clinical Research (SICRES) in Thailand, and as a teaching assistant at FSPH and Azusa Pacific.

“Michelle is a stellar student who meets a very high standard for academic excellence,” said Dr. May Wang, also with FSPH. “She is likely to become a global leader in the field of maternal and child nutrition.

Dr. Juneal Marie Smith’s parents established the fellowship in their daughter’s memory to support graduate students pursuing careers in international nutrition. Smith, who received her MPH and PhD from FSPH, combined scholarship with a commitment to helping underserved communities worldwide through her work in the area of nutrition.