UAMS Researcher Establishes Scholarship for Sexual Health and Gender Equity

By Ashley McNatt

Marshall, an associate professor in the college’s Health Behavior and Health Education Department, established the scholarship for students interested in addressing sexual health and gender disparities.

“I hope this scholarship can help fill a void, a need we have in this state to have more public health leaders who are willing and able to tackle health disparities that affect underrepresented or underserved individuals, and also conduct research that is socially driven to achieve better gender equity,” said Marshall.

The scholarship will be awarded each year to a College of Public Health student with an interest in addressing health disparities related to sexual or reproductive health or gender identity. Recipients will receive funds for up to five concurrent semesters, with the intent to support the students through their entire education.

Marshall’s research focuses on helping Arkansans learn about adolescent and emerging adult sexuality, sexual health and gender disparities, as well as preventing HIV, other sexually transmitted infections and unplanned pregnancy.

“I care about the state of Arkansas — about our youth and the public health needs of the state,” said Marshall. “There are myriad ways that people can do something to affect change. I feel like I’m doing what I can to try to help address those needs and priorities.”

Her previous work includes conducting statewide focus groups with parents and teens to determine their feelings about whether sex education should be included in public schools, as well as addressing the prevailing perceptions about teen pregnancy and pregnancy prevention strategies. She also continually strives to understand and prioritize the health care needs of the LGBTQ+ community so they will have access to affirming medical care throughout the state.

Marshall also donated $25,000 to establish a dissertation research award for College of Public Health doctoral students. Recipients will receive a one-time $1,000 award to assist with the research costs associated with completing a dissertation.

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UAMS is the state's only health sciences university, with colleges of Medicine, Nursing, Pharmacy, Health Professions and Public Health; a graduate school; a hospital; a main campus in Little Rock; a Northwest Arkansas regional campus in Fayetteville; a statewide network of regional campuses; and seven institutes: the Winthrop P. Rockefeller Cancer Institute, Jackson T. Stephens Spine & Neurosciences Institute, Harvey & Bernice Jones Eye Institute, Psychiatric Research Institute, Donald W. Reynolds Institute on Aging, Translational Research Institute and Institute for Digital Health & Innovation. UAMS includes UAMS Health, a statewide health system that encompasses all of UAMS' clinical enterprise. UAMS is the only adult Level 1 trauma center in the state. UAMS has 3,275 students, 890 medical residents and fellows, and five dental residents. It is the state's largest public employer with more than 12,000 employees, including 1,200 physicians who provide care to patients at UAMS, its regional campuses, Arkansas Children's, the VA Medical Center and Baptist Health. Visit or Find us on Facebook, X (formerly Twitter), YouTube or Instagram.