UAMS Fay W. Boozman College of Public Health Doctoral Student Uses Hometown Inspiration to Make Academic Achievement

By Kev' Moye

“It’s a highly competitive scholarship,” he said. “It relieves some of the financial burden of being a doctoral student. It also gives me a chance to focus heavily on research and getting through my academic program.”

The annual award goes to a pair of minority students from the southern United States who are pursuing a doctorate with plans to become a college faculty member.

The award offers three to five years of direct program support and institutional support, along with a $20,000 annual stipend. Recipients have access to a total of five years of tuition through the award. Additionally, they receive professional development support and funding to attend various conferences.

“I’m fortunate to be in the UAMS College of Public Health where I have access to great opportunities,” Ingram said. “But with the scholarship comes an added level of resources and people — on a regional level — who I can connect with.”

Ingram’s interest in public health dates back to his hometown of Palestine, Arkansas, located in St. Francis County.

As just a junior high student, Ingram recognized how limited health care options can cause issues for people in rural areas.

“Both of my parents are educators. So I’ve enjoyed a pretty good life,” he said. “But even when I was young, I was aware of what was going on around us regarding health issues. It was eye opening seeing people in my family, throughout my hometown and the surrounding areas battle health problems. One of the issues was the hospital that’s nearest to Palestine — if you want a form of health care that specializes in a specific task, you’re going to have to travel a good distance to get the care.”

Ingram, an alum of the University of Central Arkansas, said the college courses that he has taken have shed light on the ways he can help find a solution to population health issues.

“My interest in a public health career increased when I got to college and took some community health courses,” Ingram said. “My passion for public health and the improvement of health outcomes has truly come alive. I can often relate on a personal level to what is being discussed. As I work on my doctorate, I’m excited to be headed toward a public health career where I can make a difference.”

Aside from improving access to care for Arkansas’ rural residents, biases in the health industry is another problem that Ingram aspires to address.

“Research has proven that there are racial differences in health care,” he said. “Also, personally I’ve heard horror stories from people who are Black, just like I am, about health care professionals who either marginalized them or just didn’t listen to their health-related complaints. Racism in health care also inspires me to make a difference.”

Earning the scholarship is a major boost to him reaching those aforementioned goals, which were birthed in the Delta community of Palestine.

“The Southern Region Educational Board has a goal of helping minorities complete their doctorate and land their first faculty position,” he said. “The organization will also help me develop as a researcher. I’m honored they chose me to be a recipient of this scholarship.”