OSU Extension health educator awarded Bloomberg Fellowship

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CORVALLIS, Ore. – In both her personal life and career, Olivia Davis has seen areas where public health communication can improve outcomes for adults and children.

But she’s also seen where it can be improved.

That’s what motivated Davis, a nutrition educator with the Oregon State University Extension Service, to apply to both the prestigious Master of Public Health program at Johns Hopkins University and the Bloomberg American Health Initiative, which awards fellowships to Johns Hopkins Master of Public Health students working on critical health challenges facing the nation.

Davis found out this spring that she had been accepted to the master’s program and awarded the Bloomberg Fellowship, which covers the tuition and fees of the program. The Bloomberg American Health Initiative at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health announced its eighth cohort of Bloomberg Fellows. Davis is one of 50 individuals who were awarded full Master of Public Health scholarships. She’s the only Oregonian to be awarded a 2024 Bloomberg Fellowship.

“I’ve gone through public health services, and in my professional role I see that communication needs some work and understanding needs some work,” said Davis, the Family and Community Health and Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program Education (SNAP-Ed) outreach coordinator in Jefferson County and the Confederated Tribes of Warm Springs community.

Davis’s goal in public health is to make constructive systems and policy contributions to health systems that benefit those who need services.

Jefferson is the most racially and ethnically diverse county in Oregon, with an American Indian/Alaska Native population of 13% and a Hispanic/Latino population over 20%, according to 2023 Oregon by the Numbers. Warm Springs is the largest reservation in the state.

“I grew up in both Jefferson County and Warm Springs,” Davis said. “I come from a multicultural family. Personally and professionally, I’ve seen the differences in the on-the-ground needs and what state and national programs offer. Culturally diverse, small communities might not have a lot of resources or access to resources. There’s a lot of room for improvement in programs and policy.”

Davis is one of the Blomberg Fellows who will focus on food systems for health. The fellows’ current organization, or where they’re currently employed, supports them in this work, collaborates with the Initiative and plays a key role in the program.

Upon completion of their degrees, fellows work for at least one additional year with their organization to apply the skills learned during the fellowship. Davis’s collaborating organization is OSU, via the College of Health and OSU Extension.

Davis’s work is focused on equity in food systems and education for rural Oregonians, multiethnic families and Tribal Nations. She is a co-founder of a cultural workgroup for OSU Extension employees working with Tribal Nations and Indigenous communities that has laid groundwork throughout Extension for respectfully collaborating with Tribes.

“We are pleased to support Olivia, and proud to become a part of the national network of collaborating organizations that support Bloomberg Fellows and engage with faculty and staff at the Bloomberg School of Public Health,” said Allison Myers, associate dean for Extension and engagement in the College of Health and leader of the Extension Family and Community Health Program. “We are ready to learn and grow with others, and to share OSU’s strengths in food systems for health and engaged community health research and practice.”

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