San Francisco — University of California San Francisco dental student Jean Marie Calvo was selected for the Zuckerman Fellows program, which will financially support her to pursue a Master of Public Health degree from Harvard’s School of Public Health.
“If I’m going to be a dentist who wants to make a difference, I wanted the (MPH) degree to help me get more people access to care,” Ms. Calvo said. “I want to make a larger impact in improving public health.”
The Zuckerman Fellowship program was established to enable professionals to pursue public service degrees at the Harvard Graduate School of Education, Harvard School of Public Health, or Harvard Kennedy School. Its intent is to bring the perspectives of multiple professions and academic disciplines to bear on public sector problems, according to its website.
Ms. Calvo is taking a leave of absence from her studies at the UCSF School of Dentistry to complete the MPH by May 2016.
Although there aren’t any health care professionals in her family, Ms. Calvo said her mother stressed the importance of good oral health, inspiring her to ultimately pursue a career in dentistry.
“I’ve wanted to become a dentist for a very long time,” she said. “And through dental school and volunteering, I realized that there’s a lot of problems when it comes to access to care.”
Ms. Calvo plans to use her MPH and dental degree to work as a dentist in a community clinic, ultimately becoming a community clinic director.
“Being selected as a future dentist, it made me see that the [Zuckerman Fellows program] considers oral health a pertinent issue in the overall public health,” she said.