Senior awarded Lewis Scholars position to help advance health equity

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Headshot of Jamyah Janise Combs
Jamyah Janise Combs

MACON — Mercer University senior Jamyah Janise Combs has been awarded a CDC John R. Lewis Undergraduate Public Health Scholars (Lewis Scholars) position at the University of Pittsburgh this summer.

The Pitt Public Health Undergraduate Scholars Program’s (PHUSP) goal is to advance health equity by increasing public health workforce diversity. The eight-week residential program is designed to encourage historically underserved college students to consider careers in public health. The program focuses on maternal and child health, environmental justice, and climate and health.

“My passion for promoting health equity has always driven me to advocate for others,” said Combs. “The CDC John R. Lewis Undergraduate Public Health Scholars program will allow me to pursue my passion in an impactful way.”

Combs, from Senoia, is a global health major with an anthropology and sociology double-minor. She is a member of Phi Beta Kappa National Honor Society and Phi Eta Sigma Honor Society. She is also a member of the Association of Global Health, a student mentor for the Minority Mentor Program, secretary of Community Health and Promotion Scholars, president of the International Bears Association, a Diversity and Inclusion Ambassador for the Office of Diversity and Inclusion Initiatives, a recipient of the Diversity Inclusion Excellence Student Award and four-time recipient of the Delta Scholarship Fund Award.

“The Lewis Scholars struck gold with Jamyah,” said Dr. Ryan Tokarz, assistant professor of global health. “The blend of intelligence, empathy and grit that Jamyah displays each day at Mercer University will be impossible to go unrecognized. The way she approaches her work—with curiosity and unending resolve—is admirable in any person, much less a student. Working with Jamyah is a pleasure, and her presence made our classrooms a more enjoyable and learning-conducive workspace. The University of Pittsburgh, The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and wherever she lands in her future endeavors can expect to experience all of this and more.”

After graduation, Combs plans to attend Emory University Rollins School of Public Health to pursue a Master of Public Health degree.

About the CDC John R. Lewis Undergraduate Public Health Scholars (Lewis Scholars) Program

The CDC’s Office of Health Equity (OHE) supports the CDC John R. Lewis Undergraduate Public Health Scholars (Lewis Scholars) Program and the Dr. James A. Ferguson Emerging Infectious Diseases (Ferguson) Graduate Fellowship. These programs provide internship and fellowship opportunities for qualified undergraduate and graduate students to gain meaningful experiences in public health settings.