Susanville native Heidi West has been recognized for academic excellence and commitment to public health as a 2020 recipient of the Samuel J. Tibbitts Fellowship at the UCLA Fielding School of Public Health, one of the top-ranked schools of public health in the United States.
“I am honored to receive this fellowship and I am grateful that it will help me to lend my voice and contribute scholarship to improving public health and social justice,” said West, a doctoral student in the school’s health policy and management PhD program.
West is a second year doctoral student whose research at the Fielding School of Public Health has focused on the effects of a migrant spouse on spousal relationships and transnational parenting, women’s empowerment, health care use, and general health, including a major research project in Bangladesh. This work includes research in rural villages and urban households, talking with women about how they maintain spousal relationships and conduct long-distance co-parenting relationships with spouses who only come home once every 18 months.
“The research focuses on a fascinating but largely unexplored question: when a man migrates away from his family and household, what happens to the health of those “left behind?” said Corrina Moucheraud, who teaches at FSPH. “Working with data from Bangladesh, Heidi implements a sophisticated set of tools for exploring these questions and addressing several methodologic challenges; for example, migration is not randomly allocated, so how can we fairly compare the “left behind” households to those without migrant husbands?”
West has a 3.9 GPA and is a 2009 graduate of American University, Washington, DC (MA), and 2003 graduate of the University of California, Berkeley (BA). She is currently working as a researcher and teaching assistant at UCLA, and previously did so at Drexel University in Philadelphia and at American University. She has worked as a researcher in the field in Myanmar, Indonesia, and the United States.