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Psychology PhD Student Named Health Policy Research Scholar

Jenna Sung

Jenna Sung, a doctoral student in the College of Arts and Sciences Department of Psychology, has been selected for the newest cohort of Health Policy Research Scholars (HPRS), one of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation’s (RWJF) leadership programs. These programs connect changemakers across the country — from every profession and field — to learn from and work with one another in creating more just and thriving communities.

Jenna Sung
Jenna Sung

Designed for doctoral students from historically marginalized backgrounds and populations underrepresented in specific disciplines, the Health Policy Research Scholars program helps researchers from all fields apply their work to policies that advance equity and health while building a diverse field of leaders who reflect our changing national demographics.

As a member of the program’s newest cohort, Sung will focus on increasing access to mental health services for underserved communities by identifying and mitigating multi-level barriers to evidence-based care. Her research has focused on building and testing brief, scalable interventions, and she is committed to pursuing research with potential to spur large-scale policy change — a goal that requires a transdisciplinary lens.

“I am beyond thrilled to be selected for the Health Policy Research Scholars program, as it will ideally complement my doctoral training and future goals by providing formal training in understanding how economic, social and systemic factors shape healthcare disparities,” Sung said. “Participating in this program will position me well to craft a research program with concrete potential to shape mental healthcare policy and position my work to maximally impact policy change. I am honored to work toward the goal of reducing mental healthcare disparities as part of the HPRS community.”

“Jenna is a brilliant clinical scientist with a longstanding commitment to improving youth mental health on a broad scale,” said Jessica Schleider, assistant professor in the Department of Psychology and Jenna’s advisor. “From day one of graduate school, she has worked to maximize the policy relevance of her research — for instance, by examining not just the effectiveness, but the cost-utility of the psychological treatments she studies. Jenna’s selection for HPRS is a well-earned recognition of her commitment to bridging the science-policy gap; I am positive she will use the program’s training and resources to the fullest, and I’m thrilled that the selection committee came to the same conclusion. I am incredibly proud of Jenna and excited to continue supporting her innovative work.”

To learn more about Health Policy Research Scholars and RWJF’s other leadership programs, and to meet other participants, visit

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