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UC Master’s Candidate Awarded For Commitment To Community Health Care Needs

Dr. Sasi Chockalingam, a graduate student in the division of human services, is awarded an internship with the Health Foundation of Greater Cincinnati.

Date: 10/18/2005
By: Dawn Fuller
Phone: (513) 556-1823
Photos By: Dottie Stover
UC ingot Dr. Sasi Chockalingam is on the go. She’s earning her master’s degree in health promotion and education from the College of Education, Criminal Justice, and Human Services (CECH), plus, she’s a new mom to a baby girl, Yamini, the spouse of UC doctoral candidate Balaji Kalyanaraman (who’s earning his PhD in biomedical engineering), and now, she is serving a year-long internship with the Health Foundation of Greater Cincinnati.

Sasi Chockalingam
Sasi Chockalingam

Chockalingam was awarded the Eddie Lee Ralls Sellers internship, named to honor one of the first three African-American nursing graduates from the University of Cincinnati. The 12-month internship includes salary and tuition expenses.

“The Eddie Lee Ralls Sellers Internship was developed to provide financial support and professional experience to graduate students who exhibit Ms. Sellers’ dedication to providing access to healthcare to the underserved in this community,” said Don Hoffman, president and CEO of the Health Foundation. “Sasi’s interest in the criminal justice system and its role in healthcare naturally aligns with the internship and the mission of the Health Foundation.”

Chockalingam is from Tamilnadu, the southern region of India. She previously earned her MD in general medicine from the St. Petersburg State Medical Academy in Russia. Chockalingam is also a certified health education specialist.

She says she and her husband moved to Cincinnati after he was accepted into the doctoral program at the UC College of Engineering. After the couple moved to Cincinnati, Chockalingam was accepted into the health promotion and education program in the fall of 2002. “Ever since my days in medical school, I have always been interested in public health, and that was what led me to choose this field of study,” she says.

Sasi Chockalingam talks with Elyce Benke in the Greater Cincinnati Health Foundation
Sasi Chockalingam talks with Elyce Benke in the Greater Cincinnati Health Foundation's Assistance for Substance Abuse Prevention (ASAP) Resource Center.

“Sasi has the drive and the determination to succeed in whatever she does,” says advisor Randall Cottrell, UC professor and program coordinator for health promotion and education. “She is committed to helping others to improve health services and to conducting further research on how to improve those services.” Cottrell adds that Chockalingam has carried a perfect 4.0 grade point average through her master’s degree program.

“I see the internship as a unique opportunity to put my knowledge in community health into practice, by assisting in the design, implementation and evaluation of health programs,” Chockalingam says. “I’m also excited to acquire specialized training in grant writing, data management and resource management.” 

Chockalingam adds that she has benefited from a comprehensive UC curriculum that emphasizes hands-on learning through internships. It was that emphasis on health-service internships in the community that won the program the recent Youth Service Award from the AIDS Volunteers of Cincinnati (AVOC).

“This internship has helped me gain confidence in my knowledge and skills, and the faculty have been extremely helpful,” Chockalingam says.

Chockalingam is looking ahead to achieving her master’s degree in spring of 2006. Her thesis explores tobacco use among female college students and their knowledge, beliefs and attitudes toward smoking cessation during pregnancy.

The Health Foundation of Greater Cincinnati is an independent foundation dedicated to improving community health and access to healthcare for vulnerable populations, The foundation awards grants to non-profit and governmental organizations for selected health programs and activities in Cincinnati and 20 surrounding counties in Ohio, Kentucky and Indiana.


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