Martin Wegman, an M.D.-Ph.D. student in the Department of Health Outcomes & Policy, was recently recognized as an Outstanding Graduate Student by the University of Florida Graduate Student Council. Only two graduate students are recognized for this annual award, which honors graduate or professional students for (1) academic achievements that improve the national standing of the university, (2) service to the graduate or professional student body, and/or (3) service that has improved the graduate and professional experience at UF. Wegman’s principal mentor is Betsy Shenkman, Ph.D., chair of the Department of Health Outcomes & Policy in the College of Medicine, and director of UF’s Institute for Child Health Policy.
Wegman has garnered several prestigious national research awards, including a Doris Duke Foundation fellowship in 2014-15, during which he worked in Malaysia to conduct research on policies affecting people with an opioid dependency, and a four-year Ruth L. Kirschstein National Research Service Award from the National Institutes of Health in 2015 to support his dissertation. This year he won the Alpha Omega Alpha Award for top poster at the College of Medicine’s annual research day. In addition, Wegman has publishing credits in a number of medical journals, including analyses in Health Affairs and the Journal of the American Medical Association.
“This recognition is humbling because it comes from my peers and colleagues,” Wegman said. “The award reflects how supportive my mentorship team and degree programs have been in allowing me to engage with my passions since I’ve been at UF.”
Wegman also has excelled in his extracurricular leadership and volunteer activities, including his mentorship of more than a dozen UF undergraduate and graduate students. Through his leadership of the Equal Access Clinic, UF’s student-run health care clinic network, he oversaw a volunteer workforce of 300 UF students, fostering service learning while providing health care to more than 2,000 of the underserved population in Gainesville. He founded UF HEROES and SWAG Oasis, which have provided extensive opportunities for students to engage in local community capacity building. UF HEROES (Health and Education through Research, Outreach, Empowerment, and Service) focuses on empowering the community to establish healthy environments through advocacy, service, education, and research. SWAG Oasis is a capacity-building program created in partnership with the Southwest Advocacy Group (SWAG) that works to increase access to fresh fruits and vegetables in a part of the community that has been deemed a “food desert” by the USDA.
“From the time he arrived at UF, Martin has made an indelible mark on the university,” Shenkman said. “His outstanding work and accomplishments have been exemplary for a graduate student and clinical researcher in the formative stages of his career, and I am extremely proud that the Graduate Student Council has recognized him with this award.”
Read more about Wegman’s research in Malaysia here: