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The Wallenberg Fellowship for 2021 has been awarded to LSA senior Darius Moore. Awarded to a graduating senior each year in the spring, the Wallenberg Fellowship is a $25,000 scholarship designed to allow students to fulfill a self-designed research and immersion experience in the year following their graduation from the University of Michigan. Moore plans on working in the Dominican Republic during his Wallenberg year and aims to attend medical school afterward.
Moore’s interest in his research stems from his background in healthcare; he will be graduating this spring with a double major in Biology, Health and Society and Spanish. Moore said that although he wants to be a physician in the future, he is interested in the humanities and how issues of culture and race tie into the medical field.
“My Wallenberg project is looking at the impact of intersectional stigma on the healthcare outcomes and health and clinical experiences of minoritized communities in the Dominican Republic,” Moore said.
Moore’s project will focus on communities of Dominicans of Afro and Hatian descent and people living with HIV.
Moore’s experience with social change goes beyond his major and his Wallenberg project. Moore has been coordinating a research project in Kenya and Zambia since fall of 2019, Gary Harper, Professor of Global Public Health, said.
“The work that he has been involved in is work I’m doing in Kenya and Zambia, looking at mental health and sexual health issues for gay and bisexual men in those two different settings,” Harper said. “For my project in Zambia, he has been coordinating that project focused around issues of stigma and HIV care.”
Moores’ passion for intersectional stigma is what sets him apart from other students, Harper said.
“He is someone who is really dedicated to social justice,” Harper said.“I think his depth of understanding about those topics is very impressive, and he really wants to make a difference in the world.”
Henry Dyson, the director of the University’s Office of National Scholarships and Fellowships, said the office looks for students who want to create social change and tackle important humanitarian issues in order to make the world a better place. Moore’s proposal for the fellowship was exemplary and feasible, Dyson said.
“His proposal showed a wonderful understanding of the broader social determinants of health, how people can be marginalized in different ways in the healthcare system and how intersectionality works in virtualization,” Dyson said. “He was able to draw a really compelling narrative. Darius was able to talk about his experiences that prepared him to go through this work (and) he talked about what he wanted to do in the healthcare profession in the future, and how spending this year in the Dominican Republic would really move him forward in that journey.”
The fellowship honors the legacy of Raoul Wallenberg, a Swedish international student at the University of Michigan from 1931-1935, Dyson said. Wallenberg is credited to saving thousands of Jews in the holocaust by issuing protective documents and providing shelter.
Coming up on the fellowship’s tenth anniversary next year, Dyson said he is excited not only about Moore’s project, but also for future projects that will undoubtedly highlight Wallenberg’s legacy and bring remembrance to his accomplished life.
“While Raoul was here, he had all sorts of adventures: He would hitchhike back and forth to Chicago, he hitchhiked out west with a friend, got a car and drove down to Mexico City and we have letters that he wrote during all of this period,” Dyson said. “So in some ways, the Wallenberg Fellowship represents that experiential side of Raoul Wallenberg’s education.”
Daily Staff Reporter Hiruni Jayawickreme can be reached at email@example.com.