2021 Fletcher Prize in Population Medicine Awarded to Three HMS Students

2021 Fletcher Prize in Population Medicine Awarded to Three HMS Students

February 3, 2021
2021 Fletcher Prize Winners
Maya Behn, Erika Lynn-Green, and
Inam Sakinah in front of Gordon Hall,
Harvard Medical School

We are pleased to announce that Maya Behn, Erika Lynn-Green, and Inam Sakinah, medical students at Harvard Medical School, have been selected to receive the annual Fletcher Prize in Population Medicine. The teams' winning submission, “Early COVID-19 Vaccination for Incarcerated Populations: Prioritizing Population Health”, makes the case for prioritizing highly-impacted populations inside carceral facilities and their home communities from the perspectives of social justice, equity, prevention, and vulnerability. 

The first-year HMS students bonded over their shared interests in health policy, advocacy, and equity, a bond formed despite their virtual learning environment. In addition to their virtual medical school studies, the three friends have also channeled these mutual interests to help launch a non-profit organization called Future Doctors in Politics (fDIP). Their hope is that fDIP will evolve into a national movement to motivate, educate, and train future doctors to participate in political engagement, serve as policy advisors, and run for office. 

The team learned of the Fletcher Prize from one of their medical school professors, and were excited to brainstorm topics to address in population health - and the inequities facing incarcerated populations became a clear choice. When state and federal governments began publishing vaccination priorities, they decided that they wanted to bring public attention to the omission of this marginalized population. 

Maya has experience in community-centered research to improve health outcomes for people who have histories of incarceration. When the pandemic began, she worked with Dr. Monik Jiménez at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health to track COVID-19 cases and mitigation efforts in carceral facilities throughout the US. 

In their Fletcher Prize submission, the trio advocates for individuals experiencing incarceration to be included in the high-risk populations eligible for the first rounds of COVID-19 vaccines. They also highlight how COVID has exacerbated structural inequities among certain populations. For further information about how COVID-19 has affected those who are incarcerated, the team suggests The COVID Prison Project.

About the Fletcher Prize in Population Medicine

The Fletcher Prize, named for Department of Population Professors Emeriti Suzanne and Robert Fletcher, is awarded by the Department for the best paper on a topic in Population Medicine written by a Harvard Medical School or Harvard School of Dental Medicine student. Papers are judged by an expert panel of DPM faculty and awarded with a $1000 prize. Learn more about the Fletcher Prize.

About the 2021 Fletcher Prize in Population Medicine Winners

Maya Behn is a first-year student MD student at Harvard Medical School. She comes to HMS from the Division of Women’s Health at Brigham and Women’s Hospital where she focused on sex- and gender-informed research and women’s health educational initiatives. She previously worked as a health educator and contraception counselor for the Cook County Health and Hospitals System in Chicago. She is passionate about policy and advocacy that focuses on advancing health equity. Maya graduated magna cum laude from Haverford College in 2018 with a BA in English. 

Erika Lynn-Green is a first-year MD student at Harvard Medical School. She grounds her work in health justice and the structural determinants of health. As a 2018 Marshall Scholar, her studies and thesis work focused on the intersections of domestic violence, immigration, and health policy. While an undergraduate at Yale College, she served on the mayor’s Homeless Advisory Commission and founded a youth shelter staffed by Yale students in partnership with the New Haven Youth Continuum. She holds two Masters of Science degrees: in social policy from the London School of Economics, and in global health systems from Queen Mary University of London. Erika graduated summa cum laude with a BA in English from Yale, where she received the Warren Memorial Prize for the top graduating senior in the humanities.

Inam Sakinah is a first-year MD student at Harvard Medical School and serves on its Anti-Racism Task Force. Committed to confronting the structural determinants of health inequity, Inam’s work lies at the nexus of medicine, politics, and policy. Inam completed a Master of Public Health at Emory University as a Woodruff Scholar where her research focused on access to health care. Inam previously worked at the CDC on workforce equity strategy and at the FDA on drug safety policy. Inam was also selected by the Florida Executive Office of the Governor as their youngest Gubernatorial Fellow. In that role, she partnered with the Florida Department of Health to pioneer health equity trainings for the agency. During her undergraduate years, she founded Power of WE, a university-wide initiative that is now a nationally recognized model for advancing diversity, equity, and inclusion on college campuses. Inam graduated summa cum laude with a BSc in Interdisciplinary Social Science from Florida State University in 2018.