University of South Florida

College of Behavioral and Community Sciences


Aging studies PhD student reflects on CDC Public Health Law Fellowship experience

Natalia Babenko presents her research

Natalia Babenko presents her research at USF.

Natalia Babenko, MPH, a PhD student in the School of Aging Studies, is a spring 2024 fellow of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC’s) Public Health Law Fellowship. This fellowship provides on-the-job training for careers in public health law and policy.

"This fellowship has provided me with invaluable experiences and opportunities, particularly in advocating for aging policies and addressing the unique health challenges faced by older adults," said Babenko. 

In her reflection on her experience as a CDC Public Health Law fellow, Babenko describes her interest in pursuing a career in public health law as stemming from her personal experience with her grandfather's Alzheimer's diagnosis. While she and her family cared for him, they ran into numerous health care and psychological challenges.

"The realization that individuals and families face incredible hardship with few resources ignited my passion for combatting degenerative brain diseases by leveraging the best research practices to implement community interventions through the legal framework," Babenko explained in the article.

Babenko has had the opportunity to learn from mentors within the program and network with experts in both law and public health. She has also contributed to ongoing legal projects, assessed policies, and proposed research-backed recommendations to enhance existing policies related to aging.

Read more about her experience in the program here

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The Mission of the College of Behavioral and Community Sciences (CBCS) is to advance knowledge through interdisciplinary teaching, research, and service that improves the capacity of individuals, families, and diverse communities to promote productive, satisfying, healthy, and safe lives across the lifespan. CBCS envisions the college as a globally recognized leader that creates innovative solutions to complex conditions that affect the behavior and well-being of individuals, families, and diverse communities.