Two students, one professor receive Fulbright scholarships


Two learners and one professor at The Ohio State University College of Medicine have been selected to receive Fulbright scholarships from the widely recognized and prestigious international exchange program.Fulbright Scholars

Fourth-year medical student Samuel Paul will be pursuing a master’s degree in critical care medicine at Queen Mary University of London. Fourth-year medical student Ellena Privitera will be conducting research at Universidade Nova de Lisboa’s National School of Public Health, where her focus will be on migrant health, which is a leading global health concern.

Lauren T. Southerland, associate professor in the Department of Emergency Medicine at the Ohio State University College of Medicine, has been awarded a Fulbright U.S. Scholar Award to research “Accelerating Geriatric Emergency Medicine Models of Care Dissemination Using Implementation Science” in Australia. From Jan to April of 2025, Southerland will evaluate local and national strategies to improve hospitals’ abilities to implement high quality geriatric care in emergency departments.


Carol R. Bradford,  MD, MS, FACS, dean of the Ohio State College of Medicine, says Samuel, Ellena and Lauren exemplify dedication and excellence in their respective fields, and she offers her sincere congratulations.


“This achievement is a testament to your institution’s deep commitment to international exchange and to building lasting connections between the people of the United States and the people around the world,” Dr. Bradford says. “This innovative work will build lasting connections, advance knowledge across communities and improve lives around the world.”


Privitera says the support she’s received and the access to innovative research and programming in the college have each played a huge role in preparing her for this Fulbright recognition. Her clinical rotations and research with Diane Gorgas, MD, clinical professor of Emergency Medicine in the College of Medicine and executive director of the Office of Global Health Leadership, have taught her to problem solve in real-time. They’ve also contributed to her confidence in her ability to jump into the new environment.


“Dr. Gorgas’ mentorship has given me a platform of research knowledge and skills for me to build on,” Privitera says. “And my conversations with my Portuguese colleagues have already expanded my perspective on the health literacy work I currently do.”

Privitera’s research will examine health disparities among community members with non-communicable diseases. She’ll help run a health literacy intervention for migrants in Portugal, which will include working with migrants, health care workers and social services workers to contribute to a multinational collaboration to pilot similar health literacy interventions for a variety of diverse, socially vulnerable populations in 23 EU countries.

During her first three years of medical school, Privitera has been involved in delivering health education and participating in artistic outlets with incarcerated women in the Ohio Reformatory for Women. She says this community service program keeps her grounded.  

“Advocacy has become both my solace and my inspiration,” Privitera says. “Focusing on community health has shown me how I can honor patients’ stories through advocacy and service outside the exam room.”  

Paul’s passion for medicine was sparked at a young age, as he witnessed the impact his father, a physician, was able to have on his many patients. This flame continued to grow in medical school as he shadowed in the Pediatric Intensive Care Unit and saw just how vital interprofessional care was to provide critically ill patients with the care they needed.

In the critical care program, Paul will work alongside other health care professionals, such as nurses and respiratory therapists, and delve into ways medical teams can work together to leverage the unique expertise and perspectives the different professions bring to the table.


“The program focuses on training students in the nuanced pathophysiology seen in the critical care setting,” Paul says. “And how to manage ethical dilemmas that are unavoidable in such high-stakes environments. It will help all of us be better equipped to lead strong teams in the future.”


Paul’s education and training through Interprofessional Practice and Education (IPE) at Ohio State has allowed him to participate in team science. IPE serves all seven of Ohio State’s health science colleges to establish and advance a culture of collaboration among all health disciplines. He sees the ability to recognize the strengths of team members to combat whatever ailments patients are facing as his foray into becoming an intensivist – a physician trained in critical care medicine who holds the responsibility for making the best-informed medical decisions for patients in the Intensive Care Unit.


“They are humble enough to acknowledge when others’ expertise is needed and confident enough in themselves to stand behind their medical decision making in the face of controversy,” Paul says. “These are the attributes that I see in my role models within the field, and I aspire to one day call them traits of my own.”

Southerland’s research will do workflow analyses and local factor assessments to collate best practices. These practices will be disseminated through the Australasian College of Emergency Medicine so other hospitals can improve their care.

“Older adults who are injured or ill need more assistance, medical evaluation and treatment, and multidisciplinary care than younger patients,” Southerland said. “I will visit different hospitals across New South Wales and Queensland to investigate how they have integrated geriatric protocols and care.”

Southerland is the first Fulbright U.S. Scholar from the Department of Emergency Medicine, and one of very few from the College of Medicine. She is hoping to use this opportunity to standardize a pathway allowing more Ohio State clinician-scientists to participate in this prestigious program.

The Fulbright program gives learners and researchers the opportunity to build effective relationships with patients and practitioners. They’ll become trusted faces in large health care systems delivering innovative solutions in medicine.