PhD candidate Marlene Joannie Bewa is “Charging Upward”

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USF College of Public Health (COPH) doctoral candidate Marlene Joannie Bewa was recently recognized for her many accomplishments and skills in the second-annual women’s edition of Tampa Magazines “Women to Watch 2022.”

Bewa is a medical doctor and winner of both a USF Outstanding Young Alumni Award and Golden Bull Award. She also is a United Nations Young Leader, among many other accomplishments.

Marlene Joannie Bewa. (Photo courtesy of Maya Pictures)

Tampa Magazines feature article “Charging Forward” concentrated on USF alumnae and highlighted such prestigious Bulls as USF President Rhea Law, Melissa Seixas, state president of Duke Energy and Elizabeth Krystyn, co-founder of Baldwin Krystyn Sherman Partners & Baldwin Risk Partners.

“It’s a great honor to be included in this list alongside other women leaders such as Rhea Law and other prominent women in the Tampa Bay region,” Bewa said. “It’s a sign that our university and city value excellence, service, diversity, equity and inclusion, and they are keen to ensure gender equality including in academia and leadership roles.”

Bewa said she was encouraged to participate in the article by USF Foundation’s India Witte, who is also the former executive director of USF Women in Leadership and Philanthropy (WLP). 

“I am a WLP-endowed scholar, and I was actively involved in WLP’s Women Who Ignite Student Engagement (WISE) Advisory Council,” Bewa noted. “The magazine’s team were following me and were familiar with my research and global engagement work.”

Marlene Joannie Bewa , center, with Shawna Wiggs, left, Tampa Magazines group publisher, and Kathryn Deen, managing editor. (Photo courtesy of Bewa)

Not one to rest on her (many!) laurels, Bewa is currently hard at work defending her PhD proposal, which focuses on understanding adolescents’ experiences and factors affecting access and utilization of modern contraception methods in Benin Republic (West Africa), where she is from.

She’s being supervised in her research by the COPH’s Drs. Claudia Parvanta, Russell Kirby, Cheryl Vamos and UC Berkeley’s Dr. Ndola Prata. She’s supported by the Schlumberger Foundation, a nonprofit that encourages science and technology education.

Bewa was also selected to receive an emerging scholar award by the Society of Family Planning to investigate the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on access to contraception nationwide in the United States, research she is conducting with the COPH’s Harrell Center Director Abraham Salinas-Miranda

And as if that hasn’t been enough, Bewa has also co-authored a paper selected as a top-cited article of 2020-2021. The article was published by Wiley in the American Journal of Community Psychology and is titled “Youth participatory approaches and health equity: conceptualization and integrative review.”

“I would like to give a special shout-out to the Tampa Magazines team, USF Alumni Association, WLP and the USF Foundation for their endless commitment to uplift women,” Bewa said.

Story by Donna Campisano, USF College of Public Health