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Georgia Southern University announces Fulbright US Scholar Award for 2023-2024

Yelena N. Tarasenko, DrPH, MPH, MPA, J.D.

A noted Georgia Southern University public health professor has earned a Fulbright U.S. Scholar Program award in All Disciplines to Latvia for the 2023-2024 academic year from the U.S. Department of State and the Fulbright Foreign Scholarship Board.

Yelena N. Tarasenko, DrPH, is a professor at the Department of Biostatistics, Epidemiology and Environmental Health Sciences at Georgia Southern’s Jiann-Ping Hsu College of Public Health. Her Fulbright project is titled “Strengthening research and teaching capacity in cancer prevention globally.” She will be collaborating with personnel and students at the Faculty of Medicine and Institute of Clinical and Preventive Medicine at the University of Latvia, as well as colleagues at the International Agency for Research on Cancer to help improve cancer care coordination and screening in Latvia and 14 European countries participating in the “Towards gastric cancer screening implementation in the European Union” project. Given Tarasenko’s expertise in legal and cancer epidemiology, she will engage in (i) implementation research focused on cancer screening and patient navigation, and (ii) teaching activities focused on fostering research productivity (e.g., guest lecturing, curriculum development, advising, and mentoring).

Tarasenko is among more than 800 U.S. citizens who will teach or conduct research abroad for the 2023-2024 academic year through the Fulbright U.S. Scholar Program. Fulbrighters engage in cutting-edge research and expand their professional networks, often continuing research collaborations started abroad and laying the groundwork for forging future partnerships between institutions. Upon returning to their home countries, institutions, labs, and classrooms, they share their stories and often become active supporters of international exchange, inviting foreign scholars to campus and encouraging colleagues and students to go abroad.

As Fulbright Scholar alumni, their careers are enriched by joining a network of thousands of esteemed scholars, many of whom are leaders in their fields. Notable Fulbright alumni include 62 Nobel Prize laureates, 89 Pulitzer Prize recipients, 78 MacArthur Fellows, and 41 who have served as a head of state or government. Since 1946, the Fulbright Program has provided more than 400,000 participants from over 160 countries – chosen for their academic merit and leadership potential – with the opportunity to exchange ideas and contribute to finding solutions to challenges facing our communities and our world.

“This is a wonderful validation of Dr. Tarasenko’s scholarship and expertise, and another example of Georgia’s Southern’s expanding reputation for public-impact research,” said Carl Reiber, Ph.D., Georgia Southern University provost and vice president for academic affairs. “Fulbright scholars are among the world’s most talented academicians, and we congratulate Dr. Tarasenko for this achievement.”

More than 800 U.S. scholars — faculty members, artists, and professionals from all backgrounds — teach or conduct research overseas through the Fulbright U.S. Scholar Program annually. In addition, over 2,000 U.S. students, artists, and early career professionals from all backgrounds in more than 100 different fields of study receive Fulbright U.S. Student Program awards annually to study, teach English, and conduct research overseas. 

“I’m excited to help expand our expertise on global health and develop a relationship with the only classical university in Latvia,” Tarasenko said. “This proposed project meets the university’s strategic pillars, as its leadership looks for ways to create and encourages opportunities for the exchange of teaching, research, scholarship, and professional development. It also meets the Jiann-Ping Hsu College of Public Health’s values and goals in terms of thinking globally and acting locally.”

The Fulbright Program is the U.S. government’s flagship international educational exchange program and is supported by the people of the United States and partner countries around the world. The Fulbright Program is funded through an annual appropriation made by the U.S. Congress to the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs. Participating governments and host institutions, corporations, and foundations around the world also provide direct and indirect support to the Program. In the United States, the Institute of International Education supports the implementation of the Fulbright U.S. Student and Scholar Programs on behalf of the U.S. Department of State, including conducting an annual competition for the scholarships. For more information about the Fulbright Program, visit


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