Two SPH doctoral students named 2024-2025 Magnuson Scholars


Congratulations to University of Washington School of Public Health doctoral students Amanda Brumwell and Miriana Duran on being named 2024–2025 Magnuson Scholars! The scholarships, announced May 9, recognize one student annually from each of the UW Health Sciences schools on the basis of outstanding academic performance and potential contributions to research in the health sciences. The scholars help continue the legacy of the late Senator Warren G. Magnuson and his remarkable commitment to improving the nation’s health through biomedical research, education, and responsive, sustainable health care discoveries.  

This year, SPH is fortunate to have two students honored for their outstanding academic performance and potential contributions to research in the health sciences.  

Read Brumwell and Duran’s scholar profiles to learn more about their impactful work:


Amanda Brumwell, PhD student in implementation science, Global Health

Amanda Brumwell’s goal as a research scientist is to help address the significant disparities witnessed first-hand in the management of diabetes. She plans to devote her dissertation research to advancing the field of diabetes care by investigating health systems and community-level approaches to managing and preventing type-II diabetes.

“I believe,” explains Amanda, “that this kind of research may help to prepare health systems to manage the burgeoning epidemic of diabetes effectively, efficiently, and equitably. It’s exciting to think that low- and middle-income settings could serve as exemplars of success.”

Her work as managing director at the nonprofit Advance Access & Delivery, allowed her to oversee two projects, in Durban, South Africa and Chennai, India. Both projects integrated diabetes and hypertension screening and linked to care with local tuberculosis control programs.

Amanda discovered a deep disparity between an alarming burden of diabetes and the lack of financial, structural, and political resources made available for this disease. She believes that, given the huge advances in clinical management of diabetes during recent years, there is significant opportunity for low- and middle-income settings to translate these practices to a real-world setting. Paving the way for novel strategies of treatment and preventing diabetes at a community- and population-level show great potential.

Global Health Professor Kenneth Sherr states, “Amanda is a superlative student with a strong background in implementation of health programs that address diabetes in low and middle-income countries. She is well positioned to build on this implementation experience and scientific training to move towards an independent research career that makes an impact on addressing the unmet diabetes burden globally.”  


Miriana Duran, PhD student, Health Systems and Population Health 

Prevention of chronic diseases like diabetes and hypertension, by improving childhood nutrition for Latinx communities via policies that promote a healthy lifestyle, is Miriana Duran’s foremost goal. Before moving to the United States, Miriana worked as a physician in Mexico, where diabetes is the second leading cause of death. “I realized,” states Miriana, “I couldn’t address some of the structural barriers or risk factors related to their illness as a physician.”

Having worked on multiple projects addressing disparities in chronic disease care and outcomes within the Latinx community, Miriana worked on a project that adapted an existing in-person program for caregivers of people with dementia (STAR-C) into a virtual program (STAR-VTF) using a cultural adaptation framework to meet the cultural and linguistic needs of Latinx caregivers. She also worked within the Latino community in rural areas in Washington state including one in which she and her team taught community health workers to identify and implement evidence-based interventions for cancer prevention.

Health Systems and Population Health Professor Jessica Jones-Smith explains, “Miriana’s experience as a physician in Mexico, working with patients with obesity and diabetes, fuels her research interests and provides a valuable perspective. She is able to work collaboratively as part of a team, and also skilled enough to make great strides in this field independently.”

Her bilingual, bicultural skills help coordinate, adapt and implement culturally appropriate programs on different topics for the Latinx community. For her dissertation she intends to focus on and examine the health impacts of Seattle’s Fresh Bucks Program. Fresh Bucks is an incentive program that provides $40 per month for fruits and vegetables for lower-income Seattle residents.

Miriana draws on her interpersonal skills, life experience, background knowledge of the relevant literature, and familiarity in qualitative research methods to develop her dissertation ideas. Her intellectual ability and drive to become a leader in public health research will enable Miriana’s work to benefit communities that have been historically marginalized.