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FIRST Announces 9th Class of FIRE Fellows


May 24 2024 | 11:35 AM

The Center for Firefighter Injury Research and Safety Trends (FIRST) is proud to announce the 9th class of the Fire service Injury Research, Epidemiology, and Evaluation (FIRE) Fellowship. Fellowship recipients, known as "FIRE Fellows," are graduate students from the Dornsife School of Public Health at Drexel University in Philadelphia.

The 2024 FIRE Fellowship recipients are (from left to right):

FIRE Fellows Divya Chanda, Ripon Hosain, Amruta Patil, and Noah Southard

Divya Chanda, MPH(c) 2025, Department of Epidemiology & Biostatistics
Ripon Hosain, MS(c) 2025, Department of Environmental & Occupational Health
Amruta Patil, MPH(c) 2025, Department of Epidemiology & Biostatistics
Noah Southard, MPH(c) 2025, Department of Environmental & Occupational Health

Ms. Chanda is enrolled in the MPH program in the department of Epidemiology and Biostatistics. As a dentist turned epidemiologist, she is thrilled about the opportunity to explore the United States fire and rescue service. She has always been fascinated by their rapid response rates despite the complexity of their operations. She believes that, by being part of the FIRE Fellowship, she will gain important insights into the workings of first responders, which will enrich her understanding and contribute to her professional development.

Mr. Hosain is enrolled in the MS in Environmental and Occupational Health Sciences program with a minor in Human Health Risk Assessment. The Fellowship presents a unique opportunity for him to dive deeper into the field of occupational health and contribute to meaningful research aimed at improving the health and safety of first responders. He is particularly excited about the prospect of working alongside an esteemed research team and gaining invaluable insights that will shape his future career in public health. He looks forward to improving the well-being of those who serve our communities tirelessly.

Ms. Patil is also enrolled in the MPH program within the Epidemiology and Biostatistics department. As a passionate public health advocate with a dentistry background, she is committed to addressing health disparities and promoting preventive care. Her experience includes working in diverse oral health care teams, contributing to older adult health research, and excelling in SAS data analysis competitions. She is particularly excited about the hands-on approach of the FIRE Fellowship in addressing community needs while utilizing both quantitative and qualitative methods to analyze fire service data. It aligns perfectly with her goals in public health research and community engagement.

Mr. Southard is an MPH student in the Environmental and Occupational Health department. He is excited to join the ninth cohort of FIRE Fellows and work with the FIRST Center's team of public health professionals who are dedicated to supporting and empowering the fire and rescue service through comprehensive research, education, and policy.

This year's program is funded in part by two FEMA Fire Prevention & Safety Assistance to Firefighters Grants:

  • The DEI FIRE Toolkit in partnership with the Metropolitan "Metro" Fire Chiefs association. The FIRE Fellows will analyze data collected from the DEI Departmental Assessment to help fire departments understand their readiness to make DEI-related changes.
  • The FOCUS assessment, which is currently the largest survey of firefighters nationally. Fellows will develop competencies in stakeholder engagement by working with department champions on recruitment, survey administration, and data analysis. They will assist in an over-sampling initiative of combination and volunteer departments as part of the Combination and Volunteer Assessment of Safety (CANVAS) project.

Faculty for the Fellowship include: FIRST Center director, Jennifer Taylor, PhD, MPH, CPPS; Project Manager for Education & Training, Alexandra Fisher, MPH, CHES (2020); Outreach & Communication Manager, Victoria Gallogly, MPH(2022); and over 35 FIRE Fellowship alumni.

The FIRST Center is a research, education, and practice enterprise that supports the United States fire and rescue service through objective data collection and analysis.

For more information, please contact Victoria Gallogly, Outreach and Communication Manager: