Carolyn Caine
Institute for Policy & Social Research

Doctoral student selected for Robert Wood Johnson Foundation leadership program

Wed, 11/04/2020

LAWRENCE — Morgan Farnworth, doctoral student in public affairs & administration at the University of Kansas, has been selected to participate in one of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation’s leadership programs. These programs connect changemakers across the country — from every profession and field — to learn from and work with one another in creating more just and thriving communities.

Specifically, Farnworth was selected for Health Policy Research Scholars. Designed for doctoral students from historically marginalized backgrounds and populations underrepresented in specific disciplines, Health Policy Research Scholars helps researchers from all fields apply their work to policies that advance equity and health while building a diverse field of leaders who reflect our changing national demographics.

As a member of the program’s newest cohort, Farnworth will focus on the role of government in advancing health equity. Applying an interdisciplinary lens to the opioid overdose crisis, her work will examine its socioeconomic and policy causes, the gendered and racialized barriers to substance use treatment, and the promise of collaboration between courts and the treatment sector. Her research speaks to government as a determinant of health and asks how public organizations can improve health outcomes for vulnerable communities.

“Health Policy Research Scholars is a comprehensive leadership program, designed to equip scholars to affect and lead meaningful policy change around health equity. As someone who aspires to research and teach in an academic setting, the program will allow me to translate research to practitioners, and to equip the next generation of public sector leaders with a better understanding of what shapes health,” Farnworth said. “Most importantly, I joined a community of interdisciplinary scholars who share values of equity and anti-racism, who are passionate about meaningful change.” 

Farnworth’s work will contribute to the foundation's goal to build a culture of health, one in which everyone in the U.S. has a fair and just opportunity to achieve the best possible health and well-being. Her work is supervised by Dorothy Daley, professor in the of public affairs & administration, and Rachel Krause, associate professor of public affairs & administration.

“Morgan’s work situates at the intersection of applied research on addiction and equity and public management theory around government institutions and collaboration,” Krause said. In less than three years as a Ph.D. student she has already made meaningful contributions to research in this area. Her selection as a RWJF scholar reflects these achievements and will help her further extend the impact of her work.”

KU’s Institute for Policy & Social Research supported Farnworth’s application and will manage the funds she receives from the program.

To learn more about Health Policy Research Scholars and RWJF’s other leadership programs, and to meet other participants, visit

KU in the news
The New York TimesFri, 05/07/2021
The New York PostSat, 05/01/2021
Educators may feel squeamish discussing topics like anti-Asian and anti-Asian American bias with their students. On…

One of 34 U.S. public institutions in the prestigious Association of American Universities
44 nationally ranked graduate programs.
—U.S. News & World Report
Top 50 nationwide for size of library collection.
5th nationwide for service to veterans —"Best for Vets: Colleges," Military Times
KU Today