New Fellowship Supports Underrepresented Students in College of Health 4 +1 Program

March 09, 2023

Gift from Dr. Frank L. Douglas ’66 and Lynnet Douglas supports underrepresented undergraduate students

The College of Health (COH) is pleased to announce a new fellowship for students pursuing a masters degree through the COH’s 4 +1 program, through which students can earn a bachelor’s degree and a master’s in public health or master’s in population health in 5 years.

Tuition for the +1 master’s year is covered thanks to a gift from Dr. Frank L. Douglas ’66, an award-winning physician, researcher, and scholar in healthcare and pharmaceuticals and his wife Lynnet Douglas. 

The Douglas Fellowship is available to underrepresented undergraduate students in the College of Health or members of the Rapidly Accelerated Research Experience (RARE) program at Lehigh.

In keeping with the COH and RARE program’s emphasis on student research and experiential learning, Douglas Fellows will also have two funded research opportunities.

The fellowship expands over the next four years with one student recipient in 2023, two in 2024, and three in both 2025 and 2026.

Douglas, one of Lehigh's first black alumni, has seen over his career how scientists from different cultures, countries, educational institutions, and genders generate solutions to problems that are much more innovative.

A Fulbright award brought Douglas from British Guiana to Lehigh in 1962, where he faced many challenges including a transition to university life, winter weather, and tumultuous social change for people of color in the United States. 

Despite his experiences with racism and discrimination, Douglas earned a B.S. in engineering from Lehigh University in 1966 and went on to earn a Ph.D. in physical chemistry and an M.D. from Cornell University. He completed his internship and residency at the Johns Hopkins Medical Institution and a fellowship in neuroendocrinology at the National Institutes of Health. 

Over his pharmaceutical career he helped launch more than 20 well-known drugs.

Douglas has been featured on Lehigh’s GoGetters podcast and received the Dr. Costel Denson '56 Award from Lehigh, presented to an individual who has demonstrated leadership in increasing diversity in the American workplace and educational institutions. Douglas’s second book, Addressing Systemic Discrimination by Reframing the Problem, is available on Amazon.

“I am grateful for Dr. and Mrs. Douglas's generous gift, which will enable students from underrepresented communities to earn masters degrees that will help them solve the problem of health disparities for their own communities." says Elizabeth Dolan, interim dean. “Supporting underrepresented master’s students is a foundational element of the College’s strategic plan and focus on health equity.”

To be eligible for the fellowship, underrepresented Lehigh students in RARE or COH with at least sophomore standing should apply here