Health Law Award Recipient Obtains CDC Fellowship
2016 Health Law Award recipient, Dr. Sheila Salvant Valentine (J.D./M.S.H.A. ’16) will join the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in the HIV prevention division as an ORISE fellow.
Dr. Sheila Salvant Valentine was a primary-care physician practicing in the Caribbean, first in Jamaica and then Turks and Caicos Islands, before becoming a Georgia resident and a Georgia State University student.
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Valentine and her husband, Jamaican physician Christopher Valentine, relocated to Atlanta in 2013 where she immediately eyed Georgia State to further her education and career goals.
“I picked Georgia State because its health law program is highly rated and because the price was right,” she said.
Valentine, a native of Haiti, was a primary-care physician practicing in the Caribbean, first in Jamaica and then Turks and Caicos Islands, before becoming a Georgia resident and a Georgia State University student. She graduated in May after having studied concurrently at the College of Law and Robinson College of Business, completing a master of science in health administration in addition to her law degree.
The CDC position will allow her to pursue her dual passions for health care and the law. Having been a doctor in countries like Jamaica, where medical care is government subsidized, she realizes that strategic policies and laws are necessary for a health care system to function properly. She wants to be a part of making the process work.
“Not only do I understand the legal aspect of the health care system, I also understand its clinical aspect,” she said. “I have been on both sides of the fence and therefore have a different and deeper appreciation for health law. I cannot imagine having any other career but a health law career.”
Valentine’s academic achievement and performance earned her the Health Law Award, given each year by the Center for Law, Health & Society. Despite a busy family and school schedule, she participates in student organizations including the Black Law Student Association, Hispanic Student Bar Association and the Student Health Law Association.
Other than that, spare time is at a premium.
“I have a 5-year old. That’s where my spare time goes!” she laughed.
After graduation she plans to take the July bar exam, then begin working in public health law. Eventually she plans to make her way into global health law.
“I’d like to work with an NGO, a nongovernmental organization, or through the federal government,” she said.
While being a doctor didn’t particularly give her a leg up in either law or business school, except in the discipline needed for both, Valentine hopes down the road that her medical background will aid in her career so she can help others.
“My hope is eventually to bridge the communication gap between doctors, administrators, lawmakers and policy-makers,” she explained.