Nafisa EltahirNafisa Eltahir was awarded a competitive stipend from the Western Region Public Health Training Center for her practicum project. She is one of 30 students in the states of Arizona, Hawaii, Nevada, California, Pacific Islands to receive the $3,500 award.

Her practicum project will focus on how law enforcement can spend Proposition 64 funds in support of public health goals and avoid traumatizing or further criminalizing communities that were most negatively affected by the War on Drugs. She will obtain input from a diverse set of stakeholders, conduct independent research, and develop policy recommendations to guide spending of the Prop 64 Adult Use of Marijuana Act state tax revenue and present them to the Board of State and Community Corrections.

"This funding will be a great support for me in increasing the time and space it takes to facilitate meaningful and challenging conversations and research to drive restorative justice and public health policy change that is truly centered on healing communities," said Eltahir.

Eltahir will be working in collaboration with Public Health Advocates, a nonprofit public policy organization that “helps neighborhoods and schools become places that nurture health and well-being” by conducing policy-centered research, and supporting and sponsoring a variety of bills that support public health. She will work closely with Senior Director of Policy, Flojance Cofer, Ph.D., M.P.H. to design and implement the project.

California’s Prop 64 marijuana tax revenues present a special opportunity to, among other things, invest in community-based substance use education, prevention, early intervention, and treatment for children, youth, their families and caregivers, and communities. Of the $1 billion in projected annual revenue, the California Highway Patrol and the Board of State and Community Corrections will receive $175 million to support programs designed to reduce any potential negative impacts on public health or safety resulting from the measure.

The Western Region Public Health Training Center is one of ten Regional Public Health Training Centers (RPHTCs) funded by the Health Resources & Services Administration to support the public health workforce. The competitive stipend is awarded yearly to a graduate or undergraduate student pursing a degree in a health profession. Internships must meet one of the following objectives: (1) support a rural public health agency, (2) address childhood obesity, (3) prevention, management, or treatment of opioid addiction, and/or (4) have a community-based approach to improving mental health of individuals.