Marshall medical student earns minority research fellowship for child and adolescent psychiatry

HUNTINGTON, W.Va. – Second-year medical student Chuchitra Thanigaivasan has been selected for a prestigious research fellowship from the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry (AACAP). 

As a recipient of the AACAP Jeanne Spurlock, M.D., Research Fellowship in Substance Abuse and Addiction for Minority Medical Students, Thanigaivasan will have the opportunity to explore a research career in substance use disorder as it relates to child and adolescent psychiatry, gain valuable work experience and network with leaders in the child and adolescent psychiatry field. The fellowship includes an award of up to $4,000 for 12 weeks of research under the guidance of her mentor. She will also submit a proposal to present her work during the AACAP Virtual Annual Meeting in October.

As a research fellow, she will work with her mentors in Marshall’s Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Medicine—Associate Professor Kelly E. Melvin, M.D, and Assistant Professor Hillary N. Porter, D.O., as well as Marshall alumna Nafeeza Hussain, M.D., M.P.H., a resident physician with Marietta Memorial Hospital. Thanigaivasan will study the prevalence and correlation of psychiatric disorders among children and adolescents in an Appalachian health system.

“This is the opportunity of a lifetime to study the developmental impact on children and adolescent mental health in the Appalachian region,” Thanigaivasan said. “My research will not only provide an overview of the issues we are facing, but also use this information to better serve our patients in through implementation of public health programming. I have so much gratitude toward Drs. Porter, Melvin and Hussain for their guidance and support as I explore my different interests in medicine. They have been truly invaluable in my medical school experience.”

Thanigaivasan is a native of Charlotte, North Carolina, and graduated with a Bachelor of Arts in Global Studies with a concentration in Health and Environment from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. She hopes to gain experience working with the pediatric population, psychiatry and rural medicine through this research experience to help determine what her future holds.


Media Contact: Sheanna M. Spence, Director of External Affairs, School of Medicine, 304-691-1639

Date Posted: Monday, August 3, 2020