Rycheck Award

Russell Rule Rycheck Award for a Promising Master of Public Health Student

A $500 award for MPH students committed to the practice of public health. Funds can be used for books, coursework, travel, or professional development. Applications are due early December each year. The 2023 deadline has been extended to December 6.

Find application details in PittFund$Me (my.pitt.edu).


Pitt Public Health is pleased to request student applications for the Russell Rule Rycheck Award for a Promising Master of Public Health Student. Professor Rycheck served on the faculty of the Department of Epidemiology for 42 years. As a physician and epidemiologist, his devotion to teaching and mentoring benefited countless students. He often spoke of the physician's traditional black bag of tools and believed that public health professionals must also have a "professional bag" full of tools and skills needed to make an impact on the public's health. 

Purpose and Amount of Award

The Rycheck Award gives to a Pitt Public Health student pursuing an MPH degree and committed to the practice of public health a $500 award that will enable the student to develop further skills and competencies for the “professional bag.” Recipients may use the award to defray the costs of, for example, travel to a conference, membership in a professional organization, textbooks, courses in public speaking or scientific writing, or other opportunities that would enhance their training as a public health practitioner.

Application Guidelines

Students interested in applying must submit an application packet with the following materials:

  • An application
  • A brief statement (maximum of 250 words) that addresses the applicant's commitment to public health and how the applicant plans to use the award to enhance her or his tools of the profession; and 
  • A letter of support from a member of the faculty of Pitt Public Health, the School of Medicine, or the School of Dental Medicine. 

Note that commitment to public health may be demonstrated in several ways: employment, practicum/internship, or volunteer work with a local or state health department, community agency, or international non-governmental organization engaged in direct public health activities; leadership in a public health professional organization; or substantive involvement in public health interventions or policy initiatives in conjunction with Pitt Public Health students, faculty, or local communities. 

The statement should be typed, use 12-point font, be double-spaced, and contain a maximum of 250 words. It should include the following sections: 

  • Background illustrating the applicant’s commitment to public health;
  • Budget justification describing how awarded funds will be used; and
  • Summary statement indicating how using the funds for this purpose will enhance the student’s “professional bag” as a public health professional.

The application deadline is December 1. 

Applications will be available at pitt.scholarshipuniverse.com several weeks prior to the deadline. 

Award winners will be notified by letter. 

Review Criteria

Two $500 scholarships will be awarded. Departments and award winners will be notified by letter. The associate dean for student affairs will review nominations and select winners, with the input of Pitt Public Health faculty or administrative staff as deemed necessary. Selection of awardees is based upon the applicant’s demonstration of commitment to the practice of public health, as described in the application materials.