Roopali Kulkarni completed the bridging the gaps summer internship program in 2016 while completing her dental education at the University of Pennsylvania. she graduated in 2019 with both her doctor of dental medicine degree and master of public health degree.
She is currently serving as the chief resident of the postdoctoral oral medicine program at the university of Pennsylvania. she plans on working in dental academics following the completion of her residency.
Roopali's passions lie in community health, service and outreach, and working with an interdisciplinary approach to care. her career focus is on the integration of medicine and dentistry, which blossomed into her pursuing an oral medicine residency program.
Alongside patient care, Roopali is actively involved with health advocacy efforts and organized dentistry. she served as the 2018-2019 national president of the American student dental association and now maintains involvement in philadelphia county dental society, Pennsylvania dental association, American dental association, American dental education association, and the American academy of oral medicine. she is currently working on a number of research protocols involving the oral-systemic health connection.
bridging the gaps has allowed Roopali to combine all of her professional goals and hopes to continuing building relationships and collaborating with other disciplines through the btg alumni network.
Julie Cousler served in Bridging the Gaps in 1996 through her Social Work program at Temple University leading a group of Philadelphia high school students on a community project in Central Philadelphia to beautify a vacant lot and check in on elderly neighbors in the heat. From there she received her Master’s degree in Social Work with a concentration in administration and social planning. After graduate school Julie Cousler served at Congreso de Latinos Unidos for ten years as the Vice President for Health and Wellness where she led a $5 million division of critical health services, after coordinating the maternal and child health programs for a year. Then in 2009, she served as Senior Policy Fellow for the Stoneleigh Foundation addressing truancy and chronic absenteeism through cross-systems work with the City, and she served as Deputy Director for Concilio 2011 to 2014, the city and state’s oldest Latino non-profit organization, where she provided strategic vision and oversight to health and social services with responsibility for fundraising and development, and strategic communications and community engagement.
Today in 2021 she serves as Executive Director of Education Plus Health working to bring the non-profit’s successful school-based health center (SBHC) model to scale, and as executive director of the Pennsylvania School-Based Health Alliance, a non-profit she founded in 2020 with other SBHC advocates from across the state.
Julie Cousler has served on numerous boards of directors in Philadelphia and Pennsylvania including the National Clearinghouse for the Defense of Battered Women, the Seybert Foundation, the Pan American Academy Charter School, the Women’s Medical Fund Board of Directors, and the Pennsylvania Coalition Against Domestic Violence. She has held officer positions on all of these boards. She has also earned a variety of prestigious awards for her work including the 2020 Social Innovations award for health care innovation, the 2006 Purple Ribbon Award from Lutheran Settlement House for her domestic violence work, and the 2004 Forum Award from the Forum of Executive Women.
In the Summer of 1990, Cindy Weinstein and I worked with the turner middle school in west philadelphia, teaching the kids to run blood pressure screenings in their communities. The idea for Bridging the gaps came from this experience.
After graduating UPenn Medical School, I did my pediatric residency At Seattle Children's Hospital, then 4 years in the National Health service corp in Lawrence, MA. Next came 8 years in a rural U. Washington teaching practice in Port Angeles, WA, providing pediatric support to schools and tribal clinics on the Olympic Peninsula.
I have always been drawn to advocacy for children, and BTG and the West Philadelphia kids at the Turner Middle School were foundational to my career orientation. Those kids were my real curriculum. they taught me that if i learned to listen to them and dedicated myself to working with communities, real change was possible.
In 2008, I came to Dartmouth to teach advocacy and run the Boyle Community Pediatrics Program. I work with medical students and residents, and lead the Northern New England Advocacy Collaborative. Clinically, I work with parents in early opiate recovery who have young children. I still search for new ways to listen, and new ways to work with communities as a supportive partner. i am deeply into co-design as a methodology, both with families and community agencies.
I am interested in learning from the BTG alumni how we can support advocacy as a career path. I, as did many of us, made it up as I went along. So, collectively what did we experience, and what did we discover? I would love to think about how we define advocacy, its rigor and impact, and how we describe and support early career paths.