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Dr. Sameer Vohra selected as 2020 Presidential Leadership Scholar

Published Date:

Jan 28, 2020 – Today, the Presidential Leadership Scholars (PLS) program announced that Sameer Vohra, MD, JD, MA, FAAP, Founding Chair of SIU Medicine Department of Population Science and Policy, has been selected as one of the 60 Scholars chosen for the program’s sixth annual class. PLS serves as a catalyst for a diverse network of leaders brought together to collaborate and make a difference in the world as they learn about leadership through the lens of the presidential experiences of George W. Bush, Bill Clinton, George H.W. Bush, and Lyndon B. Johnson.

The sixth class was selected after a rigorous application and review process. Scholars were selected based on their leadership growth potential and their personal leadership projects aimed at improving civic engagement or social good by addressing a problem or need in their community.

Over the course of six months, Scholars will travel to each participating presidential center to learn from former presidents, key former administration officials, business and civic leaders, and leading academics. They will study and put into practice varying approaches to leadership and exchange ideas to help strengthen their impact in their communities. The program kicks off in Washington, D.C. on January 28.

The latest class joins an active network of 298 Scholars who are applying lessons learned through the program to make a difference in the U.S. and around the world. Dr. Vohra will be working on a project focused in the Illinois Delta Region aimed to align early childhood, public education and health care sectors to provide integrated, personalized and comprehensive services to rural children and their families.

“I’m thrilled to join this amazing group to hone my leadership skills and bring these lessons back to Illinois,” said Dr. Vohra. “I have chosen a project that will complement my work at the Department of Population Science and Policy and will provide rural Illinois children more comprehensive services and improved health outcomes. I’m honored to be selected and I’m excited to learn from these distinguished leaders and the impressive group of peers.”

Since the program began in 2015, Scholars have consistently reported remarkable growth in leadership skills, responsibilities, and opportunities for impact. For example, 91 percent of Scholars reported their sense of confidence or purpose as a leader changed since beginning PLS, and 96 percent of Scholars indicated their exposure to and appreciation of a wider variety of perspectives increased since beginning PLS.

About the Department of Population Science and Policy
The Department of Population Science and Policy (PSP) at Southern Illinois University School of Medicine (SIU SOM) is broadly defined as a research and policy academic department dedicated to improving the health outcomes of the residents of central and southern Illinois.  The department seeks to understand the region SIU SOM serves, designs and studies optimal approaches to the prevention and treatment of disease, models and disseminates these interventions, and educates future health care providers on the importance of population health to the patients they serve. The department’s ultimate goal is providing opportunities for healthier, happier, and more successful lives for the residents of central and southern Illinois. To learn more visit

About Presidential Leadership Scholars

Presidential Leadership Scholars is a partnership among the presidential centers of George W. Bush, William J. Clinton, George H.W. Bush, and Lyndon B. Johnson. To learn more, visit For updates about the Presidential Leadership Scholars, use #PLScholars and follow @PLSprogram on Twitter and Instagram.


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