Burcu Bozkurt immigrated to the United States from Istanbul with her family when she was seven. Her parents settled in Raleigh, North Carolina, in pursuit of a brighter and more peaceful future. Burcu saw her immigrant classmates and their families face challenges accessing healthcare, which seeded an abiding interest in public health and ensuring healthcare access for all.
Burcu pursued her passions for public health and global studies at UNC. As a Mahatma Gandhi Fellow and Phillips Ambassador, Burcu’s field work included reproductive health research in Vietnam and supporting an evaluation system for a health worker program in Bangladesh.
After graduating from UNC, Burcu cofounded the International Youth Alliance for Family Planning (IYAFP), which she still coleads. While growing IYAFP, Burcu worked in Washington, DC, for RTI International, Ipas, and the Advisory Board Company, engaging with global public health issues as a researcher, lobbyist, and consultant. In 2016, The Bill & Melinda Gates Institute for Population and Reproductive Health named her to its inaugural list of top 120 global family planning leaders under age 40.
Burcu returned to UNC in the fall of 2017 to pursue a PhD in health policy and management at the Gillings School of Global Public Health as a Royster Fellow. Her research focuses on understanding and overcoming obstacles that young people and other vulnerable populations face in accessing safe, comprehensive reproductive health services.