CEHS Stakeholder Advisory Board

The Center convenes a Stakeholder Advisory Board (SAB) twice per year to share emerging research, to solicit feedback on research and outreach applications, and to have SAB members share highlights of their work and identify important issues facing North Carolina residents. To facilitate greater dialogue and collaboration, we meet with smaller groups of SAB members on specific translational research activities.


Meet our SAB members

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Nellie Benitez

Outreach Coordinator, Chatham County Public Health Department, Environmental Health Division

Nellie Benitez has been a Chatham County employee for 15 years. Nellie was named the Chatham County Public Health Department Employee of the Year in 2008. She has worked in the Environmental Health Division as a Community Social Services Technician since 2010. Previously, Nellie served as a board member for Smart Start. She currently works with two programs for the county; the N.C. Childhood Lead Poisoning Prevention Program (NC CLPPP) and Focus on Fathers. The goals of these two programs are to do outreach and surveillance in an effort to reduce the incidence of childhood lead poisoning and increase family and life-skills competencies in young fathers to prepare them for a life-long role of mentoring their children and their peers.


arlen-colemanArlen Penny Coleman

Housing Counselor, Community Care of NC, Northern Piedmont Community Care

Arlen Penny Coleman is a Community Health Worker and Housing Counselor for the Duke Division of Community Health. Her certifications include, but are not limited to, hospitality specialist, certified nursing assistant II, housing development professional, lead supervisor, and advanced housing counselor. Arlen is a CCNC Healthy Homes and Safety Initiative contest winner and has also won an Outstanding Housing Counselor award from the NC Housing Counselors Association. She is a member of the Franklin County Health Care Collaborative, the Lead and Healthy Homes Collaborative and the NC Association of Housing Counselors.


Stephanie Fisher, RN, MSN

Regional Child Health Nurse Consultant, NC Division of Public Health, Children and Youth Branch

Stephanie Fisher is a Regional Child Health Nursing Consultant working in the Division of Public Health, Children and Youth Branch. She provides consultation for the child health clinical programs and the Care Coordination for Children (CC4C) case management program in the south-central part of the state. This consultation includes technical assistance, training and resource information to health departments and local agencies. She assists with quality assurance and improvement strategies to address community level child health clinical and case management programs to improve program efficiency. Prior to coming to the state level, she worked as a Nursing Supervisor, Health Promotion Coordinator and a School Nurse. She has procured and implemented grants from the Kate B Reynolds Charitable Trust and the CDC. She earned her Bachelors of Science in Nursing in 1995 and her Masters of Science of Nursing in 2007 from East Carolina University. She likes to cycle and listen to live music! She also enjoys horticulture.


Sally Herndon, MPH

Director, NC Division of Public Health, Tobacco Prevention and Control Branch

Sally Herndon has been a leader in NC public health’s efforts in tobacco prevention and control since 1991. Responsibilities include management of the Tobacco Prevention and Control Branch and coordination of evidence based tobacco prevention and control in North Carolina. She helped build support for the 2010 law that makes all N.C. restaurants and bars smoke-free and worked with state and local partners to successfully implement the new law. Sally is Past Chair of the national Tobacco Control Network, 2011-2013. Her education and training include a BA in Psychology and Physiology from UNC Chapel Hill and an MPH from the Department of Health Behavior School of Public Health, University of North Carolina with a focus on policy and program planning. Her ongoing work involves working with state, regional and local partners to 1) reduce tobacco use by young people; 2) eliminate exposure to secondhand smoke; 3) help all tobacco users who want to quit; and 3) eliminate tobacco-attributable health disparities.


akiia-jamesAkiia James

Health and Media Consultant

Akiia James is an education specialist for Food and Nutrition Services at WakeMed Hospital. Her work entails training new and current staff on departmental policy and procedure in addition to a variety of foodservice topics. She teaches staff about therapeutic diets, food safety/handling,and she assists in ensuring nutritionals are correct on the patient menu. She is a self proclaimed foodie, wife, and mother to a toddler boy and infant identical twins.


ed-normanEd Norman, MPH

Program Manager, NC Division of Public Health, Environmental Health Section

Ed Norman has more than 25 years of experience working in public health and environmental regulatory programs. After earning a Chemistry degree from Duke University and his Master’s in Public Health from the University of Michigan, he became an Epidemiologist with the N.C. Childhood Lead Poisoning Prevention Program in 1990. Since that time, he has conducted lead investigations, analyzed blood lead and environmental data, published research on these data, implemented grants from the CDC, EPA and HUD and managed the state program for the last 20 years. Through the years, he has also administered the child care and school sanitation programs. In 2011, the Environmental Health agency was reorganized and now includes the EPA-authorized Asbestos and Lead-Based Paint Programs under Mr. Norman’s management. He’s also a pretty good old-time and bluegrass musician!


fawn-pattisonFawn Pattison

Environmental Health Policy Consultant and NC FIELD Board Director

Fawn Pattison is a consultant to non-profit organizations and academic programs seeking to amplify their impact on environmental health issues. She spent 15 years directing a non-profit organization focused on advocacy for environmental health and justice. Her expertise includes organizational development and strategy, legislative and regulatory advocacy, nonprofit management, fundraising and community-based participatory research. Ms. Pattison has a certificate in Public Health and an MA from UNC Chapel Hill, a certificate in Nonprofit Management from Duke University, and a BA from the University of Virginia. She serves on the Board of Directors of NC FIELD, a nonprofit organization in Kinston, NC led by farmworker youth.


jon-petersonJon Peterson

Business Manager and cancer survivor, Wake Medical Center and Hospitals Surgical Services

After being diagnosed with Melanoma in 2007, Jon joined the UNC-CEHS to help educate others on the dangers of UV exposure. As a community member of the CEHS, he is very grateful for the opportunity to work with such a great organization to help prevent environmental exposures that effect many in our communities on a daily basis. Jon currently works as a finance and operations manager for WakeMed Health and Hospitals for Surgical Services in Raleigh, NC working closely with Physicians and staff. When he’s not working or volunteering, Jon enjoys the outdoors, coding or working on spreadsheets, and spending quality time with family and friends.


sarah-plentlSarah Boudreau Plentl, MS, RD, LDN

Supervisor, Wake County Health Promotion, Chronic Disease Prevention Section

Sarah Plentl has been working in Public Health for over 16 years. She serves as the Supervisor of Wake County’s Health Promotion Chronic Disease Prevention Section which houses several programs including the Breast and Cervical Cancer Control Program and well as Tobacco Prevention and Control. Sarah is a Registered Dietitian with a Master’s degree in Nutrition and is an ACE Certified Personal Trainer. Sarah’s passion for health spills over into her personal life as she loves riding her horse, coaching her daughter’s soccer team, and trail running with her son.


Jeannie Reardon, MPH

Child Care Health Consultant, NC Child Care Health and Safety Resource Center

Jeannie Reardon is the Child Care Health Consultant (CCHC) for the NC Child Care Health and Safety Resource Center, a project of UNC-Chapel Hill’s Gillings School of Global Public Health (GSGPH), Maternal and Child Health Department. Through the Resource Center, Jeannie provides a variety of health and safety resources across the state: health education; training and technical assistance for child care health consultants (CCHCs) and other early care and education professionals; manages an information rich website; and contributes to the NC Child Care Health and Safety Bulletins and other publications. In addition, she sits on statewide health and early childhood advisory committees and task forces to advocate and promote healthy practices, healthy life styles, and safe environments for children and child care professionals.


lorisa-seibelLorisa Seibel

Director of Housing Services, Reinvestment Partners

Lorisa Seibel is the Director of Housing Programs for Reinvestment Partners, a nonprofit in Durham that works for economic justice and opportunity. Lorisa leads a CDC-funded Lead Poisoning Prevention and Healthy Homes Program to help families protect their children from lead, asthma triggers, and other hazards hazards. While at Durham Affordable Housing Coalition, she was Interim Executive Director, Lead Risk Assessor, Housing Counselor, and Community Organizer. From 1991-1995, Lorisa served as an elected member of Durham City Council.


Lauren Thie, MSPH

Environmental Program Consultant, NC Division of Public Health, Occupational & Environmental Epidemiology Branch

Lauren Thie is an environmental program consultant for the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services and serves as Principal Investigator for the Climate and Health Adaptation and Monitoring Program cooperative agreement with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Lauren has collaborated on public health projects in Kenya, Mali, Southern California, and Vietnam and is a 2009 graduate of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill’s Gillings School of Global Public Health.