BSPH Alumni Profiles

Alumni profiles are listed alphabetically by last name.
 

 

Helen Hunter Cox

BSPH Class of 1998
Staff Program Management Officer

US Public Health Service

 
Career Highlights
 
  • Staff Program Management Officer – United States Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) / Office of the Surgeon General
  • Grants Management Specialist – National Institutes of Health / National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases (NIDDK)
  • Program Analyst – DHHS / Office of Minority Health

Describe your current position.
 
My current role is in a personnel function within the Office of Commissioned Corps Operations, which is under the direction of the Office of the Surgeon General. I specifically initiate and review background investigations for new applicants to the US Public Health Service to determine suitability for commissioning. As an officer in the US Public Health Service, I also maintain readiness to respond to national public health emergencies.
How has UNC impacted your leadership skills?

The program built my confidence in making solid recommendations to improve processes and policies. UNC prepared me well for public presentations, as I have conducted a few that were national in scope. UNC placed a great value on staying connected and getting involved with professional organizations, which helps to keep me motivated and learning about current trends and issues.

How has the UNC network affected your career?

The UNC network is wonderful in supporting each others’ goals. I have met several alumni along the way who have been excellent sources of information, and with whom I have also developed lasting friendships.

What has UNC meant to your career?

The foundations and breadth of the curriculum greatly prepared me for a solid understanding of healthcare management. It also gave me the flexibility to apply skills and knowledge in a variety of positions. There is also always a sense of pride when I read or hear about the successful research and programs that UNC conducts.

Describe your overall experience at the Gillings School of Global Public Health. Provide examples.

Overall, I had an amazing experience at the Gillings School. Both the faculty and staff were outstanding, dedicated, and supportive. There were numerous opportunities to apply knowledge outside of the classroom — whether it involved volunteering at a community health center, developing a guide to assist local health professionals in communicating with Spanish-speaking patients, or planning an awards dinner with health executives in the Triangle area. Hands-on experience is invaluable, so the opportunities beyond our required internship or field placement made a positive impact on my experiences at the Gillings School. For me, the school’s close relationship with the local community exhibits the character and true commitment of the Gillings School to promoting public health.


 

Faustina H. Dixon
BSPH Class of 1988
Administrator, Grants Office, University Health Systems of Eastern Carolina (UHS)


Career Highlights

  • Pitt County Memorial Hospital – HealthAssist/Healthy Communities Access Program, Project Manager
  • Pitt County Memorial Hospital – Clinical Information and Support Office, Clinical Analyst

Describe your current position.

I am responsible for overseeing all grant activity for University Health Systems, which is an eight hospital system serving 29 counties in rural eastern North Carolina. My responsibilities include assisting staff and leadership with: grant fund acquisition and management; program development, implementation and evaluation; and ensuring compliance with grantor and government requirements.
All of this is done in an effort to increase the health care resources available to eastern North Carolina residents. Much of my work involves facilitating the development of partnerships between hospitals, community agencies and grassroots organizations to achieve a common goal.


How has UNC impacted your leadership skills?

 
Attending UNC as an undergraduate provided me a sound foundation to build upon in my graduate studies. The understanding that I gained of the health care system, public health, policy, budgeting and finance proved to be invaluable in my in-depth study of policy development, implementation and analysis in the MPA program at ECU. In addition, I gained an understanding of community service and how important it is to connect with the community and it is recognized indigenous (“unofficial”) leaders to truly make a sustainable difference.
 
Why did you choose UNC?
I always wanted to attend UNC, and they had and still have the best public health education options in North Carolina.
 
What has UNC meant to your career?

My connection to UNC has opened doors to exceptional career opportunities for me. The scope and depth of the program enabled me to successfully complete projects that benefited the organization that I work for and my community.

What are your words of wisdom to current students in Health Policy & Management programs?
 
Be flexible, and explore all career opportunities, even those that may be short lived. You will gain invaluable experience, exposure and access to professional network development opportunities that have long-term benefits.

 

Julie Forrest
BSPH Class of 1998 and MHA Class of 2000
Consultant, Scientific Communications, Talecris Center for Science and Education
Talecris Biotherapeutics
 

Career Highlights
  • Consultant, Talecris Biotherapeutics
  • Director of Operations, The Center for Health Care Education, LLC

Describe your current position.

 
I work with the Scientific Communications team at Talecris Biotherapeutics to publish manuscripts, posters, presentations and other publications. In addition, I provide all of the product teams with information regarding internal and external publications and press releases.

What has attending school at the Gillings School of Global Public Health helped you achieve?

 
The two most important things I learned in the BSPH and MHA programs are excellent communication skills and how to work with a team. Those two things have helped me in every position during my career.
 
How has UNC impacted your leadership skills?

 
Attending UNC helped develop my ability to work well with others and encourage my peers. UNC also gave me a desire to produce great work. All of these things are essential in leadership.
 
How has the UNC network affected your career?

Morgan Tackett, a UNC MHA alumni, served as my preceptor in my internship and was my first mentor. He also introduced me to a person at The Center for Health Care Education, where I worked the first 6 years of my career. That job lead to my current job… so thank you, Morgan, for helping guide my career path!
 
What has UNC meant to your career?

I love UNC and it is wonderful to have an undergraduate and graduate degree from the university on my resume. More importantly, the skills and information I learned at UNC have helped me throughout my career.
 
Discuss the culture at the Gillings School of Global Public Health.

My favorite thing about the culture was the small size of the HPM program. I knew my peers and found it very easy to speak with professors regarding assignments and projects.
 
Discuss your relationship with the faculty and/or staff during the program or after.

I have great respect for all of the faculty and staff. I got to work closely with many faculty while serving as an officer for ACHE. And, during my first year in the MHA program, I had the privilege of working closely with Dr. Bender to publish a book.
 
What are your words of wisdom to current students in Health Policy & Management programs?

After you complete the program, find a job that is a good fit for you. I truly enjoy both of my jobs – working for Talecris and being a mom!

 


LyTonya Fowler
BSPH Class of 2009

Full-Time Graduate Student at the University of Michigan School of Public Health pursing a Master of Health Services Administration (MHSA) in the Department of Health Management & Policy

Career Highlights

  • Administrative Intern at UNC Department of Family Medicine

Why did you choose UNC?

I chose to attend the UNC Gillings School of Global Public Health because there are a variety of opportunities in which students can grow professionally, as well as personally. During my two years in the BSPH program, I volunteered in the community and participated in several student organizations.

Not only did these opportunities cultivate my leadership skills, but they also enabled me to confidently network with other professionals in the health care field. The strong alumni network is comprised of individuals who are eager to share their experiences and serve as mentors to current students. I also chose UNC because I wanted to challenge my perspective on health care issues. The School attracts scholars from around the world which undoubtedly aids in creating stimulating class discussions and allows people to understand perspectives that may differ from their own.

Describe how you balanced school, work and family commitments during the program.
 
To succeed at any university, it is imperative that students know how to balance school, work and family commitments. During the BSPH program, I balanced two majors, a part-time job and family responsibilities by surrounding myself with others who were determined to succeed, engaging in prayer and meditation and maintaining a steadfast faith that did not waiver depending on the circumstance.
 
Discuss the culture at the Gillings School of Global Public Health.

 
The Gillings School of Global Public Health is a very vibrant, racially diverse academic institution with passionate and creative students who work hard and are committed to making a difference.
 
Describe your overall experience at the Gillings School of Global Public Health. Provide examples.

Overall, I had a very positive experience at the Gillings School of Global Public Health. The faculty, staff and alumni have always been passionate about wanting students to succeed both in the classroom and in their prospective careers. Although faculty was committed to research, they remained focused on educating the next generation of public health leaders in hopes of improving public health in North Carolina and around the world. However, like most places, the experience is all about what you make it. I had a wonderful experience because I remained involved in student organizations, sought mentors, participated in class discussions and had a relentless desire to make my time at the School memorable.
 
What are your words of wisdom to current students in Health Policy & Management programs?
 
To current students at the UNC Gillings School of Global Public Health, I encourage you to do what you love. This is an exciting time to be in health care, more specifically, in the implementation of systematic policies that will undoubtedly improve the access and quality of care for America’s most vulnerable populations. Secondly, I encourage current students to keep an open mind and never be afraid of a challenge. Lastly, take advantage of the many resources available at UNC, including the nationally renowned faculty and research projects. Know that you’ve made a great choice and the HPM department will undoubtedly prepare you to tackle some of the most pressing issues in public health.

 

Julie Golding

BSPH Class of 2009
Logistics Coordinator, Introduction to Clinical Medicine Course
UNC School of Medicine

 

Describe your current position.
I coordinate the Introduction to Clinical Medicine course for first and second year medical students at UNC. This involves scheduling rotations at the Clinical Skills Center, scheduling needed classroom space, and acting as the information liaison for 320 students, 30 tutors/teachers, and 5 leadership staff. I work to make sure the course runs smoothly for everyone involved.
 
How has UNC impacted your leadership skills?

UNC has given me ample opportunity to tune my leadership skills with extracurricular activities. I was heavily involved in the General Alumni Association Student Membership Program, APPLES’ Service Learning Initiative, Globmed, and intramural sports. The focus on group projects at the Gillings School of Global Public Health was the major force equipping me with the skills to become a leader and use team dynamics the best.

How has the UNC network affected your career?

 
As an undergraduate at the Gillings School of Global Public Health, I was able to work as an intern with the Clinical Skills Center at UNC my senior year due to a recommendation from my course director, Chris Shea. My internship supervisor then recommended me for my current position as Logistics Coordinator of the ICM Course at UNC School of Medicine. Without my network connections from the HPM BSPH program and my internship with the CSC, I would not have had the opportunity to work in my current position with the SOM.

Describe how you balanced school, work, and family commitments during the program.
 
Time management and staying organized. It can be easy to procrastinate when it comes to school and sign up for a few too many shifts at work, but it’s really important to maintain some sort of a schedule and routine during school. The great thing about having the majority of our work be group projects was we were forced to set down dates and time to meet and work together which helped keep us focused and make deadlines.
 
Discuss the culture at the Gillings School of Global Public Health.

The culture is very diverse, driven, and open-minded. The diversity was refreshing, but challenging at the same time – both good qualities! Because the programs at the Gillings School have competitive entry, the students are passionate about what they study and helped keep me motivated. In all my classes I felt comfortable being myself and voicing my personal opinions and ideas without fear of being mocked or attacked.
 

Describe your overall experience at the Gillings School of Global Public Health. Provide examples.

My overall experience was certainly positive. The faculty and staff are attentive and sincerely care about the students and helping each on of us discover our strengths, weaknesses, and a career path best suited to both. I feel blessed to have been accepted to the HPM BSPH program my junior year of undergraduate studies and had the opportunity to study, learn, and grow in a challenging, but rewarding environment.
 

Discuss your relationship with the faculty and/or staff during the program or after.

I always felt comfortable approaching faculty and staff throughout my time in the HPM program. All of my professors held office hours and encouraged us to contact them if we had any questions about the course work, the school, or even future projects/goals. I was challenged by all of them, in different ways, to work hard and develop skills that have certainly helped since graduating and entering “the real world.”
 

What are your words of wisdom to current students in Health Policy & Management programs?

While in school I admittedly cringed at the word “network.” However, my words of wisdom to current students would be to do just that – NETWORK! Join one of the HPM clubs, volunteer with other HPM students/staff/faculty, or start your own club/gathering. You can never underestimate the value of getting to know other people interested and involved in the same professional field as you. Networking doesn’t have to be a burden or another item you unwillingly add to your “To Do” list. Find something that interests you and get involved!

 




 

Lina Patel
BSPH Class of 1996 and Executive MHA Class of 2003

Administrative Director, Hematology, Oncology, Transplant, Children’s Memorial Hospital, Chicago
 
Career Highlights
  • Cancer Quality Info and Research Analyst, American College of Surgeons, Commission on Cancer
  • IL Division Director, Cancer Information, American Cancer Society
  • Field Representative, American Cancer Society
How has the UNC network affected your career?

Anytime anyone sees UNC on my resume, they are impressed. The degree has opened doors up for idle communication and for professional opportunities as well.

 
Describe your overall experience at the Gillings School of Global Public Health. Provide examples.

The colleagues I have met are still my friends today, and I can call them out of the blue for career and professional advice. They understand my world and “get it” – that means so much when you are at a crossroads and need someone to lend an ear.


Could you have gotten where you are today without your UNC degree? If no, please explain.

 
No – UNC Gillings School of Global Public Health has opened up a world of opportunities for me. My degrees and experience are so valuable to me and much of the reason for professional and personal fulfillment.
Discuss your relationship with the faculty and/or staff during the program or after.

 
I knew the faculty and staff was knowledgeable and had such a wealth of experience. One of my favorite instructors, Robert Crawford, is still a dear friend and resource to me. As such, he will always be a mentor, yet, I know he truly respects me for what I was able to bring to the table and considers me his peer. The quality of the faculty is paramount and they truly want their students to succeed.
 
What are your words of wisdom to current students in Health Policy & Management programs?
 
Know what kind of learner you are. In those classes that you struggle with the most, stick with a learning style that works for you and don’t procrastinate. Stick with it, it pays off! Use your peers, have fun and get as much out of every class as you can because even the courses that are more challenging for you will surface in your career and you will be glad you had the experience.

Glenn Silver

BSPH Class of 1984
President

Coastal Plains Consulting

 
Career Highlights
  • Housing Coordinator for the NC Division of Mental Health, Developmental Disabilities and Substance Abuse Services
  • HOME Coordinator for the City of Rocky Mount
  • Director of Grants, Foundations, and Corporate Relations for NC Wesleyan College

Describe your current position.

 

As president of Coastal Plains Consulting, I assist local governments and private corporations in project management; provide training workshops; prepare business plans and grant proposals; conduct donor research; develop program evaluations; develop and implement strategic plans; and help charitable organizations qualify for tax exempt (501(c)(3)) status from the Internal Revenue Service. Recent major accomplishments include:

  • Awarded $220,000 per year grant renewable for three years for Oxford House (Washington, DC) Expansion Project
  • Awarded $2.1 million in funding for City of Rocky Mount Lead Hazard Control Program
  • Awarded $303,000 in funding for the EASE Foundation, Inc.
  • Conducted analysis of land use for Downtown Rocky Mount Master Plan.
  • Completed 2002-2007 Consolidated Plan for the Down East Home Consortium.
  • Assisted in completing Comprehensive Plan for the City of Rocky Mount.
  • Oversaw Rocky Mount Honeywell’s Y2K Readiness and secured $700,000 in funding.
What has attending school at the Gillings School of Global Public Health helped you achieve?

Attending the Gillings School of Global Public Health helped me receive fellowships to complete graduate school at the University of Florida and provided me with the analytical and communication skills needed to succeed in all the jobs I have held.

 

How has UNC impacted your leadership skills?

UNC has greatly impacted my leadership skills. The seminar format of my junior and senior undergraduate classes resulted in my being more prepared than my fellow students upon entering graduate school.

How has the UNC network affected your career?

Having a degree from UNC automatically lends credibility to my work and respect for my expertise.

What has UNC meant to your career?

UNC has meant I received sound fundamental skills to build upon and instilled in me a lifelong yearning to learn more.
 
Discuss the culture at the Gillings School of Global Public Health.

It is a culture in which you interact with other students and faculty from around the world and instills in you the value of teamwork to meet health care challenges.
It is a culture in which you interact with other students and faculty from around the world and instills in you the value of teamwork to meet health care challenges.

Describe your overall experience at the Gillings School of Global Public Health. Provide examples.

My experience was great. I was one of the first two African American students to graduate from the BSPH in Health Administration Program. My most memorable experience was meeting people from other countries. I met a young lady from Lebanon, Najwa Khasafi, and we worked together on some projects. She invited me to dinner one evening and I discovered that in her culture I had to sample every item that had been prepared rather than, as we Westerners do, choosing what I liked. I still use this example of cultural differences in dining when I teach at the church Bible Study.

 
Could you have gotten where you are today without your UNC degree? If no, please explain.

No. Without a degree from UNC, I would not have been awarded fellowships to graduate school and as a result would not have had the jobs I have had.

 
Discuss your relationship with the faculty and/or staff during the program or after.

My relationship with the faculty and staff was excellent. Each faculty member made me feel like family more than as just a student. Nearly all the faculty either invited me to dinner or some other social event to let me know they cared about me as a person rather than just as a student.

 
Discuss what you would consider to be your greatest achievement in your professional career and why.

My greatest achievement in my professional career was drafting legislation for and then implementing the Housing 400 Program because this program will provide affordable housing for tens of thousands of people.

 
What are your words of wisdom to current students in Health Policy & Management programs?

Take advantage of the opportunity to appreciate the diversity of cultures you will encounter.


 


Paul Tuck

BSPH Class of 1982
Veterinarian/President, Tuck & Griffiths DVM, PA

Career Highlights

  • Owner, Walkersville Veterinary Clinic Walkersville, MD
  • Associate Veterinarian, Lander Veterinary Clinic Turlock, CA
  • Research Assistant, NIEHS RTP, NC
  • Assistant Director, NC/FLA DHIA Lab Raleigh, NC
Describe your current position.
President, COO of a 4-person mixed animal veterinary practice in central Maryland.
 
What has attending school at the Gillings School of Global Public Health helped you achieve?
 
The administrative skills that I was exposed to at the UNC-SPH have proven invaluable in my profession not only in operational terms but in the management of people: staff, associates, as well as clients.


Discuss the culture at the Gillings School of Global Public Health.

We were a diverse class of 12, who were very accepting but very competitive.
 

Describe your overall experience at the Gillings School of Global Public Health. Provide examples.

I was most affected by the diversity one experienced at the school. I was in the undergraduate program but I had classes with undergraduates from other Gillings School of Global Public Health programs. Many countries and cultures were represented and I enjoyed meeting and learning a little about the world through the eyes and experiences of others.
 

What are your words of wisdom to current students in Health Policy & Management programs?

None of us knows what the future holds for the health care system of this country. It is critical that the standards of how we treat our fellow human beings, no matter their race, creed, religion, or social status, be kept to the level that one would expect from a Carolina graduate. It is not all about profit. I think this is the biggest problem with our health care industry today: we lost sight of caring for the well being of others in the goal to please the shareholders. Yes, we need to be well managed and efficient, but making a profit in the interest of providing quality medical care for our fellow human beings is reprehensible.


Edgar Villaneuva
BSPH Class of 2003
MHA Class of 2005
Senior Program Officer, Health Care Division, Kate B. Reynolds Charitable Trust

Career Highlights

  • Kate B. Reynolds Charitable Trust, Senior Program Officer, Health Care Division
  • American Institute for Research, Junior Account Executive, Health Program
  • American Social Health Association, Health Promotions Manager

Describe your current position.

To work in philanthropy is to be a social engineer. My goal is to make use of my time, talent and treasure to be a catalyst for community change, particularly around health issues affecting the most vulnerable populations in North Carolina. I meet and consult with organizations that are seeking grant funding, review proposals and make recommendations to our Trustee. Post grant, I provide technical assistance and support to ensure that each organization maximizes the investment of the Trust. I am part of a team that researches and promotes solutions to key health issues facing North Carolina. Currently, I am also responsible for the marketing and communication efforts of the Trust.

How has UNC impacted your leadership skills?

Attending graduate school at the Gillings School of Global Public Health has afforded me opportunities that I would not have had otherwise. Not only did I learn the fundamentals of public health, I had the opportunity to put theory into practice through hands-on experiences while being a student. By attending such a distinguished program and school, I have been approached for leadership opportunities and have been able to lead with a sense of confidence having the support of the institution behind me.

Why did you choose UNC?

I chose UNC for several reasons – first of all, I am a native North Carolinian. UNC has a commitment to NC. Further, UNC values diversity. As a person of color, the extra support that was at times needed was available. Finally, the Gillings School of Global Public Health was the best, and I wanted to be the best.

Describe how you balanced school, work, and family commitments during the program.

Balance?? This is an impossible feat during graduate school! This was a huge challenge for me as I worked full time while being in the program. I have to say that I was successful in large part due to the flexibility, support and compassion of the staff and of my classmates. My job was not seen as secondary, but complimentary to my academic work. Further, my classmates were often in the same situation, so we supported each other emotionally and academically, to get through it.

Could you have gotten where you are today without your UNC degree? If no, please explain.

Absolutely not! The professional development department brought in several companies that were interested in our graduates. I was able to have the ear of all types of organizations that I would not have had access to otherwise.

What are your words of wisdom to current students in Health Policy & Management programs?

If you can survive Operations Research, you can survive anything! My most challenging days in the office have never compared! Seriously, make the most of every day and live in the moment. It’s an amazing time in our history to study and work in public health.


Tammy Yahner
BSPH Class of 2006
Administrative Fellow, Johns Hopkins Health System

Career Highlights

After graduating at UNC, I went straight onto a master’s of public health program at Yale University. The fellowship is my first job after earning my master’s.

Describe your current position.

I am in a two-year rotation based fellowship that gives me the opportunity to learn about all areas of the hospital as well as the management style of the Johns Hopkins leaders. A lot of my job is project management and leading teams to make the operations of the hospital more efficient.


How has UNC impacted your leadership skills?

UNC helped me develop the basic skills one needs to be a leader. In esssence, the program helped me lay the foundation for how to communicate with others, how to lead a team and how to make informed decisions.

How has the UNC network affected your career?

I meet Tar Heels all over at various healthcare conferences, meetings and even at Johns Hopkins. They have been great contacts for past internships and jobs. The UNC network is so well connected and every UNC student or alum who I’ve ever contacted has been so willing to help me out whenever called upon.

Why did you choose UNC?

I chose UNC as my bachelor’s program because of the small size, the access to professors and the quality of the education offered. Health Policy and Management is a top-ranked program that I can say after completing the program truly does live up to its ranking.

What has UNC meant to your career?

UNC has meant so much that it is quite honestly hard to put into words. I felt so ahead of the game compared to my colleagues at graduate school and even in my internship and now job experience. I am not sure that any other school out there can prepare you as well as UNC does.

Describe how you balanced school, work, and family commitments during the program.

Everyone at Carolina works hard and plays hard. That is very much a part of the culture and so it made it easy to balance everything.

Discuss the culture at the Gillings School of Global Public Health.

Everyone is extremely intelligent and collaborative. I loved having classmates that had similar professional goals. We were all supportive of each other and I can honestly say that I learned just as much from my colleagues as I did from my professors.

Could you have gotten where you are today without your UNC degree? If no, please explain.

Definitely not. UNC opened up so many doors for my career even before I began looking for internships or jobs. The program set me on a great path for success!

Discuss your relationship with the faculty and/or staff during the program or after.

The small class size in the BSPH program was something I very much valued because it allowed students to get really close with the professors. The faculty were not only teachers, but became friends and mentors as well. During my thesis, I worked closely with my faculty advisors. It was so nice to know they were willing to spend the amount of time and energy to ensure my research was the best it could be.

What are your words of wisdom to current students in Health Policy & Management programs?

Although it’s hard to realize it while you’re in school, you really do use all that information the faculty teach you in class! It is also important to start to build your network with your classmates and keep those relationships going, as they might come in handy one day!


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