Maternal and Child Health alumni greetings

Alumna and faculty member Sherri Green, PhD with master's student Wisnu Trianggono

Alumna and faculty member Sherri Green, PhD with master’s student Wisnu Trianggono

Welcome MCH alumni

UNC’s Maternal and Child Health alumni serve the health needs of women, children, and families at the local, state, national, and international levels. We in the department are very proud of the accomplishments of our alumni and the important contributions you make to public health across the globe.

We thank you for the support you provide the department through your service and your gifts.

Healthfully Yours!
Meghan Shanahan, PhD (MCH 2010)

Register for April 7 MCH Family Reunion

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Alumni resources

Alumni Updates

Lucy Wilson, MPH (MCH ’07), selected by the Gates Institute as one of 40 individuals under 40 who are strong advocates for sexual and reproductive rights. She is a technical adviser at FHI 360.

Amanda Puckett BenDor MPH (’11), technical advisor for digital health at IntraHealth International; co-chair Global Digital Health Network.

Bailey Goldman, MPH (’12), project coordinator Positive Parenting Program Granville Vance District Health Department.

Jessica Levy, PhD (’13), senior lecturer Brown School Washington University, St. Louis, and senior reproductive health associate, Iris Group, Inc., Chapel Hill.

Jennifer Pearson, MPH, (’10), technical advisor John Snow, Inc., Washington DC.

Melissa McPheeters, MPH (’96), PhD, assistant commissioner, director of public health analytics and infomatics at Tennessee Department of Health and director Vanderbilt Evidence-based Practice Center.

Zakiyah Williams, MPH (’14), IBCLC, CPH breastfeeding hospital collaborative coordinator, New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene.

Katie Donohue McMillanm MPH (’13) is innovation portfolio manager at Duke Health Technology Solutions.

Aubrey Spriggs Madkour, MA, PhD (’09) promoted to associate professor with tenure, Department of Global Community Health and Behavioral Sciences, School of Public Health and Tropical Medicine, Tulane University.

Jamie Magee Miller, MSW, MSPH (’06), director, Tobacco Control Services, Health Promotion Council, Philadelphia PA.

Rhea Bright, MPH (’10), quality improvement and human resources for health advisor, USAID Global Health Fellows Program, Public Health Institute, Washington DC.

Sarah Leff, MPH (’12), health program manager, California Department of Public Health, Sacramento CA.

Macon Lowman, MPH (’14) accepted to Columbia University School of Nursing.

Ameena Batada, MPH (’99), DrPH, assistant professor of health and wellness, University of North Carolina at Asheville.

Martha Coulter, DrPH (’85) Director of the The Harrell Center for the Study of Family Violence, and professor in the Department of Community and Family Health, College of Public Health at the University of South Florida.

Amy Handler, MPH (’13), evaluation specialist at SHIFT NC, Carroboro NC.

Nathan C. Nickel, PhD (’11) is an assistant professor in the Max Rady College of Medicine at the University of Manitoba and a research scientist with the Manitoba Centre for Health Policy.


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Where are they now?

Ameena Batada, DrPH

Ameena Batada’s interest in public health was sparked in 1993 as a junior in Dr. John Hatch’s community health class at UNC-CH. She shifted her focus from medicine to public health that summer when she traveled to South Africa to research pre-school conditions in former Bantustan areas of the Northern Transvaal. Since then, Ameena (MPH ’99) has been interested in improving child health and education, particularly among disenfranchised populations.

In 1995, Ameena’s interests took her to Baltimore where she taught third and fourth grade through the Teach for America program. There she learned the power of marketing on food choices and returned to UNC-CH to study maternal and child health with a certificate in international health. She was a graduate assistant for the Head Start Quality Research project and a teaching assistant for Dr. Jonathan Kotch, who once called her a “rocket in his pocket,” for helping translate his lectures to PowerPoint slides.  Ameena’s master’s thesis involved research on women’s health in Maharashtra, India, where in 1998 she collected data with the support of one of the first Mahatma Gandhi Fellowships awarded at UNC-CH.

Ameena’s interests in school health took her back to Baltimore in 1999, where she conducted a coordinated school health program (CSHP) before entering graduate school at Johns Hopkins (now Bloomberg) School of Public Health. Ameena earned a DrPH in population and family health sciences with a concentration in health communication and worked at the Center for Adolescent Health. She developed the CSHP Video Project, an intervention to increase school health programming and co-developed a multi-phase project on stress and coping among African American teens. Her dissertation focused on children’s and parents’ perceptions of school lunches, family eating, and food marketing to children.

Ameena completed a one-year post doc at the Center for Science in the Public Interest (CSPI) in Washington, DC, where she worked on research and advocacy related to school nutrition, menu labeling, and food marketing to children. From CSPI, Ameena headed to New Delhi, India to take a dream job directing education, research, and outreach for Sesame Workshop India. There she worked for almost two years approving stories and scripts for the television show, co-developing a new radio program, and overseeing external evaluations of on-the-ground programming in seven locations around the country.

In 2011, Ameena joined the faculty at the University of North Carolina Asheville, where she teaches courses on health disparities, community health promotion, health communication, and other areas. She works with community partners to conduct research to support policy advocacy and co-implements intervention studies in schools, churches, and communities. She also continues to research the content of foods marketed to children, from kids’ meals to food dyes in grocery store products.

When not working, Ameena loves spending time with her family, and enjoying travel, kayaking,  art, and yoga. Ameena can be reached at

Lee selected as Chipman Alumni Award Recipient

Joseph Lee, MPH (MCH ’08), PhD, was presented the 2016 Sidney S. Chipman Alumni Award during the MCH Family Reunion, which was held in conjunction with the Gilling School of Global Public Health’s Foard Lecture at the William and Ida Friday Continuing Education Center in Chapel Hill.

The Award, honoring Sidney S. Chipman, first chair of the Department of Maternal and Child Health at the UNC Gillings School of Global Public Health, is presented to a graduate of the department who has made an outstanding contribution to the field of maternal and child health. Recipients are to be dedicated to working for human welfare; are effective in working with people and getting the job done; and are to be sensitive to the needs, feelings, and ideas of others.

Joseph Lee, MPH, PHD

Joseph Lee, MPH, PHD

“Joseph has shown outstanding promise and reflected the characteristics of this award in many ways” said Lew Margolis, Chair of the Awards Committee and an associate professor of maternal and child health. “His commitment to document health disparities for lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) people, to understand the origins of these disparities, and to work to identify and evaluate policy interventions to improve health equity demonstrates his dedication to work for human welfare. The breadth of his contributions in getting the job done ranges from managing the evaluations of state tobacco interventions to his service on the Steering Committee of the Network for LGBT Health Equity, which among other actions, encouraged the inclusion of questions on sexual orientation to improve health surveillance, to his active leadership on the MCH alumni committee. Joseph’s written and oral communication exemplifies his extraordinary sensitivity to the needs, feelings and ideas of others, such that even the most skeptical may be engaged in his ideas and arguments.”

“I am honored to receive this award” said Lee. “My successes as a researcher are built on a foundation of great training — from the core courses, assessment, management, and evaluation among others – that I learned in MCH and for that training I am thankful.”

“It’s been a rough spring for working on LGBT health disparities in North Carolina,” Lee continued. “This award strengthens my resolve to keep working on improving health for LGBT families. I know that with my stellar training from this Department and with the support of the MCH family, we can improve health for LGBT families across North Carolina.”

Lee earned his MPH in MCH (’08) and a doctorate from the Department of Health Behavior (’15). In the fall of 2015, he assumed a position as an assistant professor in the Department of Health Education and Promotion at East Carolina University.

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The MCH Alumni Committee is a group of volunteer graduates of the Department of Maternal and Child Health of the UNC Gillings School of Global Public Health who work to enhance learning and networking opportunities for graduates and students. Our mission is to:

  • Strengthen alumni network
  • Support current students
  • Build MCH community and support departmental efforts

The committee meets four times a year in the Chapel Hill-Raleigh-Durham area and is open to all graduates and especially welcomes current students.

If you would like information about any MCH alumni activities or have questions about how you can become involved, please contact us.

MCH Alumni Committee Members

Julie DeClerque, co-facilitator,
Sharon Epstein, co-facilitator,
Joseph Lee, treasurer,
Sandra Cianciolo, secretary,
Jennifer Cole, career development director
Kathy Biancardi, department communications liaison,
Susan Charamut, department staff liaison,
Meghan Shanahan, faculty representative,
Jonathan Kotch, member
Marcia Roth, member
Katie Cretin, member
Rebecca Greenleaf, member
Priscilla Guild, member
Gerri Mattson, member
Nathan Nickel, member
Lucy Wilson, member
Nancy Williamson, member,
Katelyn Bryant-Comstock, member
Hannah Spector, member
Christina Chauvenet, student member

Funding Policy and Procedure


Maternal and Child Health Travel Stipend – Supporting Work in NC Public Health Service Sites

The Maternal and Child Health (MCH) Alumni Committee is pleased to announce student travel stipends for the current academic school year and summer based on availability of funds. The maximum award amount is $250.00 per request.

Eligibility: The applicant must currently be enrolled as a student in the Department of Maternal and Child Health. Funds are for travel-related expenses incurred while either:

(a) traveling to a practicum at a NC public health service delivery site;

(b) conducting research/programs at a North Carolina public health-related site; or

(c) presenting follow-up information/evaluation/data findings regarding a NC service agency practicum to a NC-based audience.

Applicants must justify the requested amount. The MCH Alumni Committee reserves the right to provide stipends that are less than the requested amount.

Application: Application form is available here. Interested students may direct questions to: the MCH Alumni Committee.  Please contact the current President: or Treasurer: Joseph Lee at

Awards Given to Alumni

The Harriett Hylton Barr Award

This award is offered annually by the School of Public Health Alumni Association to recognize achievements by alumni and their contributions to Public Health. For more information about this award and how to nominate an alumna or alumnus, please read more.

Previous MCH alumni recipients of the Harriett Hylton Barr Award are:
2006 Allen J. Wilcox
1999 C. Earl Fox
1986 Sarah Morrow
1985 Verna Barefoot

The Sidney S. Chipman Award

Selection Process:
This award is presented annually to a graduate of the Department of Maternal and Child Health who has shown outstanding promise to the field of maternal and child health. Except in unusual circumstances, the graduation should have occurred more than five years ago. The recipient should be dedicated to work for human welfare, effective in working with people and getting the job done, and sensitive to the needs, feelings, and ideas of others.

Nominations should be limited to one paragraph and must include specific examples of how the nominee reflects the attributes of the award. Nominations without the supporting paragraph cannot be considered. Nominations should be submitted by email to facilitate distribution to the Chipman committee. Please email your nomination(s) to Susan Charamut by January 25, 2017.

Previous recipients of the Sidney S. Chipman Award:
2016 Joseph Lee
2015 Anisha Patel
2014 Emily Taylor
2013 Chisara Asomugha
2012 Bronwyn Glenn Lucas
2011 Mark Piehl
2010 Ameena Batada
2009 Roland Edgar “Eddie” Mhlang
2008 Diane Hedgecock
2007 Martha Coulter
2006 Millie Jones
2005 Joseph degraft-Johnson
2004 Mary Patterson
2003 Mary Rose Tully
2002 Martha Valiant
2001 Porapan Punyaratabandhu
2000 Andrèa Bazan Manson
1999 Renee Schwalberg
1998 Kevin Ryan
1997 Vijaya Hogan
1996 Arden Handler
1995 Marjorie Sable
1994 Richard Aronson
1993 Mike Durfee
1992 Susan Spalt
1991 Jamie Bayer
1990 Amy Fine
1989 Kay Johnson
1988 Richard R. Nugent
1987 Susan Rumsey Givins
1986 Henry C. Heins
1985 Kathryn A. Johnson
1984 Isa Grant
1983 Pouru Bhiwandiwala and Sam X. Charles
1982 Jonathan Kotch
1981 Claude E. Fox, III
1980 Joseph I. Holliday
1979 Jimmie Rhyne and Lynn Knauff
1978 Lois D. Isler
1977 Verna Barefoot
1975 Russell H. Richardson
1974 Robert S. McCurdy
1973 R. W. Penick
1972 Sarah T. Morrow
1971 Sister Joan Conway
1970 Peter Dawson

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Awards Given by Alumni

Jimmie Lee Rhyne Scholarship Fund
Established in 2009 by friends and family to honor the memory of Jimmie Lee Rhyne, a pediatrician and 1959 MCH graduate, it was first awarded in 2013. The scholarship may support any MCH student in a domestic child or adolescent health practicum placement.

Sarah Taylor Morrow Scholarship Fund
Established in 2013 by the children of Sarah Taylor Morrow, a 1960 MCH alumna, to honor her devotion as a physician and as a pioneer in public health leadership, the scholarship may support expenses related to a practicum placement within the state of North Carolina.

MCH Global Health Internship Fund
Established in 2008 by MCH alumna Lynn Knauff, the fund supports basic student expenditures of travel and subsistence for global health field placements that integrate international and domestic MCH issues and solutions. This fund recognizes that teaching and training our MCH students to work effectively in global health includes ground-truth experience, primarily through internships preferably outside one’s comfort zone.

See additional awards: Departmental Awards

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MCH doctoral graduates served as panelists forl: Career advice for non-academic and academic jobs

MCH doctoral graduates served as panelists for: Career advice for non-academic and academic jobs

Career Planning Support for Students:
The MCH Alumni Committee provides new and graduating students with MCH career resources as they anticipate their next steps. We invite all students to attend our Career Roundtable programs through which they can network with MCH graduates to discuss career choices and learn about possible job opportunities. Alumni interested in sharing their experience with current students are invited to join us for this program, which has become a popular annual event with students.

Connecting with Classmates:
The committee works to educate alumni about ways in which you can reconnect with former classmates and discuss career opportunities with graduates from any class. You can link to the alumni directory. Make sure your address and email contact information are current so you can receive all the latest information about MCH activities.

Honoring MCH Alumni:
Many MCH graduates have made significant contributions to the field of public health, but your help is needed in making sure that the department and the school become aware of those achievements. The committee invites your help in identifying nominees for these important alumni awards: the Harriet Hylton Barr Distinguished Alumnus Award offered by the School of Public Health Alumni Association and the Sidney S. Chipman Award offered by the Department of Maternal and Child Health.

Identifying Alumni Interests:
The committee assists the school’s alumni affairs staff in identifying interests of our MCH alumni. We plan to conduct short email surveys to ensure that the services and activities provided by the MCH Alumni Committee, the MCH Department, and the SPH Alumni Association are meeting your needs.

Your Involvement:
MCH alumni around the country and the world can get involved! You can help by hosting alumni networking meetings in your home city, participating in the Career Roundtables, nominating colleagues for alumni awards, keeping the Alumni Committee informed of job openings in your organization or MCH related news, and making an annual gift to support the Department of Maternal and Child Health. And, of course, you can join the MCH Alumni Committee!

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Revised September 24, 1997
The name of the organization shall be the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, School of Public Health Alumni Association, Maternal and Child Health Section, hereafter referred to as MCHS.

The purpose of MCHS shall be:

To promote the advancement of knowledge and competence in the field of Maternal and Child Health (MCH);
To encourage and assist in the training, placement and promotion of qualified people in the field of Maternal and Child Health;
To strengthen the network among MCHS members through collaboration, understanding and mentorship;
To promote and support the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill (UNC-CH) Department of Maternal and Child Health;
To promote alumni involvement in the School of Public Health Alumni Conference.


SECTION 1. ACTIVE MEMBERSHIP shall include all individuals who have satisfactorily completed the academic requirements of the UNC-CH Department of Maternal and Child Health, and who have been awarded degrees pursuant thereto.

SECTION 2. HONORARY MEMBERSHIP may be conferred upon any individual (including MCH faculty) who has evidenced unusual interest in the UNC-CH Department of Maternal and Child Health or who has made a substantial contribution in the field of MCH. Such membership shall be nominated by the Department Chair, or any active MCHS member, and approved by a majority of the votes cast by the members attending the annual meeting.


SECTION 1. The ANNUAL MEMBERSHIP MEETING will be held in conjunction with the UNC-CH School of Public Health Alumni Conference. Announcement of this Annual Membership Meeting as part of the School’s mailing for the Alumni Conference will constitute sufficient notice of the Annual Membership Meeting to the MCHS membership.

SECTION 2. SPECIAL MEETINGS of MCHS may be called by the President or any two other officers elected by the membership at large. The Secretary of MCHS shall notify all members of the time, place and agenda of such special meetings, not less than two weeks prior to the time of the meeting.

SECTION 3. Those in attendance at the annual meetings, special meetings, or committee meetings shall constitute a quorum, provided that the meeting has been officially called and the members have been duly and adequately notified. A simple majority of those active members present and voting shall suffice for the purpose of passing motions and resolutions.


The officers of MCHS shall be:
1. President
2. President-elect
3. Secretary and Chair of Membership

The President-elect of MCHS shall be elected for a two-year term, which is to be followed immediately by a two-year term as President. The Secretary also shall be elected for a two-year term.

A Nominating Committee consisting of the officers and the Chair of the Department of Maternal and Child Health or his or her departmental designee shall present a slate of nominees at the Annual Membership Meeting. Nominations from the floor will also be accepted. Election will be confirmed by a simple majority of active members attending the same Annual Membership Meeting.

The President of MCHS shall preside at all meetings of MCHS. The President shall appoint all committees and s/he shall be an ex officio member with a vote on all committees. She or he shall perform such other duties as pertain to the office. The President-elect shall assume the duties of the President in his or her absence or disability. The President-elect shall assume responsibility for the program at the Annual Membership Meeting.The Secretary shall keep minutes of the proceedings of all meetings of MCHS and make an accurate and proper record of same. She or he shall be responsible for seeing that all notices and other written communications of MCHS are sent out in a timely fashion.

The officers and the MCH representatives to the Governing Board of the SPH Alumni Association shall constitute the Executive Committee.


These bylaws may be changed as recommended by the Executive Committee and approved by two-thirds of those MCHS members present and voting at the Annual Meeting.

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