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!
Jonathan Kotch, MPH, 1977

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Nominate an outstanding alum for Chipman Award 

Alumni resources

Alumni Updates

Eva Fernandez, MPH (’14) sexuality education training specialist, Planned Parenthood, Los Angeles CA.

Emily Evens, MPH, PhD (’06, ’10) scientist I, Health Services Research, Division of Global Health, Population and Nutrition, FHI360.

Laura Glish, MPH (’09) reproductive health technical advisor, Populations Services International, Washington DC.

Anu Manchikanti Gomez, MSc, PhD (’10) assistant professor, School of Social Welfare, University of California, Berkeley and member board of directors National Women’s Health Network.

Tara Ilsley, MPH (’13) program coordinator, Duke University, Durham NC.

Joseph Lee, MPH (’08)PhD assistant professor, Department of Health Education and Promotion, East Carolina University.

Mary Kristina Wharton, MPA, MPH (’15) applied public health infomatics fellow, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, San Francisco CA.

Kathryn Wehr, MPH (’10) program officer, Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, Princeton NJ.

Althea Anderson, MPH (’08) gender and health research consultant and doctoral candidate in Department of Sociomedical Sciences, Columbia University, New York, NY.

Alta Andrews, DrPH, MPH, RN (’89) clinical professor and director for community partnerships and practice, College of Nursing, East Carolina University.

Margi A. Bhatt, MD, MSPH (’00) hospitalist in internal medicine, St. Mark’s Hospital, Salt Lake City, UT.

Hugh Craft, Jr., MD, MPH (’85) pediatrician specializing in adolescent medicine at Carillion Clinic, Roanoke, VA.

Anna Freeman, MPH (’11) project coordinator, Médicins Sans Frontières (MSF), supporting Ebola response activities in Kankan, Guinea.


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Where are they now?

Cynthia Gay, MD, MPH completed her MD at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill in 1999, and obtained an MPH in maternal and child health from the UNC Gillings School of Public Health in 1998. She is board-certified in infectious diseases and internal medicine and has provided clinical HIV care in the United States and Africa since 2002. Her clinical and research/programmatic work in both the U.S. and Africa includes expanded HIV testing and diagnosis, and acute HIV infection and clinical HIV management.

Dr. Gay has previously worked in Uganda with Medicins Sans Frontieres as well as in Malawi and South African on HIV care and research. She has developed and implemented several programs expanding HIV diagnosis and access to care in the U.S. In 2012, Dr. Gay began focusing on translational research in HIV eradication research conducting early phase research.

She is currently a principle investigator for several studies of acute HIV infection at UNC Chapel Hill School of Medicine and is an associate professor in the Division of Infectious Diseases. Feel free to contact Dr. Cindy Gay at 919-843-2726 or

Nominate an outstanding MCH alum for the 2016 Chipman Award

See guidelines, list of graduates

Patel named 2015 Chipman Alumni Award Recipient

Research by Anisha I. Patel, MD, MSPH, (MCH ’01) on drinking water access in school settings and subsequent state and federal legislation exemplify the spirit of the Sidney S. Chipman Alumni Award. Her selection as the 2015 recipient was announced April 16 during the MCH Family Reunion at the William and Ida Friday Continuing Education Center in Chapel Hill.

The Award, honoring Sidney S. Chipman, founder of the UNC Gillings School of Global Public Health Department of Maternal and Child 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.

Dr. Patel

Dr. Patel

“Currently, an assistant professor in the Division of General Pediatrics at University of California, San Francisco, Anisha’s work demonstrates dedication to human welfare, the ability to get the job done, and great sensitivity to the needs, feelings, and ideas of others”, wrote her nominator. “Dr. Patel is widely recognized for her research examining drinking water access in schools settings; she has published widely on this topic and has funding from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation to examine drinking water access in a representative sample of California public schools. In part, due to the research of Dr. Patel and her colleagues, both state and federal legislation now require schools to offer free drinking water to students in places where meals are served and/or eaten.”

Dr. Patel expressed her appreciation for “receiving such a prestigious award from this top tier public health institution is a tremendous honor. I continually value the training I received as it has provided me with the critical foundation and skills for the work I do every day.”

She commented that, as a physician, her medical education was primarily rooted in the traditional biomedical model. Through courses, such as Foundations of Maternal and Child she learned about the economic, social, cultural, and health system factors that influence the well-being of children and their families. She also pointed out that it was also during her time in maternal and child health that she first learned about community-based participatory research. This approach, in which researchers partner with communities to develop research agendas and to design and implement research, is now an integral framework for her research.

“While there is no doubt that my excellent training at the UNC School of Public Health has influenced my work today, it is also important to recognize the dedicated teachers and mentors, and tireless community partners who have taught me so much over the years,” she said. “I look forward to working with you all in this journey to address the upstream determinants that are critical to the health of children, adolescents, and their families.”

Dr. Patel graduated summa cum laude from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and earned her medical and public health degrees from UNC. Dr. Patel completed a residency and chief residency in pediatrics at Lucile Packard Children’s Hospital at Stanford University in 2006. She also completed additional training as a fellow in the Robert Wood Johnson Clinical Scholars Program at UCLA and as a post-doctoral fellow in the Philip R. Lee Institute for Health Policy Studies at UCSF.

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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,
Jonathan Kotch, faculty liaison,
Joseph Lee, treasurer,
Sandra Cianciolo, secretary,
Jennifer Cole, career development director
Kathy Biancardi, department communications liaison,
Susan Charamut, department staff liaison,
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

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 made an outstanding contribution 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.

If you would like to nominate an alumna or alumnus, please contact:
Dr. Lewis Margolis
Associate Professor of Maternal and Child Health
Telephone: 919-966-5974

Previous recipients of the Sidney S. Chipman Award:
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.

MCH Alumni Travel Award

The Maternal and Child Health Alumni Committee is pleased to announce the availability of two travel awards for the 2013-2014 academic school year and summer of 2014.

Eligibility: The applicant must currently be enrolled as a student in the Department of Maternal and Child Health. Funds are available to support travel-related expenses incurred while either:
(a) presenting information regarding North Carolina-related research/programs at professional conferences;
(b) presenting research/programs at a North Carolina public health-related meeting; or
(c) supporting travel expenses to a practicum based in North Carolina.

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

Application: Interested student should send applications to: Mr. Joseph Lee, co-chair MCH Alumni Committee at Please see application form or request one from Joseph.
Departmental Awards

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Continuing Education for Alumni:
Just because you graduated doesn’t mean you learned everything! To keep you abreast of current research, theories, programs, and health policies, plus refresh your memory of public health basics, the committee is working with MCH faculty to develop a series of free seminars for presentation at or close to the offices of MCH alumni within commuting distance of Chapel Hill.

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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