Alumni Greetings

MCH_alumni-facutly_2010WELCOME 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

Follow us on Facebook and Twitter. Check-out the new MCH Alumni Chapter Page

Alumni resources

Alumni Updates
  • Nikhil Patil, MPH (’12) has started a new job as Research and Evaluation Program Manager of eHealth Systems Africa Foundation. He currently lives in Kano Nigeria.
  • Sharon Epstein, MPH (MCH ’82) returned to Chapel Hill from Afghanistan, retired from the Foreign Service and the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID).  Her email address is  During a 42-year career with the U.N., USAID and private sector organizations, she designed, managed or evaluated maternal and child health, family planning and communicable disease assistance programs in Asia, Africa, the Middle East, Latin America and Europe.  She will continue doing consultancy work.
  • Nellie Placencia, MSW, MSPH (MCH ’13) is an independent living specialist in the Youth program at the Alliance of Disability Advocates in Raleigh and is working on  independent living skills/advocacy training for high school students with disabilities, as well as healthy relationship classes and other youth group activities. 
  • Rachel Davis, MPH (MCH ’13) is working with WIC at the South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control in Hartsville, Chesterfield and Marlboro Counties as a dietitian and lactation consultant.
  • Hannah Spector, MPH (MCH ’11) published an abstract, “New view of contraceptive continuation rates: preliminary results from a partially randomized patient preference trial”, in Contraception 2013;88(Sept):436
  • Karishma Oza, MPH (MCH ’13) is now a Division Research Analyst at University of California, San Francisco.
  • Naheed Qutub Siddiqui, MSPH (MCH ’11) has a new position as a clinical research assistant with TearScience, Inc.
  • Amy Handler, MPH (MCH ’13) is working as a consultant for MEASURE Evaluation.
  • Millie J. Jones, MPH (MCH ’82) has been elected president of the Association of Maternal and Child Health Programs’ board of directors. [Read more]
  • Fernanda Queiros, PhD (MCH ’12) starts a post-doc position in neuromodulation/development of executive functions in children in July at Federal University of Bahia, Brazil.
  • Brittney Martin, MPH (MCH ’12) is a research and development specialist at Down East Partnership for Children in Rocky Mount, NC.
[back to top]
Where are they now?

Jean M. Cimino, MPH: Since graduating from the MCH program in 2003, Jean has focused on national- and state-level programs on early childhood health and safety. She was the planner for a national curriculum that trained state-level child care health consultants prior to her current position at the National Resource Center for Health and Safety in Child Care and Early Education where she manages national health and safety standards for early care and education programs and develops online curricula for advanced practice nurses and other health professionals.

She also works as an independent public health consultant, which has given her the opportunity to work on a variety of projects, including administering federal MCH Title V funds, revising health and safety curricula, developing community-level data systems, and reviewing federal- and state-level grant applications.

Jean currently lives in Denver, CO with her husband and two young children.

Feel free to contact Jean at

Taylor receives 2014 Chipman Alumni Award

Emily Taylor, MPH

Emily Taylor, MPH

Emily C. Taylor, MPH (MCH ’07), IHI-IA, LCCE, CD(DONA) fulfilled a portion of the mission established by Sidney S. Chipman, founder of the UNC Gillings School of Global Public Health Department of Maternal and Child Health, when she came to UNC to find a learning environment where mind, heart, and relationships are at the center. She was named recipient of the 2014 Sidney S. Chipman Alumni Award April 10 during the MCH Family Reunion at the Friday Center in Chapel Hill.

The Award, honoring Dr. Chipman, 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.

Taylor’s nominators wrote, “Ms. Taylor has been a contributor to the Department, the State, and the country in her efforts to improve the quality of care in MCH. She is truly an outstanding individual and a great asset to our field. She has demonstrated her dedication to work for human welfare in the years prior to and since her graduation. She has been dedicated to mothers and children, especially to the mother/child dyad issues surrounding birth and reproductive health in general.”

During her remarks, Taylor thanked her nominators and her mentor, Dr. Miriam Labbok. She commented, “it is clear that I have been standing on the shoulders of giants: Mary Rose Tully (2003), who was one of my first mentors at UNC; Millie Jones (2006), who is here with us today; and Drs. Vijaya Hogan (1997), Pouru Bhiwandiwala (1983) and Jonathan Kotch (1982), all of whom had a profound impact on me during the course of my studies.”

“Following Dr. Chipman’s example, the dedicated group of scholars and activists, faculty, staff, students and alumni continuously come together to cultivate an environment that maximizes our potential to work for human welfare, to work with others to get the job done, and to be sensitive to the needs, feelings and ideas of others,” she said. “I realized a dream: I learned to think like a public health professional.”

Specializing in innovation, implementation and evaluation initiatives to improve the quality of healthcare for women, Taylor is the founder and director of Women-Inspired Systems’ Enrichment (WISE). She provides consultation on applying the IHI Model for Improvement, leadership development, curriculum creation and implementation (using adult learning theory), staff development and strengthening, guiding others to use data to drive change, and facilitating quality improvement collaboratives.

Her career has focused on reducing socio-ecological constraints to breastfeeding in the United States with particular emphasis on healthcare delivery systems. Prior to starting WISE, she served as Deputy Director of the Carolina Global Breastfeeding Institute for 6 years. There, she oversaw the National Collaborative for Advancing the Ten Steps to Successful Breastfeeding and the Breastfeeeding-Friendly Health Care Initiative. She also has been active on the MCH Alumni Committee.

Taylor serves as the Secretary of the Board of the United States Breastfeeding Committee. She is a Master of Public Health, an IHI Improvement Advisor, and a certified Leadership Facilitator. Though she no longer has an active practice, her experience as a childbirth doula and Lamaze educator continues to inform her work.

[back to top]

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

Joseph Lee, facilitator 
Julie DeClerque, member, 
Sharon Epstein, member,
Jonathan Kotch, faculty liaison,
Jennifer Cole, staff liaison 
Kathy Biancardi, department liaison 
Marcia Roth, member 
Sandra Cianciolo, member 
Katie Cretin, member 
Rebecca Greenleaf-Bailey, member 
Priscilla Guild, member 
Gerri Mattson, member 
Nathan Nickel, treasurer 
Lucy Wilson, member
Katelyn Bryant-Comstock, member
Hannah Spector, 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:
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


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.



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!



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.


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

SECTION 2. TERMS OF OFFICE. 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.

SECTION 3. ELECTION OF OFFICERS. 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.

SECTION 4. DUTIES OF OFFICERS. 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.

SECTION 5. EXECUTIVE COMMITTEE. 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.