September 14, 2009

Jillian Casey

Jillian Casey

The UNC Gillings School of Global Public Health’s Annual Fund traditionally has been one of the most popular ways to support the School and its public health initiatives. I n 2009, for the first time, a portion of the fund was designated specifically for scholarship assistance to outstanding student applicants. This fall, eight Annual Fund scholars — one from each academic department or program — received a $5,000 award. The School’s leadership is working to enlarge the amount of the award and the number of students who will receive funding.

This year’s scholars are:

  • Christopher Bryant (Biostatistics)
  • Jillian Casey (Health Behavior and Health Education)
  • Jonathan Crocker (Environmental Sciences and Engineering)
  • Christine Hunt (Health Policy and Management)
  • Kristen Kenan (Public Health Leadership Program)
  • Carmen Maria Piernas Sanchez (Nutrition)
  • Heidi Soeters (Epidemiology)
  • Jacquetta Woods (Maternal and Child Health)

(All are master’s students except Sanchez and Soeters, both working on doctorates.)

For more information on all the scholars, visit

Jillian Casey says her interest in public health initially stems from experience working with HIV -positive children in Arusha, Tanzania. She used the $5,000 Annual Fund award to return to Tanzania to work with orphans. “I am interested in community health efforts to reduce transmission and provide more effective therapies for HIV in low-resource settings,” she says.

Jonathan Crocker wants to study water treatment technologies and infectious diseases so he can create positive changes through engineering projects throughout the world. He recently working in rural Ghana, and taught people there how to install a rainwater collection system.

Kristen Kenan is a fourth-year medical student, specializing in pediatrics, who is on leave from the Robert Wood Johnson Medical School at the University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey. She wants a Master of Public Health degree, she says, “to expose myself to a broader range of concepts, ideas and initiatives to address the needs of my patients and community.”

Heidi M. Soeters wants to focus on the epidemiology of and interaction between tuberculosis (TB) and HIV /AI DS, particularly in Africa. She became interested in this subject through working at the Division of TB Elimination at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta. This scholarship “will enable me to pursue research opportunities and aid communities in areas most afflicted by these pathogens,” she says.

Jacquetta Woods’ interests include researching health disparities in minority pediatric and adolescent populations, including teen pregnancy and ST D transmission, childhood asthma, and racial disparities in infant mortality rates. “My passion for these specific populations is based largely on the fact that the health of children in a community subsequently determines the overall health of that community,” she says.

Carolina Public Health is a publication of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill Gillings School of Global Public Health. To view previous issues, please visit

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