Meet the Inclusive Excellence Team
The Gillings School of Global Public Health’s Office of Inclusive Excellence works on developing a climate in which everyone feels welcomed, wanted and supported. To accomplish this goal, we work to:
- provide inclusive excellence training to students, faculty, and staff at Gillings
- integrate social justice and racial equity into curricula at all levels of education
- improve methods for communicating about difference, inclusion, and equity throughout Gillings
- advocate on behalf of students for fairness and transparency regarding employment opportunities and supports across the School
- support the recruitment and retention of a diverse community of faculty, students and staff
Interim Associate Dean for Inclusive Excellence
Jeffrey Simms, MSPH, serves as interim associate dean for inclusive excellence where he leads the continued implementation of the Gillings School’s Inclusive Excellence Action Plan, a collaborative, living framework for action that guides efforts of the Gillings community in attaining our inclusive excellence goals. He also supervises the School’s inclusive excellence team, serves as a co-lead for the Inclusive Excellence Council and is a critical resource for faculty, staff and students. Jeffrey is an assistant professor and director of student life and alumni relations in the Department of Health Policy and Management.
Director of Education and Training
Yesenia Merino, PhD, MPH, is director of inclusive excellence education and training, where she conducts mixed methods research on institutional racism and academic public health, teaches about structural racism and health, and delivers trainings on inclusion and antiracism to improve the inclusive environment at the Gillings School.
Manager of Inclusive Excellence and Outreach
Trinnette Cooper, MPH, is manager of inclusive excellence and outreach. In this role, she directs, develops, and facilitates new and existing programs and initiatives designed to strengthen the SPHs commitment to maintaining an inclusive and diverse environment. She also represents the School, in collaboration with the Gillings Student Affairs, on a number of initiatives related to student success, diversity and inclusion. These include serving as the primary point of contact for school-wide minority student recruitment efforts and overseeing diversity programs (pipeline programs) and recruitment, such as:
- NCCU-LCCC Partners Public Health Training Program
- Project IMHOTEP Summer Public Health Internship
She also serves as staff advisor the Minority Student Caucus.
Inclusive Excellence Program Coordinator
Hailey Mason, MPH, is a recent graduate of the Gillings Health Behavior MPH class of 2021 and currently serves the IE team and Gillings School as program coordinator. In this role, she coordinates training, curriculum, and program development efforts to help faculty, staff and students co-create learning spaces that center on equity and social justice. She also liaises between students and the inclusive excellence team to advocate for the prioritization of student needs in the School’s inclusive excellence efforts.
Inclusive Excellence Graduate Assistant
Trevor Hamlett (He/Him/His) is a first-year MPH/Registered Dietitian student in the Nutrition department. He is passionate about preventative health and health equity particularly in the areas of nutrition and fitness. Before coming to Gillings, Trevor was the Director of Healthy Living, a health coach, and a personal trainer at the Northwest Cary YMCA in Cary, NC. He has aspirations of becoming a Registered Dietitian and opening his own wellness center in order to hinder the prevalence of chronic disease and promote healthy lifestyles, particularly in marginalized communities of color.