HBHE Student Awards

June 09, 2004

Awards season at UNC this year has brought fresh accolades to HBHE students; read all about our impressive students below!2004 HBHE Student Scholarship and Award Recipients.

Marianna Garrettson, Allison Myers and Matt Griffith were each recognized this Spring with the Department’s Lucy S. Morgan Fellowship, awarded to outstanding first-year master’s students for scholastic achievement, integrity, leadership and commitment to health education practice.

Marianna Garretson came to HBHE with a background in environmental science and 8 years of experience working with Latino populations in Latin America and in the U.S. She has focused her energies, as one of her nominators put it, in the “emotionally charged and often frustrating realm of sexual assault and violence prevention,” and she has done this with unfailing energy and optimism. In HBHE, she is further developing her strengths in adolescent health, minority health and violence prevention. For the Injury Prevention Research Center, she is coordinating and facilitating the work of a subgroup of a national committee that is putting together core competencies for injury and violence prevention gathered from more than 50 experts nationwide.

Allison Myers came to HBHE with a background in environmental sciences together with strengths in sociology and demography. As a Peace Corps worker in Gabon, Africa, Allison started out as an environmental educator. Once she learned that the women she was working with had other priorities, however, she switched her focus and began organizing and directing seminars on reproductive health, a strong indicator of her natural ability to work with communities in highly responsive ways. In the U.S., she has volunteered as an HIV educator for Planned Parenthood and other projects. According to her many nominators, Allison has exceptional skill in gaining entrie into organizations and groups as well as a highly tuned sensitivity and commitment to the groups she works with.

Matt Griffith is known in the department for his energetic commitment to social justice, particularly in his work with Hispanic communities. He recently earned his BA in Hispanic languages and literature from Boston University. While living in Boston, he volunteered extensively as a Spanish medical interpreter, an avocation he carried with him to New Orleans, where he volunteered for a year helping to put together a community health program for Latinos. In Chapel Hill, Matt continues to work closely with Latino communities in his coursework, in his jobs, and in his extracurricular activities.

Third-year doctoral student Yvonne Ferguson (MPH 1999) received this year’s Ethel Jean Jackson Health Education Practice Award. This award recognizes an outstanding HBHE student with a demonstrated commitment to health education practice among disadvantaged communities and communities of color. During her time as a HBHE doctoral student, Yvonne has racked up an impressive list of fellowships and honors: the Godfrey and Lore Hochbaum scholarship; a service fellowship with the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services; a UCIS Foreign Language Area Studies Fellowship to study Kiswahili, and a NIAID Minority Pre-Dissertation Award, to name several. She is currently doing research on the AIDS pandemic in Sub-Saharan Africa and has demonstrated strong leadership potential in HIV/AIDS disparities among women of African descent. As one of her nominators describes her, Yvonne has “an unrivaled combination of: (1) strong academic preparation in the biological, behavioral, and social sciences; and (2) on-the-ground practice experience with how theory-informed research can contribute to public health practice.”

Karen Isaacs, who graduated in 2000 with a degree in Biology from UNC-Chapel Hill, spent two years in Tanzania as a Peace Corps worker before returning to her home state to earn her MPH in HBHE. After a year in HBHE, Karen won the high esteem of her AOCD teammates, all of whom supported her nomination for the James R. Briley Scholarship. In particular, they cited Karen’s exceptional ability to create rapport with the communities she is working in. As a case in point, Karen is working on an intervention study at a woman’s prison in Raleigh; that study has the goal of developing an effective sexual risk reduction program tailored to specific factors affecting incarcerated women. The Briley Award goes to North Carolina master’s students with a strong commitment to community health education. A total of 6 students have been, or are being, supported through the Briley Endowment, including: Anne Downs (MPH ’01), Mary DeCoster (MPH ’02), Jimmy Wallace (MPH ’03), second year master’s student Austin Brown, and first year master’s student Carrie Fesperman.

In other student news, advanced doctoral students Dionne Godette and Renee Johnson, together with second year HBHE doctoral student Marlyn Hudson, were awarded National Institutes of Health Predoctoral Fellowships. As well, second-year master’s student Catherine Giles, first-year master’s student Carrie Fesperman, and first year doctoral student Melissa Roche are the HBHE winners this year of the Doris Buffett award, which recognizes students committed to making a difference in the area of violence prevention. Student Grant Winners

2004 HBHE Student Grant Recipients.

Chandra Ford won a Graduate Summer Research Grant from the UNC Center for the Study of the American South which she used to asses HIV-related determinants in African American STD patients. Ford also received a travel award from UNC for the purpose of attending the 2003 American College of Epidemiology Annual Conference, where she presented “Prior HIV Testing Among African Americans Seeking Care at a Public STD Clinic: Preliminary Findings.”

Eric Pevzner has been funded by the Association for Schools of Public Health (ASPH) and the American Legacy Foundation to implement the Tackle Smoking Project, a randomized trial aimed at reducing smoking at high school football games. The project will assess compliance with tobacco-related policies, promote a smoke-free environment at games, and provide schools with data to advocate for the adoption of smoke-free policies. Betty Markatos is also contributing to the Tackle Smoking Project through an ASPH Tobacco Control Scholar Training Grant which she will use to conduct a process evaluation for the study.

In other smoking-related research, Jim Thrasher received a Fulbright Fellowship for his study “Smoking, Advertising, & Trust among Mexican Youth.” This project used qualitative research to examine the feasibility of tobacco industry-focused messages to prevent smoking. Thrasher also received funding from the Center for Health Promotion and Disease Prevention at UNC to support his dissertation thesis, “Truth, Trust, and Smoking,” which focuses on perceptions of the tobacco industry among US and Mexican youth.

Also for dissertation purposes, Amy Corneli, received a Traineeship Award from the UNC Center for Health Promotion and Disease Prevention. Her work, “Development and Evaluation of a Context-Specific Informed Consent Process for a U.S.-Funded Clinical Trial in Lilongwe, Malawi” explores the amount of cultural modification needed, if any, to enhance participant understanding of a clinical trial on the prevention of mother-to-child transmission of HIV through breastfeeding.

Schweitzer Fellowship winner, Kristin Schaible, used her funding to start a quarterly diabetes clinic at a rural church in Hurdle Mills, NC. The clinic includes blood pressure screening, blood glucose screening, foot care, and nutrition counseling.

Sarahmona Przybyla received the Society for Public Health Education’s Vivian Drenckhahn Student Grant for the purpose of obtaining professional resources as well as maintaining her membership to professional organizations.

Angela Thrasher will receive a National Research Service award from the National Institute for Allergies and Infectious Diseases in order to complete her dissertation on antiretroviral therapy adherence among HIV-positive substance abusers. Thrasher was also recently awarded the Jo Anne L. Earp Doctoral Student Travel Award in order to present “How is the Quality of Motivational Interviewing Related to Antiretroviral Therapy Adherence by HIV-Positive Patients?” at the Annual Meeting of the Society of General Internal Medicine in Chicago, IL.

Marlyn Allicock Hudson, also an Earp Travel Award winner, will present “Values among Colorectal Cancer Survivors” at the 28th Annual Meeting of the American Society of Preventative Oncology in Bethesda, MD.

This year’s SPH Travel Awards went to Carolyn Kalinowski, Sean Hanley, and Jennifer Johnston. Kalinowski will present “Factors Associated with Physician Facilitation of Patient Involvement in Medical Decision Making” at the Society of Behavioral Medicine’s Annual Meeting in Baltimore, MD. Hanley will also attend the conference in order to present “Media Acculturation and Trust in Sources and Channels of Information Among Latino Adults.” Johnston will travel to San Francisco, CA for the American Camping Association’s National Conference to share her work with Photovoice.