Health Behavior Capstone

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Community Partners
Community partners are essential to our students, and the students help partners get important work done. Find out about becoming a partner. Visit our Community Partners page.

Community-engaged scholarship: It’s what we do. It’s who we are. The MPH capstone is a year-long service-learning course that gives our students an opportunity to apply the knowledge and skills gained in the first year of the program by working in teams partnered with community-based organizations to address real-world public health problems. The capstone benefits both the community partners and health behavior students.

The Capstone Team Learning Experience

  • Improves or develops public health programs, services, and resources
  • Builds students’ and organizations’ capacity to address public health problems
  • Strengthens partnerships between the university and community groups
  • Positions  students to be competitive in the job market

We focus equally on the service and the learning aspects of the experience. Class sessions are an opportunity for students to prepare for, reflect on, share, and receive feedback about their capstone experiences.

Open the MPH Capstone Syllabus (2017-2018) .

2016-2017 Capstone projects

These Capstone Projects addressed ten different health topics and employed a range of approaches to improve the health of North Carolinians.

Youth Empowerment
Partner: Alexander YMCA


Stephanie Bahorski, Claire McLendon, Camille McGirt and Em Pike

Goal: To leverage the talents and energy of a youth-driven participatory action and social justice group to ensure the youth voice is included in the development of the Southeast Raleigh Promise Project

Preceptor: Melvin Jackson

Faculty adviser: Dr. Alexandra Lightfoot

Students: Stephanie Bahorski, Claire McLendon, Camille McGirt and Em Pike

Workplace Wellness
Partner: Chatham County Public Health Department

Front: Michael Zelek (MPH, 2012), Dr. Kurt Ribsl, Sarah Weller Pegna (MPH, 2012); back: Ryan Seguin, Linda Yang,  Ashley Phillips and Bridget Hochwalt

Goal: To create a scalable workplace wellness program toolkit for Chatham County employers, enabling them to apply a multi-level approach to obesity

Preceptor: Sarah Weller Pegna

Faculty adviser: Dr. Kurt Ribisl

Student team:  Ashley Phillips, Ryan Seguin, Bridget Hochwalt and Linda Yang

School-based Mental Health
Partner: Frank Porter Graham Bilingüe

Hannah Quigley, Kaitlyn Brodar, Whitley Raney, Amee Wurzburg and Adela Del Valle

Goal: To assess the assets and gaps of school-based mental health care services at the school and empower teachers, parents, and the school to meet the needs of children and their families

Preceptors: Emily Bivins and Jen Medearis Costello

Faculty adviser: Dr. Shelley Golden

Student team: Adela Del Valle, Kaitlyn Brodar, Hannah Quigley, Amee Wurzburg and Whitley Raney

Falls Prevention
Partner: Orange County EMS

Front; Angela Hensel, Tom Joseph; back: Mike DeFranco and Chris Moore

Goal: Evaluate and formalize Orange County EMS’s Community Paramedicine Program to improve its effectiveness in preventing falls

Preceptor: Sharon Schiro

Faculty adviser: Dr. Allan Steckler

Student team: Chris Moore,  Angela Hensel, Tom Joseph and Mike DeFranco

Graduate and Professional Student Health and Wellness
Partner: UNC Student Wellness

Ryan Drab, Annie Schmidt, Amy Rusch and Marisa Martini

Goal: To gain a better understanding of the health and wellness needs of UNC graduate and professional students and create actionable, programmatic recommendations for UNC Student Wellness

Preceptor: Brittany O’Malley

Faculty adviser: Dr. Suzanne Maman

Student team: Ryan Drab, Marisa Martini, Annie Schmidt and Amy Rusch

Recycling Behavior
Partner: Orange County Solid Waste Management

Katherine Souris and Mersedes Brown, others not pictured

Goal: Evaluate barriers and facilitators to proper recycling behavior in Orange County and write a detailed recommendation report to improve the quality and quantity of recyclables in multi-unit housing

Preceptors: Blair Pollock and Muriel Williman

Faculty adviser: Dr. Nisha Gottfredson

Student team: Mersedes Brown, Tianyuan Liu, Morgen Palfrey and Katherine Souris.

Community Empowerment and Healing Through Transformative Justice Methodologies
Partner: SpiritHouse, Inc.

Ashley Crawford, Jani Radhakrishnan, Kyle Nisbeth and Alexis Hoyt

Goal: To increase the sustainability of SpiritHouse, Inc. by supporting their funding and program evaluation efforts.

Preceptors: Mya Hunter and Stephanie Baker White

Faculty adviser: Dr. Vivian Go

Student team: Ashley Crawford, Alexis Hoyt, Kyle Nisbeth and Jani Radhakrishnan

Art Therapy
Partner: The Art Therapy Institute (ATI)

Ashton Madison, Sruthi Cherkur, Virginia Burger and Shauna Ayres

Goal: To garner support and increased funding for expanding the Art Therapy Institute’s pediatric oncology art therapy program at Duke Hospital

Preceptors: Liz Aldag and Kristin Linton

Faculty adviser: Dr. Lynn Blanchard

Student team: Shauna Ayres, Virginia Burger, Sruthi Cherkur and Ashton Madison

Reproductive Health Justice
Partner: El Pueblo, Inc.

Cat Webster, Bailey Herrington, Casey Leo and Barbara Muffoletto

Goal: To evaluate and update their Lideres de Salud Reproductiva curriculum and provide clear recommendations to strengthen El Pueblo’s reproductive justice program for adults

Preceptor: Florence Simán

Faculty adviser: Dr. Carmina Valle

Student team: Barbara Muffoletto, Bailey Herrington, Casey Leo and Cat Webster

Questions? Contact Meg Landfried.