Health Behavior 2015-2016 Student Highlights

Currently Featured

Arts-based, Multiple component, Peer-education (AMP!)

HB AMP! Student Team  2015

AMP! Student Team: Joel Mercado Blanco, Katie Byerly, Joy Martin,and Steffani Bangel (MPH candidates)

The AMP! Capstone team is conducting focus groups and interviews with parents, teachers, and youth in North Carolina to help inform the adaptation of an implementation strategy for AMP! 2.0.

AMP! is a theater-based sexual health education and STI/HIV prevention program originally developed by the University of California Los Angeles (UCLA)’s Art & Global Health Center (AGHC) as the AMP! model. AMP! provides young people with crucial sexual health information and HIV prevention strategies through theater-based performances and workshops.

The AMP! Capstone team is assessing the social/educational context, barriers, and facilitators to implementing a video-based adaptation for AMP! 2.0 in NC school districts. In the spring they will summarize their key findings and recommendations in a report for project stakeholders and draft a manuscript to inform the wider scientific community of their findings.

“Having done a lot of community work on the implementation side of sexual health education, this Capstone project has been invaluable in showing me the work that goes into building effective education programming. Working on AMP! has taught me about what it really takes to do thoughtful, community-informed, practice-oriented research.” Steffani Bangel, MPH candidate

HB AMP! KIPP Pic 2015

AMP! Capstone team with Liz Chen, doctoral student and Capstone Teaching assistant

This Capstone builds on the work of two previous Health Behavior student teams which helped build the foundation for AMP! in NC. Health Behavior students have developed skills in program development, adaptation, evaluation, community-based research, and writing for a wide range of audiences. To date one student led peer-reviewed article has been published, with two more manuscripts in press and one more under review, based on Capstone and practicum contributions to the project. This year’s Capstone project is providing critical support to the goal of developing a context-informed implementation strategy for AMP! 2.0 to benefit students in NC schools.

This formative research is supported by a pilot award (#2KR701506) from NC TraCS.

AMP! Capstone Student Team, Consultant, Teaching Team (2015)

Steffani Bangel, BA, MPH candidate
Katie Byerly, BSPH, MPH candidate
Joy Martin, BA, MPH candidate
Joel Mercado Blanco, BS, MPH candidate

Alex Lightfoot, EdD, research assistant professor of health behavior; director, Community Engagement, Partnerships, and Technical Assistance Core, Center for Health Promotion and Disease Prevention, UNC-Chapel Hill

Arianna Taboada, MSW, MSPH, AMP! project consultant

Clare Barrington, PhD, associate professor of health behavior

Liz Chen, MPH, PhD Candidate and Capstone TA, health behavior

Meg Landfried, MPH, lecturer and Capstone lead instructor


Brooke Nezami, Health Behavior doctoral student, received the American Institute for Cancer Research’s Student Investigator 1st place prize for her abstract Reducing Sugar-Sweetened Beverage Consumption in Preschool Children: A Randomized Trial of the Smart Moms mHealth Program.


Brooke Nezami, doctoral student

Students from UNC’s Gillings School of Global Public Health authored four of the seven epidemiology abstracts selected from 127 submissions for presentation at the 2015 Obesity Week conference. This annual scientific and educational event, hosted by The Obesity Society (TOS), brought together world experts in obesity research, treatment and prevention Nov. 2-7 in Los Angeles.


Previously Featured

 Orange County Department on Aging

The strength of the MPH in Health Behavior is the application of what we learn in class through the practicum and Capstone project. (Alumni Survey, 2015)

Mary Kate Shapley-Quinn and Julia Katz recruit early voters to complete surveys at the Seymour Center as part of their capstone project with the Orange County Department on Aging

Mary Kate Shapley-Quinn and Julia Katz recruit early voters to complete surveys at the Seymour Center as part of their capstone project with the Orange County Department on Aging

Theme: Aging Preparedness

Faculty Adviser: Susan Ennett

Partner: Orange County Department on Aging

Graduate students in UNC’s Department of Health Behavior’s MPH program have worked with the Orange County Department on Aging (OCDOA) for several years, completing both the practicum and the Capstone requirements for graduation. In 2011, a Capstone team created the Orange County Master Aging Plan (MAP) and in the following years, students have helped to implement aspects of this 5-year plan.

A 2015-2016 Capstone team is continuing this work.  Their goal is to increase aging preparedness behaviors in Orange County adults aged 50-70.

Read more about the project and what our community partner has to say.