Health Behavior Alumni News Fall 2018

Select the image to see the infographic.The Department of Health Behavior posts alumni news and updates on our website as they happen and distributes a compilation as a component of our e-newsletter several times a year.

June-November 2018

Alumni survey 2018

Browse the list of more than 200 alumni updates by year of graduation. We received these updates through our annual survey and share the information with permission of the alumni listed.

We surveyed alumni about their level of interest on issues affecting public health. Find out what’s top of mind for alumni who completed the survey. Click the image to see the infographic in full size.

Career updates

Alumni career news items are posted here in the order we receive them.

Dr. Celette Skinner

Dr. Celette Skinner

Celette Sugg Skinner, PhD 1999, has been appointed chair of the Department of Clinical Sciences at the University of Texas (UT) Southwestern Medical Center, in Dallas. She is also an adjunct professor in health behavior and chair of the Gillings School’s Public Health Foundation board.

Skinner is the Parkland Professor of Community Medicine at UT Southwestern and has served as interim chair of its clinical sciences department for more than three years.

“Celette has made major professional contributions through her scholarship in a range of areas, including how to communicate with patients and the public about cancer screening,” said Barbara K. Rimer, DrPH, dean and Alumni Distinguished Professor at the Gillings School. “She strengthened her department’s productivity, funding and contributions in health services research.” Read more.

Traci Baird

Traci L. Baird, MPH 1995, has been named President and CEO of EngenderHealth, a leading global women’s health and sexual and reproductive rights organization. Baird, an experienced and respected leader in the field, comes to the organization after serving as CEO of SHIFT NC, a nonprofit organization working to improve adolescent and young adult sexual health across North Carolina. Previously, Baird was the executive vice president of programs for Ipas, a global reproductive health organization, where she held numerous leadership positions for more than 20 years.

Robert D. Petty, EngenderHealth board chair, said, “Traci is the ideal leader for the next phase of EngenderHealth’s work. She has a blend of mission-driven passion, managerial expertise, deep technical experience, and program design and management. She has shown a proven ability to grow organizations and expand funding. After a comprehensive search, I am confident that Traci is the right person to successfully lead this organization.” Read more.

Dr. Mubiana Macwan’gi

Professor Mubiana Macwan’gi, PhD 1991, was one of three researchers to receive the Outstanding Female Researcher Award. which  recognizes a Zambian woman researcher whose scholarly work has greatly contributed to health research development in Zambia. The award was presented to Macwan’gi and two other recipients  by the Honorable Minister of Health of Zambia on Tuesday, October 16, 2018. Mubiana, who works as director of the Institute of Economic and Social Research at the University of Zambia, was Geni Eng’s first doctoral student. Eng and Jo Anne Earp co-chaired her dissertation committee.

Amanda Kotey

Amanda Kotey, MPH 2016, joined the CDC as an evaluation fellow in August 2018. She works with the Monitoring and Evaluation Data Analysis Branch under the Division of Global HIV & TB with the Center for Global Health.

Nancy E. Epstein, MPH 1980, who also holds a MAHL (Master of Hebrew Letters) degree, is a professor of community health and prevention at the Dornsife School of Public Health at Drexel University. She has taught at Drexel for the last 18 years, and in 2017, won one of the university’s top teaching awards.

Epstein moved to Philadelphia in 2000 to enter seminary after a successful career in heath policy in Austin, Texas, and Washington, D.C., and was ordained a rabbi in 2006. She is a contributing author to “Why Religion and Spirituality Matter for Public Health, ” a textbook published in spring 2018. Read more on her faculty profile page.

Lindsay Olson is the new president of the Health Behavior Alumni Section

Lindsay Tague Olson, MPH 2014, works as a public health analyst at RTI. Here’s her letter to alumni where she explains her priorities.

Lindsay Olson

Dear fellow alumni,

I am excited to take on the role of president of the Health Behavior Section of the Gillings School Alumni Association.

It is a role that will allow me to work with the Advisory Board of the Gillings Alumni Association. The board’s charge is to advise the School’s leadership on issues relevant to alumni and strengthen connections between alumni and Gillings.

But even more so, I am delighted to serve the alumni. It is great to have had the opportunity to work with Hannah Prentice-Dunn over the last year and to carry forward her work organizing the annual Career Day for current students and social events for area alumni. Under Hannah’s leadership, local alumni are more engaged with each other and I hope to continue that through my term.

We will follow the tradition of sending an annual 5-minute survey that allows you to provide an update and answer a couple of questions. This year we will ask you about:

  • The public health issues that are top of mind for you
  • The ways you engage with alumni in your local areas. (Do you have a Facebook page, a local meetup, etc.?)

I love hearing from alumni. When I read the updates shared in the last newsletter, frankly, I was impressed with the breadth of your endeavors and the clear enthusiasm to connect.  I hope we can build on that.

Email is the best way to contact me and it helps if you put “HB Alumni” in the subject line.


Lindsay Tague Olson, MPH 2014

Dr. Alllison Myers

Allison Myers, MPH 2005, PhD 2016, became the first full-time director of the Oregon State University Center for Health Innovation in September 2018.

Asked about what she is excited about in this new job, Myers responded,“I’m thrilled for the new adventure. Big life changes like this one are, in essence, creative exercises. You meet new people, learn new things and see the world from a broader perspective. For me, that generates ideas. Add to that my nature as an innovator and problem solver – and my love for the mission of public health – which is to create the conditions where people can live up to their highest well-being – and it’s a privilege to get to do this work.”

Myers, who has expertise in public health policy, research and entrepreneurship, served as Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Health Policy Fellow through the National Academy of Medicine in 2017-2018 and co-founded Counter Tools, a nonprofit located in Carrboro, N.C., while completing her graduate studies.

She also was a Peace Corps volunteer in Gabon between undergraduate and graduate studies. Read about Meyers.

 posted June 24, 2018

Mohamed Jalloh talks about the response to Ebola

Mohamed Jalloh, MPH 2010, is a behavioral epidemiologist at CDC. He shares his experience responding to the devastating Ebola outbreak in Sierra Leone in this powerful video. Jalloh is a candidate for the PhD in public health sciences at Karolinska Institutet.

David Kingdon, MPH2003, was promoted to associate professor at University of Hawaii/Kapi’olani Community College (KCC) in Honolulu in 2018. He has been a member of the faculty at KCC since 2003 and in recent years has taught intern and practicum courses for emergency medical technicians and paramedics. He is also a supervisor for the Ma’alaea Special Response Paramedic Unit with Maui County Emergency Medical Service. He holds many licenses and certifications related to his work in emergency care.  See the KCC faculty directory.

Informal alumni get together

From left: Joscelyn Silsby, Alyson Hyman, Sara Stratton, Jennifer Schuster Jaeger, Jan Capps (all MPH 1993)

Twenty five years ago, these five friends completed the MPH.


In 2018, the 1993 grads  improvised a mini-reunion of supportive old friends. Thanks to Alyson Hyman for sharing this photo.

Other Updates