Health Behavior Student Highlights

The Department of Health Behavior posts student news and updates on our website as they happen. We also compile and distribute the list at least annually as a component of our e-newsletter.

June 2018-present

August 20

UNC Health Behavior master’s students meet in Ackland Museum. (Photo credit: Alexandra Lightfoot)

Dr. Alexandra Lightfoot’s health behavior foundations course met in Ackland Museum in August.

The portrait exhibition provided great stimulous for discussion about identity and what calls the students to study and work in public health.

Liz Chen

Liz Chen

August 7

Liz Chen, MPH, doctoral student in health behavior,  has been awarded an American Association of University Women (AAUW) American Dissertation Fellowship.

The award aims to “recognize women’s potential and support their future promise.”

Chen, whose public health work leverages mobile technologies to transform health education and support adolescent well-being, was named a 2018 Forbes “30 Under 30” social entrepreneur. She works with colleagues to develop a mobile application in which teens can share stories and read information on topics such as puberty, healthy relationships and bullying.

For her dissertation research, Chen is developing a scale to measure the acceptability of mobile health (mHealth) interventions among teens.

“I am honored and grateful to have received one of the AAUW American Dissertation Fellowships for the 2018-2019 academic year,” said Chen. “This fellowship allows me to prioritize my independent research and connects me to a vast network of fellows and grantees who are also trying to positively impact the lives of women and children.”

The AAUW, one of the world’s leading supporters of graduate women’s education, has awarded more than $115 million in fellowships, grants and awards to 13,000 women since 1888.

Rodrigo Costa Liau, master’s student in health behavior

Rodrigo Costa Liao is completing the practicum requirement for a master’s degree in health behavior in Malawi. He posted a blog about his experiences.

Muli bwanji? In Malawi you hardly ever have an exchange without asking the other person how they are, and you can be sure you’ll always be asked back. The country is known as “The Warm Heart of Africa,” and all who visit have the opportunity to confirm this statement.

This summer I was fortunate enough to join the project to work on a research study called, “Mother Infant Retention-Promoting Mother Infant Retention along the HIV Care Continuum: A Comparative Effectiveness Evaluation of Three Models for Community Facility Linkage.” The study’s goal is to characterize widely adopted community-facility linkage models and assess the impact on mother-infant pair care retention and the Prevention of Maternal-to-Child Transmission (PMTCT) of HIV under “real world” conditions in Malawi. Read more of the blog.

Maribel Sierra, master’s student in health behavior

“Rallying Against Family Separation in Our Communities,” a blog posted by health behavior master’s student Maribel Sierra,  focuses upon the human impact of the Trump Administration’s  zero-tolerance immigration policy, which implemented the harmful practice of forcibly separating children from their parents, in order to prosecute their parents in criminal court.

Sierra, who is completing the health behavior practicum requirement as a research intern at Human Impact Partners in Oakland, Calif., writes about  the experiences  community members shared on the steps of the Alameda County Sherrif’s Office and the need to move beyond the headlines to see how the border policy plays out in real neighborhoods. Read her blog.