Department of Health Policy and Management

DrPH Alumni Spotlights


Portrait of Health Policy and Management alumna Zara Ahmed
Class of 2018
Associate Director for Federal Issues, Guttmacher Institute
Foreign policy related to reproductive rights

Dr. Zara Ahmed has dedicated her career to fighting for the health and rights of women and girls around the world.

Dr. Ahmed began her career in the reproductive health field as an instructor for Brown University’s Female Sexuality Workshop while an undergraduate student. She then went on to serve as a sexual health counselor at an alternative high school in Michigan for three years and to consult on sex worker safety in Cambodia, health financing of maternal health programs in Cameroon and Senegal, and migrant women’s rights in Bangladesh. In 2009 she joined CDC, where she spent nearly 10 years as a senior technical advisor and strategist.

Dr. Ahmed continued her journey as the Senior Policy Manager for the Guttmacher Institute, where she specialized in US foreign policy regarding sexual and reproductive health and rights. In this role, she advocated for greater funding and enabling policies for international family planning, HIV, maternal health, and other programs. In 2020, she received a promotion, and is now the Associate Director for Federal Issues at the Guttmacher Institute.


Portrait of Health Policy and Management alumnus Paul Erwin
Class of 2009
Dean, School of Public Health
University of Alabama at Birmingham
Collaboration for the improvement of population health

Dr. Paul Erwin has extensive experience in both Public Health practice and academia, and is a leader in forging partnerships between the two.

Dr. Erwin began his Public Health journey with a medical expedition to Nepal and a two-year fellowship in Pakistan. Dr. Erwin then worked for the Department of Public Health for 16 years, including 12 years as the director of the East Tennessee Regional Health Office.  The DrPH program was a part of his transition to academia.

He became a Professor and Department Head in the Department of Public Health at the University of Tennessee, and a founding Director of its Center for Health Policy and Services Research. Dr. Erwin has served as the Dean of the School of Public Health at the University of Alabama at Birmingham since 2018.


Portrait of Health Policy and Management alumna Tyonne Hinson
Class of 2016
Director of Nursing Diversity Initiatives and the Nursing Career Lattice Program
Boston Children’s Hospital
Diversity, Inclusion, & Health Equity Leader / Maternal-Child Nursing Executive

Dr. Tyonne Hinson has over 20 years of experience in leadership roles promoting recruitment and advancement of all members of the nursing workforce.

Dr. Hinson has 20 years of experience in nursing leadership roles advancing maternal-fetal health and promoting inclusion & advancement of all members of the nursing workforce. Dr. Hinson blends a background of clinical nursing, healthcare administration, global leadership for domestic /international healthcare programs, and diversity & inclusion. Dr. Hinson is committed to developing strategies focused on improving pediatric health equality in addition to racial/ethnic disparities in the community and workplace.

In addition to her DrPH, Hinson also earned an MSN, BSN, and is a board certified Nurse Executive. At her current job, Dr. Hinson leads initiatives to strengthen the professional advancement and inclusion of the nursing workforce and oversees a workforce program designed to support diverse employees desiring to pursue a career in nursing. She also serves as a partner to multiple external entities to facilitate those same actions in the local Boston and national region.


Portrait of Health Policy and Management alumnus Innocent Ibegbunam
Class of 2018
Liberia Country Director
Chemonics International
Leading Public Health Program Design

Dr. Innocent Ibegbunam has spent more than 15 years assisting governments in creating more effective health programs.

Dr. Ibegbunam entered the public health field as a pharmacist working in a hospital supported by the Catholic Relief Services and provided support to rural clinics on essential medicine and HIV programs in 2005. Dr. Ibegbunam then moved up the ranks and became the Director of the HIV/AIDS Program Management at Jon Snow Inc. for 3 years and the Director of Strategy and Demand Planning for the next year.

Dr. Ibegbunam began working as a Deputy Country Director for Chemonics International in their USAID Global Health Supply Chain Program in 2017. Dr. Ibegbunam was promoted to Country Director after the completion of his DrPH in 2018, and he now provides leadership and support to Liberia to improve their public health programs.


Portrait of Health Policy and Management alumnus Benjamin Puertas
Class of 2015
Advisor Health Systems and Services
Pan American Health Organization PAHO/WHO
Leading International Public Health Strategies

Dr. Benjamin Puertas is a leader in advancing universal health coverage and strengthening primary health and the national health system in Honduras.

Dr. Puertas worked for Universidad San Francisco de Quito for 16 years. He acted as the Founding Dean of the School of Public Health and the Founding Director of the master’s in Public Health. He coordinated the research and implementation projects of the public health programs. In 2014, Dr. Puertas received the Jacob Koomen Public Health Practice Award from UNC for his dedication to the public health field.

After leaving the Universidad, Dr. Puertas began a job with Pan American Health Organization as an Advisor in Human Resources for Health where he designed strategies to improve human health through international cooperation. Dr. Puertas has served as an advisor in Health Systems and Services for PAHO for 6 years and now advises the Ministry of Health in issues related to health reform.