Maternal and Child Health Alumni.
Welcome MCH Alumni!
UNC’s Maternal and Child Health alumni serve the health needs of women, children, and families at the local, state, national, and international levels. We in the department are very proud of the accomplishments of our alumni and the important contributions you make to public health across the globe.
We thank you for the support you provide the department through your service and your gifts.
Meghan Shanahan, PhD (MCH 2010)
Alumni Spotlight: Where are they now?
Joy Noel Baumgartner, PhD, 2004
Joy Noel Baumgartner, PhD, is a public health practitioner and health services researcher with broad experience working in low-resource settings to strengthen the delivery of maternal & child health (MCH), HIV, reproductive health, and mental health services. She has been working in both academic and international development research institutions since completing her doctoral degree in maternal and child health in 2004 from the Gillings School of Global Public Health at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Prior to this, Joy Noel worked for two years in Arusha, Tanzania as a volunteer with a local NGO serving vulnerable child and earned a master’s degree in social work from the University of Wisconsin in Madison with a concentration in mental health.
Upon receiving her PhD, Joy Noel was eager to dive into applied research to inform programming in low-resource settings. For the next 10 years, she worked for FHI 360 as a research scientist leading projects that collaborated with local partners and Ministries of Health across sub-Saharan Africa to develop and test reproductive health and HIV-related health service interventions with a focus on services integration and meeting the health needs of adolescents. During this time, she also completed a National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) postdoctoral fellowship in psychiatric epidemiology at Columbia University focused on global mental health.
Currently, Joy Noel is an assistant research professor of Global Health at the Duke Global Health Institute (DGHI) where she also serves as Director of the DGHI Evidence Lab whose mission is to conduct objective and high-quality evaluations of global health programs, interventions, and technologies in order to provide evidence of impact. Her portfolio of work is funded by NIMH, USAID, foundations, and international NGOs and spans East, West and Central Africa. She enjoys working closely with partners to evaluate and improve MCH programming such as quality of care interventions to reduce neonatal mortality and early childhood development programs for HIV-exposed children.
“What I really appreciated about the MCH doctoral program was the emphasis on interdisciplinary training. I left the program with a range of skills—from econometric methods to ethnography which has served me well professionally—it is a rare public health research project that does not benefit from utilizing both quantitative and qualitative methods.”
Joy Noel can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Rebeccah Bartlett, MPH, 2016
Rebeccah is an experienced Registered Nurse-Midwife and Rotary World Peace Fellow with an exemplary career in research, policy writing, and clinical service provision focused on sexual health, family planning, women’s reproductive health, immunization and public health. Her expertise in consultancy, mentoring, capacity-building, and leadership has helped pave the way for her success. Rebeccah is committed to community care and humanitarian services and is an advocate of midwifery-led care and indigenous maternal health. As an active contributor to maternal health services for refugees and various organizations providing community aid, emergency relief and clinical support, Rebeccah has proven that great success comes from hard work and dedication.
Rebeccah received her Master’s from the Gillings School of Global Public Health, Department of Maternal and Child Health in 2016. Rebeccah is also the co-founder and CEO of Shifra (formally known as mAdapt), a social enterprise focused on improving access to quality sexual and reproductive health care for refugees and new migrants. Shifra is a simple web app to provide local, evidence-based health information in multiple languages for communities with varying levels of language and health literacy. Shifra also directs users to trusted clinics where they can access respectful and safe care. The company works with local health networks to improve their existing services based on the self-identified health needs found in Shifra’s anonymous user trend data. Based in Melbourne, Australia, Shifra is in the process of scaling internationally.
Rebeccah appreciates her experience in MCH, specifically her education regarding data, as it currently informs her practice and is a main component to the work done at Shifra.
“It’s about demonstrating unseen and unmet needs and finding out from the communities we work with directly what they want to see in a solution, not just what we, as researchers think is important. Different people come to understand social issues through different data points, whether it be through numbers, stories or maps. Shifra tries to use each of these mediums so we can reach as many people as possible and encourage them to join us as we fight for more accessible, culturally appropriate health care, for everyone.”
Rebeccah is encouraged everyday by witnessing the “penny drop moment” people have when they realize improving sexual and reproductive health is the key to improving the social and economic stability of entire communities. She acknowledges that it is undeniable that increasing women’s participation in the economy through job creation and pay parity leads to multisystem economic growth. Rebeccah is active in creating equity for women through experienced family planning. She is working hard to educate global communities that it is vital to address poverty and gender equality where they start, embodying the public health movement as a whole.
Rebecca Greenleaf, MPH, 1998
Rebecca Greenleaf, MPH has served in various public health roles since completing a master’s degree in Maternal and Child Health in 1998 from the Gillings School of Global Public Health at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill (UNC-CH). Prior to her enrollment at UNC-CH, she earned a bachelor’s degree from James Madison University, graduating Cum Laude with a double major in dance and health promotion.
Since 1998, Rebecca has worked for the Association of Maternal and Child Health Programs, North Carolina’s Title V Program, the Carolina Institute for Developmental Disabilities, and the National Training Institute for Child Care Health Consultants. She’s divided her time between curriculum development, research coordination, and program management, all while keeping her focus on improving the lives of women and children. Rebecca currently serves as the Training Coordinator for the National MCH Workforce Development Center, based in the MCH Department at UNC-CH. The Center offers state and territorial Title V leaders and their partners training, collaborative learning, coaching and consultation for implementing health transformation using a variety of learning platforms. In her role, Rebecca supports public health workforce development for MCH professionals, with an emphasis on health transformation, systems integration, evidence-based decision making, and change management.
She collaborates with Center faculty and staff to develop curricula, set up navigable online learning platforms and create resources for MCH leaders. Rebecca also co-teaches MHCH 745: Applied Methods for Health Transformation Implementation, a graduate-level course open to students from UNC and all MCHB-funded Graduate Education Programs to Educate the Next Generation of MCH Leaders (CoE, Catalyst, LEND, LEAH, DBP, MCH Nutrition, and PPC Programs). As lead for the Center’s Pipeline Team, Rebecca works to engage undergraduate and graduate students with the work of the Center and Title V programs and provides oversight for the Title V MCH Internship Program, an annual internship opportunity for teams of MCH students to participate in internships in state Title V programs.
In 2015, Rebecca received the Innovative Teaching in MCH award from the Association of Teachers of Maternal and Child Health for her work creating an e-publication, “Expanding Access to Applied Methods for Health Transformation in MCH.” In 2016, Rebecca was named Adjunct Faculty to the MCH Department.
Tully hopes to serve mothers, infants with innovative new bassinet
Years ago, Kristin Tully, PhD, began her research into mother-infant interactions. Her first study on nighttime infant care found that “side-car” bassinets, which attach to the side of a hospital bed, greatly improved the mother-newborn experience during postpartum hospitalization and reduced safety risks for infants. While some hospitals around the globe have adopted these innovative bassinets in their maternity wards, there is limited capacity to better serve new families in United States postnatal units.
That is about to change, however. By 2020, Tully and colleagues expect to have a fully tested, federally approved version available for the U.S. market.
Tully, a research associate with the Carolina Global Breastfeeding Institute in the Department of Maternal and Child Health at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill’s Gillings School of Global Public Health, explained that some new mothers initially are physically unable to get out of bed without assistance, while others have difficulty handling their baby due to the high walls of existing bassinets.
In 2016, she applied for funding from the North Carolina Translational & Clinical Sciences Institute (NC TRaCS) at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill; the bassinet team received the highest level of NC TRaCS support in the form of an Improving Human Health Award. The award funded a project to design and develop infant bassinets specifically for use in hospital postnatal units.
Tully said she expects that the bassinet will be licensed and on the market in the near term. The Carolina Global Breastfeeding Institute already is being contacted by U.S. and foreign hospitals who are interested in the innovative product.
The original version of this article was written by Phillip Ramati of North Carolina State University.
2018 MCH Family Reunion
The 2018 MCH Family Reunion was held April 5, 2018 in the Willow Lounge at the UNC Friday Center.
Thanks to the MCH Alumni Committee and the support of the department and SPH Alumni Association for hosting this annual event that brings together our talented students, alumni, faculty and staff – the MCH Family.
2018 Sidney S. Chipman Award Winner
Anna Freeman, BSN, MPH ’11, accepts the Sidney S. Chipman Award from Associate Professor Lew Margolis, MD, MPH.
Anna Freeman, BSN, MPH, ’11, began working for the medical humanitarian organization Doctors Without Borders while still a student at the UNC Gillings School of Global Public Health. Her professor, Lewis Margolis remembers that she would occasionally vanish during a semester on a project for the organization. Since her student days, Freeman has worked with MSF in more than 10 countries.
The MCH Department honored Freeman with the 2018 Chipman Award for her work with Doctors Without Borders at the department’s 2018 Alumni Reunion on April 5, 2018. Since 1970, the MCH department has presented the Chipman Award to graduates who are dedicated to human welfare, effective in working with people and getting the job done, and sensitive to the needs, feelings, and ideas of others while working in the field of mother and child health.
Freeman began work with Doctors Without Borders as a nurse, with assignments in the Democratic Republic of Congo, Haiti, and South Sudan. She provided care for refugees and victims of war trauma, women with high-risk pregnancies, malnourished children, and people with HIV and tuberculosis.
In 2014, Freeman joined efforts in Iraqi Kurdistan in assisting Syrian refugees fleeing the conflict in their nation. In Syria, she ran programs treating non-communicable illnesses and mental health issues, problems that plagued the refugees. She told attendees of the Alumni Reunion about needing to set up facilities to treat burns, which were endemic among the refugees who tried to escape the cold by using volatile unrefined oil as a heating source. She has also assisted in the response to the Ebola outbreak in Liberia, serving in the nation in 2015 as part of the response to the outbreak and in 2017 as part of a quality improvement project in a pediatric hospital in the nation. Prior to working for Doctors Without Borders, Anna was a pediatric intensive care nurse. She holds a BS in nursing from the University of New Mexico and MPH in Maternal and Child Health from UNC Gillings School of Global Public Health.
Department of Maternal and Child Health Awards:
- Sidney S. Chipman Alumni Award: Anna Freeman, BSN, MPH (2011)
- The Earl and Gladys Siegel Student Support Fund in MCH: Ponta Abadi and Colleen Boyle
- The John and Sallie Shuping Russell Scholarship in Global Health: Marie Guiraud and Salma Sarah
- The Katherine Ann Wildman Memorial Scholarship in MCH: Mattea Alexander and Edith Amponsah
- The Carolina Global Breastfeeding Institute Scholarship: Manami Hongo
- The Edem Effiong Memorial Scholarship for Student Travel: Bukola Adeoye-Oba
- The Jimmie Lee Rhyne Scholarship: Suzy Khachaturyan and Jessie Phillips
- The Sarah Taylor Morrow Scholarship in MCH: Alina Mantha
- The Melinda Kellner brock scholarship in mch: Jenny Anand
- William Thomas Small Jr and Rosa Williamson Small Scholarship: Edith Amponsah
- Delta Omega Student Inductees: Heather Biehl, Megan Cutherell, Nicole Kahn, Lori Hendrickson and Kate Lewandowski
- Delta Omega Alumni Inductee: Leila Dal Santo
- Delta Omega Academic Excellence Award: Lauren Maldonado
- Delta Omega Service Award: Alison McClay
- MCH Bureau Leadership Traineeship: Ben Banasiewicz, Stephanie Bogdewic, Megan Carlucci and Erin Sley
- Maternal and Child Interdisciplinary Leadership Fellow: Jenny Anand, Linda Chamiec-Chase, Mikaela Freundlich, Nicole Fortune, Alison McClay, Mallory Michalak, Jazmin Monroe, Dianna Padilla, Benjamin Rosado and Amy Shadron
- SPH Student Government MCH Representative: Jessica Huey
- SPH Minority Student Caucus Co-President: Sam Baxter and Caitlin Williams
- Dean’s Council at the Gillings School Student Representative: Caitlin Williams
- Carolina Breastfeeding Evidence Based Education and Support (BEBES) co-Presidents: Kate Lewandowski and Jenna McCready
SPH Graduate School Awards:
- Dr. Jesse Satia Scholarship: Manami Hongo
- Gillings Merit Scholarship: Shara Evans
- Jamie Kimble Scholarship for Courage: Mikaela Freundlich
- Annual Fund Scholar: Elynn Kann
- Graduate Merit Assistantship: Ponta Abadi, Nkechi Charles, Hannabeth Franchino-Olsen and Hannah Silverstein
North Carolina and Regional Awards:
- Community Engagement Fellowship Award (Carolina Center for Public Service): Stacey Klaman
- FHI 360-UNC Gillings School of Global Public Health Research Fellowship: Katherine LeMasters
National and International Awards:
- APHA Student Fellow: Lauren Maldonado
- Foreign Language Area Studies: Resham Basnet, Tara Casebolt, Tanya Ghaziani, Carrie Heller, Hannah Potter, and Mallory Turner
- 5 years of service: Amy Mullenix, Kathy Parry, Jacquie Simmons,Theresa Stenersen, and Catherine Sullivan
- 10 Years of Service: Alison Stuebe
- 15 Years Of Service: Quetta Long, Tammy Ringel-Kulka, and Kavita Singh-Ongechi
- 20 Years Of Service: Jon Hussey
Faculty Awards: SPH Teaching Excellence and Innovation Award: Meghan Shanahan, PhD
2017-2018 Department Retirements:
Student Summer Practicum Plans 2018
- Ponta Abadi: FP Care (Family Planning- Country Action Process Evaluation)
- Bukola Adeoye-Oba: IntraHealth
- Edith Amponsah: MAZA
- Ben Banasiewicz: Horizon’s Program
- Colleen Boyle: Planned Parenthood Miami
- Megan Carlucci: UNC Center of Maternal and Child Health
- Kate Crissman: Evergreen Evaluation and Consulting in Vermont
- Nicole Davis: NARAL (National Abortion and Reproductive Rights Action League)
- Jessica Huey: DC Department of Health, Community Health Administration
- Grace Jaworski: PAHO (Pan American Health Organization)
- Suzy Khachaturyan: North Carolina Justice Center
- Mallory Michalak: PAHO (Pan American Health Organization)
- Kirsten Miner: PATH Uganda
- Fanny Njie: UNFPA Gambia
- Jessie Phillips: Health Promotion and Disease Prevention
- Erin Sley: NIEHS (National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences)
- Ariana Stewart: UNC Hospitals
- Anna Wallin: Honduran Health Alliance
The MCH Alumni Committee is a group of volunteer graduates of the Department of Maternal and Child Health of the UNC Gillings School of Global Public Health who work to enhance learning and networking opportunities for graduates and students. Our mission is to:
- Strengthen alumni network
- Support current students
- Build MCH community and support departmental efforts
The committee meets four times a year in the Chapel Hill-Raleigh-Durham area and is open to all graduates and especially welcomes current students. We have the ability to provide conference call-in options for non-local alumni.
If you would like information about any MCH alumni activities or have questions about how you can become involved, please contact us.
MCH Alumni Committee Members
Katelyn Bryant-Comstock, incoming co-facilitator, email@example.com
Macon Lowman, incoming co-facilitator, firstname.lastname@example.org
Erin Magee, incoming secretary/communications coordinator, email@example.com
Julie DeClerque, outgoing co-facilitator, firstname.lastname@example.org
Sharon Epstein, outgoing co-facilitator, email@example.com
Sandra Cianciolo, outgoing secretary, firstname.lastname@example.org
Anita Farel, transition captain, email@example.com
Jennifer Cole, career development director, firstname.lastname@example.org
Julie Theriault, department staff/communications liaison, email@example.com
Meghan Shanahan, faculty representative, firstname.lastname@example.org
Joseph Lee, member, email@example.com
Jonathan Kotch, member, firstname.lastname@example.org
Marcia Roth, member, email@example.com
Katie Cretin, member, firstname.lastname@example.org
Rebecca Greenleaf, member, email@example.com
Priscilla Guild, member, firstname.lastname@example.org
Gerri Mattson, member, email@example.com
Nathan Nickel, member, firstname.lastname@example.org
Lucy Wilson, member, email@example.com
Nancy Williamson, member, firstname.lastname@example.org
Hannah Spector, member, email@example.com
Christina Chauvenet, student member firstname.lastname@example.org