September 13, 2019
The UNC Gillings School of Global Public Health Alumni Association recently announced nine new members of its advising board.
The board represents the more than 19,000 alumni of the School and meets quarterly with School leadership to address issues of importance to alumni and current students and to organize networking, professional development and social events.
All graduates of the Gillings School automatically become members of the School’s Alumni Association, which does not charge dues for its services.
“This is a truly exceptional group of new members,” said Barbara K. Rimer, DrPH, dean and Alumni Distinguished Professor at the Gillings School. “They bring expertise in areas critical to contemporary public health. They work in the public and private sectors, in consulting, health care settings, research, equity and investing, and other fields. They’ll bring enormous collective experience, skills and insight, and I can’t wait to work with them.”
New board appointments include:
Anne Jacobs (MHA, 1993, health policy and management)
Jacobs is a principal with Riverstone Health Advisors. She specializes in the design, implementation, ongoing operation, monitoring and assessment of managed care programs and other government health care programs and reforms. Her recent work has focused on procurement strategies and tactics, value-based purchasing and payment, risk adjustment, technical and cost proposal negotiations, regulatory compliance, and approaches to achieve success in readiness review and ongoing program operations. Before founding Riverstone Health Advisors. Anne consulted for KPMG, Tucker Alan Inc., and Navigant Consulting. Early in her career, she served as a health policy government liaison for a national membership organization.
Fun fact: The best advice Jacobs has ever received is, “Have a plan, but be willing to change it.”
Ashton Madison (MPH, 2017, health behavior)
Madison is a research health science specialist with the Cooperative Studies Program Epidemiology Center of the Durham VA Health Care System. In her role, she provides project management for large research studies on colorectal cancer screenings in veterans. Previously, Madison completed a research assistant internship with the Substance Use, Gender and Applied Research program at RTI International. She also worked in regulatory affairs at the Clinical Protocol Office of the UNC Lineberger Comprehensive Cancer Center.
Fun fact: To start a conversation with Madison, “Let’s talk college sports. Or anthropology. Your choice!”
Jessica Bell van der Wal (BSPH, 2006, health policy and administration)
Van der Wal is a founder and partner with vdB Consulting, LLC. She has more than 25 years of experience as a cross-functional executive, team leader and operator with deep expertise across all sectors of health care. She is regularly engaged to help companies and teams organize chaos as they build and evolve parts of their business. She not only specializes in building new functions and service offerings from the ground up, but also restructuring teams for operational efficiency and effectiveness and piloting innovative strategies to attack new business areas or address unmet needs.
Fun fact: Something you might not guess about van der Wal is that, “I am a thrill seeker. My family would probably tell you not to dare me to do anything. I have climbed Mount Kilimanjaro and recently traveled to Nepal to do a 3-week trek through the Himalayas, ending at the base of Mount Everest.”
Jonathan Atkeson (BSPH, 1995, environmental sciences and engineering)
Atkeson is managing director of the Fortress Investment Group, which he joined in 2003. Working in Fortress Credit Funds, he focuses on investments in the industrials sector and hard assets. Prior to joining the credit team, he spent 13 years in the private equity business, most recently as the chief operating officer and chief financial officer of Fortress Transportation and Infrastructure Investors, LLC. Previously, Atkeson worked as a vice president in the private equity group at Whitney and Co., LLC, and was a member of the mergers and acquisitions group at Credit Suisse First in Boston.
Fun fact: Atkeson is originally from Washington, D.C. “I was the youngest of eight children. My father was active in the beginning of the environmental law movement, and he ultimately served in the Environmental Protection Agency, which helped me appreciate the importance of strong policies incorporating environmental science.”
Karthi Natarajan (BSPH, 1997; MPH, 2007, biostatistics)
Natarajan is the founder and chief executive officer of Lozob Consulting, LLC. Lozob Consulting provides operations, development and organizational support to pharmaceutical, biotech and device companies looking to accelerate and optimize their research endeavors. He leverages more than 20 years of experience in all aspects of clinical trials, including — as head of clinical affairs at Sprout Pharmaceuticals — helping develop and bring to market the first Food and Drug Administration approved treatment for hypoactive sexual desire disorder in women.
Fun fact: Natarajan is originally from Buffalo, New York. “I transferred to Carolina in 1994 from the University of Buffalo. (Go, Bulls!) I played club hockey at Carolina and was a member of Alpha Phi Omega and a DJ at WXYC. I was the first person in my family born in the United States.”
LeVelton Ray Thomas (BSPH, 2008; MHA, 2013, health policy and management)
Thomas is the program director at Private Diagnostic Clinic, PLLC – the independent, multi-specialty physician practice of Duke Health. His work focuses on clinical innovation and the use of technology to improve the provider and patient experience. Previously, he was an administrative manager at Duke University, where he oversaw patient transport and valet services. He is also the immediate past president of the North Carolina Chapter of the National Association of Health Services Executives.
Fun fact: Something you may not know about Thomas is that, “I’m a fraternal twin!”
Pam Diggs (MPH, 2007, health behavior and health education)
Diggs is the director of Programs and Racial Equity at Youth Empowered Solutions (YES!). She provides racial equity leadership, team management and development, and performance standards across all programs. YES! is a national nonprofit organization centered on the idea that real community change cannot take place without a commitment to racial equity and the contributions of young people. Pam has more than 14 years of experience in public health policy, program development and implementation, with an emphasis on racial equity. During her time at the N.C. Division of Public Health, she led the Chronic Disease and Injury Section in establishing its inaugural Health Equity Community of Practice and developing standards of practice for equity across the organization.
Fun fact: To start a conversation with Diggs, “Tell me where you’re from and what’s your ‘why’ and I will certainly share why being from Durham, N.C., and the experiences I’ve had because of my identity and passion for others are the ‘why’ that keeps me motivated to work for community change every day. I love to hear people’s stories about the how and ‘why’ of their life journeys.”
Rodney Mark Lee, Jr. (BS, 1995; MS, 1997, environmental sciences and engineering)
Lee is a senior vice president with ICF — a mission-driven global consulting services company. Lee is the group lead for ICF’s Public Sector Group, which provides services in the health, environment, disaster management, resilience, social policy and cybersecurity markets to the United States federal government, state and local governments, nonprofits and commercial clients. Mark joined ICF in 1997. Over the course of his career, he’s had a range of leadership roles at the company, including leading business development for the Public Sector Group, establishing the Disaster Management business unit, and overseeing the climate, policy, transportation and health science teams. His technical work has focused on issues at the intersection of air quality and public health, and has included leading numerous health risk assessments that represent the government technology and professional services industry.
Fun fact: The best advice Lee ever received is, “No matter what you do, if you’re any good at it, you’re in sales.”
Stephanie Baker (PhD, 2013, health behavior)
Baker is an assistant professor of public health studies at Elon University. Her research and organizing work focuses on utilizing a racial equity lens and Community Based Participatory Research approaches to understand and improve racial health inequities. Stephanie teaches “Introduction to Public Health,” “Public Health Practicum” and “Public Health Senior Seminar,” and is the practicum coordinator for majors. She is also Elon’s internship director for the Shepherd Higher Education Consortium on Poverty. She is an active member of the Greensboro Health Disparities Collaborative and also works in partnership with organizations and community members in Alamance County to promote health equity.
Fun fact: Something people might not know about Baker is that, “Despite my discomfort with heights, I took a trapeze class – once.”
See a complete list (with full bios) of our Alumni Association Advisory Board members.
Contact the Gillings School of Global Public Health communications team at firstname.lastname@example.org.