Our Mission

The Minority Student Caucus (MSC) advocates for issues of concern to students of color in the UNC Gillings School of Global Public Health and promotes research and programs aimed at addressing public health issues that affect people of color. Membership is open to all students of color in the School and anyone else who is interested in supporting the Caucus’ mission.

Minority Student Caucus Statement on University Support for Mental Health

The Minority Student Caucus issues a statement on the overdue need for University support for mental health following the passing of UNC students this past weekend and throughout the semester. The statement also includes resources that students, faculty, and staff can access to help them through this difficult time.

Incoming and outgoing Minority Student Caucus co-presidents sign statement to Gillings community

To continue the dialogue at the Gillings School about racism and structural violence against Black people, the Minority Student Caucus issued this Statement in Response to Anti-Black Racism and Racialized Violence against Black Folx (PDF).


History and Aims

The Minority Student Caucus consists of all students of color in the UNC Gillings School of Global Public Health who wish to join. The Caucus was founded in the early 1970s as a vehicle for bringing the concerns of minority students to the attention of the School’s administration and for working to attract more students of color to the School. The Caucus founded the Minority Health Conference (MHC) in 1977 and has conducted it annually since then. The Caucus works with the school administration to advocate for the needs of students of color and MSC representatives currently serve on the Dean’s Council, the SPH Alumni Association and other committees throughout the Gillings School.


Minority Health Conference

The 2023 annual Minority Health Conference will be in February 2023.


Connect with us

Follow us on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram at @MSCGillings.

Questions about the caucus? Contact minoritystudentcaucus@gmail.com.


2022-2023 Executive Board

Asia Carter

Co-President: Asia Carter

Asia Carter (she/her/hers) is a second-year MPH student in the Health Behavior department and is serving as the 2022-2023 MSC Co-President. She previously served as the Social Chair and is excited about this new leadership opportunity. Asia has a passion for advancing health equity and working to promote and diversify the public health workforce. Her research interests include community-based participatory research methods, qualitative research, racial and ethnic health inequities, and patient-provider communication. Asia is excited and privileged to be serving students of color, the Gillings community, and the larger community in this capacity to expand on the vision and mission of those that have contributed to the legacy of MSC in years prior.


Kiara Tompkins

Co-President: Kiara Tompkins

Kiara Tompkins (she/her/hers) is a second-year Health Behavior MPH student and serves as Co-President for the Minority Student Caucus. Last year, she participated in MSC’s token event, the Minority Health Conference, as the Evaluation Co-chair. She is excited and honored to work alongside Asia to provide BIPOC Gillings students a safe environment to foster connection, growth, and collaboration. Kiara is interested in health equity and reproductive justice, especially as it pertains to Black birthing individuals in the United States. Her research interests include qualitative research, program evaluation, and health literacy. Outside of Gillings, Kiara enjoys traveling, watching documentaries, and reading.


Nelson Serrano

Secretary: Nelson Serrano

Nelson Serrano (he/him) is a first-year online MPH student concentrating in Leadership in Practice at the Gillings School of Global Public Health. He has served in several leadership capacities leading to his enrollment at Gillings and is excited to contribute towards the Minority Student Caucus while serving as secretary for the executive board. As a Hispanic male, he understands the disparities faceted to equal access of health and is driven towards combating this issue amongst his talented executive board members. In addition to this, his interest in public health center around analyzing and creating actionable solutions for childhood obesity. In his role on the Minority Student Caucus, he hopes to maintain consistent and thorough communication amongst the organization and the UNC Gillings community.


Taya Westfield

Education and Community Action Co-Chair: Taya Westfield

Taya Westfield (she/her) is a second-year MPH student studying Health Behavior. She serves as the Education and Community Action Co-Chair for the Minority Student Caucus (MSC). Taya’s academic and educational interests include health equity, designing health communication materials, and learning about inclusive sexual and reproductive health. Through working alongside the MSC, she hopes to instill a sense of confidence in students with marginalized identities by highlighting their strengths and the unique perspectives they bring to both Gillings and the field of public health. Outside of Gillings, Taya enjoys thrifting, reading, and hanging out with her two cats, Samhain and Olivia.


Galilee Ambellu

Education and Community Action Co-Chair: Galilee Ambellu

Galilee Ambellu (she/her) is a BSPH student in the Health Policy and Management department. She is passionate about closing the opportunity gap through engaging in policy work and the education sector. Galilee is interested in various topics, including health equity, social justice, disability studies, narrative medicine, and health behavior. During her time as an Education and Community Action co-chair, she hopes to advocate for communities of color using both quantitative and qualitative measures. Galilee also believes that incorporating social medicine into the Minority Student Caucus’s programming will help explain the causation behind health inequities.


Mykela Moore

Taking Responsibility to Increase Access and Diversity (TRIAD) Co-Chair: Mykela Moore

Mykela Moore (She/her) is a 2nd year MPH Candidate in the Health Behavior concentration and is serving as Taking Responsibility to Increase Access and Diversity (TRIAD) Co-Chair for the 2022-2023 academic year. Mykela works as a Research Assistant with the UNC School of Medicine, Division of Hematology and works with a nonprofit called Empowered Birth Movement based in Germany. Mykela’s public health interests include community-based participatory research, and maternal and child health, with emphasis on Black maternal health disparities. In her role on the Minority Student Caucus, she is thrilled to connect and collaborate on ways to support incoming and current students of color to Gillings.


Damion Williams

Taking Responsibility to Increase Access and Diversity (TRIAD) Co-Chair: Damion Williams

Damion Williams (he/him/his) is a senior in the BSPH Health Policy and Management program at the Gilling’s School of Global Public Health and serves as the Taking Responsibility to Increase Access and Diversity (TRIAD) Co-Chair for Minority Student Caucus. Damion has recently finished an internship at GSK where he learned more about the world of biopharmaceuticals and the strategies behind the scenes that lead to their access on the market. Post-graduation, Damion plans to serve in a role that will allow him the perfect vantage point into the intersection of healthcare and business. Naturally, he is ecstatic to serve as one of the TRIAD Co-Chairs this year where he hopes to ensure all Gilling’s students of color that they are where they are meant to be!


Steven Houang

Treasurer: Steven Houang

Steven Houang (he/him) is a 5th year MSPH-PhD student in Health Behavior and is thrilled to serve as the MSC treasurer this year. His research interests are in reframing how we understand and dismantle biological and social interactions in health disparities, particularly in HIV, LGBTQ, and BIPOC health. He looks forward to supporting MSC’s efforts and collaborations this year to meet the needs of BIPOC students across all levels.


Alex Simpson

Social Chair: Alex Simpson

(Alex)andra Simpson (she/her/hers) is a second year MPH student in the maternal, child, and family health concentration serving as the 2022-2023 Social Chair for the Minority Student Caucus. She is interested in pregnancy-related issues, reproductive justice, doula care, and LGBTIA+ related issues. Outside of grad school, she enjoys dancing, trying new things, and spending time with her loved ones. In her role, she hopes to support students and plan fun events for them to get acclimated and build community!

Publicity Chair: Gisella Tellys Lie

Gisella Tellys Lie

Gisella Tellys Lie (She/They) is a second-year MPH student in the Health Behavior Concentration at the Gillings School of Global Public Health. She is serving as Publicity Chair for the Minority Student Caucus (MSC) for the 2022-2023 academic year. Prior to pursuing MPH degree, she worked as a general physician in her home country, Indonesia. Her research interests include social determinants of health, access to healthcare services, social justice, and sexual and reproductive health. In her role, she hopes to further foster safe environment for students of color at Gillings, especially for international students of color. Outside of school, she is a huge art enthusiast and can be found fangirling over BTS.


Historian: Michelle Carreño

Michelle Carreño

Michelle Carreño (she/ella/ela) is a second year MSPH student at the Gillings School of Global Public Health. She believes human-centered design, specifically liberatory design, focused on centering equity through public health programs will best equip organizations to co-create sustainable interventions and solutions with the communities they aim to support. She hopes to grow as a designer and a divergent thinker. Michelle is excited to be the MSC historian for a second year, as someone who loves history and is passionate in keeping our oral traditions alive, she hopes to continue to keep this tradition through MSC’s rich history. Outside of grad school, Michelle loves to travel, try new foods, spend time with her loved ones and practice yoga.


Rhea Jayaswal

Minority Health Conference Co-Chair: Rhea Jayaswal

Rhea Jayaswal (she/her) is a senior BSPH student in the Nutrition department. Rhea served as the internal planning coordinator for the 43rd Minority Health Conference and is honored to serve as co-chair for the 44th conference. In this role, she is excited to build upon MHC’s tradition of fostering activism, social justice, and health equity. She is passionate about advancing healthy, sustainable, and equitable global food systems. From cooking meals at local community gardens to advocating for better national nutrition policies, she recognizes the urgency of centering equity at every step of the way.


Callia Cox

Minority Health Conference Co-Chair: Callia Cox

Callia Cox (she/her) is a second-year Master of Public Health-Nutrition/Registered Dietitian Internship student in the Gillings School of Global Public Health. Her main interests include nutrition policy that prioritizes food system sustainability and municipal efforts to increase food access. She has made an effort to engage with the Gillings, Carolina, and Chapel Hill community during my master’s program. In addition to serving as the MHC Co-Chair, she is a member of the Nutrition Departments’ Diversity, Equity, Inclusion Committee where she assists in streamlining the department’s values and efforts to become more inclusive. Callia has also served as a student member of the Carolina Campus Dining Board to advocate for an equitable campus food system. In addition, she has had the joy of volunteering with the Carolina Hunger Initiative to provide nutrition education to families around the state. In Callia’s free time, she loves visiting coffee shops and museums around the Triangle.