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

42nd Annual Minority Health Conference (virtual)
Body & Soul: The Past, Present and Future of Health Activism
February 25 – 26, 2021
Registration is now open.


Connect with us

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

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


2021-2022 Executive Board

Vanessa Amankwaa

Co-President: Vanessa Amankwaa

Vanessa Amankwaa (she/her) is a second-year MPH student studying Health Equity, Social Justice, and Human Rights and serves as the Co-President for Minority Student Caucus. She is honored and so excited to serve in this role and work alongside fellow MSC members to advocate for the needs of all BIPOC students across Gillings. Vanessa is passionate about advancing health equity through food sovereignty, reproductive justice, and community-based participatory research. Outside of Gillings, she enjoys reading, gardening, and playing fetch with her cat.


Sophie To

Co-President: Sophie To

Sophie To (any pronouns) is one of the Co-Presidents of the Minority Student Caucus, and is a third-year PhD student in Health Behavior. Sophie is excited to continue MSC’s commitment to helping build a safe, inclusive, and joyful community for BIPOC students. Sophie’s public health interests include how various media shape health and health perceptions, and how to leverage mass media for social change. Sophie also loves teaching, and she is the Gillings MPH Core Teaching Fellow this year. Outside of Gillings, Sophie enjoys reading and writing news satire, talking about how much she adores cats, and sitting at coffee shops pretending to get work done.


Juhi Chinthapatla

Juhi Chinthapatla

Secretary: Juhi Chinthapatla

Juhi Chinthapatla (she/her/hers) is a student in the MS-BSPH Nutrition program at the Gillings School of Global Public Health and serves as the secretary for Minority Student Caucus (MSC). She previously served as Publicity Chair of MSC and is excited to continue being a part of MSC. During her time last year, Juhi co-created the annual MSC newsletter, managed social media handles, and advocated for BIPOC students within the Nutrition Department Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion committee. Juhi is looking forward to serving as secretary and fostering solid communication among MSC executive board members, club members, and alumni.


Isabel Lu

Education and Community Action Co-Chair: Isabel Lu

Isabel Lu (she/they) is a second-year MPH-RD student in the Nutrition Department. She is currently serving as the Education and Community Action (ECA) co-chair and the MHC graphic designer for the 2021-2022 academic year. Her interests include food justice and culturally relevant food and nutrition policies that embrace and improve access to traditional foods and agriculture. In her role with MSC, she hopes to create networking and professional development opportunities for students of color at Gillings, as well as foster lasting relationships with both University and community partners to improve the experiences of people of color locally.


Emmanuel Saint-Phard

Education and Community Action Co-Chair: Emmanuel Saint-Phard

Emmanuel Saint-Phard (he/him/his) is a second-year graduate student in the Health Behavior Concentration at the Gillings School of Public Health. He is serving as the Education and Community Action Co-Chair for the Minority Student Caucus (MSC) for the 2021-2022 academic year. His research interests include social determinants of health, health and racial equity, and chronic disease management. In his role with MSC, he hopes to create more professional development opportunities for students of color at Gillings, with an emphasis on students with less work and professional experience, and create strong professional networks for students to tap into throughout their time at Gillings and hopefully beyond.


Noah Ashenafi

Taking Responsibility to Increase Access and Diversity (TRIAD) Co-Chair: Noah Ashenafi

Noah Ashenafi (he/him) is a junior in the BSPH Nutrition program at the Gillings School of Global Public Health and serves as the Taking Responsibility to Increase Access and Diversity (TRIAD) Co-Chair for Minority Student Caucus. Noah is a research assistant in the UNC Microbiome Core and is interested in the impact of nutrition and the microbiome on chronic illness and overall health. He is also interested more broadly in alternative medicine and integrative health. Noah is excited to work as TRIAD Co-Chair to help recruit more students of color, specifically undergraduate students, to Gillings public health programs.


Adriana Parker

Taking Responsibility to Increase Access and Diversity (TRIAD) Co-Chair: Adriana Parker

Adriana Parker (they/she) is a 2nd year MPH candidate in the Health Behavior concentration and is serving as a Taking Responsibility to Increase Access and Diversity (TRIAD) Co-Chair for the 2021-2022 academic year. Adriana works as a graduate assistant with the Maternal Health Learning and Innovation Center, housed in the UNC Department of Maternal and Child Health, on their evaluation team and is a Gillings Ambassador. Aside from what they do at Gillings, Adriana is also a full-spectrum doula. Their public health interests include sexual health access and education, reproductive and birth justice, health equity, LGBTQ+ health, and gender violence prevention. They are also particularly interested in qualitative research methods and community based participatory research. In their role as a TRIAD Co-Chair, Adriana is excited to work on projects to recruit and retain students of color at Gillings and give them a sense of support and belonging.


Mohamed-Yahia Monawar

Treasurer: Mohamed-Yahia Monawar

Mohamed-Yahia Monawar is a junior in the BSPH Nutrition program at the Gillings School of Public Health and is the treasurer for the Minority Student Caucus. He is excited to work with the Minority Student Caucus to advocate for students of color at Gillings and to provide support for them.


Asia Carter

Social Chair: Asia Carter

Asia Carter (she/her/hers) is a first-year MPH student in the Health Behavior Department serving as the 2021-2022 Social Chair for the Minority Student Caucus. Prior to graduate school, Asia worked as a field organizer for Planned Parenthood South Atlantic advocating for reproductive rights and as a 2019 Summer Public Health Scholar at Columbia University Vagelos College of Physicians and Surgeons. Her research interests include racial health inequities, maternal and child health outcomes for Black women, interpersonal level behavior change, and community-based participatory research. In her role, she hopes to be able to help facilitate an environment that fosters community building among BIPOC students through creative programming.

Publicity Chair: Khadijah Toumbou

Khadijah Toumbou

Khadijah Toumbou is a second-year MPH student in the Health Equity concentration. She is currently serving as the Publicity Chair of the Minority Student Caucus for the 2021-2022 academic year. Her interests include equity, climate change, environmental justice, reproductive justice, mental health, and social justice. In her role on the Minority Student Caucus, she hopes to foster a safe space to build community on UNC’s campus for students of color at Gillings.


Historian: Michelle Carreño

Michelle Carreño

Michelle is a first-year MSPH student at the Gillings School of Global Public Health. She is interested in disrupting discourse, practices, and policies that perpetuate health inequities through reimagining and designing equitable and liberating systems of health care and public health system delivery. Michelle is excited to be the MSC historian, 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.


Takhona G. Hlatshwako

Minority Health Conference Co-Chair: Takhona Hlatshwako

Takhona G. Hlatshwako (she/her) is a BSPH student in the Health Policy and Management department. Takhona served as the planning coordinator for the 42nd Minority Health Conference and is thrilled to serve as the co-chair for the 43rd conference. She is interested in research methods that advance health equity locally and globally. As an international student who’s lived in different parts of the world, the equity agenda for global health feels personal and urgent. Outside of school, she loves to read and tend to her house plants.


Victoria Triana

Minority Health Conference Co-Chair: Victoria Triana

Victoria Triana (she/her) is a first-year MPH student studying Health Behavior. She is serving as one of the co-chairs for the 2022 Minority Health Conference. Victoria’s interests lie at the intersection of climate change, environmental justice, community engagement, and health promotion. She is excited to bring this perspective to the planning of the 43rd annual Minority Health Conference and be a part of a collaborative effort to highlight and celebrate health equity solutions.