The Student Spotlight showcases Master’s of Public Health students in one of the MCHB-funded School of Public Health training programs.  Students selected must indicate a strong interest in health transformation and the ACA and be knowledgeable about implications for Title V programs.  If you are interested in being chosen for the Student Spotlight, please fill out the form at the bottom of the page.


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Rebecca Wells

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[three_fourth last=”yes”]Why MCH? What are my interests? My work with adults with disabilities led me to the world of Maternal and Child Health (MCH). Prior to learning about the network of University Centers for Excellence in Developmental Disabilities (UCEDDs) and about the Leadership Education in Neurodevelopmental Disabilities (LEND) network, and coming from a background working with adults, I really did not understand all the ways that the world of disability has a relationship to MCH. In the past few years, I have really been impressed by the ways that those involved with MCH often are on the forefront of new methods, tools, and policies that benefit not only MCH populations but all people. I am interested and passionate about improved supports and services for adults with disabilities, children and youth with special healthcare needs, older adults, and individuals living in rural areas.[/three_fourth]

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Lauren Robinson

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[three_fourth last=”yes”]Why MCH? What are my interests? I received my undergraduate degree in biology from Oberlin College. While my undergraduate studies solidified my knowledge in the sciences, they also helped broaden my world view to include the concept of social justice. I left feeling like I could change the world. Following graduation, I accepted a position in infectious disease research at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta. After three years there, I felt drawn to public health, particularly for underserved populations. I decided I wanted to pursue an MD/MPH because I feel preventative medicine is the best kind of medicine. While I was initially interested in family medicine, I was eventually drawn to the practice of psychiatry because of the inequities I saw in society’s treatment of mental illness, particularly for women and children. I am entering the University of Chicago as a resident in psychiatry. I plan to build upon my MPH to create psychiatric public health programs that serve women and children and address the psychosocial stressors that exacerbate health problems.[/three_fourth]

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Binaka Reese

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[three_fourth last=”yes”]Why MCH? What are my interests? I am currently a second-year doctoral student in the Department of Maternal and Child Health (MCH) at UNC-Chapel Hill. My research interests center around adolescent sexual and reproductive health, specifically in investigating the determinants and implications of early sexual activity, effective contraceptive use, and teen pregnancy. I first became interested in adolescent sexual and reproductive health as a high school student where I spent a lot of time talking with other students about issues they confronted. Many students spoke about how difficult it was for them to talk about anything sexual-health related with their parents. I wanted to make it easier for teens to communicate with the adults they trusted about these sensitive issues. I took my interests to Carolina as an undergraduate and was not only able to conduct research surrounding my interests, but to create a local teen pregnancy prevention program that partnered college volunteers with local high school students in a peer-education program. I continued my work as a graduate student in MCH, and have had the opportunity to work with teens and their families across the state in pregnancy prevention, with an emphasis on the importance of parent-teen communication about sexual health.[/three_fourth]

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Pamela Roesch

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[three_fourth last=”yes”]Why MCH? What are my interests? I became interested in MCH while majoring in economics and anthropology at the University of Notre Dame. My studies focused on women’s experiences in low-income countries and the deleterious effects of colonization and subsequent poverty in sub-Saharan Africa. Through various service opportunities in the U.S. and internationally, I became familiar with the challenges faced by women and children worldwide. In particular, I spent time in Denver at a program serving low-income children through after-school programs. I also spent three months working with a non-governmental organization focused on gender-based development in Ghana. These and other experiences allowed me to meet parents living in poverty and better understand their daily struggles. Despite a short hiatus working as a consultant, I always planned to return to school and focus my career on addressing the health issues impacting women and children.

I am enjoying my time as a MCH-Epidemiology student at the University of Illinois at Chicago! My current studies focus on domestic MCH issues; however, I stay plugged into the global MCH conversation. I am interested in the social determinants of health, eliminating disparities, and building collaboration between different types of professionals to identify multisectoral solutions to public health challenges.[/three_fourth]

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Jaimie Lea

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[three_fourth last=”yes”]Why MCH? What are my interests? As an undergraduate student at UNC Chapel Hill, I was highly involved in the reproductive justice community, serving in a leadership position for a campus organization with a commitment to ensuring continued access to reproductive health care and the ability to make informed decisions about reproductive health for all people. After graduation, I worked as a high school science teacher for 3 years, but missed being plugged into the reproductive justice community. I decided to pursue MCH after teaching because the field combines so many of my interests, from the reproductive health continuum, to adolescent health, to access to health care and much more! I feel so lucky to be a member of a fantastic cohort of MCH students at UNC Chapel Hill, as I have had the opportunity to learn from them as well as the wonderful faculty. It can be a challenge to focus my interests as I constantly learn about new aspects of MCH. Currently, I am interested in quality improvement processes, life course theory and reducing health disparities.[/three_fourth]

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Jennifer Schroeder

Jennifer Schroeder

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[three_fourth last=”yes”]Why MCH? What are my interests? I realized I wanted to expand my MCH education after years of teeter-tottering between occupational health and safety in theater during the summers and being a family planning health clinic assistant, childcare subsidy worker, and doula in the winters. Inevitably, I wanted to combine these specialties and apply them to the MCH workforce. Within the family planning spectrum, I am particularly interested in emergency preparedness, disaster relief, and project management under Title V block grants. [/three_fourth]

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