Trainee Ambassador Group

In 2015, the Maternal & Child Health Bureau’s (MCHB) Division of MCH Workforce Development (DMCHWD) established an ongoing vehicle for working collaboratively with trainees of the MCH Training Program through the Trainee Ambassador Group (TAG).

Overview

The goals of the TAG are to foster connections between trainees across the MCH Training Program, provide trainees with leadership development opportunities, and strengthen the link between trainees and MCHB.

Through the TAG, MCHB is:

  • Strengthening the link between trainees and MCHB
  • Increasing current trainee awareness/knowledge about the full range of training programs
  • Improving communication and collaboration among trainees within and across training programs
  • Facilitating connections between current and former trainees
  • Providing trainees with additional leadership development opportunities

The TAG provides trainees with the opportunity to conceptualize, develop, and lead efforts to facilitate trainee connections via activities such as a mentoring program, trainee forums, and collaborative research projects.

Ambassadors attend monthly virtual meetings and work collaboratively to create trainee-focused products. The 2020 Ambassadors are supporting continued implementation of the virtual MCH article club and are shaping a new phase of the TAG that includes social media initiatives to engage trainees virtually.

Members

Ambassadors are trainee representatives from a range of the DMCHWD's graduate and undergraduate education programs including:

  • Centers of Excellence in MCH (CoE)
  • Developmental-Behavioral Pediatrics (DBP)
  • Leadership Education in Adolescent Health (LEAH)
  • Leadership Education in Neurodevelopmental and Related Disabilities (LEND)
  • MCH Catalyst
  • MCH Nutrition
  • MCH Pipeline
  • Pediatric Pulmonary Centers (PPC)

2022 Trainee Ambassadors


Katherine (Katie) Bell

MCH Nutrition

Katie Bell is a graduate student at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville. She graduated from Metropolitan State University of Denver with a bachelor's degree in human nutrition and dietetics. She moved to Knoxville to pursue her master of science degree in public health nutrition as well as her master of public health degree in community health education.  Additionally, she completed her dietetic internship in summer 2021. She is a Maternal and Child Health Nutrition Leadership trainee. During her time in Knoxville, she has worked as a graduate research assistant in the Healthy Eating and Activity Laboratory. She also served as a student intern with the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, Division of Population Health, School Health Branch team. She has experience working on a National Institute of Health funded grant focusing on families becoming healthy together.   Her research interests include childhood health promotion. 

 


Stephanie Berry

Leadership Education in Neurodevelopmental Disabilities (LEND)

Stephanie Berry is a Pediatric Audiologist at Texas Children's Hospital. She received her Bachelor of Arts degree in Philosophy-Neuroscience-Psychology from Washington University in St. Louis and her Doctorate of Audiology from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. She is a former trainee of the North Carolina Leadership Education in Neurodevelopmental and Other Related Disabilities (LEND) program. Her clinical interests include complex diagnostic and (re)habilitiative management in support of deaf and hard of hearing children and their families. She hopes to contribute to the continued growth of complex care coordination for families of children with multiple healthcare and therapeutic needs in clinical audiology settings. Stephanie is further interested in contributing to national public health audiology initiatives including equitable access to services and the preparation of future interdisciplinary audiology clinicians.

 


Alexandra J. Hall

Leadership Education in Neurodevelopmental Disabilities (LEND)

Alexandra J. Hall is a leader in the field of Early Childhood Education. During her career, Hall has advocated for equitable access to high quality education and is a champion for early intervention services and perinatal mental health. She strives to have an impact on early education outcomes in her community and provide holistic support for students and families.

Alexandra earned her BA in Sociology and Linguistics from the University of Michigan. She went on to earn her MA in Human Resource Management from Marygrove College. In recent years, she has studied perinatal, infant and youth mental health; psychotherapy; adverse childhood experiences and neurodevelopmental disabilities.  She has earned Child Development Associate and Child & Youth Care Professional credentials and will soon earn an Infant Mental Health Endorsement. Currently, she is a fellow in Indiana University's LEND training program.  She serves as Vice Chair for the Indiana SPARK Regional Advisory Council (RAC) for SDA 3, the Early Childhood Education Advisory Council for Capella University  and on the Transition and Public Awareness Committees of Central Indiana First Steps LPCC.

She hopes to help ensure that diverse trainees have equitable access to MCH's programs and positively impact maternal child health outcomes in the black community.

 


Jessica Hecht

Leadership Education in Adolescent Health (LEAH)

Jessica Hecht (she/they) is a final-year MSW student at the School of Social Work at Rutgers University with a concentration in promoting child and adolescent well-being. Her areas of interest include working with queer youth and Black, Indigenous, and youth of color in mental health and leadership development settings. They serve as the Vice Chair of Volunteer Experience for the HOBY World Leadership Congress, an international youth leadership conference for high school students. Her current field placement is at the Children's Hospital of Philadelphia at the Gender and Sexuality Development Clinic in New Jersey, where she works with transgender, nonbinary, and gender-expansive children, adolescents, and young adults. They are passionate about teaching from a Health at Every Size perspective from an early age, addressing fatphobia, and amplifying the fat positivity movement. Jessica hopes to become a licensed social worker to continue to pursue the above interests, and additionally to develop further advocacy skills to address inequity in various systems, including healthcare.

 


Aparna Kachoria

Centers of Excellence in Maternal & Child Health (CoE)

Aparna Kachoria is a doctoral student in MCH at the University of North Carolina in Chapel Hill, where she is part of UNC's Center of Excellence in MCH Education, Science and Practice. Before joining UNC, she received her MPH in global health epidemiology from the University of Michigan and then spent five years working in health services research and overseeing mental health research studies in Central Massachusetts. Her current research interests include maternal decision-making and empowerment in the perinatal period and childhood vaccination in South Asia. She is also interested in utilizing tools in global health to improve health equity and reduce disparities here in the US. 

As part of her PhD studies, Aparna is currently a research assistant with the WHO Collaboration Center at UNC, where the research team is conducting a qualitative implementation study about hypertension in pregnancy in rural parts of North Carolina.

 


Dr. N'Faly Keita

MCH Public Health Catalyst

Originally from West Africa (Mali), N'Faly Keita is currently pursuing a Master's degree in Public Health at Georgia State University School of Public Health. As a Maternal and Child Health Catalyst trainee from Georgia State University/Center for Leadership in Disability (CLD), he got his Doctorate Degree in Medicine from the Faculty of Medicine in Mali. Following his graduation, he worked with several US and UN organizations on Health Systems Strengthening Projects such as Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, USAID, WHO, Maternity Care Coalition, and more recently with the World Bank Group/Health, Nutrition and Population Department. His research focus includes improving Maternal and Child Health outcomes for disadvantaged populations, reducing health disparities, learning how to build climate-resilient health systems. Keita is a 2017 Mandela Washington Fellow who studied Civic Leadership at Rutgers the State University of New Jersey. As a current Maternal and Child Health Graduate certificate program student at Georgia State University, N'Faly envisions becoming an emerging MCH leader and advocate for health equity.

 


Virginia Mason

Centers of Excellence in Maternal & Child Health (CoE)

Virginia Mason, MPH is a Research Training Program Manager in the Office of Training, Education, Career Planning and Development (TECPAD) at The Saban Research Institute at Children's Hospital Los Angeles. In her role, Ms. Mason focuses on developing and implementing educational events and programs relevant to research trainees, maintaining program systems and metrics, and overseeing CHLA's postdoctoral fellow and physician scientist programs.

Prior to joining CHLA, Ms. Mason held several positions combining her interests in program management and mentoring within the healthcare field. She has held positions as a program manager at COPE Health Solutions and the University of Chicago. Additionally, she was an instructor in the University of Illinois at Chicago's (UIC) College of Medicine.

Ms. Mason received her Master's in Public Health (MPH) from the University of Illinois at Chicago (UIC) with specialty tracks in Maternal and Child Health and Global Health. During her time at UIC, Ms. Mason served as a Graduate Research Assistant in the Department of Disability and Human Development as well as Vice President for the Global Health Student Interest Group. Additionally, she actively worked on several research projects centered on maternal health within global communities. Prior to receiving her MPH, Ms. Mason graduated from Loyola University in Chicago with her bachelor's in science with a major in Biology and minor in Theology.


Cindy Rosales

Centers of Excellence in Maternal & Child Health (CoE)

Cindy Rosales graduated from Emory University in 2021 with her Master of Public Health in Behavioral, Social, and Health Education Sciences with a certificate in Maternal and Child Health. Currently, Cindy is the Regional Women's Health Analyst for HHS's Office of the Assistant Secretary of Health in Region 2 (NJ, NY, PR, & USVI). Her interest and background lie in chronic disease prevention, women's health, and health equity. During her time at Emory, Cindy worked as a graduate researcher on a qualitative study that examined patients' preferences and acceptance of perinatal telehealth services during COVID-19. Before graduate school, Cindy served as a Public Health Associate with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention where she successfully planned, launched, and managed several community needs assessments and projects aimed at enhancing the productivity and performance of the Virginia State Health Department. In addition, she spearheaded various obesity prevention initiatives in Virginia, such as the development and piloting of a Fresh Farmacy program with WIC.


Mariam Sylla

Leadership Education in Neurodevelopmental Disabilities (LEND)

Mariam Sylla (She/Hers) is originally from Guinea-Conakry. She received a B.S. in Health Service Management and a B.A. in French with two minors; Health Education and Wellness Coaching at Indiana University Purdue University Indianapolis (IUPUI), where she is currently a second-year MPH student with a Concentration in Social and Behavioral Sciences and a focus in GMCH (Global Maternal and Child Health). Her interests include health and wellness promotion, communication, and cultural gaps between healthcare providers and immigrants. She is also passionate about GMCH, Neurodevelopmental Disabilities, the overall  Population Health, and how to improve the health and well-being of all by addressing health inequity, disparities, and related issues. Mariam currently works as the Social Justice Education Graduate Assistant at IUPUI where she advises and supervises the Social Justice Scholars. This scholarship program is a student-led programming by the scholars for the entire IUPUI campus and is designed to provide passionate students with an opportunity to develop programs based on their interests and current social issues. Fun fact, Mariam loves to cook!


Samiha Tahsin

MCH Public Health Catalyst

Samiha Tahsin is a first-year MPH student at the Dornsife School of Public Health at Drexel University, concentrating in Epidemiology with a minor in Maternal and Child Health. During her co-op as an undergrad, she had the opportunity to work as an Implementation Officer at Energize the Chain, an independent nonprofit organization founded to ensure that children around the world receive uncompromised, effective vaccines. Ultimately, this experience solidified her interests in research and global health. Furthermore, her personal experiences as a Bangladeshi American led her research interests to center around maternal and child health, reproductive and sexual health, and violence and trauma.

Eligibility

  • Current or former MCH trainees that have graduated within the last 5 years
  • Applicants should demonstrate initiative and strong time-management, communication, and leadership skills
  • Strong candidates have a proven record of collaboration, teamwork, and understanding of cultural competence
  • Experience spearheading activities or programs is preferred

Time requirements

  • A 14-month commitment is required (January 2022-January 2023).
  • Participation is estimated to be 2-4 hours per month.

Ambassador roles and responsibilities

Please review the TAG Overview and Highlights document (PDF) for more detail on roles, responsibilities, and leadership opportunities.

Application

Applications for the 2023 TAG cohort are now being accepted. Email mch-trc@altarum.org to obtain current application materials. Applications are due at 11:59 pm ET on Sunday October 30, 2022.

Contact

If you have questions or need further information, please contact Molly Carmody at the MCH Training & Research Resource Center.


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