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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.

For information about previous TAG cohorts, please visit the archive page. Ambassadors attend monthly virtual meetings and work collaboratively to create trainee-focused products. 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)
The 2020 Trainee Ambassadors

Alexandra Trautman

MCH Public Health Catalyst

Alexandra Trautman is a second year MPH student at the Dornsife School of Public Health at Drexel University, concentrating in Community Health and Prevention. Her research includes improving the interface of a professional development mobile app used in MCH coursework and PrEP modality preferences among women who inject drugs. Prior to starting her MPH program, Alexandra was a middle school science teacher, which sparked her passion for adolescent sexual and reproductive health. Last year, she served as the President of the Preconception Peer Educators student group at Dornsife, a program developed by the Office of Minority Health. As a member of the Trainee Ambassador Group, Alexandra looks forward to continuing to develop her leadership skills as well as learn and grow with the other talented members of the TAG.


Vanessa Vassall

MCH Public Health Catalyst

Vanessa A. Vassall is a 4th year Ph.D. candidate and McKnight Doctoral Fellow at Florida International University where she studies Health Promotion and Disease Prevention as well as Maternal and Child Health. Originally from Seattle, Vanessa is committed to eliminating health disparities in maternal health outcomes through her research and activism. Vanessa has developed her knowledge and skills by participating in fellowships at such agencies as the CDC, NIH, HRSA, USAID, and NACCHO, and by completing internships at health departments in Tennessee, Florida, New Jersey, Vermont, and New York. Vanessa gained global maternal and child health experience by teaching epidemiology courses to community nurses and midwives in Sierra Leone with Professors Without Borders. Vanessa is proud of her health policy work which highlights the role community-based Doulas and other ancestral birth workers play in improving birth experiences and outcomes among women and families of color. She is a Lead Exposure Prevention Ambassador with Black Millennials for Flint and a Data Jockey with Data for Black Lives. A proud graduate of the University of Washington and Meharry Medical College, Vanessa is an active member of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc. and holds a Master Certified Health Education Specialist credential.


Breanna Chachere

Centers of Excellence in Maternal & Child Health (CoE)

Originally from the greater Houston area, Breanna is a public health professional and aspiring physician who attended Rice University, where she received a BA in Psychology and a minor in Poverty, Justice, and Human Capabilities in 2013. Following graduation, Breanna worked as a school dropout prevention coordinator for 3 years in the Houston area, serving as a liaison between community organizations, schools, and students/families. In 2016, she began attending Boston University School of Public Health, graduating in 2018 with an MPH and certificates in Community Assessment, Program Design, Implementation, and Evaluation (CAPDIE), Maternal/Child Health, and Chronic/Non-Communicable Diseases. In Fall 2018, Breanna joined the Boston Medical Center Department of OBGYN working under the direction of the Perinatal-Neonatal Quality Improvement Network of Massachusetts as Project Manager for the Massachusetts Alliance for Innovation on Maternal Health Initiative (MA AIM), where she coordinates the statewide implementation of maternal safety bundles to reduce maternal mortality and morbidity. Breanna's research passions and experience meets at the intersection of preconception health, MCH, and chronic disease prevention; how these are related to adverse outcomes among communities of color, including maternal and infant mortality, and can be addressed clinically through quality improvement methodologies, and ultimately through social justice and reproductive justice lenses.


Alicia Reynolds

Centers of Excellence in Maternal & Child Health (CoE)

Alicia is a second-year master’s student in the Department of Maternal and Child Health at the Gillings School of Global Public Health in Chapel Hill, North Carolina. Prior to beginning her graduate degree in public health, Alicia served as a team leader with AmeriCorps National Civilian Community Corps (NCCC), where she volunteered in disaster relief and urban development in the Southeast. Through this experience, Alicia gained insight into how intersecting systems of oppression shape social determinants of health. This past summer, Alicia interned at the New York State Department of Health in the Division of Family Health where she conducted qualitative research to inform the Children & Youth with Special Health Care Needs section of the New York Title V Needs Assessment. Alicia worked as an elementary school teaching assistant for a classroom with students with disabilities, so she appreciated the opportunity to learn about state-level systems of care for CYSHCN. In her career, Alicia will strive to reduce health disparities and promote health equity for all, especially for women and girls. She is currently writing her master’s thesis on the criminalization and victimization of black girls within the United States public school system.


Jessica Garcia

Leadership Education in Adolescent Health (LEAH)

Jessica Garcia is a recent graduate of Samford University earning her degree of a Master's of Public Health, simultaneously, completing her Dietetic Internship program at Samford University. She is now readily studying to become a credentialed Registered Dietitian, showing interest in a variety of pressing fields including adolescent eating disorders, cardiovascular disease, diabetes and the advocacy for the role of dietetic professionals in an interdisciplinary health care setting. Presently, Ms. Garcia is the Nutrition Trainee for the Leadership Education in Adolescent Health Traineeship in Birmingham, Alabama. Ms. Garcia radiates a passion for teaching and inspiring others how to make lasting behavior changes that resonate into leading healthier lives.


Katherine O'Bar

Leadership Education in Neurodevelopmental Disabilities (LEND)

Katie O’Bar is a registered dietitian at the University of Tennessee Health Science Center (UTHSC) Center for Developmental Disabilities (CDD) in Memphis, TN. She works in the genetics clinic at LeBonheur Children’s Hospital, seeing patients with rare inborn errors of metabolism. After earning her Bachelor of Science in Biology-Psychology from Birmingham-Southern College, she returned home to Memphis to continue her studies in nutrition. Katie earned a Master of Science in Nutrition and completed her dietetic internship program at the University of Memphis. During this time, she served as a graduate assistant with the nutrition department at UTHSC CDD, where she participated in the LEND program. Her time as a LEND trainee provided invaluable interdisciplinary experience and solidified her passion for serving the maternal and child health population. Katie is looking forward to learning from and collaborating with fellow MCH colleagues and trainees.


Catherine Yount

Leadership Education in Neurodevelopmental Disabilities (LEND)

Catherine Yount is as Evaluation Coordinator and Research Analyst at the UCLA Center for Health Policy Research. Her work is focused on secondhand smoke exposures in apartment buildings in Los Angeles. She has a degree from UCLA in Human Biology and Society and a Master of Public Health from University of California, Irvine. Prior to her current position, Catherine worked with the City of Irvine Disability Services where she supported children and adults with disabilities in one on one and group environments. She collaborated with the California Department of Public Health, Biomonitoring to analyze data related to sources of perchlorate exposure in California residents. She also completed the LEND Fellowship at Children’s Hospital, Los Angeles where she partnered with interdisciplinary colleagues to examine use of public-school meals among families with children with disabilities in Southern California and create educational materials to help families effectively utilize this resource. Catherine’s interests include environmental exposure impacts on maternal and child health. She hopes to pursue a PhD in epidemiology focusing on maternal and child health.


Rachel Klenzman

MCH Nutrition

Rachel is a is a dual Master of Science in Public Health Nutrition and Master of Public Health student at the University of Tennessee. In May 2018, she received her undergraduate degree in Dietetics from Ashland University in Ashland, OH. Rachel’s experience as a research assistant in perinatal and behavioral health, and surgical outcomes at Nationwide Children’s Hospital in Columbus, Ohio sparked her passion for the MCH population. Her graduate thesis work focuses on postpartum anxiety, breastfeeding self-efficacy, and breastfeeding outcomes. She has been a Maternal and Child Health Nutrition Leadership trainee since January 2019 and will be completing a dietetic internship through UT in 2021. Rachel hopes to use her education and training to improve health outcomes for mothers and infants.


Michelle Ubah

MCH Pipeline

Michelle Ubah is a senior at the University of Wisconsin-Madison double majoring in Psychology and Human Development Family Studies with certificates in Global Health, Leadership and Entrepreneurship. She is currently applying for her master’s in public health in Health Policy and Management with a certificate in Maternal Child Health. This past summer, she interned with Public Health Madison and Dane County as a Maternal Child Health Intern where she helped create lactation spaces around the county. She also worked with the Fetal Mortality Review team on discussions around safe sleep. In addition, she is currently working on a research project looking at the variation in birth outcomes for US Born and Foreign-Born Hispanic mothers. Prior to this experience, she was a an MCH Learn Scholar at Johns Hopkins University where she conducted research on intimate partner violence and reproductive coercion on preterm pregnancy among African American women in Baltimore. Michelle has a strong passion to eliminate health disparities among the African American community through health management and policy specifically focusing on pregnancy and physician and patient relationships/ advocacy. Some of her hobbies include traveling (favorite place so far is Bali, Indonesia), spending time with family, shopping and creating digital content.


Brittany Crollett

Pediatric Pulmonary Center (PPC)

Brittany Crollett has been dedicated to helping individuals and families navigate life with mental health conditions for nearly 10 years. She holds a dual bachelor’s degree in Psychology and Spanish. She began her work with families as a developmental specialist and an Applied Behavioral Analysis therapist. Brittany has also served as a psychometrician under the guidance of a licensed psychologist. As a psychometrician, Brittany helped to complete psychological, neuropsychological and forensic evaluations. In 2014, Brittany began her own practice of life-coaching, mediation and parenting facilitation while maintaining her position as a psychometrician. Brittany completed her Masters of Social Work in 2019 at New Mexico State University. In 2018-2019 Brittany served as a Pediatric Pulmonary Center trainee at the University of New Mexico. At the present, Brittany is a devoted social worker at the Center for Development and Disability. She focuses on guiding families through the process of evaluation for Autism and ensuring they have the essential tools to continue to help their children excel in life.

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 12-month commitment is required (January-December 2020).
  • Participation is estimated to be 2-4 hours per month.
AMBASSADOR ROLES AND RESPONSIBILITIES

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

APPLICATION

Application materials for the TAG 2021 cohort will be available in summer 2020.

CONTACT

If you have questions or need further information,

 

Video: An Introduction to the MCH Training Program for Trainees by Trainees Exit Disclaimer


 

Video: An Introduction to the Trainee Ambassador Group Exit Disclaimer


 

Webinar: MCH Connects - Facilitating Connections in MCH Exit Disclaimer


 

Links to PDF "Links to PDF "TAG plenary session at MLC 18"

Presentation: TAG plenary session at MLC 2018 Exit Disclaimer

 

Making Lifelong Connections Annual Meeting

Making Lifelong Connections website Exit Disclaimer

 

Links to PDF "Links to PDF "TAG plenary session at MLC 18"

Presentation: TAG plenary session at MLC 2017 Exit Disclaimer

 

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