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Alumni & Recent Graduates

Julie AckermanJulie Ackerman, MPH
After graduating from UF in Spring 2006, I continued working for the Maternal Child Health and Education Research and Data Center, at the University of Florida. Recently I accepted a position at WellFlorida as the Healthy Start Program Director. WellFlorida overseas two Healthy Start Coalitions: North Central Florida (12 counties) and Central Florida (4) counties. Healthy Start provides services to at risk mothers and infants. My program planning skills and knowledge of maternal and child health will come to good use in this position. I am excited to take on the new challenges and responsibilities!!

Hannah Chadee, MPH

After I completed my MPH in Social and Behavioral Sciences in Spring 2006, I accepted a position as a Coordinator of Research Programs and Services for the College of Pharmacy in the Department of Pharmacy Health Care Administration. I currently coordinate all IRB and grant submissions for the department, and participate in current research projects. Projects that I am currently involved in include an evaluation of the implementation of pharmacy heath information technology to ensure medication safety in Critical Access Hospitals and conducting reviews of pertinent literature for studies that quantify resource consumption by HIV/AIDS patients for different stages in disease progression.

Joanne D’SilvaJoanne D’Silva, MPH

After graduating from the MPH program at UF in the summer of 2006, I accepted a position as a research program manager at ClearWay Minnesota. Based in Minneapolis, ClearWay Minnesota is a nonprofit organization dedicated to enhancing life for all Minnesotans by reducing tobacco use and exposure to secondhand smoke through research, action and collaboration.

As a member of the research department, my responsibilities include coordinating the grants-making program, the provision of technical assistance to grantees, and engaging in grant monitoring activities. I am also involved in the evaluation of community-tailored cessation programs for priority populations and will be undertaking a surveillance project in the American Indian communities in Minnesota. My position provides an excellent opportunity to apply the skills that I acquired during my training in Social and Behavioral Sciences and to build upon my knowledge in the field of tobacco control.

And last but not least, I have had the pleasure of providing "orange & blue" breakfast spreads for my coworkers and taking championship-deprived Minnesotans to the local Gator club. The Swamp may be in Gainesville, but the Gator Nation is everywhere and very much so in Minneapolis!

Myrtha Barbara E. ForgesMyrtha Barbara E. Forges, MD, MPH

After receiving my Medical Degree from the University Instituto Politecnico Nacional in Mexico City, I chose to continue my studies and focus in on Public Health. I graduated in 2006 with a Master of Public Health with my concentration in Social and Behavioral Sciences. Upon graduation, I accepted my present position at the Rural Women’s Health Project (RWHP) as a Research Coordinator and Medical Consultant.

The RWHP is a non-profit organization based in Gainesville, Florida that has been working since 1992 with farmworker women and their families. Working in collaboration with other grass-roots organizations, the RWHP focuses on the health issues of rural women and their families, with a special emphasis on the challenges faced by Spanish-speaking immigrants.

As Research Coordinator I have been involved in research projects related to breast cancer, tuberculosis, diabetes, hypertension and the development of a countywide community health survey. Each of these projects has been focused on the Spanish- speaking immigrant community and has included the use of open-ended surveys and Community Education Sessions as the two-prong approach to community-based information gathering. As Medical Consultant, I oversee the medical content of workshops and print materials. My medical background, along with the skills that I acquired from my public health education, has helped me a lot along the way in my new career.

The nice part about working at the RWHP is that we work with the communities, listen to their concerns and facilitate teaching sessions, which respond to their myths and beliefs in order for them to better understand health messages. The Rural Women’s Health Project also utilizes non-formal education and community participation techniques in all their work. Additionally, they use testimonial multi-media such as fotonovelas, traditional music, educational games and radio scripts as innovative educational tools to reinforce the teaching messages.

For all you folks who are seeking an MPH degree, it is great to be an MPH graduate!

Kristin Gant, MPH

Since graduating with my MPH in Spring 2006, I have been working at Suwannee River Area Health Education Center (SRAHEC) in Alachua. SRAHEC serves 12 counties in North Central Florida by providing health education to community members, continuing education to health professionals, community development for local health agencies, and opportunities for school-age children and teens to learn about and enter the health field. I’m fortunate that my position allows me to do a little of each, which I greatly enjoy. My day is filled with anything from grant writing, school health aid trainings, and conference coordination to program development and pandemic influenza preparedness. Now that I’m finished with school, I can enjoy the finer things in life, like finally having the time to explore Gator Country, reading about local history and kayaking our area’s beautiful rivers, and having my own washer and dryer!

Kristina ZachryKristina Zachry, MPH

After I finished my MPH at UF in August of 2006 I found a job working for the Florida Department of Health at the Levy County Health Department. My position there is the Tobacco Prevention Specialist. I absolutely love my job and enjoy working for the Division of Health Awareness and Tobacco. One of my favorite things about my job is that I have started and now coordinate the Students Working Against Tobacco (SWAT) chapters at all of the middle and high schools in Levy County. In addition, I have a county SWAT team that I work with to implement countywide awareness activities. In the past the Florida SWAT program was responsible for creating the highly effective “truth” campaign, which had several eye-catching commercials on television that educated the public about the lies and manipulations of the tobacco industries. In addition to working with youth, I also work to implement countywide policies related to reducing exposure to secondhand smoke, I am starting the Levy County Tobacco-Free Partnership, and I provide smoking cessation services and counseling to people who are ready to quit smoking. I love working with the people in Levy County and in my Tobacco Control region with the other Tobacco Prevention Specialists, and I am happy to still be able to live in Gainesville. It is nice to have a job that allows me to have a flexible schedule, lots of travel, and allows me to be creative. On a personal note, the research paper I wrote with Dr. Brian Dodge, “Sexuality Education in Florida: Content, Context, and Controversy”, has just been accepted for publication in Volume 3, Number 2 of the American Journal of Sexuality Education!

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This page was last updated Sep. 16, 2008.