MPH Alumni Awards

In celebration of their 10 year anniversary, the University of Missouri Master of Public Health recognized four distinct alumni for their exemplary contributions to public health in May 2017. Awardees are listed below.

Global Public Health

Dr. Maihan Abdullah (2013)

One of Dr. Abdullah’s most important efforts has been to advance cancer prevention in Afghanistan. Prior to his efforts, there had been no screening program for cancer in the country, no public awareness campaigns, no cancer registry, and no diagnosis and treatment centers. He established the Afghanistan Cancer Foundation (ACF), the first advocacy organization for cancer prevention and control, and serves as its Executive Director. He also established and heads the National Cancer Control program, which was launched this year, and is currently training staff for the program. He established the Cancer Diagnosis and Treatment Project within Afghanistan’s Ministry of Public Health and served as its first coordinator. And finally, he is in the process of creating the first nationwide Cancer Registry in Afghanistan, and has consulted with the International Agency for Research on Cancer with the World Health Organization as well as experts at the Missouri Cancer Registry and Research Center at the University of Missouri.

Veterinary Public Health

Cody Minks (2014)

As a public health emergency planner in St. Charles County, Cody works to ensure his community is ready to handle emergencies and disasters. Just months after starting his career with St. Charles County, Cody participated in the emergency operations surrounding riots in Ferguson. Following the historic flooding in December 2015, Cody worked tirelessly for weeks to help neighboring communities respond and recover. In addition to his responsibilities at St. Charles County, Cody also serves as an adjunct instructor for the MU MPH program. He further serves the MU MPH program through the Alumni Association, helping the alumni of our program build a network, improving the reputation of our program, and assisting graduates in their own careers. Additionally, along with military leaders and intelligence specialists, Cody is completing the prestigious Master of Arts in Security Studies at the Center for Homeland Defense and Security at the Naval Postgraduate School.

Health Promotion and Policy

Kimi Nolte (2013)

Ever since college, Kimi has advocated for survivors of domestic violence in both a professional and volunteer capacity. In her recent position working for Prince George’s County (Maryland), she successfully wrote and secured one of the largest grants her department had ever received to help area survivors of domestic violence. But Kimi’s dedication to public health doesn’t stop at 5:00 pm. She also works part-time at a safe house for victims of sex trafficking in Washington, DC. Kimi’s role as a resident counselor helps provide much-needed emotional support and encouragement, as well as education to help them establish strong daily living skills. Kimi also holds a volunteer leadership role at Planned Parenthood of Washington, DC, where she helps train future leaders, acts to protect important healthcare services, and advocates for common-sense reproductive health policy. After participating in the highly-selective, nine-month training programing, her performance and commitment resulted in being invited to serve in her current leadership capacity.

Health Promotion and Policy

Aver Yakubu (2015)

Through Generate Health, a maternal child health coalition in St. Louis, MO, Aver contributes to the field of public health by managing multiple initiatives: behavioral health and infant mortality (behavioral health and prenatal care focus). The Perinatal Behavioral Health Initiative (PBHI) includes 17 organizational partners throughout the St. Louis region (Physicians from Washington University and SSM, intimate partner violence shelters, and the St. Louis Public School’s teen pregnancy program just to name a few) who are part of a referral network to ensure perinatal women are screened for behavioral health concerns and enter case management. As part of her role of managing the PBHI network, she meets with each partner organization monthly to ensure the needs of the women they serve are met. These monthly meetings have naturally evolved into providing recommendations to direct service partners on how to communicate with their patient/clients in a culturally competent manner to ensure their clients have all their needs met.


October 20, 2016

Columbia, MO.

Dr. Michelle Teti has been named the Program Director for the new Bachelor of Health Science (BHS) in Public Health Program at the MU School of Health Professions. The degree was approved by the UM System Board of Curators earlier this month and is pending approval from the Missouri Coordinating Board for Higher Education.

Dr. Teti has a doctorate and a master’s degree in community and behavioral health, and has worked in numerous areas of public health during the last 20 years. Her experiences include work in local community health agencies, domestic and sexual assault centers, HIV clinics, and research-based academic institutions.

“Dr. Teti is passionate about public health and engaging students” said Dr. Rosemary Hogan, Department Chair of Health Sciences at SHP. “She is positioned well to connect public health education with community needs to prepare students to tackle the health challenges we face locally and nationally.”

“Dr. Teti has extensive experience in public health research and education at SHP and in the community, and she is a natural fit for leading this new degree program.” Said Kristofer Hagglund, Dean of the MU School of Health Professions.

Dr. Teti has identified initial objectives to promote early success of the program. “Enrolling students and getting them excited about public health is a major focus for me. My other primary goal is refining the curriculum, to ensure each student leaves our program equipped for a career in public health.”

The program will begin taking student applications in the Spring of 2017.

The original press release can be found here.


October 10, 2016

Columbia, MO

On October 6th, the University of Missouri Curators voted to approve the proposal by the School of Health Professions to create a Bachelor of Health Science (BHS) in Public Health degree, pending final approval by the Missouri Coordinating Board for Higher Education. The proposal was a response to student interest in the degree program and the critical need for a trained public health workforce in Missouri, the US and the world. Kristofer Hagglund, Dean of the School of Health Professions said, “This new program will both draw students to Mizzou and help with undergraduate retention because it is the only bachelor’s program in public health at a public university within 300 miles of MU – we’re now able provide a highly-sought degree that isn’t currently available.”

The new degree program will be housed within the Department of Health Sciences in the School of Health Professions, and the director of the new program, not yet named, will report to the chair of the DHS program, Dr. Rosemary Hogan. Housing the program within the Department of Health Sciences will build on the existing teaching and research strengths in public health among DHS faculty, maximize the strong existing relationships with programs such as the Master of Public Health Program, which has been administratively moved to SHP, and with community partners. Hagglund said, “The existing infrastructure in the department of health sciences is ideal for leveraging community partnerships, opportunities for experiential learning and employment for students and graduates, and managing the administrative efficiency and cost-effectiveness of the new program.”

Hogan said that “Public health is an interdisciplinary field, and this program will attract students who are interested in a variety of potential employment opportunities.” Examples include health promotion, health policy, health communication, epidemiology, environmental health; advancement in their current employment; students who are interested in pursuing graduate study in public health; and students who wish to enhance their preparation for graduate or professional studies in a variety of fields.

Students will apply for admission to the major in their sophomore year, and will complete the core public health coursework in their junior and senior years. The program will use a competitive admission process with admissions capped at 60 students per year. The curriculum and structure of the program are designed to meet the standards for accreditation by the Council on Education for Public Health(CEPH).

The original press release can be found here.


October 6, 2016

Columbia, MO

The provost’s office has announced the decision to move the MPH program’s administrative home to the School of Health Professions. This realignment creates exciting opportunities for growth for both the MPH program and for the school. MPH will remain an interdisciplinary program but will more formally have access to the support services of SHP – allowing us to streamline existing operations and take advantage of the natural cooperation that already exists between the program and SHP. We will immediately begin the process of establishing a transition team comprised of fiscal, HR, advancement and communications staff to help identify the most efficient processes for integrating the two organizations. For more details, please see the announcement below, and join me in welcoming the MPH program more fully in to the SHP Family!

FROM: Garnett S. Stokes, Provost and Executive Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs

RE: Administrative placement of the Master of Public Health (MPH) Program within MU’s School of Health Professions

After considerable deliberation and analysis, I have asked that the administrative placement of the Master of Public Health program be moved from the Office of Research and Graduate Studies to the School of Health Professions as of November 1, 2016.

The MPH program was launched in 2007 as an interdisciplinary program under the auspices of the Graduate School. Eight schools and colleges across the university participate in teaching and administrative policy development through the core faculty committee. The deans of five schools and colleges (the School of Health Professions, the College of Veterinary Medicine, the School of Human and Environmental Sciences, the Truman School for Public Affairs and the Sinclair School of Nursing) serve on the Board of Directors. Many more academic units are involved through interdisciplinary efforts, including two recent high-impact symposia from Mizzou Advantage and a Mizzou Advantage funded interdisciplinary research retreat in public health.

Throughout, the School of Health Professions has provided substantive support to the program, including office space, and fiscal and human resources support.  In 2015, when the Graduate School was disbanded, the administrative home of the MPH Program was moved to the Office of Interdisciplinary programs, within the Office of the Provost, and discussion began about how to ensure adequate infrastructure support for the program. That discussion is ongoing and a task force has been formed to provide recommendations.  (Further information is provided below.)

The decision to locate the administrative home of the MPH Program within SHP was made in consideration of a unanimous vote of the MPH core faculty and consent from the deans of the schools and colleges principally involved. This move, along with recent re-accreditation by the Council on Education in Public Health, will position the program to maximize its growth potential, as well as expand opportunities for interdisciplinary work in public health across campus.

Administrative support from the School of Health Professions will allow the MPH Program to function more efficiently with regard to human resources and fiscal management and become stronger in the following areas:

Development: The MPH program has a growing alumni base and a new alumni organization. In addition, the work of its faculty and students focuses on issues of general concern to the public, including international development, infectious disease prevention, social justice and the built environment. The development infrastructure of SHP will allow the program to set and meet strategic goals for advancement.

Strategic Communication: The MPH program will be supported by the SHP Strategic Communication team to facilitate effective distribution of press releases, other announcements, and website management.

Research/Grants Management: The SHP grant writing and management team will allow the MPH program to build on recent efforts, including the MPH Interdisciplinary Extramural Research Proposal Retreat (Summer 2016) that is developing public health research proposals.
Commitment to Interdisciplinary Model
The program’s interdisciplinary structure will be maintained. Current and future shared faculty members will retain academic homes in the participating schools and colleges with all of the corresponding rights and responsibilities. In addition, the Board of Directors comprised of the participating Deans will continue in its current form and role. The Master of Public Health Program budget will continue to be administered independently by the Program Director, in consultation with program staff and core faculty members.

Going Forward
I have charged the Associate Vice Chancellor for Graduate Studies, Leona Rubin, and the Mizzou Advantage Initiative Director, Jerritt Frank, with leading a task force to address the appropriate structure for supporting interdisciplinary programs across campus. The specific arrangement between the School of Health Professions and the Master of Public Health Program will be evaluated annually to confirm its benefit to the program and the University.  Should a better mechanism for supporting interdisciplinary programs be developed in the future, the Master of Public Health Program would be a primary candidate for movement under a new interdisciplinary office structure.

The original press lease can be found here.

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