Alumni Accomplishments

Jacob Barela, MPH ’15, was selected as a Generative Fellow for CoreAlign, a non-profit organization based in Oakland, CA. Designed to build diverse networks of leaders who work to innovatively change policies, culture and conditions related sexual and reproductive health, Jacob is researching how pro-choice and anti-abortion supporters can work together.

Elburg van Boetzelaer, MPH ’15, and Maria Quinn, MPH ’15, received the Lynne Loomis-Price Award. Named in memory of the Department’s Associate Director of Academic Programs, this award is given to graduating students who exemplify Loomis-Price’s commitment to humanitarian work, dedication to the reduction of health disparities, and actions in pursuit of social justice.

Amelia Holstrom, MPH ‘13, published her Capstone, “Sexuality Education Goes Viral: What We Know About Online Sexual Health Information” in the American Journal of Sexuality Education. The article can be accessed here.

Brad Kerner, MPH ‘05, Adolescent Reproductive Health Advisor for Save the Children, has developed an innovative program that is working to promote gender equity in countries where girls’ and women’s rights are lagging. Rather than focusing on this topic directly, the Choices program brings girls and boys together to discuss their dreams for the future. The program’s success in Egypt was recently highlighted in the New York Times. Mr. Kerner was also interviewed by NPR’s Here and Now program on April 27, 2015 about the impact of the devastating earthquake in Nepal and inadequate relief efforts. Mr. Kerner was in Katmandu at the time for his work with Save the Children.

Chelsea Kolff, MPH ’15, Ellie Witwer, MPH ’15, and Jessica Sunshine, MPH ’15, MSW ’15, received the 2014–15 Academic Excellence Award. These awards are given by the Academic Affairs Committee to graduating students who have demonstrated consistent excellence in coursework, produced an outstanding Capstone paper, and made other significant contributions to the Department. 

Megan L. Palacios, MPH ’15, began working in August 2015 as an International Development Fellow for the Catholic Relief Services (CRS). Based in Accra, Ghana, Megan will spend the one-year post providing support in program management, business development, and monitoring and evaluation for various Ghana programs. Later in the year, Megan is slated to support the start-up of a new agriculture/food security program.

Francisco Ramirez, MPH '09, a public health consultant, public speaker, and media personality, began giving out free advice on relationships, sex, and dating in New York City parks while a student at PopFam. These efforts, which he has continued throughout his career, were recently featured on NPR’s Weekend Edition in May 2015. Mr. Ramirez was spotlighted in the Family News in February 2015.

Craig A. Spencer, MD, MPH ’13, a graduate of PopFam’s combined International Emergency Medicine Fellowship and MPH program, spent six weeks in 2014 caring for Ebola patients in Guinea as an aid worker for Doctors Without Borders and contracted and survived the disease. While Dr. Spencer’s experience has drawn a good amount of press—see a June profile in New York magazine profile—he has been working to focus attention on a lesser-told part of this story: the devastating impact of the Ebola crisis on West African region’s health systems –and the urgent need to strengthen them in order to stem further health crises. Dr. Spencer articulated these issues at the Mailman School’s Alumni Summit held on June 4, 2015 and in an August 2015 Op-Ed in the New York Times.

Are you a PopFam alum with a recent accomplishment you would like to share in the Family News? Please submit recent articles, appearances in the news, honors and achievements, grants, promotions, new jobs, etc., as they happen, to Jennifer Heitel. Please include the year you graduated.