BCHS Alumni Stories

Alumni of the Department of Behavioral and Community Health Sciences (BCHS) are making an impact in all areas of public health. Here are profiles of a few of our notable alumni.

Roberts and Hoffman featured in Hulu documentary on anti-vaccine movement

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HULU - Available now on the streaming service, Vice Investigates “Anti-Vaxx Fever” explores the growing anti-vaccine movement. The documentary features in-depth looks at the varied work of professor Mark Roberts and of student Beth Hoffman (BCHS ’19 ’23). Each uses system science methods to investigate the dangers of this movement, generating compelling images that are powerful tools for communicating science to the public.  

Golya receives Benjamin Eskin Memorial Award, inducted into PA honor society

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Congratulations to Kara Goyla (BCHS ') who graduated from Drexel's PA program on December 14 and passed her boards! She was inducted into Pi Alpha, the National Physician Assistant Honor Society and received the Benjamin Eskin Memorial Award "for the PA student who demonstrated exceptional effort and demonstrated qualities of personal dedication and integrity." Golya sends her gratitude and states she could not have made it through this arduous ... 

Felter and Baumann receive Best Paper of the Year Award

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Congrats to BCHS's Elizabeth Felter and Sara Baumann (BCHS '19). Their article "Development of a Community-Engaged Classroom for Teaching Health Communications: Lessons Learned from Nine Semesters of Implementation," has been selected as a Pedagogy in Health Promotion's 2019 Best Paper of the Year Award. This is a great honor!   

‘Alarming’ one-in-five deaths due to sepsis

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BBC - One in five deaths around the world is caused by sepsis, also known as blood poisoning. Derek Angus (’92 BCHS), now distinguished professor and Mitchell P. Fink Endowed Chair of Critical Care Medicine at Pitt School of Medicine, has contributed to a groundbreaking study finding that sepsis is twice as common as health officials have long believed, about 20 percent of all deaths worldwide.  

Baumann and Burke receive Hewlett Award from UCIS

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BCHS’s Jessie Burke and Sara Baumann (BCHS '19) received a Hewlett Award from the University Center for International Studies for their project entitled, “Painting a way forward: Investigating the role of community art on mental health outcomes in the aftermath of the 2015 earthquakes in Nepal.”  The work extends ongoing research efforts in Nepal.  

Intimate partner violence and pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP): A rapid review of current evidence for women’s HIV prevention

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AIDS AND BEHAVIOR - O’Malley TL, Hawk ME, Egan JE, Krier SE, and Burke JG's findings indicate a dearth of research on women’s PrEP use and IPV and highlight the urgency for research, public heath practice, and policy attention around the HIV risk context and needs of women who experience IPV.  

Jones leads team partnering with NIH study

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JUNIATA MAGAZINE - Pitt Public Health alumni are leaders in their fields. Congratulations to Jen Jones (BCHS '11) for her spotlight feature!   

Arnold named one of Pittsburgh Magazine's 40 under 40

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PITTSBURGH MAGAZINE - The Center for Disease Control estimates that 130 people die in this country every day from opioid-related drug overdoses. As the executive director of Prevention Point Pittsburgh, Aaron Arnold (BCHS '13) is working to change that. In addition to offering a needle exchange program and STI testing, Prevention Point provides opioid users with free naloxone access and training, as well as other services. It is, quite literally... 

Baumann's latest documentary examines transgender identities and reproductive health

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WESA-FM -- A documentary about a local transgender musician’s reproductive health offers a new way to think about public health research: through the visual medium of film. Produced by Pitt Public Health postdoctoral associate Sara Baumann  (BCHS '19), the film focuses on Jude Benedict, who identifies as trans-masculine genderqueer (someone whose gender was assigned female at birth, and often expresses themselves in a masculine way, but does not... 

Koesarie, Risser, Totoni instrumental in Pitt providing menstrual products around campus

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THE PITT NEWS - The pad and tampon dispensers in women’s bathrooms across campus have sat empty for years. But check again. Pitt is stocking a number of bathrooms with menstrual products, and there’s no payment required. Kathleen Koesarie (MMPH '21), said “it’s important that students who need menstrual products have access to them without leaving school. It’s a period equity issue, it’s an equality issue, and it’s a public health issue.”  

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BCHS Alumni Videos

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BCHS alumna Kavanaugh shares her passion for reproductive health (video) 

BCHS alumna Kavanaugh shares her passion for reproductive health (video)

MEGAN KAVANAUGH (BCHS ’08) became a principal research scientist at the Guttmacher Institute in 2017. Her research portfolio has focused on contraceptive use and service delivery, unintended pregnancy and abortion. In her most recent studies, she has been tracking national trends in contraceptive u... (03/07/2018)
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BCHS alumna Ncube shares her educational journey (video) 

BCHS alumna Ncube shares her educational journey (video)

COLLETTE NCUBE (BCHS ’14) is a future faculty fellow in the Department of Health Sciences and the Institute of Urban Health Research and Practice at Northeastern University. Ncube’s research focuses on determinants of racial/ethnic disparities in adverse birth and pregnancy outcomes and later life ... (03/07/2018)
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BCHS alumnus Wei shares interest in HIV research (video) 

BCHS alumnus Wei shares interest in HIV research (video)

CHONGYI WEI (BCHS '09) recently moved from the University of California, San Francisco to join the faculty at the Rutgers School of Public Health. His primary research focuses on the epidemiology and prevention of HIV/AIDS among men who have sex with men (MSM) in Asia and in the U.S. He is interest... (03/07/2018)
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BCHS alumna Wilds shares her experiences working at the Highmark Foundation (video) 

BCHS alumna Wilds shares her experiences working at the Highmark Foundation (video)

CHRISTINA WILDS (BCHS '06) serves as senior program officer of the Highmark Foundation. Prior to joining Highmark, Wilds served as program evaluator in Highmark Inc.'s division of community affairs, where she was responsible for all phases of program evaluation. Before joining Highmark, she worked ... (03/07/2018)
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BCHS alumna Bhargava discusses the issues with current standards of student success (video) 

BCHS alumna Bhargava discusses the issues with current standards of student success (video)

Kent State College of Public Health faculty member, TINA BHARGAVA (BCHS, '12) is the coordinator for the Prevention and Control of Diseases course, which is taught online. She is interested in improving online teaching methods. Her research interests include health behavior change and the cognitive... (03/05/2018)
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BCHS alumna Barkowitz shares her experiences as a UPMC health coach (video) 

BCHS alumna Barkowitz shares her experiences as a UPMC health coach (video)

A senior telephonic health coach for UPMC Health Plan, ELANA R. BARKOWITZ (BCHS ’11) also works part-time as an interviewer for the Pittsburgh Girls Study. She previously moonlighted as a paraprofessional counselor at Planned Parenthood of Western PA. Barkowitz is certified in public health (CPH) an... (01/27/2017)
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Alumna Jennifer Jones bridges community and academia at CTSI (video) 

Alumna Jennifer Jones bridges community and academia at CTSI (video)

As community engagement coordinator for Pitt's Clinical and Translational Science Institute, JENNIFER JONES (BCHS ’11) bridges community and academia to build capacity and solidify partnerships. After working at public health non-profit in Washington, D.C., she realized she wanted to earn her own Ma... (01/27/2017)
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Former Evans Scholar and Peace Corps volunteer, Melissa Knorr discusses combining social work and public health (video) 

Former Evans Scholar and Peace Corps volunteer, Melissa Knorr discusses combining social work and public health (video)

MELISSA KNORR (BCHS ’16) is the operations manager at The Open Door, Inc., where she first interned in 2014. During her time at Pitt, Melissa was an Evans Fellow, pursuing the joint MPH/masters in social work. She also served as an administrative intern for Bridging the Gaps and a board member of th... (01/27/2017)
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Alumna TaylorDaphne Morsillo addresses working towards healthier communities - whether in Allegheny County or Africa (video) 

Alumna TaylorDaphne Morsillo addresses working towards healthier communities - whether in Allegheny County or Africa (video)

Even before completing her MPH and global health studies, TAYLORDAPHNE MORSILLO (BCHS ’16) began working on the Plan for a Healthier Allegheny at the Allegheny County Health Department where she also supports the epidemiologist and manager of special projects. Previously, she served as a U.S. Peace ... (01/27/2017)
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Alumna Katharine Horowitz speaks to sexual and reproductive health and our dynamic local communities (video) 

Alumna Katharine Horowitz speaks to sexual and reproductive health and our dynamic local communities (video)

Vice president for education, KATHARINE HOROWITZ (BCHS ’12) has been with Planned Parenthood of Western PA for nearly five years. She is a born-and-bred Pittsburgher, driven to improve sexual and reproductive health outcomes for everyone in the dynamic communities that make up our city. Horowitz has... (01/27/2017)
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