September 2014 Alumni Special Edition Newsletter

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September 2014 Alumni Special Edition Newsletter
UNMC College of Public Health
Alumni Chapter News Special Edition
COPH Alumni Chapter Celebrates 5 Year Anniversary
Pictured: Front row L to R: Heather Nutsch ‘03, Steve Jackson ‘06, Shawn Gibbs, Associate Dean for Student Affairs, Laura Vinson ‘12,
Michele Kassmeier ‘12. Back row L to R: Nizar Wehbi ‘06, Valeriya Kettelhut ‘07, Ketki Patel ‘12, Ellen Duysen ‘10, Justin Frederick ‘11.
Message from the President | Valeriya Kettelhut, MPH ‘07
What an exciting year for our Chapter! Our young
organization will reach its 5-year anniversary this fall. This is a
time to celebrate a major milestone in the history of the
College of Public Health Alumni Chapter. On behalf of the
Board of Directors, I would like to take this opportunity to
congratulate the Chapter and say thank you to everyone who
has contributed to organizing, developing, promoting, and
supporting our organization. Without your great support we
would not be here today. During these five years, our Chapter
has grown into a stronger, dedicated organization that
successfully fulfills its mission. Further, the Chapter leadership
keeps looking for new opportunities and directions to move
our Chapter to a higher level. We welcome new
members, new ideas, and new challenges that will help us
achieve our goals. In this special edition newsletter we want
to share our history, significant events, and achievements
with all our alumni and friends. We would like everyone who
sincerely cares for our alumni organization to share our sense
of accomplishment in reaching this milestone and join us in
celebrating our 5th anniversary!
COPH Alumni Chapter To Host First Reunion
on October 10 The COPH Alumni Chapter will host its
Capital Fundraising Campaign Now Underway
first all alumni reunion on Friday, October 10, 2014 at the
UNMC Maurer Center for Public Health. Cont. page 7.
This summer, the COPH Alumni Chapter created two new
funds at the University of Nebraska Foundation to support
alumni and student activities. Cont. page 8.
Volume 2, Issue 1 | September 2014
COPH Alumni Chapter
Board of Directors
*Valeriya Kettelhut ‘07
Justin Frederick ‘11
Laura Vinson ‘12
Membership/Social Chairs
Aja Kneip Pelster ‘12
Michele Kassmeier ‘12
Past President
*Steve Jackson ‘06
Board Members
*Nizar Wehbi ‘06
Ellen Duysen ‘10
*Kristina Volkmer ‘06
Christine Arach Ross ‘09
Heather Nutsch ‘03
*Brandon Grimm ‘05
Fall 2014 Calendar
Kick Off with the UNMC Alumni Association
September 20 | 4:00-7:00 p.m.
Tailgate party prior to the Miami at Nebraska football
The Grand Manse, Lincoln, NE
$15/person includes buffet dinner & cash bar
Purchase tickets online at www.unmc.edu/alumni
Tailgate tickets do not include football game tickets.
COPH Alumni Reunion
October 10 | 6:00-8:00 p.m.
Maurer Center for Public Health
$40/person includes buffet dinner, beer & wine
Celebrating the 5 year anniversary of the chapter.
Purchase tickets online at www.unmc.edu/alumni.
*Indicates founding board member.
Newsletter September 2014
Volume 2, Issue 1
This Newsletter is produced by the
UNMC College of Public Health Alumni
Editors: Catherine Mello
April Elker
Ellen Duysen
Christine Ross
Valeriya Kettelhut
Brenda Nickol
UNMC Public Relations
For more information about the alumni
chapter, please contact us!
Want to Learn More About
Career Services at the COPH?
Brenda Nickol
Director of Career Services
[email protected]
Twitter: @COPHCareers
Join the Career Services Office on
LinkedIn. Search “UNMC College
of Public Health Students &
COPH Alumni Chapter Board Meeting
October 23 | 5:00-6:30 p.m.
UNMC Alumni House
Welcome August 2014 Graduates!
Leah Frerichs
Brock Hanisch
Janelle Jacobson
Naudia Joaquin
Meredith Keith
Tao Li
Daniel Lomelin
Dewi Ningsih
Diptee Ojha
Hong Peng
Scott Reiling
Celeste Reker
Philip Rongsich
Leslie Scofield
Mikayla Wiese
Harouna Zouladeny
Volume 2, Issue 1 | September 2014
COPH Alumni Chapter Milestones | 2009-2014
COPH Alumni Chapter founding Board of Directors.
October 2009
October 2009
May 2010
December 2010
June 2011
January 2012
February 2013
June 2013
October 2013
October 2014
Steve Jackson and Dr. Jim Anderson.
Founding Board of Directors formed
First alumni dinner
First graduation brunch for new graduates sponsored by Dean El-Mohandes
New graduate endowment fund created by a donor
The Chapter membership reached 25 paid members
Alumni Chapter presents first Spirit of Service Award to Jim Anderson, PhD
Board enhances strategic communication with e-Newsletter
Membership increased by 80% since 2009
Alumni Chapter creates two funds with NU Foundation
COPH Alumni Chapter marks 5 year anniversary with all school reunion
Graduating students receive framed copies of the public health pledge
at the chapter’s first new graduate brunch.
Board members Valeriya Kettelhut
and Laura Vinson display the
chapter’s new funds agreements.
Newsletter | 3
Key CDC Leader Selected as UNMC College of Public Health Dean
Dr. Ali S. Khan hopes to transform Nebraska into healthiest state in U.S.
A senior administrator for the Centers for Disease Control and
Prevention (CDC) and former assistant surgeon general, Ali S.
Khan, M.D., M.P.H., is the new dean of the University of Nebraska
Medical Center College of Public Health.
Prior to coming to UNMC, Dr. Khan was at the CDC in Atlanta for
the past 23 years. Since 2010, he has been director of the Office of
Public Health Preparedness and Response. In this position, he
oversaw the national public health security program with a $1.3
billion budget and 600 employees. The office is responsible for
protecting U.S. communities from all public health threats.
“Public health is fundamentally changing due to
advances in technology, shifting demographics,
globalization, and new opportunities for
preventive health care due to the Affordable
Care Act,” Dr. Khan said.
“I’m eager to join an institution that is committed to excellence
with a strong partnership between the colleges and health care
enterprise. We are in a unique position to help define the future of
public health as the primary means to improve the health of
individuals and our communities. I’m looking forward to being
involved in nurturing the next generation of public health
innovators and leaders and developing the science for new public
health solutions. Nebraska has an extremely engaged community. I
am excited about the opportunity to pursue work with private
industry, other public health entities, and the community who
share a vision of transforming Nebraska into the healthiest state in
the nation.”
Dr. Khan received his medical degree from Downstate Medical Center in his hometown of Brooklyn, N.Y., and completed a joint
residency in internal medicine and pediatrics at the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor before joining CDC. He is a fellow of the
American Academy of Pediatrics and the American College of Physicians. He has a master’s of public health from Emory
University’s Rollins School of Public Health, where he holds an adjunct professor appointment and co-directs the emerging
infections course. He has more than 150 peer-reviewed publications, textbook chapters, editorials and brief communiqués. He has
consulted extensively for multiple U.S. organizations including the National Aeronautics and Space Administration, numerous
ministries of health and the World Health Organization. Dr. Khan achieved the status of assistant surgeon general with the U.S.
Public Health Service (USPHS) before retiring in 2011 after 20 years of service. He received several awards from the USPHS,
including Meritorious Service Medals for his public health work following Hurricanes Katrina and Rita in Louisiana and for
establishing the U.S. domestic public health biological terrorism preparedness program. Credited with numerous public health
innovations and scientific advances, Dr. Khan said his career can be
characterized as “creative disruption.”
Dr. Khan, 50, and his wife, Kris, have 21-year-old triplets (two boys and a
girl). Dr. Khan will become the third dean of the UNMC College of Public
Health, which was founded in 2007. He succeeds Ayman El-Mohandes,
M.B.B.Ch., M.D., M.P.H., who held the post from 2009-2013 before leaving to
direct the School of Public Health at the City University of New York.
Just one month into his new position, Dean Khan began a six-week listening
tour of all 24 local and tribal public health departments in the state of
Karen Levin, University of Nebraska Foundation development director; Dr. Khan; and UNMC College
of Public Health director of public health practice Brandon Grimm, Ph.D., stop at Carhenge on their
way to Alliance in August 2014 for Dean Khan’s listening tour.
Newsletter | 4
Alumni Chapter News
Katie Brandert ’04 Receives Spirit of Service Award
Valeriya Kettelhut (right) presents the
Spirit of Service Award to Katie Brandert.
In April 2014, the COPH Alumni Chapter presented its third Spirit of Service
Award to Katie Brandert, MPH ‘07. Katie has been a member of the COPH
Alumni Chapter board of directors since its inception, and served as president
from 2010-2011. Under her leadership, the chapter grew its membership to 25
paid members, focused on strategic planning, and hosted several networking
events for students and alumni. In addition, Katie was instrumental in working
with a donor to create the new graduate endowment fund. She is one of the
Chapter’s biggest advocates and strongest leaders, and she is currently involved
in planning the first all alumni reunion. Katie works at the College of Public
Health, where she is the Director of the Great Plains Public Health Leadership
Institute and Manager of Workforce Development and Leadership Programs in
the Office of Public Health Practice. Previous Spirit of Service Award recipients
include: Jim Anderson, PhD and Alice Schumaker, PhD, MPA, MS.
Alumni Chapter Board of Directors to Support Two Students for PHAN Conference
The COPH Alumni Chapter will fund two $100 travel awards for COPH students planning to attend the Public Health
Association of Nebraska’s 2014 Annual Conference taking place on October 8 & 9, 2014
at the MidTown Holiday Inn in Grand Island. The two students selected were both
doctoral students, Rohan Jadhav and Niodita Gupta. These awards were created to
provide the opportunity for COPH students to network with public health professionals,
to learn about the emerging public health issues in Nebraska and the nation, and to gain
ideas for their future projects. Students were asked to submit a nomination form, their
CV, and a 200 word statement about how attending the conference will enhance their
educational development and facilitate their future involvement with the COPH Alumni
Association. The awards are funded through the Alumni Chapter’s brand new Fund for
Students. The board created the Fund in the spring of 2014, in partnership with the
University of Nebraska Foundation. The two student travel awards are the first expenditures from the funds. Going forward,
as the fund grows, the Board plans to support additional student projects.
Meet the College’s first MPH Graduate; new Alumni
Board Member | By: Heather Nutsch, MPH ‘03
I began my college education with a degree in community health education because
I wanted to remain close to my Omaha roots. Shortly after beginning my course
work, I learned that UNO and UNMC would be creating a joint Public Health
program. After acceptance in to the program, I registered for classes as quickly as
the curriculum was decided. Completing my Capstone project was a scary
experience with no example to follow. I was the only student to cross the stage in
salmon-colored robes in May of 2003. I’m still at UNMC working as a Health Data
Coordinator in Adult Hematology/Oncology research. I’m hoping that UNMC’s new
cancer center will allow our research to expand and that I may be able utilize my
Heather Nutsch
Public Health skills in the area of cancer research.
Remembering...Robert Sparks, M.D.
Dr. Sparks, UNMC’s second chancellor (1972-1976), died Tuesday, July 1, in California following several months of declining
health. Dr. Sparks was a generous supporter of UNMC students, including those in the College of Public Health through the
“Sparks Awards.” Thank you, Dr. Sparks, for your generous support.
Newsletter | 5
Alumni Chapter Organizes
Public Health Week Quiz
As a way to engage students, faculty and alumni,
the chapter in collaboration with the College of
Public Health initiated and sponsored a public
health quiz for students. The goal of the quiz was to
promote public health knowledge in an entertaining
manner. Several alumni and faculty contributed
multiple choice questions on pertinent public health
topics for this quiz. The questions ranged from
research design, epidemiology, infections,
prevention, to policy making and others. The quiz
was administered in April, 2014. Forty-six public
health students participated in this event by taking
the online quiz. The first four top scored students
have become winners and received a $25-dollar gift
card from the alumni chapter. The quiz is available
on the alumni chapter's Facebook page.
Pictured below: COPH Alumni Chapter Board member
Michele Kassmeier presents COPH student Megan Kelly
with a gift card she won for completing the survey.
COPH Alumni Chapter Conducts
Strategic Planning Session
Shawn Gibbs, Aja Kneip Pelster, and Laura Vinson.
On March 5, 2014, the COPH Alumni Chapter held a 90 minute
strategic planning session. The group was working on outlining
the Chapter’s accomplishments, brainstorming solutions to
barriers and challenges, and developing an action plan for 2014
-2015. The main strategies include: membership growth,
retention of membership, fundraising and promoting the alumni
chapter during events such as Public Health Week, New
Graduate Brunch, and the Public Health of Nebraska annual
conference. The meeting was led by Michele Kassmeier
(pictured above), the Chair of the Membership/Social Committee, in a fun and productive atmosphere. The result was a one
year operational plan for the chapter.
Newsletter | 6
Alumni Chapter To Host First All Alumni Reunion
The COPH Alumni Chapter was formed in 2009
with a mission to: encourage the lifelong
stewardship and participation of its members, to
affirm the mission, vision and values of the
University, and to support current and future
College of Public Health students through
mentoring relationships, alumni networks, and
fundraising efforts for the University.
After spending the past five years building the
organization, the COPH Alumni Chapter plans to
host its first all school reunion on October 10,
2014. The purpose of the reunion is to:
Enable alumni to reunite with fellow College of
Public Health classmates, faculty, and
Celebrate the 5 year anniversary of the
Alumni Chapter & learn about the Chapter’s
Give alumni the opportunity to network with
COPH leadership
The logistic details of the reunion are pictured at
left. To purchase tickets for $40/person, call
402.559.4385 or purchase tickets online at
www.unmc.edu/alumni. We look forward to
seeing many friends and colleagues.
Alumni Participate in COPH First Volunteer Day; August 23
On Saturday, August 23, 44 members of the COPH community participated in the
first COPH Volunteer Day. Students, staff, faculty and alumni were all represented.
Volunteers worked at Habitat for Humanity and Together—two local organizations
whose missions relate to public health. Habitat is dedicated to providing safe,
affordable housing and Together is a homelessness prevention organization.
Habitat volunteers didn’t let the mud stop them from working on the foundation of
a new home and Together volunteers cleaned up Together’s community garden—a
source of much appreciated fresh produce for their food pantry.
The day began and ended at COPH, with an inspirational welcome from Dean
Khan, good food and plenty of time to get to know each other.
Along with the COPH Student Association and Student Affairs Office, the Alumni
Chapter sponsored the event. The Alumni Chapter provided breakfast to the
Volunteers form an assembly line at the Habitat location.
Newsletter | 7
Support our Efforts: Capital Fundraising Underway
In July 2013, The College of Public Health Alumni Chapter
(COPHAC) Board of Directors made a decision to establish
two funds with the University of Nebraska Foundation to
meet the COPHAC’s mission to promote and support the
College of Public Health at UNMC. During several months,
the COPHAC Financial Committee has worked through the
development of the necessary agreements and successfully
established two funds in October 2013: College of Public
Health Alumni Chapter Student Support Fund and College of
Public Health Alumni Chapter Sustaining Fund. The purpose
of the Student Support Fund is to enhance student college
experience through scholarships for study, research, and
projects and to promote student professional development
through travel grants to allow students to present their work
at public health conferences locally and nationally. The
purpose of the Sustaining Fund is to support the newly
formed Alumni Chapter by sponsoring student and alumni
activities and promoting public health professions. The
Capital Campaign with the University of Nebraska
Foundation have began in 2014 . The COPH Alumni Board
members are committed to 100% participation in donation.
Donating is Easy!
You may donate using the following two options:
1.) Select this link and choose College of Public Health Alumni Chapter Fund for Students - 01128720 or College of Public
Health Alumni Chapter Sustaining Fund - 01128710 and follow the prompts.
2.) Mail your donation to the University of Nebraska Foundation at:
University of Nebraska Foundation
c/o Karen Levin
2285 S. 67th Street, Suite 200
Omaha, NE 68106
Make checks payable to the University of Nebraska Foundation and in the memo portion of the check indicated which of
the two funds you wish to donate to. If you have any questions about donating please contact Karen Levin at 402-5024921 or [email protected]
Join the Chapter Now to Help Us Build for the Future!
We need dedicated alumni, like you, to join our organization and help support our mission!
Dues categories range from annual membership ($50/year) to lifetime membership
(one-time payment of $1,000).
To join, please visit our website at www.unmc.edu/alumni and click on “Join or Renew Your
Membership” or call the Alumni Office at 402.559.4385.
Alumni Chapter Mission: To encourage the lifelong stewardship and participation of its members, to affirm the mission, vision
and values of the University, and to support current and future College of Public Health students through mentoring relationships, alumni networks, and fundraising efforts for the University.
Newsletter | 8
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