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University of Illinois Springfield

Department of Public Health University of Illinois Springfield

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Alumni

Read the latest About our Program:

Our students and faculty have some noteworthy accomplishments. Follow the link to the latest edition of the MPH newsletter fall 2013

Read About our recent Alumni:

MPH/MPA 2012 Graduate Sonia VasdevSonia Vasdev

Sonia Vasdev is Research Assistant Professor in the Department of Surgery, Division of Orthopaedics at the Southern Illinois University School of Medicine in Springfield, Illinois.  This position involves the administration of clinical research activities as well as teaching, training and orientation of clinical research staff, residents and faculty.  She will also be responsible for writing and monitoring research grants, as well as presenting research findings at national meetings.  Congratulations, Sonia!

MPH/MPA Graduate Shane Stephens

Shane Stephens

Shane Stephens is the Assistant Director of Wellness Programming and Assessment for East Carolina University-Campus Recreation in Greenville, North Carolina.  Some of her job duties include leading the development, implementation and evaluation of all health education programs; recruiting, training and supervising undergraduate students hired as campus wellness leaders; and representing the ECU campus community on local and regional health related organizations.  Congratulations, Shane!

MPH Graduate Laurette Nessa

Laurette Nessa

Laurette Nessa , who is a Spring 2012 MPH Graduate, is currently working at SIU School of Medicine as a Clinical Research Specialist for the Center of Clinical Research under the direction of a faculty member.  The research study is a prospective study that aims to decipher various indicators that would help identify Emergency Department patients that would be at high risk of Gonorrhea and Chlamydia infection.  Early detection of illness means early treatment and less chance of long term impairment such as infertility etc.,  as well as decrease direct and indirect cost related to Emergency Department use.

MPH and MPA Graduate Vernon Cail
Vernon Cail, MPH and MPA alum of 2011

In May 2012, I was hired by the Preventive Medicine Department at Rush University to serve as a Research Assistant. I work in the study entitled The Home Environment Comparison Study, which is a case-control study aimed at identifying and prioritizing features of the home environment that discriminate between households with overweight versus normal weight children. The study’s target population is low income families living in the city of Chicago.

I am responsible for screening participants and coordinating in-home study visits and phone calls. After the screening process, I travel to the participant’s home to conduct in-person interviews. In the home visits, I take anthropometric measurements, administer questionnaires concerning the home environment, and complete structured audits of the foods, food preparation supplies, media equipment, and sports equipment present in the home environment.

The final component of the study requires the index child to wear an accelerometer, a small device wore around the waist that measures movement in all axes. The accelerometer data shows the child’s physical activity, and thus can be used to determine if there is a correlation with the home environment.

I enjoy working in this position because I perform hand-on field work, work with talented researchers, and learn more about research method. I often apply many of the skills learned from the MPH program, particularly from Research Methods. I plan on using this position as a stepping stone to either medical school or a doctorate program.

MPH Graduate Meredith Volle

Meredith Volle I completed my undergraduate degree in Liberal Arts and Sciences – Psychology at the University of Illinois at Urbana – Champaign in 2008.  After graduation I worked for two years at a community mental health center in Springfield, and heard about the MPH program at UIS.
I met with Dr. LaFollette to find out about applying, and she encouraged me to not only apply to the MPH program, but also try for a Governmental Public Service Internship (GPSI).  I was very fortunate to be accepted and began my MPH degree in Fall 2010, with an internship at the Illinois Department of Public Health in Newborn Hearing Screening.

Knowing that I wanted to pursue medical school after graduation, Dr. Alamu (my advisor) encouraged me to take classes in both the traditional MPH curriculum and the environmental track.  I was challenged by the graduate-level coursework and diversity of issues in my public health and science classes, and these experiences helped me prepare for the MCAT and application to medical school.  Upon completion of my MPH degree in Spring 2012, I was accepted to Southern Illinois University School of Medicine, Class of 2016.  As I leave the University of Illinois system for the first time, I know that my experiences with the MPH program at UIS have shaped my future career as an MD/MPH!

MPH Graduate Alisha Hahn

I earned my general MPH degree in May 2012, and although I did not focus on environmental health, I think my education and experiences still suited me well for the sanatarian position at Peoria City/County Health Department. I was a GPSI while completing my MPH and that helped a great deal with understanding the role of a local health department and my current role as a bureaucrat.

I conduct food establishment inspections, inspect private water wells and private sewage disposal systems, educate food service workers about food safety and aid in the investigation of food borne illness outbreaks. I enjoy the variety that public health and particularly environmental health has to offer. Every day is different!