Student Awards and Highlights of 2019 Spring Achievements

The spring was a very eventful and successful semester. A number of our students attended conferences, presented oral and poster presentations, acquired new jobs, traveled abroad and, most importantly, demonstrated hard work and dedication to UTC and the Public Health program. Special congratulations to the following students who were recently commended for their service, leadership, and academic accolades.

Health & Human Performance (HHP) Outstanding Student Award
Zachary Farley (presented on April 10, 2019)

Zach Farley was nominated by program faculty to receive the Outstanding 1st Year Public Health Student Award for his service and leadership. Zach is a dedicated student, who is always eager to help. He serves as a Public Health Student Association (PHSA) board member, assists with recruitment efforts and participates in community outreach efforts. Zach embodies the mission of the Public Health program and UTC as a whole!




UTC Graduate School Award for Excellence in Public Health
Kimberly Reid (presented on April 11, 2019)

The UTC Graduate School Awards Ceremony acknowledges top students from every graduate program on campus. Kim Reid was selected as the first ever recipient from the Public Health program for her scholarly achievements throughout the year. Kim is an exemplary student who is motivated and hardworking in and out of the classroom. When interacting with others in the community, she demonstrates a unique ability to create a warm, welcoming, non-judgemental environment. Kim is a shining star and the well-deserved recipient of the UTC Graduate School Excellence in Public Health!



Inspirational Women in Lifelong Leadership (I WILL) Award

Rosa Cantu (presented on April 17, 2019)

The UTC Center for Women & Gender Equity awards UTC students who identify as women and embody leadership and commitment to the community. The Public Health program nominated Rosa Cantu for this award because of her passion and dedication to numerous community efforts. She is working with Dr. Dawn Ford and the local Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to help raise awareness about the Lead Superfund in Southside Chattanooga. Rosa is also the President and founder of the UTC Lions Club, recently hosted an event at the Bethlehem Center to spread awareness about the lead contamination to the local community. Rosa is truly a lifelong leader committed to serving the community!





ReSearch Dialogues is the largest academic conference on the UTC campus. The event highlights the scholarship and creative endeavors of more than 600 UTC faculty, graduate students, undergraduate students, and staff from all campus programs and disciplines. Congratulations to the Public Health students who presented oral and poster presentations.

Student Presentation Title
Rosa Cantu Poster “Dietary Oil Preference in Ants & Arthropod Diversity in Urban Environments”
Kimberly Reid Poster “Assessing the current and desired levels of training and applied experiences in chronic disease prevention of students during medical school”
Ashley Simmons & Mckenzie Gregg Oral & Poster Oral: “Implementing the Chronic Disease Self-Management Program: Benefiting Community Members and Students”

Poster: “The Power of Feeling Connected: Associations between Perceptions of Love with Health Behaviors and Satisfaction with Life”

In addition to ReSearch Dialogues, our students are active in several other local and national events:

  • February 8 – Rosa Cantu presented a campus-wide lecture on childhood lead poisoning in the Southside Chattanooga with Dr. Dawn Ford.
  • February 22 – Phillip Anderson was a panel speaker providing insight into graduate school preparation and the field of public health to undergraduate students at the 16th Annual Morehouse College Graduate School Workshop in Atlanta, GA.
  • May 8 – Zachary North will talk on smoke free housing and health disparities at the 4th Annual Tobacco Free Chattanooga Clear the Air Conference at Orchard Knob Baptist Church in Chattanooga, TN.
  • May 29 – Layra Navarro-Flores will present strategies to reduce the effects that implicit bias in the classroom has on student’s health at the National Conference on Race and Ethnicity (NCORE) in Portland, OR.

Summer Internships

Summer internships are opportunities to provide students with invaluable public health experiences, learn from leaders in the field, and shape their future career paths. Congratulations to the following students who have accepted 2019 summer internships.

Student Institution
Zachary Farley National Cancer Institute (NCI), Washington, DC
Kimberly Reid Erlanger Scholars Program, Chattanooga, TN
Shay Stutts

University of Tennessee Extension System, Maury County, TN

Public Health Week

Fitness on the Field

Each year National Public Health Week is celebrated during the first week of April. The event is organized by the American Public Health Association (APHA), a non-government professional association for public health professionals that prides itself on influencing federal policy and bringing together members from all fields of public health. Public health week recognizes the significant contributions and highlights important public health issues.

The UTC Public Health Student Association (PHSA) held a week of activities from April 1st through the 6th, to commemorate National Public Health Week. The PHSA partnered with Healthy Mocs, UTC Lions Club, UTC Center for Student Wellbeing, and Graduate Student Association (GSA) to promote health on campus.

To kick off Public Health Week, the UTC PHSA & Healthy Mocs hosted the 1st Annual Moc’s Million Step Challenge with the ultimate goal of reaching a combined 1,000,000 steps!

All participants had the opportunity to win free prizes including an Apple watch. In total, 19 teams and 84 individuals (students and faculty) participated in the Moc’s Million Step Challenge. Collectively, the UTC Moc’s Million totaled 5,083,824 steps during Public Health Week – exceeding our goal by five hundred percent!

Public Health Week schedule of events included:

  • Monday, April 1: The PHSA & UTC Lions Club hosted booths promoting environmental health awareness and encouraging recycling of unused electronics
  • Tuesday, April 2: The PHSA & UTC Lions Club again hosted booths, this time promoting participation in the student clubs and engaging in community efforts
  • Wednesday, April 3: The PHSA participated in the “Stress Less Fair”, in which students, staff, and faculty were offered free messages, acupuncture, access to mental health organizations, and much more
  • Thursday, April 4: The PHSA hosted a one-hour, live fitness bootcamp on Chamberlain Field to provide students with a midday stress buster
  • Friday, April 5: This was the last day to register for ML5K race hosted by the GSA and last day to rack up steps for the step challenge
  • Saturday, April 6: Public Health Week culminated with the ‘running’ of the ML5K and all Moc’s Million team step counts were due by the end of the day

We look forward to continue to offer Public Health Week events and initiatives, further increase participation, and strive to create the healthiest campus for the UTC community.


Dog therapy at Stress Less Fair

PHSA Booth at Stress Less Fair

UTC campus health assessment survey











Students & faculty at ML5K

UTC PHSA & UTC Lions Club Booths

Delivering Free CDSMP in the Community!

Early in the 2019 spring semester, a group of our graduate students, faculty and staff completed the Chronic Disease Self-Management Program (CDSMP) Leader Training certification offered through our partnership with the Chattanooga-Hamilton County Health Department. A special thanks to our wonderful facilitators who led the four-day certification; Carleena Angwin, MFA, Public Health Educator at the Chattanooga-Hamilton County Health Department and Chelauna Sterling, MPH, Outreach Specialist at Primary Care and Hope Clinic in Murfreesboro, TN. This certification allows our students to deliver the CDSMP to community members across Chattanooga over the spring semester as a part of our Principles of Health Promotion & Communication Strategies experiential learning course.

The CDSMP is a free program offered to community members with chronic conditions or those that have a loved one with a chronic condition. The program is a series of six weekly, two-hour classes focusing on self-management techniques with the goal of helping participants live a healthier lifestyle. The main concepts included as a part of the CDSMP include:

  • Mind-body connection and action planning
  • Dealing with difficult emotions and communication skills
  • Making decisions and managing pain & fatigue
  • Healthy eating & physical activity

Dr. Elizabeth (Liz) Hathaway, instructor of the Principles of Health Promotion & Communication Strategies course, received a High-Impact Practices Development Grant from the UTC Walker Center for Teaching and Learning titled “Empowering Public Health Students to Impact the Chattanooga Community.” This grant allowed Dr. Hathaway to purchase course materials, healthy snacks, and completion gifts for participants at each CDSMP site. To augment their CDSMP training, Dr. Hathaway used the classroom setting to augment their CDSMP training with additional skills such as motivational interviewing, application of behavioral theories, and effective health communication principles. This training culminated with our students applying these skills in real world settings including:

  • Delivery of an evidence-based program
  • Creation of marketing materials for their target population
  • Plan, organize, and establish a professional rapport with organization leaders
  • Communication skills for facilitating sessions with community members of various age and racial ethnic groups


In groups of two to five, our students served as team leaders at six different sites around Chattanooga, delivering the CDSMP course in a multitude of diverse settings. The sites included Alexian, Bethlehem Center, Brainerd Baptist, Eastgate Senior Center, Jewish Federation, and Urban League.

“Our CDSM participants at Brainerd were mostly adults over the age of 60. One was a 96-year-old man, who may be slow but still mobile and full of spunk and wit. They were all close socially, and very active in each other’s lives. The CDSMP has opened my eyes to the importance for older adults to not only stay active physically but socially as well.” – Ashley Simmons

“I enjoyed working with seniors in our community and learning each of their stories. They were all very excited to share and work on tasks with the program and fun to work with as well. Over the course, we all connected as a group and were sad to part at the last session.” – Haleigh Dunning

“CDSMP has been an eye opening experience that has enhanced my compassion for underserved populations as well provided a genuine experience of working with individuals within the community.” – Hannah Marcum

Community participants also found the program beneficial. One participant, when asked how she felt after attending CDSMP, said she was feeling confident about dealing with emotional problems and continuing to make and follow action plans. Experiential learning experiences such as the CDSMP are an integral part of the Public Health program. As stated by Dr. Hathaway, “Our mission as Public Health faculty members is to engage students in applied experiences throughout their academic journey. This allows our students to utilize knowledge learned in the classroom in the real world setting while having an immediate, positive impact in the Chattanooga community. We have shining stars in our program; we certainly do not want to keep them in the classroom only.”

UTC Public Health Assists with Local RAM Clinic in Rhea County

A group of UTC Public Health students, staff and faculty volunteered at the Remote Area Medical (RAM) Mobile Clinic at Rhea County Middle School. The two-day RAM clinics are open to community members in need of free medical services including dental work, women’s health, eye exams, flu shots, general medical exams, among other services. The RAM clinics serve approximately 47,000 patients per year and provides more than $15 million in free care with the help of 17,000 volunteers around the US and abroad.

The RAM clinic in Rhea County served community members from all around the region, the majority of whom were unemployed, without health insurance, and had not seen a medical professional in years. Patients lined up in the rain for hours, many sleeping overnight in the parking lot prior to the doors opening at 6 am. The special impact of the RAM clinic on the Rhea County community was featured the following Monday in the Chattanooga Free Times Press.

With the help of hundreds of volunteers, including healthcare providers (i.e., nurses, dentists, physicians, ophthalmologists, etc.), students, and community helpers, RAM provided free services to over 550 patients. Our team, representing the UTC Public Health program, took an all hands on deck approach, working multiple vital roles including:

  • welcoming patients and informing them of the various services being offered,
  • gathering patient information at registration,
  • guiding patients through the stations,
  • serving as interpreters, and
  • assisting medical providers deliver care.

It was an amazing and rewarding opportunity for all us to experience firsthand the impact of providing these healthcare services to underserved, rural populations.

“It was a humbling experience that gave me a new perspective on what I think of as a ‘community in need’. It not only showed me how RAM clinics help those in remote areas, but how much work there is still to be done as a future professional in public health.” – Zachary Farley

“Growing in up in a rural area, I have witnessed and experienced the disparities these people face every day. The RAM clinic is a truly humbling experience and allows all people to come together and make a change in their health. It was a place where people felt welcomed and earnestly cared for.” – Mckenzie Gregg

“During the registration process, it was very humbling to listen to people’s stories about why they were seeking medical services. I am glad an organization like RAM addresses the gap that rural residents experience.” – Shay Stutts

This was our first year as a program to attend RAM clinic and we look forward to expanding our role in the future to better the health of rural Tennesseans at other regional RAM clinics.


Guest Speaker on the Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans

The Public Health program hosted a special lecture titled “Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans,” by Kenneth Powell, MD, MPH. Dr. Powell played an instrumental role in developing the 2008 Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans, and served as the co-Chair for the 2018 Physical Activity Scientific Advisory Committee, which provided the scientific evidence for the Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans, 2nd Edition in 2018. Dr. Powell is a renowned epidemiologist having worked for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) for 25 years and the Georgia Department of Human Resources for another 8 years. More than 125 students, staff, faculty, and community partners were present for the lecture. The presentation focused on: 1) health benefits of physical activity, 3) how much physical activity is needed for good health), 4) ‘key’ guidelines, and 5) and how to translate these findings through physical activity promotion activities. Dr. Powell also provided the audience with insight into the process of serving on such an esteemed committee, the thousands of hours it took to produce their report, and the different issues, regarding physical activity that they wrestled with as a committee. The takeaway message that Dr. Powell left the audience with was that “more physically active people think better, feel better, sleep better, and conduct their daily activities with more energy and less fatigue.”

A special thanks to Dr. Greg Heath, Guerry Professor of the Health & Human Performance Department, for inviting Dr. Powell to Chattanooga and opening the lecture to the entire campus and local community. The Public Health program is grateful for the opportunity to expose our community to one of the experts in the field of physical activity and public health!

Dr. Greg Heath introducing the guest speaker, Dr. Kenneth Powell.











Dr. Kenneth Powell, speaking about the PAG.













Chronic Disease Self-Management Program Leaders

In partnership with the Chattanooga-Hamilton County Health Department, students in the public health graduate program received leader training and certification in the Chronic Disease Self-Management Program (CDSMP). The certification took place over four full day training sessions. The training was facilitated by two master trainers: Carleena Angwin, MFA, Public Health Educator at the Chattanooga-Hamilton County Health Department, and Chelauna Sterling, MPH, Outreach Specialist at the Primary Care & Hope Clinic in Murfreesboro, TN.

Attendees of the CDSMP training included fourteen public health students, two faculty, one staff member, and two Hamilton County Health Department staff members. Recipients of the CDSPM certification are able to facilitate the 6-week, evidence-based program across the Chattanooga community. The goal of the CDSMP is to empower participants to live a healthy life, increase their self-efficacy and motivation, and provide them with the skills necessary to self-manage their chronic condition. To learn more about CDSMP, click here.

The UTC Public Health program is very grateful for the partnership developed with the Chattanooga-Hamilton County Health Department. A special thank you to Cathy Cowart, Manager of the Health Promotion and Wellness Section, for the support and making the CDSMP Leader Training at UTC a huge success!

Outreach & Prevention Specialists

We had two special guests host the Public Health Chatts at Stir:

  • Chelauna Sterling, MPH, Outreach Specialist at Primary Care & Hope Clinic
  • Leah Jaspers, Chronic Disease Prevention Health Educator at the Chattanooga-Hamilton County Health Department

Ms. Sterling served as the Chronic Disease Prevention Health Educator at the Hamilton County Health Department for three years. She recently transitioned to a new role as the Outreach Specialist for a clinic in Murfreesboro, TN. Ms. Jaspers recently transitioned into the Chronic Disease Prevention Health Educator role after working with tobacco prevention for over a year at the Health Department.

We appreciate these community partners for their time and the opportunity to share their experiences in the field with our students!


Connect with us!

If you would like to get involved with the program, or have an opportunity for our students, please contact us at Also, follow us on our social media platforms to see our upcoming events, updates on our program, and much more!





1st Annual Public Health Program Cultural Potluck

December 6, 2018. As the fall semester came to an end, the public health program hosted its 1st Annual Cultural Potluck in the lobby of the Metropolitan Building. The event was attended by public health faculty, staff, and students along with their families and friends to celebrate the cultural diversity of the program. Everyone brought in a traditional food and shared how the dish is important to their culture. The evening ended with an entertaining ‘White Elephant’ gift exchange. Overall, the Cultural Potluck was an enjoyable gathering and the public health program looks forward to making this an annual occurring event!

Inaugural Public Health Chatt

The first Public Health Chatts took place in the home of Dr. Greg & Janice Heath.

Dr. Heath, Guerry Professor of the Department of Health & Human Performance, teaches Epidemiology for the Public Health program.

Students were able to ask Dr. Heath about his experiences in working with the CDC and his research in physical activity among other things.

Thank you Dr. Heath & Janice for opening your beautiful home in St. Elmo to the MPH students!