By Sally Crocker
This year, two HSC School of Public Health alumni, one outstanding Tarrant County community member and eight graduate students are being inducted into Delta Omega National Honor Society, Alpha Sigma Chapter, recognizing and encouraging public health education, practice, research and related professional achievements.
Dr. Brittany Marshall
Dr. Marshall is a CDC Foundation Program Manager based in Atlanta who also serves as Adjunct Assistant Professor of Clinical Research and Leadership for George Washington University.
Dr. Marshall has held various public health leadership positions during her career, including as past Chair of the American Public Health Association (APHA) Student Assembly, representing 7,500 public health students on APHA’s Executive Board.
She has been named as an Emerging Leader by the Society for the Analysis of African American Public Health Issues; was presented with the YoungGov40 Award from Young Government Leaders Atlanta; was recently named as a “40 Under 40 in Public Health Leader” by the deBeaumont Foundation; and was selected as a 2019 “Top 10 Outstanding Atlantan.”
Dr. Marshall currently holds an APHA Executive Board position, with term ending in 2023.
Palmore holds a Bachelor of Biomedical Science degree from Tarleton State University and a Master of Health Administration degree from HSC. He has seven years of experience in healthcare, developing, coordinating, implementing and facilitating continuous quality improvement activities.
Palmore was recently named as a Certified Professional in Healthcare Quality (CPHQ).
His primary focus is on healthcare quality, monitoring and interventions for Value-Based Purchasing, Hospital Acquired Conditions (HAC) Reduction Programming and Hospital Readmission Reduction Programs.
Palmore’s work on CMS Core Measures and the HAC Reduction Program contributed to Baylor Scott and White – All Saints Medical Center’s 2018 five-star hospital rating, recognizing the highest quality of patient safety for a non-profit, acute care facility.
Palmore has also mentored HSC MHA and MPH students in healthcare improvement and quality, to build a new generation of SPH students prepared to enter the healthcare workforce.
He was named SPH MHA Alumnus of the Year in 2014.
Community Honoree – Misty Wilder
HSC Healthy Start Program Director Misty Wilder is Chair of the Tarrant County Infant Health Network, Co-Chair of the Tarrant County Birth Equity Institute and has taken on numerous other community leadership roles during her career.
Nominated to Delta Omega as a “leader in the Tarrant County public health and MCH field” by SPH Assistant Professor Dr. Erika Thompson, Wilder serves as a site supervisor for HSC MPH students.
“Misty is dedicated to reducing disparities for African American mothers and babies, as well as lifting up Black health professionals in the field. Her dedication to reducing health disparities in our community is an inspiration and motivation,” Dr. Thompson said.
“I’ve also seen Misty train our MPH students – she provides them with excellent networking and professional development opportunities and truly mentors our students to succeed,” Dr. Thompson added.
“Misty is the personification of a public health leader in Tarrant County, and I could not speak of her more highly – she is a wonderful collaborator and strong public health advocate.”
Student Delta Omega Honorees
The 2020 SPH Delta Omega student inductees are Julia Aiken, David Kauvar, Joy Jackson, Traci Murray, Michael Petrus-Jones, Idara Akpan, Julian Rangel and Smriti Maskey.
MPH student Julia Aiken has assisted the HSC Pharmacotherapy Department with mental health outcomes analysis for cancer patients and has assisted in collaborations with the North Texas Eye Research Institute on a pediatric vision screening study.
She authored a United Way of Tarrant County Community Needs Assessment, assisting community members with secondary data to inform their work on behalf of the local community.
During her academic career, Aiken has been committed to research and projects aimed at reducing sexual health disparities.
Her work has led to presentations at APHA and the Society for the Scientific Study of Sexuality annual conference.
She also initiated a project with data from the National Survey of Family Growth, to explore sexual coercion and assault of men, and the respective association to health outcomes.
Second-year MCH student Idara Akpan was nominated for Delta Omega by SPH faculty member and MCH Program Director Dr. Erika Thompson.
“I have had the privilege of teaching Idara in three courses, serving as her faculty advisor for practice experience and as her program advisor,” Dr. Thompson said. “Idara was previously a pharmacist in Nigeria before entering our public health program. Her passion for addressing health disparities and needs is what drove her to training in public health.”
“Idara is thoughtful, inquisitive and driven to succeed. What I appreciate most is that she is not here just to get a grade, but rather to have a meaningful understanding of the issue at hand,” Dr. Thompson noted.
“She has also done phenomenal work with her practice experience, engaging with the refugee population to understand health disparities among this group. Moreover, Idara goes above and beyond to receive additional training outside the classroom, including with MCH organizations, as well as lectures and other events. She is going to be an outstanding member of the public health workforce, and I look forward to seeing her future career.”
Dr. Joy Jackson
Jackson holds a PhD in Microbiology and currently serves as Assistant Professor of Practice in the UT-Arlington Biology Department.
She previously served as Assistant Professor of Biology for the University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff.
Dr. Jackson became interested in a public health career as a way of building on her laboratory experience to research, analyze, conduct surveillance and create ways of decreasing and eventually eliminating bacterial and viral spread in communities.
With a desire to play an integral role in building healthier communities, she has been recognized for her work with robotics training for 6th to 8th-grade math/science teachers and as a STEM Saturday Instructor.
She has also been involved with Million Women Mentors: Advancing Women and Girls in STEM Careers Through Mentoring; Ladies STEMulated to Learn (Girls in STEM); and was named as a University of Arkansas, Pine Bluff, Faculty Honoree for her teaching, mentoring and community outreach.
Lt. Col. Dr. David Kauvar
Lieutenant Colonel Kauvar currently serves as Attending Vascular Surgeon and Associate Professor of Surgery for the U.S. Army Medical Corps, and as Officer-In-Charge and Surgeon, Combined Joint Special Operations Task Force in Afghanistan, Task Force 115th Combat Support Hospital, Camp Cropper, Iraq.
SPH Senior Associate Dean Dr. Matt Nolan Adrignola nominated Lt. Col. Kauvar for Delta Omega in recognition of his research on morbid obesity and his other work in public health.
As a vascular surgeon, Dr. Kauvar treats complex patient conditions reflecting a cross section of the world’s most pressing public health concerns, including smoking, hypertension, obesity and diabetes.
“He is an individual who embodies strong family values, a sense of duty and self-sacrifice for his county,” Dr. Adrignola noted, “and possess an unyielding commitment to military medicine and graduate medical education.”
Smriti Maskey, a second-year HSC MPH student with concentration in Maternal and Child Health, began examining public health issues affecting maternal and child health populations while living and working in Nepal.
At HSC, she has led an innovative project to explore sexual health needs among adolescent patients and has been an outstanding student in her MCH classes – “a true pleasure to have in the classroom and asks critical questions,” according to nominating faculty member Dr. Erika Thompson.
Maskey has been involved in local community trainings on MCH topics and has worked with the HSC Pediatrics Department to explore HPV vaccination, adolescent sexual and reproductive health, and other child health issues.
“She is a stellar student in the classroom, always giving 100 percent to her work. She will make an outstanding public health professional,” Dr. Thompson said. “I have been impressed with how Ms. Maskey is able to integrate her past international public health experiences with the principles and topics discussed in class – this has provided for rich discussions with her fellow classmates.”
Maskey was awarded a Dean’s Scholarship to pursue her MPH degree and has since worked with different SPH faculty members on grant applications and other research activities.
She has volunteered for the local MLK Community Center, Tarrant Area Food Bank, Trinity Habitat for Humanity and others.
Maskey was one of three SPH students selected for the Texas Public Health Association’s oral competition at the group’s 2020 education conference.
She is currently working on a manuscript in collaboration with faculty from the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine and is in discussions with a Victoria University PhD candidate on a public health cohort study to be conducted in Nepal.
Traci Murray, PhD, BSN
Dr. Murray began the HSC MPH Professional Option degree program while working in a remote New Mexico community for the United States Public Health Service (USPHS) Indian Health Service, providing culturally appropriate outpatient and family education focused on health promotion and disease prevention.
She has been recognized with the USPHS Achievement Medal for her work as a Nurse Educator.
Dr. Murray has also worked as a Public Health Associate for the CDC.
During her career, she has been deployed twice to Florida’s State Bureau of Epidemiology for Zika Response, and was deployed during her HSC MPH program last year to the Texas-Mexico border to assist refugee populations.
She is a local chapter member of NAACP, and focused her PhD dissertation on the role of faith-based organizations on African American health outcomes.
Dr. Murray completed the MPH in 19 months, as a full-time student in a part-time program while on full-time, active duty for the USPHS.
Without breaks, she managed a deployment to the border, relocated from New Mexico back to Texas, and transitioned into a new USPHS administrative role.
After earning a BA in Psychology, Petrus-Jones pursued clinical mental health experience, holding positions as a psychiatric nursing assistant for a state hospital and as a research assistant for a psychiatric clinical trials company.
He began HSC graduate studies in 2015, earned his Master of Science in Medical Sciences in 2016 and began medical school that fall. He is now a 4th year DO/MPH dual degree student graduating in May 2020.
Petrus-Jones will begin pediatric residency this summer, with emphasis on community outreach, advocacy, mental health, diversity/inclusion in medicine and treating underserved populations.
He was inducted into the national Gold Humanism Honor Society and has dedicated his career so far to serving vulnerable populations, such as the LGBTQ community and underserved children.
He has been a member of the HSC SPH Academic Community Partnerships Advisory Board since 2017, and as the Board’s first student member, has helped provide student insight into questions concerning public health curriculum and community outreach.
In 2019, Petrus-Jones helped organize a statewide LGBTQ medical/healthcare conference for Texas medical schools and health science centers.
He served as President of the HSC LGBT and Allies Association during the 2017-2018 academic year, expanding the organization to include student representatives and members from programs outside the medical school, including the SPH.
While at HSC, he has given many volunteer hours to health outreach and education programs for local children, including health fairs, after-school programs, bicycle safety events, underinsured medical evaluations and high school health careers mentorship events.
Rangel, graduating MPH–Public Health Practice student, who also holds a BS in Biology with minor in Political Science.
He is currently a Development and Engagement Public Health Intern at Tarrant County One Safe Place.
Rangel is a member of the HSC Public Health Student Government Association and has served as a School of Public Health Ambassador since 2019, fostering relationships with potential and newly-admitted SPH students, answering questions for those interested in enrolling, and helping to create and promote SPH media content, while supporting other student-oriented efforts.
Rangel recently joined the HSC TESSA (Technology Enhanced Screening and Supportive Assistance) program, supporting victims of interpersonal violence.
He has also collaborated on an LGBTQ service panel for the Tarrant County Council on Family Violence, to assess knowledge, beliefs and attitudes related to the LGBTQ community and domestic violence/intimate partner violence, and has worked on other local efforts in this area.
Rangel is a recent member to the Tarrant County HIV Taskforce, Prevention Workgroup.