Elaine Auld, MPH, MCHES® (Moderator)

Chief Executive Officer


As SOPHE’s Chief Executive Officer, Elaine oversees the organization’s portfolio in professional preparation, professional development, scientific journals and publications, and advocacy for some 4,000 researchers and practitioners working in universities, health care organizations, worksites, K-12 schools, and federal/state/local government.  She has devoted her career to elevating the profession of health education by contributing to research, books and peer-reviewed publications; serving as a principal investigator to numerous public/private grants and contracts; and acting as a spokesperson and advocate for the field, including testifying before Congress.  She inaugurated the Annual Health Education Advocacy Summit in 1997, which has trained thousands of health professionals during the last two decades.  In addition to policy advocacy, her passions include advancing health equity and contributing to national and international workforce development and competencies. She has been honored with awards from SOPHE, APHA, Eta Sigma Gamma, National REACH Coalition, and Distinguished Alumni Award from the University of Michigan School of Public Health.

James Mallare, CHES (Moderator)

Research Coordinator

Wayne State University

James Mallare is a doctoral candidate at Wayne State University in the Division of Kinesiology, Health and Sport Studies with a concentration in Community Health and School Health and carries out his role in various health settings. He has assisted in research initiatives that cover experiences across the life span from childhood and adolescent nutrition to cognition and physical activity in the older adult population. His areas of interest are in nutrition and chronic disease in low socio-economic populations and the professional preparation of community and school health educators at institutions for higher education. A native Canadian, he is constantly looking for connections and opportunities to collaborate internationally on matters of education and betterment of health systems.

Tracy Lam-Hine

Doctor of Public Health (DrPH) candidate

UC Berkeley School of Public Health

Tracy Lam-Hine (he/him) is a Doctor of Public Health (DrPH) candidate at the UC Berkeley School of Public Health and also works as an Epidemiologist at the Marin County, CA Health Department. Tracy's research focuses on racism and health, epidemiologic methods, and multiracial Americans. In particular, he is interested in understanding the determinants of cardiovascular, respiratory, and mental health disparities between multiracial and monoracial populations, and uses frameworks from critical race theory (CRT) and critical mixed-race studies (CMRS) to approach new ways of conceptualizing epidemiologic risks among multiracial people. Tracy is committed to increasing awareness of unacknowledged and unaddressed health inequities facing multiracial people in the US, and advocating for the abolition of biologic conceptions of race in public health, medicine, and health sciences.

Heidi Hancher-Rauch, PhD, CHES®

Professor and Director, Public Health Program

University of Indianapolis

Heidi Hancher-Rauch, PhD, CHES® has been a university faculty member and researcher for approximately 16 years, the last 14 of those at the University of Indianapolis where she is a professor and director of the Public Health Program. She has practiced in the field for more than 20 years, including work in the areas of community disease prevention and worksite health. Her areas of expertise include health policy and advocacy, program evaluation, and evidence-based health promotion. Health advocacy has always been her main passion, with the majority of her publications and professional presentations on the topic. Heidi has provided professional service as the Board Trustee for Advocacy & Resolutions for SOPHE (2019-2021), serves on the SOPHE Advocacy Committee, is the SOPHE delegate to the Coalitions of National Health Education Organizations, is a member of the Top 10 Steering Committee, and previously served as the director of Indiana SOPHE Advocacy for two terms. Heidi started a chapter of Eta Sigma Gamma at the University of Indianapolis in 2019 and continues to serve as co-sponsor of the organization. She engages with community organizations such as the Indiana Minority Health Coalition as an outside evaluator and uses her advocacy skills to promote health equity and social justice every chance provided.

Samantha Mundt, BS, CHES®

Master of Public Health Graduate Assistant

University of Indianapolis

Samantha Mundt is a student at the University of Indianapolis. She completed her undergraduate degree in Public Health Education & Promotion in August of 2021 and will finish her Masters in Public Health the following year. In her time at UIndy, Samantha has served as president of the Epsilon Psi Chapter of Eta Sigma Gamma and held internships with the Indiana Minority Health Coalition, the Hoosier Environmental Council, & Connections IN Health. She also serves as the University of Indianapolis’ Collegiate Champion for SOPHE and as of January 2021 she has become the Student Representative for InSOPHE. Samantha’s interests are in health education and promotion, health administration, health policy & advocacy, and non-profit writing & editing.

Shelby Flores-Thorpe, Med

current doctoral student

University of Texas Health Science Center's School of Public Health in Austin (UTHealth)

Shelby Flores-Thorpe, M.Ed is a current doctoral student at the University of Texas Health Science Center's School of Public Health in Austin (UTHealth). During her time with UTHealth, she has worked on the FRESH Austin project, helping to evaluate the effectiveness of different access strategies in Austin, Texas to further examine fruuit and vegetable purchasing, consumption, food insecurity, and weight status among residents. Shelby then transitioned to the Texas Research-to-Policy Collaboration project, a non-partisan network of health researchers in Texas that aims to bridge the gap between health researchers and policymakers by providing data-driven information to Texas policymakers' legislative priorities during the 2021 Texas Legislative sessions. Shelby is also a Graduate Teaching Assistant for UTHealth's School of Public Health, assisting with introductory and public health theory classes.

Kenny Nguyen

Current MPH Student

Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health

Kenny Nguyen is a current MPH student who is interested in a future career in research and epidemiology. He is interested in child and adolescent health, early childhood development, and community level interventions that can improve children’s health over the life course. Originally from Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, I have lived in Boston for just over 4 years. I received my undergraduate degree in Public Health from Temple University and I am currently a master’s candidate at Boston University School of Public Health studying Health Policy & Law and Mental Health and Substance Use. Upon graduating from BU, I am hoping to work in immigrant law and reform.

Meera Ruparelia

Master’s candidate

Boston University School of Public Health

Originally from Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, I have lived in Boston for just over 4 years. I received my undergraduate degree in Public Health from Temple University and I am currently a master’s candidate at Boston University School of Public Health studying Health Policy & Law and Mental Health and Substance Use. Upon graduating from BU, I am hoping to work in immigrant law and reform.

Jaaie Varshney

University of Georgia

Jaaie’s interests lie in sexual and reproductive health. As a future physician, she hopes to integrate medicine, research, and public policy to improve abortion access and menstrual health. Jaaie is a yoga instructor and a birth doula-in-training. As an aspiring researcher and physician, Suvitha's advocacy interests are in sexual/reproductive health and justice, public/global health, rural health improvements, and nonprofit management. Project Red’s work in assessing period poverty and menstrual needs within our community has been one of the highlights of her undergrad public health and research experience. Areeba is currently in her third year as a biology and anthropology major at the University of Georgia. She is passionate about reproductive justice and menstrual equity in hopes of providing underserved populations with access to menstrual education and products.

Ryan Ahmed


International Socioeconomics Laboratory

Ryan Ahmed is the Founder of the International Socioeconomics Laboratory and hopes to pioneer the concept of developing innovative systems in healthcare through interdisciplinary approaches to uplift communities from the ground up. He is working towards this by building up communities that democratize access to making an impact through meta-analysis on public health and socioeconomic data in order to lead impacts in policy. He is one of the advocates organizing substantial work in various states across the United States to combat health inequity surrounding the youth's access to dangerous products. Also, as Co-Principal Author of work surrounding the biological nasopharynx region at the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases and the Columbia Vagelos School, leading the publication of a new classification in murine translative salivary glands, he is opening up new perspectives in the way we view anatomy which would have an impact on dysphagia, xerostomia, and malignancy.

Akanksha Das, MA

clinical psychology PhD student

Miami University

Akanksha is a rising 4th year clinical psychology PhD student at Miami University. Broadly, she is interested in understanding the mechanisms of structural oppression on the mental health and wellbeing of minoritized members of our community. More specifically, she hopes to study how we can leverage structural- and individual-level factors to promote equitable wellbeing. At the structural level, she hopes to seek an understanding of what factors sustain or resist oppression, such as the critical consciousness of people in positions of power. At the individual-level, she seeks to identify the psychophysiological responses to minority stress in hopes to leverage the mind and body connection and promote wellbeing.

Kristene Tadese

medical student

Mayo Clinic Alix School of Medicine(MCASOM)

Kristene Tadese is a fourth year medical student at Mayo Clinic Alix School of Medicine(MCASOM) who aims to increase awareness about and address health and healthcare disparities disproportionately affecting under-resourced patient populations within the U.S. healthcare system. She earned her Bachelor’s degree in Public Policy and International Affairs at Princeton University before matriculating as a medical student to MCASOM. Throughout her short academic career, she has prioritized investigating health conditions most debilitating to minority communities and their barriers to accessing health care. She hopes to use her future role as a physician to promote health equity and foster collaboration between communities of color and health institutions.

Bethanie Mauerman, MEd, LPC

doctoral student

Kent State University, Health Education and Promotion Program

Bethanie is currently a doctoral student at Kent State University in the Health Education and Promotion Program. Last year, Bethanie served as the Acting Vice President of Eta Sigma Gamma, Rho Chapter. Bethanie is also involved in multiple other student service organizations across campus including serving as a Kent State of Well-being Ambassador, a member of the Student Mental Health Collation to name a few. Outside of the university, Bethanie works as a Substance Use Counselor, at First Step Recovery in Warren, OH. Bethanie has multiple service and research interests including, disability awareness, chronic health concerns, and mental health and substance use.

Ayeesha Sayyad, BS

Master of Public Health candidate

Georgia State University

Ms. Sayyad received her Bachelor’s degree in Philosophy-Neuroscience-Psychology from Washington University in St. Louis in 2018. She is currently pursuing a Master of Public Health with a concentration in Health Promotion and Behavior at Georgia State University. As a Graduate Research Assistant at the Center for Reproductive Health Research in the Southeast, she assists with the Georgia Doula Study. Her research interests include addressing health disparities and improving maternal health outcomes for Black women.

Student Posters 1

Title Abstract/Session Description
Multiracial health equity: a theoretically-grounded pathway forward Racism is theorized to be a fundamental cause of health disparities. However, research and advocacy primarily center the experience of monoracial (single-race) populations of color. The multiracial population is the fastest growing racial-ethnic group in the US, increasing 36% in size from 2010-2020. Multiracial people experience significantly greater prevalence of heart diseases, asthma, obesity, hopeless feelings, and serious psychological distress compared to monoracial people. This presentation will center monoracism in describing a theoretically-grounded pathway forward for multiracial health equity, research, and advocacy.
Applying lessons from the 2020 SOPHE Advocacy Summit Last fall, presenter, Samantha Mundt, attended the 2020 Advocacy Summit, her first SOPHE Advocacy Summit, which discussed the impacts of climate change on health. Her faculty advisor, Heidi Hancher-Rauch, also attended the conference and participated in the training to become a Climate Ambassador. Since then, the pair has worked together to apply what was learned. This presentation will provide examples of how student and faculty attendees can work together upon their return to campus to implement what they learned during the Summit.
Texas Research-to-Policy Collaboration Project (TX-RPC) COVID-19 Newsletter Open Rate and Click Rate Among Texas Legislators and Staff The Texas Research-to-Policy Collaboration (TX RPC) Project, adapted from a federal model, aims to accelerate the adoption of evidence-based health policy through facilitation of trusting partnerships between policymakers/legislators and Texas health researchers. In response to COVID-19, the TX RPC developed a series of e-newsletters to disseminate Texas-focused evidence-based health research, publications, resources, and timely COVID-19 information conducted by TX RPC researchers to Texas legislators/staff and partner organizations. This poster will describe the effects of the newsletters on open rates among legislators and staff compared to researchers and committee members.
Natural Hair-Discrimination A Student-Led Advocacy Initiative to Address a Serious Public Health Issue Known as the CROWN (Creating a Respectful and Open World for Natural Hair) Act, legislation to prohibit discrimination based on natural hair styles such as locs and braids in workplaces, schools, and other similar settings, has been introduced in the Massachusetts state legislature. If enacted into law, the CROWN act will protect the dignity and well-being of Black children, adolescents and adults. In this presentation, public health students helping to lead a campaign in support of the CROWN Act in Massachusetts will discuss components of the advocacy strategy, including written and verbal testimony for committee hearings and a policy brief.

Student Posters 2

Title Abstract/Session Description
Menstrual Equity in a University and Surrounding Community Setting Using the framework of menstrual equity, which centers the affordability, accessibility, and safety of menstrual products, we seek to understand menstrual health needs at the University of Georgia (UGA) and the surrounding Athens-Clarke County (ACC) community. We use a systematic, three-pronged, mixed methods approach. Our findings assess unmet menstrual health needs among UGA students and the ACC community. Our work is unique in that it focuses on the social, academic, as well as the economic aspects of menstrual health access among an ostensible resource-rich population.
Addressing Eating Disorders And The Sale Of Weight Loss Pills And Muscle Building Supplements To Minors Over-the-counter (OTC) diet pills and muscle-building dietary supplements are a multi-billion dollar industry in the US, but due to lax regulation, these products are often laced with dangerous, undisclosed ingredients and are not medically recommended. The industry targets marginalized communities, and there are no restrictions on sale to children. In response, a youth-led research and policy group helped to organize advocacy campaigns in New York, California, and Massachusetts to support legislation in each state to ban the sale of these predatory products to minors. The poster will describe the different youth advocacy methods used.
Mental Health and Minority Stressors Among Multiply Minoritized Students: Implications for University Counseling Services Utilization Students holding multiply minoritized identities (MI; i.e., identities within multiple oppressed groups across race/ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation, and class) report greater discrimination, feelings of invisbility, and concerns about being stereotyped (Remedios & Synder, 2018). These types of minority stressors also associate with poorer mental health. However, it is unknown if explicitly holding multiple MIs confers poorer mental health via higher minority stressors, and differential use of student counseling services (SCS). Thus, the present study focused on these relations.
Factors facilitating academic-community research partnerships with African-American churches: A community-based, cluster randomized trial for cardiovascular health promotion African-Americans (AA) continue to be underrepresented in medical research and clinical trials, undermining health equity. AA churches are valuable partners in implementing health promotion interventions to combat health disparities. The objective of this study was to evaluate church characteristics associated with enrollment into the FAITH! Trial, a community-based, cluster randomized trial for cardiovascular health (CVH) promotion among AA churches.
Advocacy Through Collaboration and Action- Addressing overlooked health concerns This presentation will highlight advocacy efforts undertaken by members of Eta Sigma Gamma- Rho Chapter. Three key collaborations will be discussed including partnerships with Townhall II in Kent, OH, the United MSD Foundation, Undergraduate Student Government at Kent State University, and many other student organizations. The focus of these efforts was on raising awareness about disability, rare disease, and problem gambling. The poster will showcase the student’s advocacy efforts in detail and highlight the importance of advocating for overlooked health conditions to promote equity.
Expanding Access to Doula Care in Georgia Strong evidence shows full spectrum doula care—non-medical support prenatally, during labor/delivery, for an abortion or miscarriage, and/or postnatally—improves health outcomes. Yet doula care is not reimbursed by Medicaid in most U.S. states. Between November 2020 and January 2021, 17 surveys and in-depth interviews were conducted with doulas working in Georgia as part of the Georgia Doula Study. The purpose of the study was to determine the challenges and facilitators of providing care, including state and institutional policies.


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Student Posters 1
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Student Posters 2
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10 Questions
0.75 Entry CECH/CPH CE Credit credits  |  No certificate available
0.75 Entry CECH/CPH CE Credit credits  |  No certificate available