Our People

Our MPH students receive instruction from faculty members based in Asheville and Chapel Hill, NC through a combination of online, face-to-face, and community-based learning.

Asheville Faculty Asheville Staff Chapel Hill Faculty Student Profiles

Asheville Faculty


photo Amy Joy Lanou, PhD
Program Director

UNC Health Sciences at MAHEC
125 Hendersonville Road
Asheville, NC 28803

Amy Joy Lanou, PhD, is the program director for the UNC Gillings School’s MPH Program in Asheville and the executive director for the North Carolina Center for Health and Wellness. She also serves as chair and professor of the Department of Health and Wellness at UNC Asheville. Dr. Lanou has extensive leadership and management experience in nutrition and health promotion in non-profit, for-profit, and academic settings. She served as director of health promotion at BioSignia and as nutrition director for the Physician's Committee for Responsible Medicine, overseeing nutrition education and outreach programs and advocating for healthier diets. Her research interests include nutrition for the prevention of chronic disease, nutrition and bone health, and how experiential food education impacts what individuals know, think, and do with regard to dietary choices.


photo Ameena Batada, DrPH, MPH
MPH Faculty

UNC Health Sciences at MAHEC
125 Hendersonville Road
Asheville, NC 28803

Ameena Batada, DrPH, MPH, is an associate professor in the Health and Wellness Department at the UNC Asheville. As a rising senior in college, she researched pre-school conditions in the Northern Transvaal, South Africa. Since then, Dr. Batada has been interested in improving child health and education, particularly among disenfranchised populations. At UNC Asheville, Dr. Batada works with community partners to evaluate health and education programs, conduct research to support policy advocacy, and implement intervention studies in schools, churches, and other settings.  She also researches the content of foods marketed to children. Dr. Batada was this the former director of education, research, and outreach at Sesame Workshop India in New Delhi; prior to that, she worked at the Center for Science in the Public Interest where she advocated for national school nutrition standards and limits on marketing junk food to children.


photo Jill Fromewick, Sc.D.
MPH Faculty and Research Scientist
Phone: 828-257-4755
UNC Health Sciences at MAHEC
125 Hendersonville Road
Asheville, NC 28803

Jill Fromewick, ScD, is an adjunct assistant professor for the UNC Gillings School’s Public Health Leadership Program and a social epidemiologist and policy and program evaluator at UNC Health Sciences at MAHEC who has more than two decades of public health research and evaluation experience. Guided by a background in both research methods and community outreach, Dr. Fromewick enjoys collaborating with others to collect, analyze, synthesize, and share findings in ways that facilitate decision making and strengthen program impacts. Her research interests include social determinants of health and health behavior, children’s health, and racial equity. Dr. Fromewick received her doctor of science degree from Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health.


photo Tamarie Macon, PhD, MS
MPH Faculty

UNC Health Sciences at MAHEC
125 Hendersonville Road
Asheville, NC 28803

Tamarie Macon, PhD, is an assistant professor for UNC Gillings School’s Public Health Leadership Program and the director of community initiatives for MAHEC. Dr. Macon’s public health leadership experience includes stakeholder development, community building, social justice and racial equity work, health policy research, and collegiate instruction. After serving as a legislative aide in the U.S. Senate as a Kaiser Family Foundation Health Policy Fellow, she earned a doctorate degree in education and psychology from the University of Michigan. Dr. Macon completed a postdoctoral fellowship at New York University in the Applied Psychology department. Since moving back to North Carolina, she has been active in many local public health and social service organizations in Western North Carolina, including serving as the director of the permanent supportive housing program at Homeward Bound of WNC and on the board of directors at the YWCA of Asheville.


photo Susan Mims, MD, MPH
Community and Public Health Chair
Phone: 828-407-2404
Mountain Area Health Education Center
121 Hendersonville Road
Asheville, NC 28803

Susan Mims, MD, MPH, serves as Chair of Community and Public Health at UNC Health Sciences at MAHEC. In this role, Dr. Mims oversees the UNC Gilling’s School of Global Public Health MPH Program in Asheville in collaboration with UNC Asheville, UNC Health Sciences at MAHEC’s community initiatives, and health professions workforce development with a focus on rural health and historically unserved populations. Dr. Mims has over 20 years of experience leading efforts to improve the health of WNC’s population through her previous roles as vice president at Mission Health where she focused on women’s and children’s services and clinical genetics and personalized medicine; as chief of pediatrics at Mission Children’s Hospital; and as medical director at the Buncombe County Health Department. Dr. Mims attended college at the University of Georgia on an athletic scholarship as a diver on the swim team and went on to earn her medical degree and master of public health degree from UNC Chapel Hill. Dr. Mims continued her medical training at UNC Hospitals where she focused on pediatrics, internal medicine, preventive medicine, and public health. Dr. Mims is active in national, state, and community health organizations and has practiced primary care and general public health with an emphasis on and passion for developing initiatives to improve the health and well-being of the people of WNC. She, her husband, two sons, and dog relish time enjoying all of the outdoor activities WNC has to offer.


photo Sarah Thach, MPH
Assistant Program Director
Phone: 828-771-3426 Fax: 828-407-2682
UNC Health Sciences at MAHEC
125 Hendersonville Road
Asheville, NC 28803

Sarah Thach, MPH, is the assistant director of the UNC Gillings School’s Masters of Public Health Program in Asheville and a clinical assistant professor in the Public Health Leadership Program. She teaches and develops practicum and culminating experience opportunities for Asheville-based MPH students. For more than twenty-five years, Sarah has actively promoted community health and rural health workforce development in Western North Carolina and West Virginia. She is a graduate of the UNC Gillings School of Global Public Health.

Asheville Staff


photo Scott Schindler
MPH Student Support Manager

UNC Health Sciences at MAHEC
125 Hendersonville Road
Asheville, NC 28803

Scott Schindler is the student manager for the UNC Gillings School’s Master of Public Health program in Asheville. Scott has several years of experience in education administration, having worked in college admissions, enrollment management, and student affairs. He received his Bachelor of Arts from Covenant College in Lookout Mountain, GA, where he studied history, English, and theological studies. Most recently, Scott served as the executive director for a church in Chattanooga, TN, serving underrepresented groups through community organizing, after-school tutoring, ESL training, job placement, and music education. He is excited to partner with students throughout their time in the MPH program in Asheville.


photo Angela DeSantis
Operations Coordinator, School of Public Health & Community Initiatives

UNC Health Sciences at MAHEC
125 Hendersonville Road
Asheville, NC 28803

Angela DeSantis offers administrative and operational support for the UNC Gillings School’s MPH Program in Asheville. Angela has several years of experience with nonprofit and counseling organizations. She received her bachelor of arts from The Master’s University in Santa Clarita, CA, where she studied music, counseling, and theological studies. Most recently, Angela served as a ministry and project manager for a church in Chicago, IL, helping to run a program where people who had experienced trauma could find healing and wholeness through community, counseling, and personal growth. Angela is excited to support faculty and staff as they cultivate and nurture students in the MPH program in Asheville.

Chapel Hill Faculty

Core Faculty - UNC Gillings School of Global Public Health

Michael B. Fisher, PhD, Assistant Professor, Department of Environmental Sciences and Engineering

Shelley Golden, PhD, Assistant Professor, Department of Health Behavior

Meg Lanfried, MPH, Assistant Professor, Department of Health Behavior

Alexandra Lightfoot, EdD, Assistant Professor, Department of Health Behavior

Aimee McHale, JMD, MSPH, Assistant Professor, Department of Health and Policy Management

Jane Monaco, DrPH, Clinical Associate Professor, Department of Biostatistics

Courtney Woods, PhD, Assistant Professor, Department of Environmental Sciences and Engineering

Karin Yeatts, PhD, Associate Professor, Department of Epidemiology

Public Health Leadership Faculty - UNC Gillings School of Global Public Health

Lori A. Evarts, MPH, PMP, CPH, MBTI, Assistant Professor, Public Health Leadership Program

Anna P. Schenck, PhD, Associate Dean for Practice, Director of Public Health Leadership Program

 

Student Profiles


photo Courtney Coules
MPH Student
Class of 2022

UNC Health Sciences at MAHEC
125 Hendersonville Road
Asheville, NC 28803

Courtney has lived south of Asheville for over 18 years in Flat Rock. After graduating from East Henderson High School in 2014, she attended A-B Technical Community College for 3 years and finished her last 3 years of undergraduate studies at UNC Asheville, where she completed a degree in health and wellness promotion with a double minor in Spanish and political science. Courtney graduated cum laude with several distinctions, including as a University Research Scholar, a Community Engaged Scholar, and Leadership by the Health and Wellness Promotion department at UNC Asheville.

In addition to working as a certified nursing assistant as a home health aide in the Hendersonville area, Courtney also worked as a Healthy Campus intern at UNC Asheville where she tackled issues of food injustice within her campus community. Currently, Courtney works as a health advocate at Pisgah Legal Services where she bridges the gap between people with lower incomes and access to healthcare coverage and services. Courtney chose the UNC Gillings School’s MPH Program in Asheville in part because her advisor at UNC Asheville is one of the program's founders and Courtney saw its potential from the very beginning. She appreciates the small class size, the accomplishments of the program faculty and their institutions, and the ability to live and study in the mountains while attending an affordable masters program.

After graduation, Courtney hopes to teach anatomy and physiology at a community college, imparting her passion for the subject while gaining valuable teaching experience. Ultimately, she hopes to earn her PhD in neurology and research mental and emotional health on her way to becoming a college professor. Courtney is excited about the way this MPH program will help her connect research concepts from neurology with public health issues, while also advocating for policies that promote mental and emotional well-being based on neurological and public health findings.


photo Alice Jamison, DDS
MPH Student
Class of 2022

UNC Health Sciences at MAHEC
125 Hendersonville Road
Asheville, NC 28803

Alice grew up in Asheville and moved to Appleton, Wisconsin for college, where she shadowed at a public health dental clinic and developed an interest in public health. Alice then moved to Chapel Hill to attend dental school, graduating in May 2020. She is excited to learn more about public health and how she can implement it in a dental setting, especially in Western North Carolina.

Alice chose the UNC Gillings MPH Program in Asheville because it combined the stellar reputation of the Gillings School's MPH program with the location of Western North Carolina, where she knows from personal experience the breadth of the region’s public health needs. Having the option to complete her MPH at the same time as a dental residency at MAHEC provided the perfect opportunity to find connections between public health and oral health and to act on those connections directly in Asheville. 


photo Margarita Gonzalez
MPH Student
Class of 2021

UNC Health Sciences at MAHEC
125 Hendersonville Road
Asheville, NC 28803

Margarita graduated from Texas A&M with a degree in psychology in 2002. Her early career was spent working in the summer camp industry, childcare, and community health programming. She served as volunteer coordinator for a county political campaign, and then worked for five years at an independent family practice in program and project management. She now serves as outreach manager for the Western Carolina Medical Society where she supports clinics and other organizations that provide assistance with social determinants of health.

Margarita decided to pursue her MPH in Asheville after a 17-year break from school because of the quality of the Gillings School's program and the convenience of being able to attend a program in Asheville. She is already applying public health skills she is learning in her daily work life including leadership development, quality improvement, using a systems-level approach, and involving the community in decision making. 


photo Alex Green, DMD
MPH Student
Class of 2021

UNC Health Sciences at MAHEC
125 Hendersonville Road
Asheville, NC 28803

Alex Green is the dental director at Mountain Community Health Partnership, a federally qualified health center in Yancey and Mitchell counties, where he helped establish and now manages MCHP's first safety-net dental clinic in Bakersville, NC. Alex is a native of Mitchell County and returned home to establish his dental practice after graduating from the East Carolina University School of Dental Medicine in May 2019.

Growing up, Alex realized that oral healthcare was something far too few people could access. His interest in dentistry provided him with an opportunity to change that narrative. Alex applied to the Gillings School's MPH Program in Asheville to hone his skills in community health leadership in a place-based setting in order to best serve rural and underserved Western North Carolinians.


photo Alexandra Nielson Mitchell
MPH Student
Class of 2021

UNC Health Sciences at MAHEC
125 Hendersonville Road
Asheville, NC 28803

Alexandra Mitchell grew up in Durham, NC but relocated to attend UNC Asheville where she completed a degree in health and wellness promotion. She worked for four years with the child nutrition program at the YWCA of Asheville and as a dietary interventionist working with older adults in Haywood County through the WE CAN Arthritis study. These experiences reinforced her love of healthy eating and nutrition and piqued her interest in public health.

She chose the Asheville MPH program because of its location and focus on Asheville and the Western North Carolina region, as well as the flexibility the program provided to enable her to keep working full time while taking classes. In addition to working in Haywood County, Alexandra works part time as a research assistant with the North Carolina Center for Health and Wellness, where she uses public health evaluation and data analysis skills every day. 


photo Kenett Melgar, MPH
MPH Alumnus
Class of 2020




Kenett is the vulnerable populations manager at Blue Ridge Health, a federally qualified health center in Hendersonville, NC. Kenett received his bachelor's degree in health and wellness from UNC Asheville and his MPH from UNC Gilling’s School's MPH Program in Asheville. Kenett’s history and desire to work with underserved populations is what led him to choose UNC’s Asheville-based MPH program. With its focus on place-based learning, evidence-based approaches, community planning, management, and leadership, our MPH program helped Kenett hone his community development skills.

Kenett is using his public health training to help improve health disparities in WNC by addressing barriers to health such as language, transportation, food insecurity, social exclusion, education, access to healthcare, and more.


photo Stephanie Stewart, MPH
MPH Alumna
Class of 2020




Stephanie chose the Gillings School's Asheville-based MPH program because of its location, flexibility, and leadership focus, although she realized many more unexpected benefits within her first year. The most notable being that MPH program faculty created a safe learning space that encouraged vulnerability, candid discussion, and self-reflection.

While learning and practicing new public health skills, Stephanie witnessed the complexity of health inequities through place-based practice. She emerged from the MPH program motivated and confident in her ability to facilitate meaningful change through her work at a regional government organization.


For more information about the UNC Gillings School's MPH Program in Asheville, please contact Scott Schindler, Student Manager, at 828-348-3628 or Scott.Schindler@mahec.net or visit Gillings School's website.