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 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 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 Laryn Rogers
Operations Coordinator, School of Public Health and Community Initiatives

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

Laryn Rogers is the operations coordinator for the school of public health and community initiatives at MAHEC. Laryn is a native of Asheville, where she graduated from Asheville High School in 2001. Laryn brings an array of job skills, training, and experience in the medical field, in addition to experience in several other areas of the working world. She is eager to incorporate her experience, willingness to learn, and contagious energy to MAHEC’s team of faculty, staff, and students in the MPH program and community initiatives.

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
Project Assistant, Psychiatry
Phone: 828-398-3601 Fax: 828-407-2637
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 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.