SPH Alumni Board

The SPH Alumni Society Board leads ongoing efforts to provide lifelong learning, networking and growth opportunities for our alumni.

Mission
Build an alumni centered culture within the SPH community by fostering connections among alumni, faculty and students.

Vision
Alumni will enjoy lifelong engagement and pride in the SPH and will actively support endeavors of the school and fellow alumni.

Goals

  1. Connect. Create opportunities for meaningful connections between alumni, faculty/staff, students and professional partners.
  2. Develop. Foster a community of engaged alumni and students.
  3. Recognize. Acknowledge and honor the achievements of SPH alumni and students.
  4. Collaborate. Work together to make a positive impact in public health to advance the SPH brand and the value of a public health degree.

Our work includes alumni and volunteer engagement, student engagement and support, alumni recognition, and advocacy for University legislative requests.

Alumni and friends of the school are invited to attend SPH Alumni Society Board meetings. Meetings take place on the East Bank Campus, Mayo Building, Room A301, and virtual options for participation exist. 2019-2020 meetings will take place September 25, 2019, November 13, 2019, February 19, 2020 and May 20, 2020 from 6-7:30 pm CT. Contact sph-alum@umn.edu for more details.

2020-2021 Executive Officers

Liesl Hargens smiling for the camera.

President
Liesl Miller Hargens, MPH ’07 (epidemiology)
Boston Scientific
Senior Director, Health Economics

Elliott Wortham

Vice President
Edwin “Elliott” Wortham, MHA ’15
Senior Service Designer
Sutter Health

Karen Wick

Past President
Karen Wick, RPh, MPH ’94 (environmental health)
Stephan Research
Clinical Research Consultant in the Pharmaceutical and Medical Device fields

Secretary
Maria Bitanga, MPH ’16 (public health administration and policy)
M Health Fairview
Critical Care Domain Quality Improvement Consultant

Treasurer
Susan Leppke, MPH ’07 (public health administration and policy)
AABB
Public Policy Advisor

At-Large Directors

Lindsay Bengtson, PhD ’13, MPH ’09 (epidemiology)
Optum
Associate Director

Alicen Burns Spaulding, PhD ’13 (epidemiology)
Senior Advisor and Team Lead
National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases Vaccine Research Center

Malini DeSilva, MPH ’08 (public health medicine)
HealthPartners Institute
Research Associate
Staff Physician, HealthPartners Travel and Tropical Medicine Department

Barbara Greene, MPH ’85 (health education)
Barbara Greene & Associates
Senior Consultant

Senka Hadzic, MPH ’08 (public health administration & policy)
ICSI
Project Facilitator

Melinda Hexum, MS ’09 (environmental health)
Minnesota Department of Human Services
Associate General Counsel

Jessica Kinowski, MPH ’06 (community health education)
Cigna HealthSpring
Clinical Program Director

Craig Meyer, PhD’16 (epidemiology), MS’13 (biostatistics)
Genentech
Senior Data Scientist

Deb Moses, MPH ’90 (public health administration)
House of Charity
CEO/Executive Director

Monica Palese, MPH ’15 (public health administration and policy) 
University of Chicago
Pediatric Cancer Data Commons Director of Operations
Center for Research Informatics

Rebecca Sales, MPH ’15 (public health administration and policy)
Wilder Research
Research Associate

Deborah Caselton Trahan, MPH ’09 (maternal & child health)
Mayo Clinic
Pediatric Nurse Practitioner

Raymond Thron, PhD ’75, MS ’71 (environmental health)
Laureate Education
Professor

Stephen Waldhoff, MHA ’76
Mayo Clinic
Emeritus Chief Administrative Officer

Heather Weinreich, MPH ’05 (epidemiology)
University of Illinois at Chicago
Assistant Professor

Past Board Members

Thank you to these and countless other alumni who have participated as members of the SPH Alumni Society Board. If you served on the board and don’t see your name listed here, please email sph-alum@umn.edu.

  • James G. Anderson, MHA ’68
  • Ken Bence, MHA ’92
  • Lynn Blewett, PhD ’92
  • Imee Cambronero, MPH ’09 (maternal & child health)
  • Jerry Campbell, MHA ’76
  • Shelly Espinosa, MPH ’99 (maternal & child health)
  • Chelsea Georgesen, MPH ’12 (public health administration and policy)
  • Kathy Harriman, PhD ’04 (environmental health)
  • Christopher Kim, MPH ’15 (environmental health)
  • Carrie Klumb, MPH ’09 (environmental health)
  • Anne Kollmeyer, MPH ’84 (public health nutrition)
  • Larry Kuusisto, PhD, MS ’10 (health services research, policy & administration)
  • Amy Becker LaFrance, MPH ’06 (public health policy)
  • Lara Lamprecht, MPH ’99 (community health education)
  • Angie Lillehei, RN, MPH ’84 (public health nursing)
  • Ron Pearson, MS ’85 (environmental health)
  • Laura Perdue, MPH ’12 (public health nutrition)
  • Jennifer Pierquet, MPH ’07 (public health administration)
  • Lisa Pogoff, MPH/MSW ’85 (health education)
  • David Radosevich, MPH ’82, PhD ’91 (epidemiology)
  • Charlotte Sortedahl, MPH ’07 (environmental health)
  • Michael Trujillo, MPH ’84 (public health administration & policy)
  • Katherine Waters, DVM, MPH ’07 (public health practice)
  • Susan Wyatt, MPH ’14 (maternal & child health)

All SPH alumni are invited to get involved by serving on a leadership committee of the board. If you are interested, please contact the staff person listed below.

Engagement Committee
The Engagement Committee is responsible for Alumni & Volunteer Engagement, including planning alumni events such as the Alumni Leadership Forum, Eat Learn Gather, the Healthy Spirits networking series, and the Walk & Talk series. The committee also works to provide opportunities for alumni to volunteer for and with the School. Contact Sara Pennebecker.

Mentoring Committee
The Mentoring Committee was created to support the School’s annual Mentor Program in terms of providing assistance with the recruitment of mentors and the matching process, as well as providing additional content and support for the Program’s participants. Volunteers on this committee also work on programming that connects alumni and students, especially virtual opportunities. Contact Sara Pennebecker.

Scholarship & Awards Committee
The Scholarship Committee supports the SPH Alumni Awards & SPH Alumni Scholarship and selects its recipients annually. The committee also seeks to increase donations to the SPH Alumni Scholarship, so as to continue to support students as they work on their goal of receiving an MPH, MHA, MS or PhD degree or certificate from the School of Public Health. Contact Heidi Mastrud.

Alumni Society President’s Platform 2020-2022 | Connections

A message from SPH Alumni President, Liesl Hargens, MPH '07

A message from SPH Alumni President, Liesl Hargens, MPH ’07

Dear SPH Alumni,

Every two years the SPH Alumni Society Board elects a new president who chooses an issue of public health significance as a two-year platform to advance during their presidency. I am excited to share that the focus of the 2020-2022 Alumni Society President’s Platform will be the topic of social connection. I selected this topic because finding social connections during this time of physical isolation has emerged as a critical and timely public health issue. Caring for everyone’s mental health has never been more important; it is a public health issue that has been exacerbated by the global pandemic.

As a public health professional, this topic is of personal significance to me as well. We just closed an unprecedented year that was different than any of us expected. I have personally experienced surges of pandemic fatigue, uncertainty, anxiety, loss, exhaustion, and the unexpected joy of silver linings.

This winter, we will be kicking off bi-weekly meetings called SPH Alumni/Student Connections. These facilitated conversations will allow a chance for alumni and students to connect socially, grow professionally, and learn from each other safely while being physically isolated. The gatherings are intended to bring our SPH community together and learn from each other about professional topics during a period where connection is more challenging due to the coronavirus. The meetings are intended to be professional, casual, open, and discuss and celebrate diversity, equity, and inclusion.

I invite you to join me in these conversations! Joining SPH Alumni/Student Connections will certainly be a gift of your time, experience, and expertise to our current students. It is my hope that it will also bring connection, networking, and a space for our alumni to learn from students and each other.

Best regards,
Liesl Hargens, MPH ’07 (epidemiology)
President, University of Minnesota School of Public Health Alumni Society

Committee Members 2020-2021

Engagement Committee
Jessica Kinowski, MPH ’06 (Co-Chair)
Rebecca Sales, MPH ’15 (Co-Chair)
Malini DeSilva, MPH ’08
Candace Dow, MHA ’85
Natasha Kataeva, MPH ’18
Puleng Moshele (MPH student)
Manju Nayar, MHA ’17
Katie Phalen, MPH ’15
Sara Rogers, MPH ’17
Ray Thron, PhD ’75, MS ’71
Deborah Trahen, MPH ’09

Kate Welshons, MPH ’18
Becky Wifstrand, MPH ’15
Staff: Sara Pennebecker

Mentoring Committee
Alicen Burns Spaulding, PhD ’13 (Chair)
John Allen, MHA ’79
Ken Bence, MHA ’92
Lindsay Bengtson, PhD ’13, MPH ’09
Maria Bitanga, MPH ’16
Barbara Greene, MPH ’85
Cheri Hample, MPH ’80
Melinda Hexum, MS ’09
Leigh Morris, MHA ’72
Chris Schmitt (MPH student)
Cassie Shaker, MPH ’17
Heather Weinreich, MPH ‘05
Staff: Sara Pennebecker

Scholarship & Awards Committee
Monica Palese, MPH ’15 (Chair)
Peter Boersma, MPH ’18
Senka Hadzic, MPH ’08
Sundal Hashwani, MPH ’18

Susan Leppke, MPH ’07
Craig Meyer, PhD’16, MS’13
Deborah Moses, MPH ’90
Christina Wassel, PhD ’08
Edwin “Elliot” Wortham, MHA ’15
Staff: Heidi Mastrud

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