SPH Alumni Board

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

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

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


  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.

Liesl Miller Hargens, MPH ’07 (epidemiology)
GE Healthcare
Executive, Global Research, Outcomes, and Economics

Elliott Wortham

Vice President
Edwin “Elliott” Wortham, MHA ’15
Copenhagen Institute of Interaction Design
Program Participant

Karen Wick

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

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

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

At-Large Directors

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

Lynn Blewett, PhD ’92 (health services research, policy & administration)
School of Public Health
Director, State Health Access Data Assistance Center (SHADAC)

Alicen Burns Spaulding, PhD ’13 (epidemiology)
Children’s Minnesota Research Institute
Scientific Investigator

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)
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)
Senior Data Scientist

Monica Palese, MPH ’15 (public health administration and policy) 
University of Chicago
Pediatric Cancer Data Commons Program Manager
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

Michael Trujillo, MPH ’84 (public health administration & policy)
Retired, Former Director of the Indian Health Service (IHS)

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
  • 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)
  • 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.

Opioid Work Group
In July 2018, the School of Public Health Alumni Society launched a new initiative called the President’s Platform. The intent of the President’s Platform is to focus the efforts of the alumni society board and its committees on connecting alumni to the school and each other, and to use the collective knowledge and energy of the alumni, its leadership bodies, and faculty, students and staff of the SPH to positively impact a public health issue. Karen Wick, MPH ’94, SPH Alumni Society Board President 2018-2020 has chosen the opioid epidemic as the first president’s platform.

Contact Heidi Mastrud

Committee Members 2019-2020

Engagement Committee
Jessica Kinowski, MPH ’06 (Co-Chair)
Rebecca Sales, MPH ’15 (Co-Chair)
Jacqueline Cassman, (MPH student)
Malini DeSilva, MPH ’08
Candace Dow, MHA ’85
Subin Jang, MPH ’17
Natasha Kataeva, MPH ’18
Manju Nayar, (MPH student)
Ron Pearson, MS ’85
Kate Welshons, MPH ’18
Becky Wifstrand, MPH ’15
Staff: Sara Pennebecker

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

Scholarship & Awards Committee
Monica Palese, MPH ’15 (Chair)
Susan Leppke, MPH ’07
Laura Perdue, MPH ’12
Mandy Stahre, PhD ’12
Christina Wassel, PhD ’08
Edwin “Elliot” Wortham, MHA ’15
Susan Wyatt, MPH ’14
Tally Sharma Venjohn, MHA ’13
Michael Trujillo, MPH ’84
Craig Meyer, PhD’16, MS’13
Peter Boersma, MPH ’18
Sundal Hashwani, MPH ’18
Staff: Heidi Mastrud

Opioid Work Group
Karen Wick, MPH ’94 (Chair)
Allison Fischbach (MHA student)
Chelsea Georgesen, MPH ’12
Senka Hadzic, MPH ’08
Liesl Hargens, MPH ’07
Tara Helm, MPH ’18
Alex Johnson, MHA ’17
Morgan Skugrud, MS ’19
Kate Welshons, MPH ’18
Staff: Heidi Mastrud

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