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Staff

Andrea Link, MD

Executive Director

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Dr. Link graduated from Brown University, then received her medical degree and training in pediatrics from Stanford University School of Medicine.  After several years as a pediatrician with Texas Children's Pediatric Associates, she had a shift in her clinical interests and spent three years working with incarcerated women at Harris County Jail as part of Healthcare for the Homeless Houston’s Jail Inreach Program.  From her experiences working with these women, she developed "Healthy and Whole" an innovative and award-winning program which provides women exiting prostitution and human trafficking with comprehensive trauma-informed health and wellness programming. Healthy and Whole also gave hundreds of medical, pharmacy, nursing and social work students the opportunity to learn about marginalized communities while volunteering as part of the program. Dr. Link has long advocated for the underserved, testifying in front of the Texas Supreme Court on mental health reforms and presenting her research on the needs of women exiting the criminal justice system at national conferences. She has a long history of teaching students having had teaching appointments at Baylor College of Medicine and the UTHealth School of Public Health. She knows the Fellowship from all different angles having served as the Board Chair for five years, overseeing the growth of ASFHG from training just twelve Fellows a year to a cohort that now numbers over seventy a year. She currently serves on the Board of Directors for New Hope Housing and YES Prep, and is a Fellow of the American Leadership Forum, Class of 59.

Carol Jacob, MPH, CHES

She/Her

Program Director, DEI Coordinator

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Carol graduated from the University of Illinois at Chicago with a Bachelor’s of Science in Biology and a minor in Sociology. During her undergraduate education, she worked as a research assistant in several fields including human pathogen based Microbiology research and “Sit Down and Play”, a brief primary care-based program to facilitate positive parenting behaviors through take-home play activities. She then earned her Master of Public Health degree in Health Promotion & Behavioral Sciences at UTHealth School of Public Health at Houston with certificates in health disparities as well as maternal and child health. During her MPH, Carol worked on adolescent sexual health research projects in high teen birth rate areas in the greater Houston Area and was the
internal chair for the student outREACH student organization. In addition, Carol is also an Albert Schweitzer Fellow-for-Life; her project focused on healthy relationships and sexual health education in adolescent teen girls at New Hope Housing. Carol looks forward to applying what she has learned with her education and experience to assist current fellows in program development, management, and using an intersectional lens when working with communities.

Hunter Reinertsen-Forehand

She/Her

Program Manager, Development Associate

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As a Houston native, Hunter graduated from Episcopal High School before pursuing two degrees at Louisiana State University. She graduated LSU with a B.A. in Digital Advertising and a B.A. in Spanish. During her senior year, Hunter worked for the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo in their marketing department, with emphases on advertising campaigns, geo-locating, database research and management, industry trends, and customer relations. Prior to joining the Fellowship, Hunter was a high school Spanish teacher in New Orleans, responsible for creating innovative lesson plans for four different levels of instruction. Hunter is eager to utilize her communication and social media strategies to positively impact community relations and engagement for the Fellowship. 

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Joanna Hawkins, MPH

Junior Fellow Program Director

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Joanna Hawkins graduated from Southwestern University with a Bachelor of Arts in Sociology and a concentration in Race & Ethnicity Studies. She earned her Master of Public Health degree in Health Promotion & Behavioral Sciences at UTHealth School of Public Health at Houston. Joanna’s primary areas of interest and experience are in maternal/child health, sexual health education, infectious disease prevention, and quality improvement. 

 

During her MPH program, Joanna worked on HIV-prevention research projects with men who have sex with men (MSM) and substance-using MSM, as well as research to better understand the needs of women exiting the criminal justice system. As a student, Joanna began working at Baylor College of Medicine, where she was employed for five years. There, she coordinated research projects focused on prevention of mother-to-child transmission of HIV among pregnant and breastfeeding women living with HIV. She then partnered with the Texas Department of State Health Services, serving as the Syphilis Coordinator for the Fetal Infant Morbidity Review Board for Syphilis and HIV in Houston (FIMRSH). She and her team focused on preventing vertical transmission of syphilis and HIV during pregnancy by identifying missed opportunities for disease prevention, educating healthcare providers, and working with community agencies to implement system-wide changes. 

 

Joanna is also an Albert Schweitzer Fellow-for-Life. For her project, she worked with women at Angela House who were re-establishing their lives after incarceration. Now, Joanna is passionate about mentoring Fellows as they plan, implement, and evaluate their projects--both to shape the Fellows themselves, and to maximize the positive impact on the communities they serve.

John Davis

Fellowship Associate

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John Davis graduated from Baylor University as a University Scholar with foci in Medical Humanities, Chemistry, and Spanish. He then continued his education at the University of Texas Medical Branch in the MD-PhD program. He received graduate training in both Medical Humanities and in Population Health Sciences, ultimately earning his PhD in the latter in 2022. His training was primarily in epidemiology and biostatistics. He is now completing the fourth year of his medical school training, and plans to apply for residency subsequently.

 

John’s passion is ‘poverty medicine’ – the care for patients with complex needs with limited social and financial capital to meet those needs. He most recently served as the Clinical Operations and Education Activities Director at St. Vincent’s Free Clinic in Galveston, and previously worked with the Albert Schweitzer Fellowship as a Fellow in 2018. He recently used those experiences and passions to initiate a post-hospital disease management program for uninsured heart failure patients, which observationally was associated with large decreases in readmissions for its participants. His work in heart failure has also led to numerous consulting roles across biotechnologies, including with GE Healthcare. He also was awarded and NIH pilot grant to assess the use of point-of-care ultrasound in novel settings such as low-resource clinics.

 

John joins as a Public Health Mentor for the Fellowship with hopes of empowering its students to have the knowledge, resources, and skills necessary to maximize the value of the project to their communities.

Nichole Hoang, MPH, NDTR, CHES

She/Her

Fellowship Associate

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Nichole obtained her Bachelor of Science in Nutrition degree through the Didactic Program in Dietetics at the University of Texas at Austin and earned a Master of Public Health degree in Health Promotion & Behavioral Sciences at UTHealth School of Public Health in Houston. Her focus is in community nutrition, wellness, and nutrition education, with previous involvement in programs such as the TX Sprouts research at UT Austin, Brighter Bites, and Nutrition in Medicine at UTHealth School of Public Health and the McGovern Medical School. She also has experience in food prescription programs, where she served as a Health Partnerships Liaison for the Houston Food Bank’s Food Rx program.

 

One of the most meaningful aspects of Nichole's professional and personal journey has been the Albert Schweitzer Fellowship during the 2022-2023 year. Her project, JumpStart Health, combines nutrition education and a container garden initiative, empowering residents at New Hope Housing in the agency of their dietary choices, mental health, and community connections. Through her experiences, Nichole's professional interests developed around food systems and food sovereignty. Born in Houston, she aims to learn more about the deep roots of her community in Alief and is driven by the desire to make a positive impact on the very community that raised her.

 

As a Fellowship Associate, Nichole is eager to contribute to the Fellowship's mission of improving individual, interpersonal, and community influences on community health. She looks forward to collaborating with fellows to continue making meaningful contributions to communal well-being.

Jacquita N. Johnson, MPH

She/Her

Fellowship Associate

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Jacquita (Juh-Kee-Tuh) graduated from Texas Southern University with a Bachelor of Science in Health Administration. During her matriculation, she worked in various public health positions including Health Facilitator for CATCH Kids Club at Harris County Public Health and Health Outreach Intern at Children’s Defense Fund Texas. It was through these positions and her education and experiences at Texas Southern that she began to view health as a tool for social change.  

 

Jacquita later earned her Master of Public Health degree in Health Promotion & Community Health Sciences and a certificate in maternal and child health at Texas A&M School of Public Health. Her work included environmental justice and maternal and child health research projects in the greater Houston Area and throughout Texas. She was involved in and led several organizations on campus including Co-Chair of the SPH Health and Wellness Ambassadors, Secretary of the Health Promotion Student Organization and the This Is Public Health Ambassador for A&M.  

 

Currently, Jacquita is a Doctor of Public Health in Environmental Health student at Texas A&M School of Public Health. She is continuing her work of centering Black women and investigating the place-based relationship between environmental injustices and health outcomes. She aims to leverage her skills and experience to achieve racial health justice for Black folks, especially Black women.   

 

In addition, Jacquita is also an Albert Schweitzer Fellow-for-Life; her project focused on Covid-19 vaccine equity and addressing the social determinants of health for community members in the area with Brazos County Health Department. She looks forward to mentoring public health’s future leaders through her unique skills, experiences and education.

Karina George, MPH

She/Her

Fellowship Associate

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Karina graduated from the University of Houston with a Bachelor's in Psychology and minors in Biology and Medicine & Society. As an undergraduate, she was very involved in service-learning and eventually became a 2018-2019 Albert Schweitzer Junior Fellow. Her Fellowship project was centered around asthma education for elementary students where she worked with students at Bruce Elementary in Houston's Fifth Ward weekly to facilitate their understanding of health, wellness, and community. Her experiences with community projects motivated her to pursue her Masters in Public Health at the UTHealth School of Public Health in Houston with a focus on Management, Policy, and Community Health and a certificate in Global Health. Karina now works at the University of Houston Hewlett Packard Enterprise Data Science Institute in the Engaged Data Science Department, helping to support undergraduate student community projects and conducting evaluation efforts for various programs and local organizations, including an evaluation project with the ASFHG team. As a public health mentor and a Fellow-for-Life, Karina looks forward to continuing her engagement with ASF by supporting fellows in meeting their project goals and helping them to navigate challenges to and develop successful projects.

Vivian Tat, PhD, MPH

She/Her

Fellowship Associate

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Born and raised in the Houston-Galveston area, Vivian Tat seeks to ensure that all of us have the opportunity to live our happiest and healthiest lives. To pursue this goal, she earned a B.S. in Public Health with Distinction in Research from The University of Texas at Austin, where she was also a Polymathic Honors Scholar. Afterwards, she entered The University of Texas Medical Branch (UTMB) and received both a Ph.D. in Experimental Pathology and MPH in Epidemiology in May 2024. Her research examines the role of the innate immune response in SARS-CoV-1 and -2 infection to develop medical countermeasures.

Vivian was a 2023-2024 Albert Schweitzer Fellow, and alongside her colleagues, she promotes public health practices through the interprofessional and award-winning initiative Taking Our Best Shot (TOBS). The TOBS team hosts infographic challenges in high schools across Texas, participates in multiple community fairs, organizes a seminar series on health-related topics at Moore Memorial Public Library, and gives career advice to younger students. Currently, Vivian is a post-doctoral fellow in the Department of Pharmacology & Toxicology at UTMB. As a ASFHG Public Health Mentor and Fellow-For-Life, Vivian is excited to leverage her education and experiences and share her passion for improving the health of our community, together.

Vivian’s diverse interests at the micro and macro levels range from infectious disease agents to the social determinants of health. In her free time, Vivian enjoys art, boba, swimming, and spending time with friends and family.

Leslie Stalnaker, MPH

She/Her

Scholar Program Director

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Leslie Stalnaker (she/her) currently works as the Director for Public Health Practice and an Adjunct Instructor for the School of Public & Population Health (SPPH) at the University of Texas Medical Branch in Galveston, TX. She is also a Doctorate of Public Health (DrPH) candidate at UTHealth Houston School of Public Health and is currently working on her dissertation proposal around public health workforce development in Texas.
Leslie attended Liberty University where she earned her Bachelor of Science in Health Promotion in 2014 and her Master of Public Health (MPH; concentration in Global Health) in 2016. During her MPH program, she worked as a graduate assistant supporting faculty research projects and as a teaching assistant for undergraduate-level health courses. She has a variety of community and research experiences including interning for Nemours Health & Prevention Services as a community infrastructure support intern where she supported efforts to develop and facilitate a coalition on healthy eating and active living and coordinated events like community dinners, farmers markets, and community listening sessions around the built environment and food insecurity in Wilmington, Delaware. She has also worked at the Nemours’ Alfred I. duPont Hospital for Children in their Office of Health Equity & Inclusion as a pre-doctoral health disparities research fellow to examine pediatric health disparities at the national, state, and local levels, and as a research assistant in the Department of Family & Community Medicine at Christiana Care Health System to interview homebound patients on their quality of life and care preferences.
Leslie moved to Texas in October 2017 to work at University of Texas Medical Branch. For her job, she works with students to develop community-based projects for their applied practice experiences (APEs) and beyond, and also leads SPPH’s efforts to build relationships and facilitate engagement with public health practice and community partners. She also teaches in the MPH and MD/MPH programs and advises/mentors MPH students in the Public Health Practice concentration.
Leslie has worked as an academic mentor for two Schweitzer Fellow projects and is passionate about working in and with the community to understand health needs and goals and helping students develop the skills and knowledge to address health needs through community-centered, equity-focused approaches.

Anika Jacob

She/Her

Administrative Coordinator

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Anika is a senior at the University of Houston, majoring in Psychology with a minor in Law, Values, and Policy, set to graduate in May 2024. During her junior year of college, Anika worked as a Research Intern at the Center for Civic and Public Policy Improvement where she engaged in comprehensive policy research focusing on criminal justice, healthcare, and housing in Texas. Her research emphasized gender-related issues within Texas juvenile prisons, authoring an article addressing the gender bias within the U.S. justice system. Prior to joining the fellowship, Anika served as a Legal Assistant at Plante Law Firm, in Houston, TX, conducting legal research, preparing legal documents, and overseeing administrative tasks; additionally, at Olson & Olson, LLP, she worked as a Legal File Clerk, managing case files, collaborating with attorneys, administrators, and training new clerks on operational responsibilities. Anika is enthusiastic about leveraging these experiences to provide administrative support and contribute to the success of the Fellowship.

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