Commencement around the Corner for Soon-to-be Masters of Public Health

UConn Graduate School’s Program in Applied Public Health Sciences at UConn Health celebrated both its graduating MPH students and faculty with a special research poster session and awards ceremony on April 29.

A poster session on April 29 in the Academic Rotunda hallway celebrated the capstone research projects of graduating MPH students in the UConn Graduate School’s Program from the Applied Public Health Sciences at UConn Health (Photo by Michael Abate).

This year’s 22 candidates for Master of Public Health degrees from the UConn Graduate School’s Program in Applied Public Health Sciences at UConn Health excitedly displayed and discussed their in-depth capstone research projects/posters on the evening of April 29 inside the Academic Rotunda hallway.

“The event was a big success!” shared Holly Samociuk, administrative program coordinator for the UConn Program in Applied Public Health Sciences at UConn Health.

Annika Anderson is a 2022 MPH degree candidate. She will graduate from UConn on May 9.

MPH 2022 Candidate Annika Anderson of Farmington displayed her capstone poster focusing on her 45 page research paper into the power of public media, such as broadcast television, to deliver public health messaging to youth populations.

“I loved the UConn MPH program,” shared Anderson who is set to graduate this year and has already has been hired by Connecticut Children’s Child Prosperity Lab. “My hands on learning experiences were key. The program has helped me reimage what public health could be.”

Kayla Marshall, of Franklin, Mass., is another MPH degree candidate. She also received her undergraduate degree from UConn. Her research capstone project and poster focused on destigmatizing the care needs of opioid-addicted expectant mothers and their babies.

“I like Public Health because it focuses on the entire community instead of just the individual,” shared Marshall. “Due to the pandemic I knew I wanted to help people in a medical setting.”

Post-graduation Marshall will conquer her career goal as she starts her new patient coordinator position in GYN-Oncology at Dana-Farber Cancer Institute.

2022 MPH degree candidate Danica Brown presenting her research poster to the UConn Health Community on April 29.

Professor and Chair of the Department of Public Health Sciences at UConn School of Medicine, Douglas M. Brugge, P.hD., attended the poster session and couldn’t be prouder of the graduating MPH students and their research efforts.

“What I like most about talking to MPH graduates at their posters is the enthusiasm and optimism they bring to their work,” shared Brugge. “As we age, it is easy to lose some of that and I appreciate the new infusion of our next generation of public health experts preparing to enter the state and nation’s health care workforce.”

This year’s graduating MPH students also proudly received the Program’s annual awards following the poster session including:

David I. Gregorio, Ph.D., M.S.
Professor, Public Health Sciences presented the MPH Program’s annual awards to the soon-to-be graduating students including The 2022 Mulvihill Medal for the Outstanding MPH Student to Suleiman M. Abiola. He is also receiving his medical degree from UConn School of Medicine on May 9. (Photo by Michael Abate)

The 2022 Dr. James and Mary Jane Mulvihill Medal for the Outstanding MPH Student was awarded to MPH candidate Suleiman M. Abiola who will also be receiving his medical degree from UConn. It is in recognition of his outstanding academic performance. Note, Dr. Mulvihill was vice president, provost, and executive director of UConn Health from 1980 to 1992. His commitment to graduate public health education was instrumental in enabling the program to begin and thrive. During Dr. Mulvihill’s tenure, Mary Jane Mulvihill worked tirelessly on behalf of UConn Health and in 1998, received her MPH degree from UConn.

The 2022 Susan S. Addiss Award in Applied Public Health Practice was award to MPH candidate Joanee Mata in recognition of her embodiment of the life and experiences of Susan S. Addiss’ public health advocacy, commitment to the community, organizational leadership and academic achievement.  Susan served the nation as President of the American Public Health Association, 1984-85, the state’s Commissioner of the State Department of Public Health and Addiction Services from 1991 to 1995, her community as Health director for the Quinnipiac Valley Health District, and the UConn program as Chair of its Advisory Committee for nearly 20 years.

The 2022 Charles Huntington Poster Award for best poster presentation went to MPH candidate Destiny LaPointe. Note, Charles Huntington III, PA, MPH., was a member of the UConn program’s faculty and the School of Medicine’s Associate Dean for Community and Continuing Education. He also was one of the leading forces behind the development of the Connecticut Area Health Education Center (CT AHEC). He was a dynamic and thoughtful administrator, educator, healthcare provider, mentor and friend to many.

MPH Program leader David Gregorio, Ph.D. presenting adjunct faculty member Marco Palmeri, MPH, RS, The 2022 Joan Segal Award for Outstanding Faculty. (Photo by Michael Abate).

Delta Omega Society’s UConn-based Beta Rho Chapter of the national honorary society for public health students prestigiously inducted Cassandra Barrow, Gabrielle Haynes, Destiny LaPointe, Parit Patel, and Madelyn Senich. Note, founded at Johns Hopkins University School of Public Health in 1924, the mission of the Delta Omega Society and the Beta Rho Chapter at UConn is to encourage and recognize scholarship and research among students undertaking graduate study; to acknowledge alumni, faculty, and public health professionals that have truly distinguished themselves through academic achievement, advancement of public health research, excellence in public health practice and leadership in the field.


Adjunct faculty member Fawatih Mohamed-Abouh, MD, MPH, also being awarded The 2022 Joan Segal Award for Outstanding Faculty by David Gregorio, Ph.D. (Photo by Michael Abate).

In addition, two faculty members for the first time will share The 2022 Joan Segal Award for Outstanding Faculty as they were both selected by the students for their exceptional work as mentors and teachers.

The first-ever Joan Segal awarded adjunct instructors are Marco Palmeri, MPH, RS, the Health Director for the Bristol-Burlington Health District and Fawatih Mohamed-Abouh, MD, MPH, a Community Health Epidemiologist for Yale New Haven Health.  Note, this faculty award was established following the retirement of the UConn program’s first Associate Director Joan Segal.