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People: Behavioral and Community Health

Our Core Faculty and Staff

Portrait of Héctor E. Alcalá

Héctor E. Alcalá

Assistant Professor
Portrait of Elizabeth Aparicio

Elizabeth Aparicio

Assistant Professor, Behavioral and Community Health
Portrait of Amelia Arria

Amelia Arria

Professor and Associate Chair
Portrait of Angie Barrall

Angie Barrall

Faculty Specialist, Center on Young Adult Health and Development
Portrait of Cynthia Baur

Cynthia Baur

Endowed Chair and Director, Horowitz Center for Health Literacy
Portrait of Kenneth H. Beck

Kenneth H. Beck

Professor Emeritus, Behavioral and Community Health

Graduate Students

Bryan smiling at camera with orange shirt

Bryan Shannon is a graduate teaching assistant and a PhD student in the Department of Behavioral and Community Health. He received his BS in Health Education and Promotion from Oklahoma State University and received his Master of Public Health degree from the University of Central Oklahoma where he served as a graduate research assistant and mentor for many research teams within the department. Bryan is passionate about human sexuality and women’s health, particularly in African Americans. His research portfolio includes infectious diseases, substance use, and nutrition. Bryan enjoys music, watching football and exercising.

Jordan smiling at camera in a printed shirt.

Jordan K. Aquino (he/him) is a PhD student in Behavioral & Community Health and a Graduate Research Assistant at the CDC-funded, Prevention Research Center (PRC). He is also a Lecturer in the Department of Public Health at California State University, Fullerton, where he earned his BS in Health Science (and minor in Chemistry) and MPH in Health Promotion & Disease Prevention. Prior to his doctoral studies at the University of Maryland, he was the Center Director of the Fibromyalgia & Chronic Pain Center and Project Director/Co-Investigator a 10-year longitudinal study investigating the physical and mental statuses of older adults living with and without fibromyalgia training over 200 transdisciplinary undergraduate and graduate students. Mr. Aquino has been a NIMHD-funded Visiting Scholar at Chiang Mai University in Thailand, NCI-funded Visiting Scholar at the UCLA Fielding School of Public Health and Jonsson Comprehensive Cancer Center, and a CSU-funded Sally Casanova Pre-Doctoral Fellow at the Chronic Pain & Fatigue Research Center at the University of Michigan. He is currently working under the mentorship of Dr. Bradley Boekeloo at the UMD-PRC evaluating and disseminating a mental health provider cultural competency training with sexual and gender diverse clients. Using both quantitative and qualitative methods and grounded in intersectionality, minority stress, and social support theories, Mr. Aquino’s research interests span the sexual and mental health of LGBTQ+ people, substance use, and HIV prevention/U=U. 

Angshuman face forward smiling

Angshuman Kashyap is a graduate teaching assistant and a doctoral student at the Dept. of Behavioral and Community Health, University of Maryland School of Public Health. He is also a University of Maryland Flagship Fellow. Angshuman is passionate about health communication and behavioral sciences. His core interest lies in understanding the most effective ways of communicating health information and developing health communication strategies to support public health programs using media interventions to encourage sustained behavioral change. Prior to beginning his doctoral studies, Angshuman worked as a Program Manager at the Center for Communication and Change - India and a Consultant with the Johns Hopkins Center for Communication Programs, India office. He has worked in the areas of reproductive, maternal and child health, adolescent and youth sexual and reproductive health, vaccine hesitancy, Measles Rubella vaccination campaign, breast and cervical cancer, road safety, tobacco control, disaster risk reduction, child marriage and mHealth applications for beneficiary counselling. In his role, he has led and assisted research teams in proposal writing, qualitative and quantitative instrument development, recruitment, monitoring and supervision of data collection activities, data analyses using SPSS and Atlas.ti, field investigator trainings, report, and manuscript writing. In the past, he has trained students, researchers and working professionals on the use of Atlas.ti software for qualitative analysis, and facilitated sessions on Human Centered Design, media channel selection and new media in various workshops. He is also a freelance illustrator experienced in developing context specific public health illustrations and communication materials. Angshuman enjoys playing badminton, swimming, and exploring new places. Angshuman holds a Master degree in Public Health (MPH) from the Indian Institute of Public Health,Gandhinagar, India and a Bachelor of Science degree from St. Xavier’s College, Mumbai, India. 

MegAnn smiling on a beach in front of the ocean

MegAnn Smith (she/her) is the Robin Mockenhaupt Endowed Distinguished Graduate Fellow for the Office of Public Health Practice and Community Engagement. She joined the UMD SPH to work toward her PhD in Behavioral and Community Health in the fall of 2022. She received her BS in Biology and Health Sciences from Guilford College and MPH from The Brown School of Social Work at Washington University in St. Louis. Most recently, MegAnn worked for the North Carolina Division of Public Health where she strived to center lived experiences and advance equity in injury and violence prevention. She is dedicated to dismantling systems of oppression through authentic community engagement and power sharing. MegAnn grounds her public health practice in cultural humility, radical listening, and a commitment to equity. 

Alana standing in front of trees smiling


Alana Ewen is a Teaching Assistant and a PhD student in Behavioral and Community Health at the University of Maryland School of Public Health. Her research focuses on understanding the perceived stressors (e.g., racism and discrimination) experienced by Black adults over the life course and how these stressors impact the onset and management of Type 2 diabetes. Ms. Ewen is a pre-doctoral fellow at the Curtis Center for Health Equity at the University of Michigan. She received her Bachelor of Arts in Health and Society from the University of Rochester, and Master of Public Health in Epidemiology from the University of California, Los Angeles Fielding School of Public Health.


Ariel smiling at camera wearing blue sweater

Ariel Balaban, MHS (she/her) is a Teaching Assistant and PhD student in Behavioral and
Community Health at the University of Maryland School of Public Health and earned a Master
of Health Science from the Department of Health, Behavior, and Society at Johns Hopkins
University Bloomberg School of Public Health. She has a strong interest in bridging the gap
between data science and effective digital health communication, particularly with increasing
accessibility, sensitivity, and acceptability of health information. She has worked as a researcher in a variety of areas including overdose prevention and response, COVID-19 prevention, vaccine hesitancy, tobacco control, and improving health outcomes for populations susceptible to HIV. She received her Bachelor of Science degree in public health from American University in 2019, where she minored in graphic design and first realized a love for both health science and visual communication. In her free time, she enjoys playing on a soccer team in Baltimore, doing hardware projects, drawing and crosswords. 

Nathaniel Woodard, graduate student of the School of Public Health at the University of Maryland

Nathaniel Woodard  is a Graduate Research Assistant. After studying public health and psychology at the University of Rochester, Nate came to the University of Maryland to work in behavioral and community health and to obtain a MPH degree. Nate has since completed the MPH program and transitioned into the doctoral program in behavioral and community health at UMD. He is particularly interested in the motivations behind health behaviors and how person-to-person interactions affect these motivations and behaviors. His current work focuses on health promotion in organizational contexts. Nate enjoys participating in sports (especially wrestling), singing, and trying new foods.


Carson Peters, student of School of Public Health at the University of Maryland

Carson Peters (she/her) is a Teaching Assistant who graduated from Grinnell College with a Bachelor of Arts in the Biology of Global Health and a Master of Public Health in Epidemiology from the University of Iowa, College of Public Health. She is currently a doctoral student in the Behavioral and Community Health Program at the University of Maryland, School of Public Health. Carson is passionate about community engagement and increasing the diversity of marginalized communities in research. Her research portfolio includes sexual and reproductive health, infectious diseases, and chronic disease management. She has conducted preliminary research in Brazil, India, and South Africa focused on infectious diseases and program evaluation research in Zambia. Her research experiences include working at the National Institute of Health’s National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases and Clinical Center, Harvard Global Health Institute, and the Harvard School of Public Health. She has also worked on Capitol Hill for the late Honorable Congressman John Lewis, related to her public policy and advocacy interests.

Charlene Kuo, graduate student of School of Public Health at the University of Maryland

Charlene Kuo is a Research Assistant and a doctoral student in the Department of Behavioral and Community Health. Prior to her time at UMD SPH, Charlene worked as a Research Coordinator at Georgetown Lombardi Comprehensive Cancer Center's Cancer Prevention and Control Program. Broadly, she is interested in the social determinants of health and health equity. Charlene enjoys frameworks and methods that center the experiences and perspectives of people experiencing health disparities including critical race theory, community-based participatory research, and co-design. Charlene is curious about how American history, culture, values, and society has shaped public health in the United States. Charlene hopes to focus her dissertation on barriers to direct care workers accessing fair work benefits because it explores how care work and a workforce largely made up of women, racial/ethnic minorities, and immigrants are valued in the U.S. Charlene received her BA in American Studies and BS in Biological Science from the University of Maryland. 

Jennifer Robinson, doctoral student of the School of Public Health at the University of Maryland

Jennifer Robinson is a Graduate Research Assistant and a Graduate Teaching Assistant. She is also a doctoral student in the Department of Behavioral and Community Health. She received her Master of Public Health degree from the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health and her BA in Psychology and English from the University of Maryland, College Park. She is a mixed methodologist with extensive experience conducting public health research in topics such as cancer prevention, sexual and reproductive health, and mental health for the federal government, nonprofits, NGOs, and community partners. She has also been active in mental health advocacy and has worked to help those in crisis as a volunteer counselor. She is currently a graduate teaching assistant in the Behavioral and Community Health department and a graduate research assistant in the Community THRIVES Lab. 

Amara Channell Doig, graduate student of School of Public Health from the University of Maryland

Amara Channell Doig, MPH is a Research Assistant and a PhD student in Behavioral and Community Health at the University of Maryland. She holds a Bachelor's degree in Nutrition Science from the University of Georgia and a Master's degree in Public Health from George Washington University. Prior to starting her doctoral program, she worked as a Research Associate and Project Coordinator in the Department of Nutrition and Food Studies at George Mason University. In this capacity, she has worked with a local health department to assess breastfeeding and vitamin D practices among mothers receiving WIC and coordinated a childhood obesity research study. She previously worked in Lima, Peru to provide health care and education to impoverished communities as a health educator. She also worked as a principal advisor on the Peruvian National Nutrition Program. She has performed laboratory research, conducted fieldwork on medical care for children, and performed analyses of the role of pharmacies in antibiotic overuse. Her research interests include cultural adaptations of interventions for ethnic and racial minorities, the use of social media for public health, pediatric obesity, and infant and toddler feeding practices.

Leena Daniel, graduate student of Student Public Health from the University of Maryland

Leena Daniel is a Teaching Assistant and graduated in Spring 2018 from the University of Maryland with a Bachelor of Science in Nutrition, focusing on community health, obesity prevention, and health communications. While at UMD, she interned for two years at the Food and Drug Administration in College Park, where she worked with strategic communications in the Center for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition. Daniel managed the weekly media summary report and developed briefs from scientific publications. She also worked as a research assistant for Dr. Hee-Jung Song in the School of Agriculture and Natural Resources, where she did data collection and conducted a literature review on Older Americans Act nutrition programs. Daniel also completed her Master of Science in Public Health (MSPH) in Human Nutrition at Johns Hopkins University in May 2020. While at Johns Hopkins, she conducted formative research in Baltimore City on the challenges faced by a non-profit grocery store. She is now a second-year doctoral student in the Department of Behavioral and Community Health. She is currently interested in food insecurity in higher education. When she has free time, she enjoys hanging out with her family and friends.

Alexis Hunter, graduate student of the School of Public Health at the University of Maryland

Alexis S. Hunter (she, her, hers) is a Teaching Assistant and a PhD student in the Department of Behavioral and Community Health. Alexis earned her BA in Psychology from Michigan State University with specializations in Health Promotion and Bioethics, Humanities, and Society. She completed her MA in Community Psychology and Social Change at the Pennsylvania State University. Prior to joining the University, she worked within an urban-metropolitan university with health and racial disparities in chronic diseases (asthma, diabetes, and HIV/STI). Alexis is passionate about her work within health and racial disparities, substance use, sexuality, and HIV/AIDS prevention and intervention. She has extensive experience as a qualitative researcher, working inside urban and rural communities. She has worked as a Research Project Manager as well as a HIV test counselor and prevention specialist in the Metro Detroit Area. She is interested in finding creative and innovative ways to use community engaged research to structure socio-behavioral and sexual health interventions for adolescent and emerging adults to address the gaps that exist for understanding sexual and gender minority health disparities.

Bola Kushima is a Teaching Assistant and has a long-standing passion for seeing the translation of public health knowledge to global actions that impact the health of populations. Her specific interests are in infectious disease, and maternal and child health. She also thoroughly enjoys administration and business development. She speaks 1 more language aside from English. In her free time, she enjoys traveling, cooking, and learning new things.