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Faculty and Staff Honored at Spring Assembly

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Man holding an award and wearing a hat stands in between a woman to the left and a man to the right.
Professor Mariana Falconier (left) and Dean Boris Lushniak (right) congratulate Professor Stephen B. Thomas on receiving the George F. Kramer Practitioner of the Year Award - one of several honors bestowed during the annual School of Public Health faculty and staff spring assembly.

The School of Public Health honored faculty and staff during its annual spring assembly on May 11, 2023. 

Fourteen members of the SPH community received awards, which recognized outstanding teaching, public health practice, service, mentoring and commitment to the school’s success. 

Honorees were nominated by an SPH colleague and announced by winners of each award from the previous year. 

Congratulations to all the awardees! 

Photos from the assembly and awards ceremony.


Elaine Doherty is a research professor with the Department of Behavioral and Community Health who draws on her interdisciplinary training in criminology and public health to study the interrelationships between drug use, crime and health over the life course. For the past 15 years, she has worked with the Woodlawn Study, a prospective longitudinal study of a community cohort of African Americans.

In 2022, Doherty redesigned and taught an introductory Research Methods class. Students love her practical approach to the course and the way she balanced PhD students’ desires for a strong foundation with MPH students’ desires to be strong consumers of research. Among the students’ comments: 

  • "I loved nearly everything about this class." 
  • “She made me feel good about myself, and I was never scared to walk into her office and ask questions.” 
  • “This has been my favorite class BY FAR."

Amy Morgan is an assistant professor of couple and family therapy with the Department of Family Science. Her research focuses on the health and resilience of families with an incarcerated parent both during incarceration and after, as formerly incarcerated parents navigate family and community reentry. She is a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist (VA, MD, WA) and is involved in policy work, serving as a statewide legislative policy leader for organizations including the American Association for Marriage and Family Therapy and the National Council for Behavioral Health.

Morgan is leading the campus effort to address the growing mental health crisis among students. She created and teaches “Mental Health andHealing in Families,” which actively engages students from multiple majors. She also developed and implemented Campus and Community Leaders in Mental Health (CCLiMH), a multifaceted program funded by a Teaching and Learning Grant that includes new undergraduate courses, training in mental health and psychological first aid, internships and discussion groups, and a one-credit course called “U Sad? Coping with Stress, Anxiety, and Depression.” Nominators said Morgan is committed to the complete well-being of her students, and she values students learning about themselves as much as learning academic content.


Stephen B. Thomas is a professor with the Department of Health Policy and Management and director of the Center for Health Equity. One of the nation's leading scholars in the effort to eliminate racial and ethnic health disparities, Thomas has worked to address a variety of conditions from which minorities generally face far poorer outcomes, including cardiovascular disease, diabetes, obesity and HIV/AIDS.

Thomas hosts a biweekly talk show where Black experts engage in authentic conversations about topics like mental health, public infrastructure, voting and Black history. He also leads the Communities United Together (CUT4health) project that aims to reduce inequities in diabetes prevention. Under the program, Black barbers and stylists receive training to become Lifestyle Coaches (LCs) and then provide empathic, ongoing behavior change interventions to their clients. Colleagues noted his unwavering commitment to reducing health inequities in the Black community.


Tracy Zeeger is the assistant dean of public health practice and an associate clinical professor with the Department of Behavioral and Community Health. She is also director of undergraduate studies for her department and the coordinator of the UMD Peace Corps Prep Program. Her research interests include exercise uptake among older adolescents and young adults and the educational outcomes and professional readiness of the students she serves.

As director of undergraduate studies, Zeeger has created multiple internship opportunities and launched the Ambassador program. Colleagues said both initiatives promoted student-faculty interaction, insight into academia and professional development. They noted her efforts have redefined advising support for the undergraduate program and created a tailored fit for students’ specific interests. Zeeger also helps student become competitive candidates for the Peace Corps Program and created three new “Public Health Badges” that directly communicate valuable skills difficult to show on traditional transcripts. 

Amelia Arria is a professor with the Department of Behavioral and Community Health and director of the Center on Young Adult Health and Development. Malinda Kennedy is a faculty specialist with the Center on Young Adult Health and Development. Kelsey O’Hara is the training and technical assistance coordinator with the Center on Young Adult Health and Development. All three are leaders of The Maryland Collaborative to Reduce College Drinking and Related Problems - a network of Maryland colleges and universities working together with community partners to reduce excessive alcohol use in their campus communities.

In their nomination, colleagues noted their efforts to provide theory-driven, evidence-based substance use prevention policies and practices to respective communities and their dedication to determining individual campus needs and tailoring programming to ensure the greatest impact. Arria, Kennedy and O’Hara have also developed resources for families, including the College Parents Matter website. As a result of their work, college campuses are seeing reductions in binge drinking.

Michel Boudreaux is an associate professor with the Department of Health Policy and Management whose research interests include public programs for low-income populations and their effects on health and economic well-being.

Colleagues noted Bourdreaux’s collaborative spirit and eagerness to share his knowledge. He serves as a co-investigator on an R01 project funded by the National Eye Institute, which aims to examine the impact of Medicaid vision benefits on dual-eligible beneficiaries. He is also the principal investigator on a National Institutes of Health-funded study exploring the impacts of wildfires on infant health, from pregnancy through a child’s first year.

Kerry Green is a professor with the Department of Behavioral and Community Health and director of the department's Undergraduate Honors Program. Her research focuses on identifying the causes of adverse outcomes over the life course among urban African Americans, including structural factors. Much of this work has been with the Woodlawn Study.

Green is a mentor to both students and scientists. She designed and launched the Society for Prevention Research’s Early Career Prevention Science Mentoring Program, which provides guidance and support to early career prevention scientists with a focus on increasing underrepresented populations in prevention science research. As director of the honors program, she also provides holistic support to each honors student. Colleagues said Green is known for teaching others about best practices in mentoring, including goal setting, mutual expectations and mentoring across racial, gender and sexual orientation differences. 

Renee Stokes is the assistant director for the Center for Academic Success and Achievement (CASA). She primarily works with students experiencing academic difficulty and created “SPHL246 Terp Restoration” to support this population. 

Colleagues noted her “exceptional talent for identifying weaknesses in systems” and her “ability to recognize problems and resolve issues with wide reaching implications.” One colleague said, “Renee is cool and calm in a crisis. I've been in higher education for nearly 15 years, and I've never seen a staff member who did not work in Residence Life respond so quickly and calmly.”  Stokes takes issues of diversity and inclusion seriously, consistently demonstrates anti-ableist strategies and shares her knowledge on best practices for responding to evolving student needs, especially related to mental health.

Stephen M. Roth is a professor, the associate dean for academic & faculty affairs and director of the Public Health Science Program. His scholarly research focuses on genetic variation (and environmental interaction) in determining inter-individual differences in exercise responses, skeletal muscle traits and other health-related phenotypes, as well as understanding the role of physical activity in modifying DNA structure.

Roth’s colleagues said despite wearing a number of high-responsibility hats that would “surely overwhelm most of us,” he remains “one of the most positive, responsive and supportive people in the School of Public Health.” He believes in the mission and the vision of the school, and most importantly, the people in it. Colleagues noted the level of care, humility and humor Roth brings to the workplace and ability to make any critical task feel surmountable. “Knowing that someone so supportive is on our side is such a win for the school,” one colleague said.

Maurice Rocque is the assistant director of finance and administration for the Maryland Institute for Applied Environmental Health. He is responsible for grants management, human resources, finance and overall business operations of the institute.

Rocque is known for his positive attitude and friendly demeanor despite the additional burdens of managing the institute’s complex financial and administrative tasks. Colleagues noted his team-oriented approach and how he regularly supports the school and other departments.

Tracy Zeeger is the assistant dean of public health practice and an associate clinical professor with the Department of Behavioral and Community Health. She is also director of undergraduate studies for her department and the coordinator of the UMD Peace Corps Prep Program. In her nomination, colleagues said Zeeger “lives and breathes public health practice and serves as an inspiration and critical resource for all of us wanting to increase opportunities for practice-based experiences for our students.”

Melvin Seale is an assistant clinical professor and the director of graduate studies in the Department of Health Policy and Management. His research interests include the impact of health informatics and telemedicine on improving population health outcomes. 

Seale has worked with the city of Hyattsville to create the Mental Wellness Check-In Initiative (MWCI), a pilot program based out of Hyattsville City Police Department that aims to integrate mental health experts into the department. The MWCI is the first program of its kind in Maryland. It is poised to serve as a model for integrating mental health resources within police departments across the state. Colleagues said Seale’s efforts will inspire others to launch similar programs.

Craig Fryer is an associate professor and interim chair of the Department of  Behavioral and Community Health. His work focuses on racial and ethnic health inequities in substance use, specifically tobacco and marijuana use among youth and young adult populations. His collateral research expertise includes Black men’s health, racism and health and the respectful engagement of underrepresented communities in research.

Fryer is an integral part of the development and advancement of his department’s anti-racism, equity and inclusion (AREI) efforts. He participated in the undergraduate program committee’s curriculum mapping efforts to ensure students were exposed to the impact of racism on health. He also co-chaired the department’s initial ad hoc AREI committee, which is now a standing committee working to examine the department’s practice, policies and culture for areas of oppression and identify matters for rectification. He also helped develop the new undergraduate anti-Black racism minor and is a co-investigator of a UMD Grand Challenges grant that aligns with the university’s commitment to address and combat anti-Black racism on campus and beyond. Colleagues said Fryer “has been fearless to do his part to support all SPH stakeholders through training, education and accountability.”


The following faculty members were also honored at the 2023 Maryland Research Excellence Celebration:

  • Don Milton (2023 Exemplary Researcher)
  • Devon Payne-Sturges
  • Sacoby Wilson
  • Jessica Fish
  • Kevin Roy
  • Julia Steinberg 
  • Marie Thoma
  • Elizabeth Aparicio
  • Bradley Boekeloo
  • Kerry Green 
  • Typhanye Dyer
  • Charles Ma 
  • Quyhn Nguyen
  • Jie Chen 
  • Neil Sehgal
  • Stephen Thomas
  • Sushant Ranadive
  • Jennifer Roberts
  • Categories
  • Faculty
  • Departments
  • School of Public Health
  • Department of Behavioral and Community Health
  • Department of Family Science
  • Department of Epidemiology and Biostatistics
  • Maryland Institute for Applied Environmental Health
  • Department of Kinesiology
  • Department of Health Policy and Management