2022 Recipient Biographies

ACHA 2022 Fellows

Darren Aaron, MSHA, NREMT, FACHA
Wake Forest University

Darren Oliver Aaron works at Wake Forest University in Winston-Salem, North Carolina. He has served as the associate director for the Student Health Service since 2010. He currently is the director of finance and operations for WFU’s Health and Wellbeing consortium. In this position, he is privileged to work with the Student Health Service, University Counseling Center, Center for Learning, Access, and Student Success (CLASS), Chaplain’s Office, Campus Recreation, and the Office of Wellbeing.

Darren earned his master’s degree in healthcare administration from the Medical College of Virginia/Virginia Commonwealth University. After
gaining experiences with private practice physician groups, for-profit hospitals, and federal qualified community health centers, student health highlighted the opportunity to provide proactive, supportive care at an important point in people’s lives. As a Nationally Registered Emergency Medical Technician, he serves as the advisor for Wake Forest Emergency Medical Services. This is a volunteer student group that responds to 911 medical calls on the WFU campus. Darren has received multiple citations and awards in this role as a mentor, advisor, and leader to these students.

Darren has been an active board member of the Southern College Health Association since 2015. He currently serves as treasurer. Also in 2015, Darren received the ACHA Affiliate New Professionals Award. Each year, Darren helps coordinate the Sunbelt Directors and Administrators Meeting. This forum, sponsored by SCHA, is designed to bring together decision makers from across the nation and from a variety of campus health settings to share innovations, struggles, and opportunities. Darren has helped this meeting grow to become a premier gathering for health center leaders from across the country and across the college health spectrum.

In 2019, under President Katrin Wesner-Harts, Darren served as member-atlarge on the ACHA Board of Directors. In 2021, he was elected vice president and is currently part of the ACHA Executive Committee. In 2021, Darren co-chaired the search for ACHA’s CEO.

Darren lives in Martinsville, Virginia, with his wife, Caren, an internal medicine physician, and his 13-year-old son, Noah. This summer, they all are moving from Virginia to North Carolina to start new chapters in their lives.

Alyssa Lederer, PhD, MPH, MCHES, FACHA
Tulane University

Alyssa Lederer is an assistant professor and director of the Health Education and Communication Master of Public Health (MPH) Program in the Department of Social, Behavioral, and Population Sciences at Tulane University’s School of Public Health and Tropical Medicine. Alyssa is an applied behavioral scientist and health promotion specialist. Her research focuses on improving young people’s health—especially college students—through the design and evaluation of health promotion interventions in school and community settings, with an emphasis on sexual health, sexual violence, and, more recently, COVID-19. She also does research and capacity building related to public health workforce development. Alyssa thoroughly enjoys projects that involve partnering with college health practitioners and that prioritize community engagement, use multiple methods, and examine the intersection between health education and behavior change.

Alyssa received her undergraduate degree from the University of Virginia in studies in health and society and studies in women and gender; her MPH from Emory University’s Rollins School of Public Health in behavioral sciences and health education; and her PhD in health behavior from Indiana University’s School of Public Health-Bloomington. She is also a Master Certified Health Education Specialist. Alyssa’s longstanding interest in and commitment to college health began in college as a peer health educator.

Prior to getting her PhD and becoming a faculty member, Alyssa was a health educator for students, faculty, and staff at Emory University. Since that time, she has been very involved in ACHA, including serving as chair of the Health Promotion Section and chair of the Health Promotion Section Research Committee. Alyssa has been chair of the ACHA National College Health Assessment Advisory Committee for the last five years and is currently conducting several research projects focused on the impact of COVID-19 on college students’ well-being and the relationship between college students’ health and academic performance in partnership with ACHA.

ACHA 2022 Award Recipients

Edward Hitchcock Award

Michael B. Faircloth, MD
University of Alabama at Birmingham

Dr. Faircloth, board certified in family medicine, was in private practice for 14 years in the Birmingham area, joining the University of Alabama at Birmingham Department of Family and Community Medicine in 2007 and named medical director for Student Health Services in 2009. He has been instrumental in developing and implementing campuswide protocols for student immunization requirements/compliance for the institution and helped lead an external review of SHS and a strategic planning effort in 2012, resulting in a redesign of SHS, including
integration with UAB Student Counseling, implementation of a college specific EMR, relocation to a larger and centrally located Student Health and Wellness Center, and transition to the Division of Student Affairs. He is deeply involved in the UAB campus COVID-19 Pandemic Response and Health and Safety Plan.

Dr. Faircloth served as president of the Southern College Health Association from 2020–2022. He is the program director for the Alabama Statewide AHEC Program. Dr. Faircloth’s research interests include infectious diseases in the young adult population and issues around young emerging adults.

Photo credit: University of Alabama at Birmingham

Ruth E. Boynton Award

Keith J. Anderson, PhD, FACHA
Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute (retired)

Dr. Keith Anderson is a licensed psychologist who has been involved in student services since 1983. He has over 30 years of experience treating students in university counseling centers. In addition, he has worked in residence life and career counseling offices. In June of
2021, Dr. Anderson retired from the counseling center at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute where he had worked for 27 years. In addition to treating students, Dr. Anderson was very active in prevention work on campus and often sought campus partners in a variety of student services offices. He has previously worked at American International College, SUNY Potsdam, SUNY Stony Brook, and the University of Wisconsin.

Keith joined ACHA in 1999. He has made numerous conference presentations and has been very involved in the leadership of the Mental Health Section, including as section chair and program planner. An ACHA fellow, Dr. Anderson chaired the Mental Health Section Best Practices Task Force from 2006–2010 and has been on the ACHA Board of Directors as well as the Executive Committee as the vice president. In 2008, he was the chair of the Program Planning Committee for the annual meeting in San Francisco. In his free time, Keith is an avid hiker and skier.

Ollie B. Moten Award

Heather Dale, PA-C
Gustavus Adolphus College

Heather Dale has worked in college health as the director of Health Service at Gustavus Adolphus College in St. Peter, Minnesota, for the past 15 years. When hired at Gustavus, the Health Service only served students for limited services. Under her leadership, the clinic has grown in size and scope to become a comprehensive clinic that offers acute, travel, and chronic care services to students and acute care services to employees. In addition to expanding services and staff, Heather has led multiple grants, expanded laboratory services, implemented electronic health records, and revised billing practices to make them more efficient—all while keeping the cost of care as low as possible for the patients.

Heather manages the student health insurance program and has been a leader on the COVID-19 response team at Gustavus. COVID-19 presented many unique challenges; Heather likes to look at challenges as opportunities to think differently about how to solve problems. In the past two years, she has worked closely with local public health and the Minnesota Department of Health. She testified before state legislators and has served as the medical expert on numerous calls for students, parents, faculty, and employees. Heather prioritizes an equitable, science-first approach and has learned how to pivot quickly to the challenges that can present with infectious disease.

Heather wants to acknowledge that it is because of her amazing team in Health Service, the community at Gustavus, and the day-to-day work with students that her passion for this work continues. Heather is excited to have a new adventure this fall as part of the medical team for Semester at Sea. When not practicing medicine, Heather enjoys backpacking, hiking, rafting, and skiing. Heather is grateful for her supportive husband, Jordan, and three wonderful children. Her life motto is the following quote from Mark Twain: “Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn’t do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover.”

Miguel García-Tuñón Memorial Award

Joanne Brown, DNP, APRN, WHNP-C, FNP-C
University of Kentucky

Dr. Joanne Brown is a 1981 graduate of SUNY Plattsburgh with a BS in nursing. She received both her MSN (1998) and DNP (2012) from the University of Kentucky (UK). Her primary clinical focus as a nurse practitioner has been sexual/reproductive health. After moving into the field of college health at UK in 2006, she became more aware of inequities in health care for LGBTQ+ patients and began her journey to learn and work to address gaps in care. Joanne was fortunate to work with colleagues as part of the team that developed and implemented the UK TransForm Health LGBTQ+ Clinic, as well as improvement efforts that led to the UK Healthcare’s designation as a Leader in LGBTQ Healthcare Equality by the Human Rights Campaign.

After attending her first ACHA Annual Meeting in 2010, Joanne became involved in different aspects of the association. She served as the Kentucky representative for the Mid-America College Health Association (2015–2016), secretary of the Advanced Practice Clinicians Section (2015–2018), chair of the Sexual Health Coalition (2017–2019), member of the ACHA PrEP in College Health Task Force (2017–2019), and member of the Clinical Benchmarking Committee (2014–2020).

Joanne is the proud mom of three adult children and Nana of four wonderful grandchildren. She is thankful for her colleagues and patients whose influence in her life make her strive to be a more inclusive, compassionate provider and accomplice in improving care.

Hannibal E. Howell, Jr. Award

Tobirus Mozelle Newby, MSW, LCSW
University of California Berkeley

Tobirus M. Newby is a licensed clinical social worker and the director of the social services unit at UC Berkeley’s University Health Services. Over the past 19 years, he has worked in the field of trauma and violence intervention by supporting the healing journeys of survivors and by fostering accountability and change with those who have caused harm in their relationships. This work has focused specifically on supporting education and empowerment within marginalized and underserved communities. In addition, Tobirus serves as adjunct faculty with
the University of San Francisco’s Counseling Psychology Department, focusing on gender and sexuality, as well as substance use disorders. In his private practice, he provides life coaching and organizational equity and inclusion consultation.

Tobirus’ colleagues describe him has a skilled connector, compelling speaker, graceful facilitator, and a highly sought out mentor who serves the needs of LGBTQ+ students and students of color. A quote that guides his life and his practice comes from James Baldwin: “Not everything that is faced can be changed, but nothing can be changed until it is faced.”

Photo credit: Ryan Curran White

Lewis Barbato Award

Destyni Cravens, MPH, BS, BA
The University of Alabama at Birmingham

Destyni obtained her BS in psychology, her BA in sociology, and her MPH with a concentration in health behavior from the University of Alabama at Birmingham (UAB) in the spring of 2022. She also completed an undergraduate Certificate in Mental Health during her time at UAB.

During her time at UAB, Destyni served in several leadership roles in multiple on-campus mental health promotion organizations. She served as the lead and communications coordinating lead for the UAB Mental Health Ambassador Program, which is a student-led, peer-to-peer mental health promotion program that promotes self-care, resiliency, and general mental health awareness on campus. Through this experience, Destyni advocated for better mental health promotion resources on UAB’s campus for her peers. She also served on the UAB Student Counseling Services (SCS) Student Advisory Board, where she represented students and advocated for their mental health needs to university leaders and officials. In addition, she served as an intern for SCS, where she developed and facilitated the creation of student-specific mental health promotional content. Destyni also helped to collect and code qualitative data on student and postdoctoral fellows’ mental health amidst COVID-19 and the racial injustices that occurred in the summer of 2020 through the COVID-19, Race, and student/Postdoctoral Fellow Mental Health Study as an SCS intern. Finally, Destyni served as the social media/outreach lead for UAB’s chapter of Active Minds, where she developed and created mental health promotional content.

Destyni will be continuing her education this fall at the University of California, Riverside where she will be pursuing a PhD in developmental psychology.

Best Practices in College Health Award: Counseling Services Category

UAB Cares Suicide Prevention Initiative
The University of Alabama at Birmingham

The UAB Cares Suicide Prevention Initiative is a comprehensive, coordinated, collaborative, multi-faceted initiative to implement and lead prevention, intervention, and postvention strategies to address suicide prevention for UAB’s 22,000+ students and 26,000+ employees. The goal of the UAB Suicide Prevention and Leadership
team is to create an environment at UAB that promotes thriving and supports mental health and well-being. Every part of the UAB family, students, and employees, needs to know that they are important, they matter, and that they are not alone.

In 2018, President Ray Watts, Senior President for Academic Affairs and Provost Pam Benoit, and Vice President for Student Affairs John Jones charged a multidisciplinary task force to provide recommendations for comprehensive and coordinated strategies for suicide prevention and named Dr. Angela Stowe, director of Student Counseling Services, the chair. In the spring of 2019, the recommendations presented by the task force were accepted, and the UAB Suicide Prevention Leadership and Implementation Team was formed to carry out the recommendations and expand recommendations to include not only students, but employees as well. Major accomplishments of the initiative include creating the UAB Cares enterprisewide marketing and communications campaign, addressing environmental safety by strategic placing of suicide prevention signage around campus, and organizing a coordinated educational strategy across the enterprise.

Affiliate New Professionals Award

Mid-Atlantic College Health Association

Sarah Wagstaff, PA-C
American University

Sarah Wagstaff is a physician assistant currently practicing in the Student Health Center at American University. Sarah attended the PA program at Jefferson College of Health Sciences in Roanoke, VA (her hometown!), and graduated in December 2014. Prior to coming to AU, she worked for three and a half years in a private practice in rural Virginia, providing routine care and urgent care services to patients of all ages. In the fall of 2018, Sarah relocated to Washington, D.C., to be closer to family and began her current position at AU in December of that year. For the past three and a half years, Sarah has enjoyed providing care to the students at AU. Her favorite part of being a student health provider is building relationships with students and helping them learn how to take care of their health as they transition from adolescents to young adults. When not working, Sarah enjoys taking leisurely walks with her 11-year-old Boston Terrier mix, Coco, trying new restaurants with friends, and spending time with her niece and nephew who live close by.

Sarah’s colleagues describe her as a dedicated, thorough, and caring clinician who easily forms rapport with her patients, and a dependable and collaborative co-worker who goes above and beyond to help her campus community, especially during the COVID-19 pandemic. She is honored to be a recipient of this year’s Affiliate New Professionals Award and excited to attend her first ACHA conference!

New England College Health Association

Nishelli Ahmed, MPH, CHES
University of Connecticut

Nishelli is a health educator of color actively involved in various diversity-focused collaborations and groups at UConn. Nishelli mentors and supervises students, both undergraduate and graduate. She provides support, motivation, and guidance to students, including students of the global majority who are marginalized at institutions, consisting of those Black, Brown, Indigenous, and students of color. She received the Outstanding Advisor Award during the Region 1 Peer Educator Conference in 2019. She has forged relationships with culture centers on campus by connecting her new department with the needs of students from those centers. This academic year, Nishelli led AOD intervention initiatives and piloted providing students of color the opportunity to meet with practitioners of color if they so choose. She is the primary trainer, teacher, and mentor in her department of health promotion on the subjects of justice, equity, diversity, and inclusion. She spends her free time in many activist circles in Connecticut and contributes to local social justice movements.

Nishelli’s colleagues have described her as a conscientious, dedicated, and exemplary professional who represents the future of college health. She works closely with the mission of her campus’ Office for Diversity and Inclusion to connect students, faculty, and staff, including staff who identity as LGBTQIA+. She is a problem solver and consensus builder who brings individuals together to improve the lived experiences of diverse populations, and she has a passion for influencing the world through public health and wellness.

Southern College Health Association

Allie Schwartz, MD
Florida Atlantic University

A board-certified internist and pediatrician, Dr. Allie Schwartz trained at Harvard Massachusetts General Hospital. She practiced as a primary care doctor from 2011–2018 and was the co-director of the MGH Down Syndrome Clinic. Currently, Dr. Schwartz serves as the medical director at FAU Student Health Services. She is passionate about preventative medicine, gender-affirming care, care of youth with special health care needs, and women’s health. When not at work, she enjoys spending time with her two young daughters and husband.

Dr. Schwartz’s colleagues describe her as being approachable, flexible, encouraging of teamwork, and supportive of others. She is exceptionally aware and sensitive to the emotional and social challenges that students encounter, and she exhibits exemplary behavior and practice that is sensitive to patient confidentiality and diversity. Dr. Schwartz embodies the mission of ACHA through her advocacy for minority groups who are marginalized on a university campus, and she is also committed to quality, research, and innovation.

American College Health Foundation Awards

ACHF College Well-Being Award

“Mental Health During the Transition to College: Prospective Longitudinal Research to Identify Predictors and Test Etiological Theory”
Rowan University

Nicole Kelso, PhD Candidate
Nicole Kelso is a second-year student in the Rowan University clinical psychology PhD program working in the Prevention Science Lab. She received her BS in psychology from Virginia Tech and an MPS in clinical psychological sciences from the University of Maryland, College Park. Her current research interests are in preventing depression in college students and focusing on research that provides a direct implementation in her community at Rowan.

About the project: Past research suggests that stress and depressive symptoms increase during the initial transition to a new postsecondary institution for both incoming first-year and transfer students. Mental health problems during this critical transition period may result in lasting academic and social consequences, making it an ideal time for preventive intervention. The purpose of this project is to evaluate the emotional well-being of incoming students making the transition to a new postsecondary academic institution in a prospective longitudinal study designed to improve identification of students in greatest need of preventive interventions; identify intervention targets through rigorous testing of etiological theories of the development of depression and anxiety; and inform optimal timing of preventive interventions. This will be one of only a few studies to evaluate the mental health and well-being trajectories during the transition to college that includes transfer students (an understudied population) and measures outcomes frequently allowing for precise modeling of symptom trajectories and identification of critical fluctuations when interventions are most needed.

ACHF College Well-Being Award

“BGSU College Well-Being”
Bowling Green State University

Faith DeNardo, PhD, CHES
Dr. Faith DeNardo serves as director of wellness at Bowling Green State University (BGSU), co-director of the BGSU Violence Prevention Center, and as deputy Title IX coordinator at BGSU. She is a board member of ACHA, currently serves as the Region III Representative to ACHA, is a member of the ACHA National College Health Assessment Advisory Committee, a member of the ACHA National Faculty and Staff Health and Wellness Coalition, and the ACHA liaison to the Coalition of Higher Education Associations for Substance Abuse Prevention. Faith has her PhD in health education from The University of Toledo and has been working in the field of college health for over 14 years. She has been published in several journals including: Journal of American College Health, Journal of Student Affairs Research and Practice, Journal of Community Health, Journal of School Health, and Journal of Public Health Management and Practice.

About the project: In Spring 2022, BGSU officially launched Community of Care, which requires campuswide responsibility for acting on situations that can have significant impact on individuals and the campus community. Under the leadership of BGSU’s Chief Health Officer, Community of Care focuses on being intentional with strategies and resources to improve the well-being of the campus community and includes six pillars: alcohol and substance misuse and abuse; diversity and inclusion; hazing prevention and education; mental health and well-being; physical health and wellness; and sexual misconduct and Title IX. A new initiative, Falcon Fitness for All, is an integrated wellbeing program that encompasses three of BGSU’s Community of Care pillars: mental health and well-being; physical health and wellness; and diversity and inclusion. Falcon Fitness for All aims to expand successful programs including “Move for Your Mood” and “Move with Confidence” events, but also launch new opportunities such as offering individual well-being consultations and helping students, faculty, and staff develop a personalized well-being action plan. In addition, Falcon Fitness for All aims to enhance campus partnerships to implement a more robust referral program so the BGSU wellness team can better assist students in need. To measure program impact, the evaluation plan will include quantitative data, such as number of program participants and the number of events, as well as qualitative data from post-program evaluations.

ACHF College Well-Being Award

“The Mindful Owl Initiative”
Southern Connecticut State University

Melissa Lopez, RN, BSN, MPH
Melissa Lopez is associate director of Health Services at Southern Connecticut State University. She has experience in population and public health, quality management, and various clinical settings. She is also an adjunct professor at University of Bridgeport in the Undergraduate Community Health and Master’s in Public Health Program, where much of the focus is on addressing social determinants of health and promoting health equity. Melissa finds that working with students in the college health setting is invigorating and extremely rewarding.

About the project: College students have a high burden of stress; they are often required to balance college life, academic studies, financial obligations, work, and family. The COVID-19 pandemic has only added to this burden in the ways it impacts daily life and academic performance. Meditation and mindfulness techniques have proven to be effective coping tools for promoting health and wellness in college students. The purpose of the Mindful Owl Initiative is to build on Southern Connecticut State University’s (SCSU’s) new Wellbeing Center infrastructure, which includes a network of departments that are intended to elevate the health and well-being of students through innovative programming. This initiative will educate students and provide access to mindfulness and meditation interventions and outreach initiatives. The Mindful Owl Initiative will span three different areas: Promoting Mindfulness in the Clinical Setting; Mindful Movement—Outdoor Physical Activity and Connection to Nature; and Mindful Eating.

TKoster Charitable Innovated Health Care Award

“Exercise is Medicine on Campus: Perspectives and Outcomes of a Referral-Based Physical Activity Intervention”
Illinois State University

Kristen M. Lagally, PhD, FACSM
Dr. Kristen Lagally is a professor of exercise science and director of the Exercise is Medicine on Campus program in the School of Kinesiology and Recreation at Illinois State University. She obtained her PhD in exercise physiology from the University of Pittsburgh. She is a Fellow of the American College of Sports Medicine, an ACSM-certified Exercise Specialist, and holds a Level 3 Exercise is Medicine credential from ACSM. Her research on perceived exertion, physical activity, and referral-based physical activity programs has been published nationally in Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise, the Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research, and the Recreational Sports Journal.

About the project: Exercise is Medicine (EIM) is an initiative from the American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM) with the goals of increasing the use of physical activity experts to promote and facilitate increasing physical activity levels. Exercise is Medicine on Campus (EIM-OC) asks universities and colleges to achieve these same goals by connecting student health and counseling services with kinesiology and recreation departments to promote physical activity. ACSM identifies a “gold level” EIM-OC program as one with a referral process linking student health with physical activity experts. Illinois State University has an ACSM-recognized gold-level EIM-OC program, which works well for those who are either not comfortable or not well served in traditional physical activity settings (e.g., transgender individuals, individuals with social anxiety, body image concerns, obesity, eating disorders, chronic physical and mental health conditions, cultural variations in physical activity practices). Health care practitioners identify these individuals and refer them to the EIM-OC program. Maintenance of this program is important not only to serve referred clients, but also to serve as an educational and research activity for students in the kinesiology program. Additionally, growth of the program is desirable in order to serve a greater portion of the campus community. The purpose of this project would be to compile supporting evidence to strengthen the rationale for program maintenance and ideally, expansion.

Kathy Mac Nurse Scholar Travel Funding Opportunity

Monique A. Motte, RN, BSN
Barry University

Monique A. Motte graduated from Wayne State University in Detroit, Michigan, with a Bachelor of Science degree in nursing. She is a member of Sigma Theta Tau National Nursing Society. Upon graduating from Wayne State University, she assisted in managing a kidney-pancreas unit at St. John Hospital in Detroit, Michigan. She relocated to South Florida in 1997 and worked in home health care for 15 years. She currently is working as clinic coordinator at Barry University Student Health Services. Monique loves the diversity of students at Barry along with the exuberance of working with young people. In attending the ACHA Annual Meeting, Monique hopes to network with other nursing professionals, explore creative solutions to common problems in college health, share ideas to promote optimal health and well-being amongst this population, and support others involved in the field.

ACHF Student Travel Award

Melissa N. Rosenthal, BSPH
Tulane University

Melissa N. Rosenthal is a Master of Public Health student at the Tulane University School of Public Health and Tropical Medicine with a concentration in Health Policy. In December 2021, Rosenthal graduated magna cum laude from Tulane University with a Bachelor of Science in Public Health with departmental honors in Public Health and Political Science. Her research interests include outbreak response policy and infectious diseases on college campuses. At the 2021 American College Health Association Annual Meeting, she presented the first scoping review examining the interrelationship between college academic performance and health. Recently she completed a senior thesis examining how digital contact tracing or real-time locating technologies can be used as a public policy to mitigate COVID-19 transmission. In addition to this research, Rosenthal conducted investigations into international COVID-19 contact tracing practices through the Global Outbreak Alert and Response Network (GOARN). At the 2022 ACHA Annual Meeting, Rosenthal will be presenting a poster analyzing college health’s impact on academic performance.

ACHF Student Travel Award

Thomas Stewart, MPH
University of Virginia

Thomas graduated from UVA with a BA in Human Biology in 2021 and an MPH in 2022 with a Research in Practice concentration. At UVA, he works with the Department of Student Health and Wellness as a graduate student researcher, where he works to improve mental health services provided by the university. Thomas also serves as a member of the Student Health Advisory Committee which engages his peers to identify and solve issues relating to the overall health and wellness of students at UVA. His current research focuses on the utilization of mental health services, specifically in the graduate student community. Thomas has also worked with the Gordie Center to promote alcohol abuse education.