CGBI Scholarship

The Carolina Global Breastfeeding Institute Scholarship was established in 2006 to support an outstanding master’s or doctoral student with potential for leadership in mother/child health, especially related to infant and young child feeding and care.  The Institute is dedicated to enabling women to make the best health choices for themselves and their children through policy and program, transdisciplinary research and intervention, with the goal of creating change that most benefit the mother/child unit.  The Scholarship is granted to outstanding masters and doctoral students with a demonstrated commitment to the study of the mother/child dyad domestically or internationally.

Applications are due each February. For more information, please visit the MCH Awards webpage and click on Guidelines.

Scholarship Recipients

2012: Molly Ruben and Talene Ghazarian

Talene Ghazarian, MPH

Talene received her MPH from the Department of Maternal and Child Health at UNC-Chapel Hill in 2013, and is currently a first year law student at Boston University. In her final year  at UNC, Talene co-led the BEBES organization on campus, helping to organize educational events about birth and breastfeeding. During the year, Talene worked with two other students to collect quantitative and qualitiative data regarding knowledge, beliefs and practices surrounding donor human milk. The research involved surveying North Carolina neonatologists and conducting numerous key informant interviews throughout The Triangle. The results were presented at multiple conferences during the Spring.

Talene remains dedicated to enabling women to make the best heath choices for themselves and their children, and plans to pursue a career in health policy and advocacy upon graduation from law school.

2011: Nathan C. Nickel, MPH

Nathan is a PhD candidate in the Department of Maternal and Child Health with a minor in Health Policy at UNC-Chapel Hill. He received his MPH from the University of California, Los Angeles.  For nearly two years, he has worked with the Carolina Global Breastfeeding Institute on the research arm of the Breastfeeding Friendly Healthcare Project, an intervention designed to improve the quality of care provided in North Carolina maternity centers. His dissertation includes two aims: the first involves using multiple-case study methodology to explore the process of implementing The Ten Steps to Successful Breastfeeding in North Carolina hospitals and the second is focused on developing a causal inference statistical approach to evaluate the individual effect of each Step on breastfeeding.

Nathan comes to the Institute with public health experience in both the US and abroad. He worked with a non-governmental organization in Mongolia on creating and implementing an agriculture-nutrition program and on conducting needs assessments for other health programs. He also worked in Amman Jordan with the Higher Population Council on reproductive advocacy campaigns and on the evaluation of various training programs.

His research interests include monitoring and evaluation of health programs and policies, organizational change, application of causal inference methodology, and maternal and child nutrition policies and programs.

2010: Ellen Chetwynd and Winnie Luseno

Ellen Chetwynd is in her second year as an MPH candidate in the Department of Maternal and Child Health and is working with CGBI as a graduate research assistant. She received the 2010 CGBI scholarship for her summer internship with the United States Lactation Consultant Association. She has worked as a lactation consultant (IBCLC) for 10 years, and in the field of maternal and child health for over 20 years. Her interests in birth and breastfeeding have taken her through work as a doula, a labor and delivery nurse, and most recently, with the UNC Department of Family Medicine as the Co-Director of their Maternal and Child Health Program.

During her career in Maternal and Child Health she has played a key role in implementing group care models into the UNC Family Medicine MCH Program (CenteringPregnancy and WellBabies), lectured on birth and breastfeeding in multiple local and national settings, taught physicians, residents, nurses, and midwives about breastfeeding care, started the UNC Family Medicine Lactation Service, chaired the UNC Women’s Hospitals Patient Education Committee, and co-lead the Durham BEST for Babies African American Breastfeeding Support group. She returned to school to get a wider view of her areas of interest, and to learn more about research, grantsmanship, and program planning, implementation, and evaluation. After graduation, she hopes to continue to help young families, and to normalize, support and promote birth choices and breastfeeding on a wider level.

2009: Elizabeth Jensen and Hannah Pollet

Elizabeth has over 10 years of experience working in the Maternal and Child Health field.  She has worked in a variety of settings at both the direct-service and administrative level.  Early in her career she provided case-management services to pregnant women and families with young children. Later, she provided quality assurance, technical assistance and program coordination to the statewide implementation of the Healthy Families Florida program.  More recently she managed a $2 million dollar grant awarded to the March of Dimes for birth defects prevention.  Elizabeth has served on state and national workgroups including the Florida Folic Acid Coalition, the Florida Prematurity Advisory Committee and the National Panel on Preconception Health.  Currently, in addition to her graduate studies, she is the Project Coordinator for a Community-Based Participatory Research Project seeking to increase breastfeeding among African American women in Durham County.  Elizabeth has three children, all of whom were exclusively breastfed.

Hannah is a MPH candidate in the Department of Maternal and Child Health and a graduate research assistant at the Carolina Global Breastfeeding Institute.  Her work at the Institute currently involves curriculum development for the professional lactation sciences master’s degree, advocacy, and the development of a student organization to support and complement CBI.

Hannah is a Registered Dietitian and taught nutrition in low-income elementary schools for 2 years in Durham, NC.  It was her experience in public health education, a summer working at an orphanage in Uganda, and involvement in various breastfeeding programs that led her to UNC’s Maternal and Child Health Department.  She obtained a B.S. in Nutrition and completed her dietetic internship at Meredith College.  Her main interests in public health are national and international breastfeeding promotion and education, and maternal and infant nutrition.  After graduating in 2010, Hannah would like to work with breastfeeding families as a lactation consultant, and on a broader scale to support and promote breastfeeding and maternal nutrition.

2008: Mike Park

Mike has over twelve years of experience both domestically and internationally in community development, public health program management and strategy development.  His academic pursuits include child health, malaria, and health service delivery. Specifically, he is interested in improving child health outcomes through integrating health into development models to reduce poverty.

He first became interested in global health during his three years of service as a Peace Corps Health Volunteer in Madagascar.  After his service, he worked with a local Malagasy Non-Governmental Organization on health, population, and environment integrated programs.  After one year in the rain forest, he worked for five years with USAID Madagascar as the Deputy Health, Population, Nutrition Team Leader.  During his tenure at USAID, he worked with international partners and ministries to provide technical assistance to develop and implement health programs.

Mike, his wife and four year old son enjoy the hospitality of UNC and Chapel Hill.  In between studying, they can be found biking, walking, and eating local foods whenever possible.

2007: Amy Gedal

Amy first became interested in public health through a course called “Maternal and Child Nutrition” that she attended as a biology and society major at Cornell University.  In her own words, “As I learned about the health issues facing mothers and children in developing countries, I was captivated by the prospect of enhancing quality of life through improved health practices.  I found international MCH to be a perfect synthesis of longstanding interests in health, community-based work, travel and culture, and women’s and children’s issues.”

Following graduation, Amy worked in DC for a year on a Robert Wood Johnson Foundation policy project evaluating healthcare coverage options for low-income women and children.  She then served as a clinical research coordinator in New York City before moving to Shenyang, China as a Princeton-in-Asia Fellow. Though the challenges were great, she was able to accomplish much, from implementing college-level health courses and orphanage caregiver trainings to establishing a university volunteer program that continues to serve disadvantaged children in Shenyang today.

After two years in China, Amy came to UNC to pursue an MPH, with the hope of future work on projects that strengthen the link between child health and maternal health/family planning programs through research and evaluation.  In the MPH program, Amy has excelled academically — receiving an “H” in Biostatistics, Epidemiology, Foundations of MCH, and an independent study related to international perspectives on public health.  She also serves as co-chair for the student global health committee and on the evaluation committee for the new core course Foundations in MCH.

2006: Sheryl Wallin Abrahams

Sheryl earned bachelors degrees in biology, anthropology, and policy studies from Rice University, and then went on to serve in the US Peace Corps in Turkmenistan.  There she worked on a children’s nutrition coloring book and a breastfeeding education program.  In addition to her excellent academic performance during the first year of our master’s program, Sheryl has assumed leadership positions with the Student Global Health Committee and the Graduate and Professional Student Forum.  She intends to use this award to expand upon projects that she will be conducting during her upcoming summer internship with the Agency for Educational Development’s Linkages Project, which provides technical information and training on infant feeding and maternal nutrition.


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