President: Delaenam Akahoho
Delaenam is a first year Master of Public Health student pursuing a combined concentration in Epidemiology and Maternal and Child Health. Her primary interests in public health are surveillance-based research, maternal and child health, health equity and advocacy. Delaenam graduated with a Bachelor of Science in Biomedical Science with a Public Health minor from the University of South Florida (USF). During her time at USF, Delaenam served as President of the Undergraduate Public Health Student Association and led the charge in planning a virtual call to action event with Dean Donna Petersen addressing racial injustices that occurred in 2020. Delaenam aspires to use her position and public health education to humanize big data as she considers the individual narratives and cultures that drive community change. Additionally, Delaenam strives to advocate, educate, and lead in a manner that enhances health equity and policy-based decision making. She is committed to joining her peers to create innovative public health solutions for those who need them most.
Vice President: Cassandra Garza
Cassandra has the pleasure of serving as the Vice President on the MCHSO Executive Board. Cassandra is currently pursuing her master’s degree in Public Health with a concentration in Maternal and Child Health at the University of South Florida (USF). She also earned her bachelor’s degree at USF in Biomedical Sciences with a minor in Women and Gender Studies. Cassandra is proudly a part of the 8th scholar cohort for the Institute for Translational Research Education in Adolescent Drug Abuse. One of her most memorable experiences serving MCH populations was through an internship with REACHUP, Inc – a local Tampa Bay non-profit organization. Cassandra’s MCH-related interests include exploring adverse childhood experiences, such as parental incarceration. Upon graduation, she aspires to contribute to research and practices that increase accessibility of behavioral and mental health services for communities of color.
Secretary: Marissa Franz
Marissa is a third-year undergraduate student majoring in Health Sciences. Upon graduation, she plans to apply to physician assistant (PA) programs and has a goal of specializing in neonatal intensive care units (NICU). She is interested in the care of premature and ill infants as well as the mental and physical health of the mother during and after giving birth. Her public health interests include human trafficking, maternal and child health, and food insecurity. In her role on the MCHSO Executive Board, she is interested in engaging more undergraduate students and is excited to raise awareness for current maternal and child health issues. During her time at the University of South Florida, Marissa also serves on the Executive Board for Trafficking in America Task Force (TIATF) and volunteers at Feeding Tampa Bay.
Research and Education Chair: Lidia Aragai
Lidia is a graduate student at the University of South Florida (USF) pursuing a Master of Public Health with a concentration in Global Health Practice. She has served as a Policy and Advocacy Associate at the Global Health and International Development program. Before USF, she completed a Bachelor of Science in Psychology and a minor in Health Disparities in Society at the University of Florida (UF). During her time at UF, she worked at Children’s Home Society supervising family visitations and learning about the social determinants of health. Lidia’s main interests include women’s health, health equity, as well as sexual and reproductive health and rights. She looks forward to helping students learn about MCH issues and being more involved with MCH populations.
Service Chair: Monise Harris
Monise Marie will serve as the Service Chair for 2021-2022 academic year. Due to personal experiences and being a first-generation college student, she has a strong passion to pay it forward, especially among youth. She is pursuing a Master of Public Health with a combined concentration in Maternal and Child Health and Epidemiology. Previously, she earned a Bachelor of Arts in Chemistry from the University of South Florida and has worked to promote STEM among K-12 students. Her public health interests include health disparities, nutrition, heart disorders, and educational attainment. Monise Marie hopes to contribute to the decline in racial inequities and engage in community initiatives to ultimately improve children's health.
Recruitment Chair: Alyssa Persad
Alyssa is a second-year student in the Global Health Practice concentration and the Maternal and Child Health Certificate program. Before starting her Master of Public Health program, she completed her undergraduate studies at the University of South Florida (USF) and obtained a degree in Public Health as well. Recently, Alyssa completed an internship with the Florida Mental Health Advocacy Coalition, where she learned the value of advocating for mental health legislature. She has also had the opportunity to study abroad in London, where her interests in global health flourished. Alyssa is interested in a wide range of maternal and child health topics on a global scale. Some of these interests include respectful care of pregnant mothers, mental health before and after pregnancy, family-centered care, community intervention and implementation, refugee health, as well as the treatment and spread of infectious diseases. Upon graduation, Alyssa plans to work in an organization that focuses on MCH efforts before pursuing a PhD in Public Health. Her goal is to teach others about the field of MCH while advocating for different MCH populations.