Alumni News Briefs
Susan Vaughn Grooters, a 2008 alumna of the MPH in Epidemiology program, has been appointed to the National Advisory Committee on Microbiological Criteria for Foods (NACMCF) by U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack. Currently the Director of Research and Education with STOP Foodborne Illness (formerly Safe Tables Our Priority), Ms. Grooters will serve a two-year term on the NACMCF as a consumer representative and will provide an important consumer viewpoint to the committee’s food safety work.
“Through my work with STOP, I have had the privilege to work with many courageous and brave individuals who have been personally impacted by foodborne illnesses,” Ms. Grooters said. “I am being appointed to represent them, to make sure that their concerns are heard – that we have the safest food supply possible and that preventable illnesses are prevented. I have been to grave sites of those lost to foodborne illness, and had people literally cry on my shoulder when describing their experiences. It is profoundly moving and inspires a lifelong commitment to working on their behalf. I’m immensely proud and honored to be asked to serve on all consumers’ behalf, and to give a voice to those who no longer have one.”
Established in 1988, the NACMCF provides scientific advice on public health issues relative to the safety and wholesomeness of the U.S. food supply. The committee also assists in the development of microbiological criteria and reviews and evaluates epidemiological and risk assessment data as well as methodologies for assessing microbiological hazards.
“Since I’m appointed to the consumer seat, the essential criteria for a successful nomination and ultimate appointment was working at a consumer organization and being able to bring a consumer viewpoint to the table. However, to really understand the complexity of the tasks assigned to the committee, I believe my appointment was dependent on having two scientific degrees under my belt,” said Grooters, who also holds a Bachelor’s degree in Nutrition and Food Sciences from the University of Vermont.
“Prevention of foodborne illness is a complicated goal,” Grooters added. “In part it is understanding surveillance of illness, and pinpointing likely exposures, as well as what led to initial contamination. Understanding the epidemiologic significance can help inform prevention efforts.”
Grooters’ appointment to the committee brings the total membership to 18 individuals from various fields including academia, industry, and government. More information on the NACMCF can be found at http://www.fsis.usda.gov/About_FSIS/NACMCF/index.asp.
For more information on STOP, a non-profit organization that relies on individual donations to operate, please visit www.STOPfoodborneillness.org.
Dale King, a 2011 alumnus of the MPH in Public Health Practice program, has been promoted to commander in the United States Public Health Service (USPHS). Commander King works as an Information Technology Specialist with the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), an agency of the Department of Homeland Security.
In his new role, Commander King manages, supports and evaluates mobile device products and services to ensure they meet FEMA’s standards and needs. Mobile devices have become a critical resource for first responders and FEMA field personnel, and help ensure that families and communities impacted by disaster are provided with immediate assistance in the worst of times.
As an active duty uniform officer in the USPHS, Commander King also serves to promote, protect and advance the health and safety of the nation. “I take this oath very seriously,” said Commander King. “And as a senior officer I now have a responsibility to mentor and council junior officers. My educational experience at UMass Amherst made me better prepared and better equipped to contribute to the mission of the Commissioned Corps.”
Commander King has served as a Commissioned Corps Officer in the USPHS for over 6 years. Prior to his position with FEMA, he worked for the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) under the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS).
David Miller, ‘93PhD in Kinesiology, has been appointed dean of the School of Health Sciences and Rehabilitation Studies at Springfield College. The school includes more than 700 undergraduate and graduate students in five departments—Emergency Services Management, Occupational Therapy, Physical Therapy, Physician Assistant and Rehabilitation and Disability Studies.
At Springfield College he has taught graduate courses in Research Methods, in Clinical Ergonomics, and Clinical Kinesiology, among others. He is the author of numerous published articles, opinions and book reviews, and has given many presentations before national professional groups, including a recent presentation at the national meeting of the Association of Schools of Allied Health Professions.
Jessica Vickery, a 2011 alumna of the MPH in Community Health Education program, was recently named the Assistant Director of Health Education & Promotion in the Department of Health Promotion at the University of Alabama’s Student Health Center. In her new position, Ms. Vickery oversees the Center’s “Health Hut” Initiative, which is a moving hut that travels around the Tuscaloosa campus addressing different health topics each week. She also heads the sexual health strategic team, which brings together faculty and staff from across campus to develop programming initiatives regarding sexual health.
This summer, Ms. Vickery served as the Project Coordinator for the UMass Amherst Institute of Global Health (for a related story, click here). Along with a cohort of graduate students from the UMass Amherst School of Public Health and Health Sciences, she returned to Novgorod, Russia to help set up a substance abuse group intervention program she designed as part of her final MPH project. The program will be pilot tested this year.
Barbara McCall, a 2011 alumna of the MPH in Community Health Education program, was recently named the Coordinator of Campus Wellness Education at Castleton State College in Castleton, VT. In her role of coordinator, Ms. McCall will be conducting targeted training and educational programs, providing experiential opportunities for students in relevant academic programs, and providing consultation and serving as a liaison to the Castleton State College community regarding health and wellness issues.
“This is exciting because it is a brand new position for the college,” Ms. McCall said. “So I will also be spending the year assessing need and beginning the planning process.”