• By Allison Gollon
  • Posted Monday, May 9, 2016

Public Health Associate Program Highlights

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s Public Health Associate Program (PHAP) is designed to give its participants entry level work experience at the front lines of public health. Associates are placed in various locations across the United States, including local, state and tribal health departments; nonprofit organizations, and universities. PHAP has more than 325 associates working in the field to fulfill the needs of public health agencies across 44 states, one territory, and the District of Columbia. Currently, Forsyth County Department of Public Health is host to four Associates: Allison Gollon, Holley Hooks, Tracey Semcer and Hope Tranberg. These associates relocated from their home states to Winston Salem, North Carolina to further develop and share their skills with the health department and to gain real life experience working within a community.

  • Allison Gollon: Originally from Northeast Ohio, Allison graduated with a bachelor’s degree in Public Health, Health Promotion and Education in 2013 from Kent State University. As part of her PHAP assignment, Allison has worked to improve the health of the older adult community by evaluating community-based physical activity programs, then assessing barriers to program participation and then making recommendations for program improvement. In addition, she teaches three evidence-based health education programs and participates in several planning committees within the county. As part of her second year PHAP assignment, Allison has begun working with the BeHealthy School Kids Program, a nutrition education program, where she is acting as the program coordinator.
  • Holley Hooks: Originally from Huntsville, Alabama, Holley earned her master’s degree in public health from the University of Florida in 2014. Her current projects include helping pregnant women access dental care at Cleveland Avenue Dental Center, learning why patients skip dentist appointments, promoting policy changes that would help more people access dental care, mapping childhood dental disease, and improving the health department’s customer service and satisfaction. After PHAP, Holley hopes to work in international humanitarian aid and global health.
  • Tracey Semcer: Tracey graduated from Centenary College of New Jersey in May, 2014, where she earned a bachelor’s degree in Criminal Justice. She moved from New Jersey to Winston Salem in September 2015. Tracey is working on the expansion of Project Lazarus, which addresses opioid poisoning and overdose, increases access to naloxone and reduces the diversion of opioid medication to illicit drug use, with the eventual goal of reducing unintentional medication overdose deaths in North Carolina. Tracey is enjoying her time here in Forsyth County and looks forward to the adventures ahead as a PHAP associate.
  • Hope Tranberg: Originally from Lawrenceville, Georgia, Hope completed her undergraduate degree in Biology from Georgia Gwinnett College. Her interests in public health and the sciences have led to her current work in HIV/STI prevention services outreach, Prevent Ongoing Spread of STIs Everywhere (POSSE). HIV/STI testing services are provided throughout the community, college campuses, and detention center. Other works involve developing algorithms to improve HIV/STI clinic flow, as well as working in the marketing committee for community events. Hope enjoys painting on her free time, and will be contributing to the Winston-Salem Mural Fest in May 2016.

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