21 – 22 Cohort

Community Partners & Projects

Alabama State Nurses Association

As part of an effort to increase early-career nurses’ participation in ASNA, HPAs conducted a focus group with graduating BSN students to assess their knowledge of and intention to join professional organizations once they join the workforce. Utilizing what they learned from this exercise, the team developed recommendations for ASNA to expand its membership.

Disability Rights & Resources

Several of DRR’s partners expressed concern over the reporting process for abuse in long-term care facilities. HPAs were able to establish a relationship with one of Jefferson County’s Ombudsman Coordinators and identify strategies to improve residents’ knowledge of their rights and the reporting process. HPAs organized a webinar and submitted a formal proposal to the Ombudsman Program.

Greater-Birmingham Alliance to Stop Pollution

In the interest of innovatively utilizing federal pandemic relief funds, this team developed a proposal for the City of Birmingham to implemenet a workforce development program centered around developing green infrastructure and empowering youth through apprenticeships. The team based their proposal for an Urban Climate Corps on successful programs in other parts of the country.

Greater Birmingham Arts Education Collaborative

Leading up to this academic year, the State Department of Education partnered with Ingenuity to develop artlook Alabama, a “one-stop-shop for information on arts education in our state.” The Arts Collaborative was asked to assist in the development of quality indicators for this tool, specifically incorporating parent perspectives. HPAs developed and distributed a state-wide survey to gain insights into parents’ priorities for arts education in Alabama’s K-12 schools. The team then presented preliminary results to education officials in late April.


Ala’a Abu-Spetani

I am a fourth year medical student at UAB Heersink School of Medicine, wanting to pursue Emergency Medicine. Born to Palestinian immigrant parents, I developed an early passion for social justice and advocacy, including health equity, refugee health, and global health. Through this program, I look forward to investing time in disability advocacy that will not only help people with disabilities but will also allow me to become a better patient advocate in my future practice as a physician. I’m excited to learn how to use my voice and platform to make an impact in my community.

Nadia Anabtawi

Nadia Anabtawi is a third year medical student at UABSOM. Her passion for human rights and advocacy stems from being born to Palestinian parents and striving to learn about history and her heritage. With a bachelor’s in neuroscience, Nadia has always been interested in understanding how creative art influences brain development. She is excited to play a role in the interconnectedness of arts education, public health, and policy in the Birmingham community this year!

Emon Collazo

I’m Emon C. (pronounced like the model), and I am Masters of Public Health Candidate concentrating in Maternal and Child Health and Leadership (MCH). I am also a Certified Health Education Specialist in the process of creating a platform that openly talks about MCH and normalizes conversation to allow women and families to talk confidently about their health. The less technical stuff about me is that I love putting on my makeup, painting my nails, traveling with my best friends, and eating!

Ami Dave

Ami Dave is a part of the Accelerated Bachelor’s/Master’s Program pursuing her undergraduate degree in Public Health with a concentration in Global Health studies as well as her Master’s in Public Health with a concentration in Healthcare Organization and Policy. She is fascinated in combining her interest of medicine and public policy to advocate for impactful change in Birmingham. Through her work with the Greater Birmingham Arts Education Collaborative, she hopes to work toward increasing opportunities for arts education in schools as it provides for greater growth and development of students over time.

Mary Gilmore

My name is Mary Gilmore, and I am a junior studying Public Health and Urban Affairs from Helena, Alabama. My family has lived in Birmingham for many generations and has seen both trial and triumph when it comes to the health, safety, and prosperity of the City and residents. I am very passionate about advocating for a safer and healthier Birmingham and am excited to begin working on policy measures to affect a positive change.

Nadia Haq

Nadia plans to study Health Policy for their Masters degree and was recommended for the HPA program by someone in our first cohort, Odion Ovbiegele! As an abolitionist, Nadia works very closely with the Shut Down Etowah Campaign and served as the campaign coordinator for the Alabama Campaign for Adolescent Sexual Health.

Pamela Jackson

Pamela is a third year PhD student in the school of nursing. Her research focuses on how the social and built environments impact age-related conditions and life expectancy.

Emma Kate Sellers

Enrolled in the Accelerated Bachelor’s to Master’s program, Emma Kate is simultaneously earning a BS in Public Health, Spanish for Specific Purposes Certificate, Global Health Certificate, and Master’s in Public Health. She is particularly interested in immigrant and refugee health and working with Spanish-speaking populations. Emma Kate’s MPH focuses on Health Care Organization; she is passionate about how health policy and health communication can contribute to achieving global health equity.

Banks Stamp

Banks is a junior, political science major also pursuing his master’s degree in public administration. He is currently the political director for Alabama College Democrats and the co-president for Sustain at UAB. Banks is passionate about the intersection between sustainability and public policy, specifically regarding environmental health and medicine; he hopes to learn more about health policy analysis and project implementation as an ambassador this year!

Sarah Van Winkle

Hello! My name is Sarah, and I’m passionate about studying and translating an interdisciplinary science background to develop practical solutions for underserved communities. I look forward to working with Disability Rights and Resources to help ensure Alabamians with disabilities experience the highest possible quality of life.

Agasthya Vedre-Kyanam

I am an pre-med undergraduate double major in public health and medical sociology, in the accelerated master’s degree program in public health for epidemiology. I am passionate about the social determinants of health and health behavior, social epidemiology, and how hierarchy and structures of power within and outside institutions affect both delivery and outcomes of health. My principle aim is to to establish nationally-ranging systems of free healthcare with emphasis on social and environmental causation and community infrastructure.