23 – 24 Cohort

Community Partners & Projects

Nurse Practitioner Alliance of Alabama

Scope-of-practice regulations limit the ability of nurse practitioners in Alabama to meet the needs of their patients. Beyond these regulations, nurse practitioners also face obstacles in providing for their patients. One such obstacle is a rule from the Alabama High School Athletics Association which requires a physician to sign off on students’ sports physicals, even if a nurse performs the physical exam. This team is working with NPAA to propose an update to this rule.

Greater-Birmingham Alliance to Stop Pollution

GASP has identified broad community support for improvements to our local public transit system. Unlike most other states, Alabama does not directly invest in local public transportation. However, a 2018 bill established the Alabama Public Transportation Trust Fund, which remains unfunded. This team is working to encourage investment in the Trust Fund.

Cahaba River Society

Invasive plant species contribute to several issues, including allergies, flooding from stormwater runoff, and environmental degradation, to name a few. In an effort to prevent further effects, this group is developing an initiative to halt the use of invasive plant species in Birmingham-led development projects.

Arts Collab

Access to quality arts education remains inconsistent across the Greater Birmingham area. If each school district were to adopt a comprehensive arts education plan, including employment of certified arts teachers, provision of arts-based pedagogy training for teachers, and engagement with community arts resources. This team is working with stakeholders at Midfield City Schools to secure funding for the implementation of such a plan.


Hailey Coyle

Hailey Coyle is a senior in the Accelerated Bachelor’s/Master’s Program simultaneously seeking an undergraduate degree in Public Health and an MPH with Environmental Health concentrations. Her passions include sustainability, climate change, and advocacy for underserved populations. She looks forward to working with these organizations and helping to improve Birmingham!

Suneeti Chambers

I am a senior studying Neuroscience with interests in learning about public health and health policy. I joined Health Policy Ambassadors to gain insight about advocacy and health policy work and see how human health can be affected on a larger level.

Maizonne Fields

I am an upcoming third year PhD student in the Developmental Psychology program and enrolled in the Public Health Certificate. Broadly, my research interests include aging, caregiving, health disparities, and dementia. My thesis uses the Stress Process Model to investigate potential buffers to caregiver stress.

Kevin Joseph

Kevin is a junior Medical Sociology major in the Accelerated Bachelor’s/Master’s Program. He is pursuing a Master of Public Health with an emphasis on health policy and organization. He is passionate about the intersections of health equity, social justice, and government action.

Rachana Kuthuru

Hello! My name is Rachana Kuthuru and I am a senior majoring in public health on the pre-med track. I am interested in health policy at the clinical level and hope to work with minority groups that are underrepresented and underserved in my future career. As a Health Policy Ambassador, I hope to collaborate with local Birmingham non-profits that are advocating for underprivileged populations and make a difference for the residents of this city!

Josie McGuire

Hello! My name is Josie McGuire and I am a junior on a pre-med track studying Public Health with a concentration in Global Health and fast-tracking an MPH with a concentration in Maternal and Child Health Policy & Leadership. As a Health Policy Ambassador, I hope to combine my interests in medicine and public health with public policy to connect with the Birmingham community and advocate for change in Alabama.

Wajiha Mekki

Wajiha Mekki is a student at the University of Alabama at Birmingham studying Cancer Biology and Political Science while concurrently pursuing her Master’s in Public Health in Epidemiology. She is a servant leader, both on-campus and off-campus, having held leadership roles in numerous university organizations. She aspires to leverage her interdisciplinary interests and experiences to uplift the communities she will serve through interventional programs and policies in the future.

Nikhita Mudium

I am a junior majoring in Neuroscience and pursuing an MPH with a concentration in Health Policy. I look forward to working with my peers in HPA to build my policy skills and transform research into action!

Soundharya Ramanathan

Soundharya is a junior majoring in Psychology and English Linguistics with a certificate in Mental Health. Her interests center around equal access to education and healthcare, especially in adolescents and emerging adults. In her spare time, she enjoys reading, singing, bullet journaling, and rewatching her favorite show, Parks & Recreation!

Mikayla Rigsby

Mikayla Rigsby is a Senior in the Accelerated Bachelor’s/Master’s Program pursuing an MPH with a concentration in Health Policy and Organization and majoring in Neuroscience. She is passionate about improving the accessibility and affordability of healthcare. As an aspiring physician, she hopes to address public health issues through both policy and clinical interventions.

Ritika Samant

Ritika Samant, an MS1 at the Heersink School of Medicine, is a returning Health Policy Ambassador. She hopes to take skills from both medical school and HPA to work towards a career in health policy advocacy informed by real-world clinical experience.

Shashank Tiwari

Shashank Tiwari Ph.D. is pursuing his MPH with a concentration in Epidemiology. With a Ph.D. in Science and Technology Studies and current training in Public Health, Shashank brings a unique blend of expertise in understanding the societal implications of scientific advancements and the promotion of public health. Dr. Tiwari’s interdisciplinary background equips him to tackle complex challenges at the intersection of science, technology, and public health, with a focus on advancing equitable and evidence-based solutions.