Alumni Class Notes

Alumni Class Notes


  • The Institute of Medicine/National Academy of Sciences has appointed Bailus Walker Jr., MPH ’59, to its Committee on Long-Term Health Consequences of Exposure to Burn Pits in Iraq and Afghanistan. As one of 12 occupational and environmental–medicine scientists named to the committee, Walker will examine the health hazards that result from the burning of waste mixtures in large, uncontrolled pits in Iraq and Afghanistan. The committee will also assess both feasibility and design issues for an epidemiological study of veterans exposed to these health risks.


  • Central Queensland University, in Queensland, Australia, has named its Rockhampton Campus nursing headquarters “The Amy Zelmer Building,” in honor of Emeritus Professor Amy (Elliott) Zelmer, MPH ’63, the former Foundation Dean of the university’s Faculty of Health Science. In addition to a distinguished nursing, research, and academic career, Zelmer is actively involved in a variety of community and consumer groups dedicated to the long-term improvement of health services and the well-being of communities through education and research.  VIDEO: Zelmer discuss her work.


  • Last fall, Chih Liang Yaung, PhD ’79, became the Minister of Health of Taiwan. He is a past Deputy Minister of Health and past dean of the College of Health Science, Asia University.
  • In addition to being chief medical officer of the Queens Long Island Group, J. Ronald Rowes, MD, MPH ’76, is chair of the board and medical director of Lypris Medical, a company based on his patented device for pressure ulcers.


  • Adjunct Professor Donald Chen, DrPH ’82, is helping to set up a new Department in Environmental Health Sciences for post-graduate studies and research at the International Medical University in Malaysia. Chen notes that the new department will seek to emulate the UM SPH model for teaching and research. In the future, he and his colleagues hope to arrange academic exchanges between the two institutions.
  • Steven C. Gold, MPH ’75, is the new health department director/health officer for Macomb County, Michigan.
  • Los Angeles–based David Adam Holtzman, MPH ’85, serves as a consultant to government agencies and private real-estate developers on air quality and health-risk assessments. Previously, he was a principal scientist in the air-quality, climate, and acoustics division of PCR Services Corporation, an environmental-consulting firm in Santa Monica, California. Holtzman is president of the League of Women Voters of Los Angeles.
  • As the assistant vice chancellor for capital development at the University of California, Merced, John O. White, MHSA ’85, is engaged in capital development for the new UC, Merced, campus and its adjoining university community. He also serves on the board of directors of the Society for College and University Planning.
  • Terri D. Wright, MPH ’84, is the new director of the Center for School, Health and Education in the Division of Public Health Policy and Practice at the American Public Health Association.


  • (Julia) Zoe Beckerman, MPH ’97, is a partner in the Washington, D.C., law firm of Feldesman, Tucker, Leifer, Fidell, LLP, where she is also managing principal of FT Solutions, the firm’s consulting arm.
  • Anchorage resident Chung Nin Ha, MPH ’92, is a health educator for the State of Alaska.
  • Jonathan Segal, MHSA ’96, is the chief financial officer for Planned Parenthood of New York City.
  • In a March 8, 2010, column on fitness, New York Times health writer Jane Brody endorsed the approach that Michelle Segar, PhD, MPH ’97, studies and advocates. Segar is a research investigator at the Institute for Research on Women and Gender and a translational fellow at the Michigan Institute for Clinical and Health Research at the University of Michigan. Read the article.
  • Ritola Tasmaya, MD, MPH ’90, is the executive secretary for the governor of Jakarta, Indonesia. Tasmaya is the former city secretary of Jakarta.


  • Mari Embertson, MHSA ’08, is a special projects manager with The Everett Clinic in Everett, Washington.
  • Loren Hamel, MHSA ’06, of Berrien Springs is the new president and CEO of Lakeland HealthCare. A long-time family physi-cian, Hamel has been part of Lakeland’s senior leadership team for 10 years. He replaces UM SPH alumnus Joseph Wasserman, MHA ’70, who has retired after 25 years as Lakeland’s president and CEO.
  • In his new role as patient care operational manager for St. Joseph Mercy Oakland (Michigan), Jacky Lagrace, MHSA ’08, works with the vice president for patient care services on operations and quality-improvement initiatives.
  • Last year, Kirk Larson, MHSA ’04, became Chief Information Officer of Natividad Medical Center, a hospital in Monterey County, California.
  • Alicia (Watkins) Okoh, MPH ’01, MSW, is a program manager for Catholic Charities CYO, a nonprofit provider of social services in San Francisco, California.
  • Alicia Simmer, MHSA ’07, is a senior healthcare consultant with Ann Arbor–based KHC, a woman-owned business that provides customized solutions to the unique challenges faced by hospitals, outpatient facilities, and academic medical centers.
  • As a recipient of a U.S. Department of State Critical Language Scholarship, Ashley Strahey, MPH ’10, will study Arabic in an intensive language institute this summer and will enter the Peace Corps this fall. Strahey hopes to use her Arabic to work in international development, with a focus on maternal and child health and human rights. The Critical Language Scholarship Program is part of a U.S. federal government effort to expand the number of Americans studying and mastering critical-need foreign languages.
  • Deena Thomas, MPH ’09, is the MPH coordinator for the new Sri Ramachandra University (SRU)–University of California, Berkeley, InterInstitutional Collaboration and Master of Public Health Program in Occupational and Environmental Health. The collaboration and MPH program were officially launched in January. SRU is located in Chennai, India.