Mentor: Dr. Jennifer Leeman
Research interests: health care related decision making in chronic diseases
Sallie Allgood of Durham, N.C., earned a Bachelor of Science in Biochemistry from Campbell University in 2000 and a Master of Science in Biology from Wake Forest University in 2005. Since 2005, she has worked at Duke University; explored the mechanism of action of chemotherapeutics for the treatment of leukemia in preclinical and early phase clinical trials; assessed the potential of chemotherapeutics for leukemia treatment in preclinical studies; and studied familial genetics in leukemia. Sallie is interested in exploring ways to help patient’s make informed decisions on their treatment through improved patient education and teaching critical thinking skills. She is also interested in translating bench science to inform patient treatment. Ms. Allgood is a member of the 2014 cohort.
Mentor: Dr. Beth Black
Research interests: health policy, health disparities, and reproductive health in the context of chronic illness management
Laura Elizabeth Britton of Chapel Hill, N.C., earned a Bachelor of Arts in Biological Sciences in 2005 from Wellesley College. She has a strong background in reproductive health research and direct service. At Planned Parenthood Southeastern Pennsylvania, she provided patient education and birth control counseling and worked as a study coordinator on clinical trials. At UNC Student Wellness, she provided birth control counseling to students, presenting educational programming to student groups, and conducting a campus-wide needs assessment as a Carolina Health Education Counselor of Sexuality. Her experiences galvanized her passion for patient-centered care and reproductive justice. While pursuing her BSN at the UNC School of Nursing, she completed an Honors project entitled “The Impact of Abortion Policy on Patient Safety: How Is It Measured?” in which she analyzed the content validity of measures used to evaluate policy impact. She also worked as a research assistant on a qualitative study entitled “Abortion provision under Women’s Right to Know laws: How a new restrictive law affects abortion providers in North Carolina” with physicians from the UNC School of Medicine. Her goal is to examine how reproductive health policies influence the care given to women with chronic illnesses and to design interventions that improve integration of family planning services into chronic illness management. Ms. Britton is a member of the 2013 cohort.
Martha Grace Cromeens
Mentor: Dr. Mark Toles
Research interests: transitional care in burn patients
Martha Grace Cromeens of Bryan, Texas, earned a Bachelor of Arts in History from the University of St. Thomas in 2002, a Master of Arts in History from Baylor University in 2007 and a Juris Doctorate from the South Texas College of Law in 2008. Her Master’s thesis was titled “A Fifty-Year Retrospective on a German Cold War Tragedy, 1953-2003.” In addition to being a licensed attorney, she is a certified phlebotomist and certified nurse aide. Prior to applying to the Hillman Scholars Program, she worked as a tutor at Texas A&M University and as an instructor at Blinn College, teaching courses in history and government. Ms. Cromeens is a member of the 2013 cohort.
Mentor: Dr. Eric Hodges
Research interests: pediatric care and improving patient-family experiences in the pediatric population
Leah Morgan is originally from Charlotte, N.C., but moved to Chapel Hill at beginning of her undergraduate career. She is a traditional first-degree Bachelor of Nursing Science student. Upon being admitted to the nursing school, Ms. Morgan has become involved in Undergraduate Student Governance Council, Association of Nursing Students, and Careers Beyond the Bedside. She is also a nursing school ambassador and is interested in pursuing a career in pediatrics. Ms. Morgan is a member of the 2014 cohort.
Mentor: Dr. Cheryl L. Giscombé
Research interests: models of maternal care delivery in the US and impacts on health care costs and outcomes
Esita Patel of Charlotte, N.C., earned a Bachelor of Science in Biology, with a minor in chemistry, from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill in 2013. She earned highest honors for her thesis work on the tumorigenic effects of ASC on medulloblastoma. During her time at UNC, Ms. Patel was a microbiology intern, Carolina Research Scholar, Howard Hughes Medical Institute-Future Scientists and Clinicians (HHMI-FSC) fellow, member of Phi Sigma Pi and Tri-Beta National Honors Societies, and a volunteer doula. Prior to applying to the Hillman Scholars Program, she lived and worked alongside an indigenous midwife in Tecpan, Guatemala, through funding earned from the Carolina Experience Enrichment Scholarship fellowship. Her current research interests are driven by the disconnect between poorer birthing outcomes in obstetrical care in the US compared to other developed countries, despite the US spending more on this care compared to other countries. She hopes to explore models of care for low-risk pregnancies in the US that optimize costs while improving health care outcomes for the mother and baby. Ms. Patel is a member of the 2014 cohort.
Mentors: Drs. Diane Berry and Shawn Kneipp
Research interests: improving health of underserved populations in the community setting
Bill Smith of Durham, N.C., earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Psychology from Allegheny College in Meadville, Penn., in 2006. He completed a thesis focused on service learning and its effects on narcissism and pro-social inclination in undergraduate students, and a Master of Arts in Clinical Psychology for Edinboro University of Pennsylvania in 2008. During his time at Allegheny College, he was an AmeriCorps Bonner Leader, completing 900 hours of service with at-risk youth, volunteered at a community-based, consumer-driven organization focused to better the lives of those with mental illness, and was the Community Service chair for Allegheny College’s chapter of Psi Chi – the International Honor Society in Psychology. Mr. Smith was recognized with Allegheny College’s Outstanding Community Service Award in 2006. He has worked as a clinician at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center’s Western Psychiatric Institute and Clinic, where he was nominated for Clinician of the Year in 2009. In North Carolina, he worked in regional mental health administration, designing and implementing service programs and establishing and strengthening partnerships with local, state, and national stakeholders. He established a patient assistance program to assist individuals without insurance in accessing needed medications and established a primary care clinic at a local crisis services center to ensure a more integrated approach to care and aftercare for people in a behavioral health crisis. Mr. Smith is a member of the 2014 cohort.
Mentors: Drs. Gwen Sherwood and Margaret (Peggy) Bentley
Research interests: childhood obesity and childhood malnutrition
Adria Nicole Spinelli of Racine, Wis., earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in International Studies from Baylor University in 2011. During her time at Baylor, she was a member of the Honors College and studied abroad, focusing on international law and organizations. Prior to applying to the Hillman Scholars Program, Ms. Spinelli served as a Center Director for the Appalachia Service Project, a non-profit home repair organization working with impoverished communities in West Virginia. As Center Director, she managed a $50,000 budget and oversaw more than 500 volunteers. Ms. Spinelli has extensive international experience, including time spent studying in Cambodia and teaching in Spain. Ms. Spinell is a member of the 2013 cohort.