The Bernstein Fellows Program identifies and supports the work of outstanding individuals already working in health services in these areas and share Jim’s commitment and passion for rural health. For more information on the Bernstein Fellows Program, click here.
Lance Goller, M.P.A.
Lance is the Collective Impact implementer at Smartly United Early Childhood Collective, a partnership co-led by Smart Start of Transylvania County and United Way of Transylvania County. In this position, he will encourage conversations and collaboration across the county to facilitate children and their families in preparations for success in kindergarten. His work will draw on community members’ experiences and situations to gain insights into current assets and needs. Lance received a Master of Public Administration degree from Bernard Baruch College and has an extensive background in social justice for under-served populations, especially in the field of health care access.
As a Bernstein Fellow, Lance is developing a project that will improve early childhood outcomes in Transylvania County using the Collective Impact model as a framework to unite public and private Early Childhood initiatives.
Rebecca Grandy, Pharm.D.
Rebecca is a Clinical Pharmacist with MAHEC Family Medicine, an area health education center that provides high-quality, compassionate health care and training for health professionals. She is responsible for providing chronic disease state and comprehensive medication management, and also serves as an Assistant Clinical Professor for rural health curriculum with the UNC Eshelman School of Pharmacy and as Residency Program Director in collaboration with Mission Health. Rebecca received a Doctor of Pharmacy degree from the UNC Eshelman School of Pharmacy Asheville Campus. Rebecca is passionate about improving rural health, and becoming an effective leader in this field.
As a Bernstein Fellow, she is exploring the education and training of health care professionals and students on Hepatitis C. She hopes this will inform the feasibility of an inter-professional, teaching Hepatitis C clinic in a primary care setting.
Shelisa Howard-Martinez, M.P.A
Shelisa is the Director of Community Engagement at Care Share Health Alliance, a statewide non-profit that helps communities coordinate care and other resources for underserved people. In her role, she is responsible for directing the technical assistance program, serving as the lead staff to the Collaborative Network Community, providing direct support to communities primarily in eastern North Carolina. Shelisa received a Master in Public Administration at North Carolina Central University. She is an advocate for rural communities, and hopes to develop her position as one by seeking mentorship and increasing her knowledge of advanced payment models and peer-to-peer shared learning.
As a Bernstein Fellow, Shelisa is convening a core group of new state or regional non-healthcare stakeholders who work in Care Share communities. She hopes that by identifying common technical outcomes, she will be able to better understand and leverage collaborative opportunities.
Jennifer Layton, M.S.P.H.
Jennifer Layton, M.S.P.H.
Jennifer is a Health Education Specialist with the Stanly County Department of Public Health. As part of her responsibilities in this role, she serves as a conduit for the health department to the community, providing education, conducting analysis for health trends, and preparing reports for the community health assessments. She also established and coordinates a farmer’s market and the Stanly County Minority Health Council. She hopes to continue to refine her leadership and project implementation skills. Jennifer received a Master in Public Health degree from the University of North Carolina-Charlotte.
As a Bernstein Fellow, Jennifer is planning and implementing a mobile syringe exchange program in Stanly county, to counteract overdose trends and reports of excessive dirty needles usage in the community. She hopes that this will be the link individuals need to seek support and treatment.
Bridgett Luckey, M.H.A.
Bridgett is the Program Development Manager at OIC Family Medical Center, an agency that provides comprehensive employment, business, and health services to the communities it serves. In her role, she provides administrative and operations assistance to identify gaps in services and develop programs and initiatives to improve community health outcomes and quality of life. She is committed to continuing to form strategic partnerships and collaborations, addressing social determinants of health to achieve greater health literacy and outcomes. Bridgett received a Master of Healthcare Administration degree from Winston-Salem State University.
As a Bernstein Fellow, she is implementing programs of self-sufficiency that increase access to healthcare for identified homeless populations and those who are underserved in non-permanent housing.
Schell is the Executive Director of Partners Aligned Toward Health (PATH), a non-profit that identifies collaborative opportunities to improve the health of children and families in Mitchell and Yancey counties, using Community Health Assessments and priorities as a guide. As Executive Director, Schell is responsible for coordination of community collaborations, planning, implementation and oversight of programs and initiatives, and management of the financial and administrative aspects of the organization. She is committed to making a lasting impact on the health of children and families in Yancey and Mitchell Counties, and seeks to expand successful local programs while building dynamic relationships with other effective professionals. Schell is a native of Yancey County, NC. After earning a Bachelor of Science in Psychology from Appalachian State University, she has dedicated her career to the vitality of her home community.
As a Bernstein Fellow, Schell is exploring the expansion, sustainability, and scalability of a summer program focusing on local produce and community partnerships to serve food-insecure families in Yancey County.
Alice Pollard, M.S.W./M.S.P.H.
Alice is the Health Care Access Coordinator at the North Carolina Community Health Center Association, a membership organization focused on the success of NC community health centers. In her role, Alice provides training and technical assistance, for community health centers, with a focus on social needs and health insurance outreach and enrollment. She is dedicated to bringing the community voice to health care policy and programs, and hopes to develop leadership skills to address change in rural areas. Alice received a Master of Social Work degree and a Master of Science in Public Health degree from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.
As a Bernstein Fellow, she is developing a project to address development, retention, and burnout of front-line workers at community health centers. This will allow her to explore how community health centers can help effective front-line workers grow into health center and community leaders.
Jamie Cousins, MPA
During her time as a Bernstein Fellow, Jamie was the Program Manager for the Catalyst for Health Eating and Active Living (Catalyst), a program of the Foundation for Health Leadership & Innovation in collaboration with the North Carolina Division of Public Health and funded by the Kate B. Reynolds Charitable Trust.
For her project, Jamie worked to bring together small teams of local public health and economic development practitioners to explore the intersection of their work in rural communities.
Erin Hultgren, MPH
During her time as a Bernstein Fellow, Erin was the Program Manager at Gaston Family Health Services, Inc. where she manages multiple disease-specific programs.
For her project, Erin reviewed the capacity to integrate and normalize HIV/HCV testing into standard clinic flow as well as the ability to provide Hepatitis C treatment within an integrated primary care office.
Rod Jenkins, MHA
During his time as a Bernstein Fellow, Rod served as the Interim Public Health Director for Cumberland County, North Carolina where he is proud to prevent, promote, and protect the public’s health.
For his project, Rod co-chaired the Health Insurance and Safety Net work group of the NC Rural Health Leadership Alliance, and created talking points and tools for supporting uninsured and underinsured rural residents.
During his time as Bernstein Fellow, Pete served as the Food Service Manager at Mission Health. Compass Group of North America has named Pete the Southeast Chair of the Regional Diversity and Inclusion Action Team.
For his project, Pete built on the Feed the Fields program in rural western NC, a program that delivers nutritious meals and provides health education to migrant farm workers.
Catherine Parker, MA
During her time as a Bernstein Fellow, Catherine served as the Director of Hertford County Student Wellness Center, a division of Roanoke Chowan Community Health Center.
For her project, Catherine worked to fully implement the Farm to School to Healthcare Initiative in Hertford County, a program that engages youth to design build, and maintain school gardens from which the produce will be sold at discount to low-income patients of local community health centers.
Marian Arledge, MPH
During her time as a Bernstein Fellow, Marian Arledge served as a Community Development Specialist at the Buncombe County Department of Health. In this position, Marian was responsible for supervising the Community Health Improvement Process.
For her project, Marian partnered with health departments and hospitals in Western NC to build capacity for the implementation of collaborative and comprehensive Community Health Improvement Processes to address identified community health needs. Watch her project presentation.
Jill Boesel, MPH
During her time as a Bernstein Fellow, Jill Boesel served as the Project Coordinator for Physician Practice Services with Community Care of North Carolina. In her position, she supported the continued development and rollout of the North Carolina Health Information Exchange (NC HIE)—North Carolina’s statewide secure, standardized electronic system that allows health information to be shared across multiple systems and entities, improving quality, outcomes and costs of care.
For her project, Jill evaluated the use of Direct Secure Messaging (DSM) in hospitals, ambulatory practices, and long-term care facilities in Halifax County, and identified resources to support future DSM implementation. Watch her project presentation.
Amelia Mahan, MSW, LCSW
During her time as a Bernstein Fellow, Amelia Mahan was the Behavioral Health Program Manager at Community Care of North Carolina (CCNC). In addition to supporting the 14 Network Behavioral Health Coordinators and Chronic Pain Coordinators, she coordinated the Motivational Interviewing program, and facilitated various workgroups and special projects, collaborating closely with state agencies, behavioral health providers, Medicaid recipients, and other community stakeholders.
For her project, Amelia created a network in Pinehurst to connect pregnancy care providers with substance abuse resources, created tools for OB providers to screen for and address substance use, and implemented training for health workers to discuss family planning with substance abuse patients. Watch her project presentation.
Joanne Rinker, MS, RD, CDE, LDN
During her time as a Bernstein Fellow, Joanne Rinker worked as the Director of Training and Technical Assistance at the Center for Healthy North Carolina. In her role, she worked to increase community coalitions and assists them in identifying sustainable evidence based strategies to reach the Healthy North Carolina 2020 goals and objectives.
For her project, Joanne conducted a needs assessment of community health coalitions, and developed facilitator-led webinars to meet their needs for education and training. Watch her project presentation.
Sarah Thach, MPH
During her time as a Bernstein Fellow, Sarah Thach worked at the Mountain Area Health Education Center, in the Center for Healthy Aging, on a variety of regional health initiatives affecting older adults.
For her project, Sarah piloted models for primary care and public health collaborations to address environmental factors affecting the health of the aging population in Western NC. Watch her project presentation.
Melanie Batchelor, MHS, RD, LDN, CDE
During her time as a Bernstein Fellow, Melanie Batchelor was a Wellness Coordinator and Diabetes Educator and worked for for MedWest Health System in Sylva, North Carolina. In this position, she managed the health management programs including, Diabetes Self-Management Training, Medical Nutrition Therapy and Worksite Wellness.
For her project, Melanie implemented an evidenced-based obesity prevention program for children that included the creation of community partnerships to provide consistent health messaging to families. Watch her project presentation.
Allison Lipscomb, MPH
During her time as a Bernstein Fellow, Allison Lipscomb was the Chief Operating Officer at High Country Community Health.
For her project, Allison developed best practices for behavioral health service integration at new, fledgling community health center (CHC), and established an internship program at the CHC to ensure ongoing graduate and undergraduate student support for behavioral health services. Watch her project presentation.
During his time as a Bernstein Fellow, Peter Rives, born in New Hampshire, was the Manager of Behavioral Health at the Northwest Community Care Network in Winston-Salem.
For his project, Peter developed INSIGHT tool (Integration Needs Survey for Innovative Growth in Health Treatment) for evaluating and improving case- by-case integration of behavioral health services in care practices. Watch his project presentation.
Tim Smith, MPA
During his time as a Bernstein Fellow, Tim Smith, was a Project Research Associate at Carolina HealthNet (CHN) helping the uninsured understand the benefits of medical homes.
For his project, Tim established community health assessment partnerships, and provided training for the use of geo-mapping tools to inform program and policy decisions. Watch his project presentation.
Randy Barrington, MBA
During his time as a Bernstein Fellow, Randy Barrington was the Quality Improvement Coordinator with Community Care of Lower Cape Fear in Wilmington, one of 14 networks that make up Community Care of North Carolina.
For his project, Randle worked with primary care providers to assure comfort in assessing online claims data, and trained providers to use data to implement quality improvement activities to improve care quality in Columbus and Bladen counties. Watch his project presentation.
Ron Gaskins, MBA, MPA
During his time as a Bernstein Fellow, Ron Gaskins was the Network Support Manager with Northwest Community Care Network in Winston-Salem, one of 14 networks that make up Community Care of North Carolina.
For his project, Ron made and piloted a toolkit to standardize post-partum visits which included educational materials for the patient, clinical tools for the provider, and operational tools for the practice addressing medical and behavioral post-partum topics. Watch his project presentation.
Laura Owens, PharmD
During her time as a Bernstein Fellow, Laura Owens was Chief of Pharmacy Services at Carolina Family Health Centers, Inc., which operates three Federally Qualified Health Centers in eastern North Carolina.
For her project, Laura Implemented a readiness program including a patient assessment tool, utilization of pharmacy classes, and follow-up services to empower HIV/AIDS patients to make informed decisions about their treatment plans. Watch her project presentation.
Rebecca Whitaker, MPH
During her time as a Bernstein Fellow, Rebecca Whitaker served as the Policy and Program Analyst at the North Carolina Community Health Center Association in Morrisville.
For her project, she conducted an assessment of unmet legal needs among patients in five federally qualified health centers and developed formal medical-legal partnerships to integrate legal services into health care delivery systems. Watch her project presentation.
Susan Clifford, MSW, MPH
During her time as a Bernstein Fellow, Susan Clifford, worked at the Orange County Health Department as the Immigrant and Refugee Health Program Manager.
For her project, Susan improved cultural and linguistic services in the Immigrant and Refugee Health program of Orange County.
During her time as a Bernstein Fellow, Fiorella Horna-Guerra was a Program Consultant at the NC Office of Rural Health and Community Care, providing technical assistance to health centers providing direct care to migrant and seasonal farmworker families.
For her project, she designed tools and training for communities to expand health care access to uninsured, rural residents, and outlined methods for rural providers to finance and sustain their services.
Sharon K. West, RN, MHS
During her time as a Bernstein Fellow, Sharon West was the Women Veterans Program Manager at the Asheville VA Medical Center, Asheville, NC.
For her project, she developed IMPACT (Interdenominational Minority Pastor/Parishioner Advance Care Training) curriculum to train lay faith leaders to educate faith communities regarding the importance of making health and medical decisions.
Anthony Emekalam, PharmD
During his time as a Bernstein Fellow, Anthony Emekalam was assistant professor of Clinical Pharmacy at Elizabeth City State University.
For his project, Anthony expanded a community-based initiative to provide health risk assessment, education, and advocacy in rural Northeastern NC.
Kenneth W. Phelps, Ph.D.
During his time as a Bernstein Fellow, Kenneth Phelps was a Medical Family Therapist and Assistant Professor of Neuropsychiatry and Behavioral Sciences at the University of South Carolina.
For his project, Kenneth implemented a community outreach project focusing on education, holistic health, and biopsychosocial care for the medically underserved population in Eastern NC.
Linda McDaniel, MSN, RN
During her time as a Bernstein Fellow, Linda McDaniel worked for Community Care Plan of Eastern Carolina.
For her project, Linda developed a curriculum of communication, self-awareness, and boundary-setting tools to train front-line health workers to navigate complex medical and behavioral health services for Medicaid clients in rural Eastern NC.
Steve North, MD
Roy Savage, MD
Aimee Donaton, MPH, RD, CDE
Aimee Donaton, MPH, RD, CDE
During her time as a Bernstein Fellow, Aimee Donaton was a Program Director with Community Care of the Lower Cape Fear (CCLCF)
For her project, she led efforts to train primary care practices on the use of the Group Medical Visit model, and studied the efficacy of the model to address common barriers in implementation.
Jennifer Polo, RN
During her time as a Bernstein Fellow, Jennifer Polo worked as the Assistant Director for Community Care Plan of Eastern Carolina, one of the CCNC Networks.
For her project, she Founded Healthy Craven Now, an initiative in to promote walking and exercise for weight management, and developed a healthy weight toolkit for pediatric offices in Craven, Jones, and Pamlico counties.