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Board Members

Jody Gan, MPH, CHES – President

I am thrilled to be serving as president having served on the board of MdPHA for the last five years as an At Large Board Member, Affiliate Representative to the APHA Governing Council, and President-elect!  It has been wonderful getting to know public health folks from across the state and collaborating with state association leaders in Pennsylvania and Delaware in the Mid-Atlantic Public Health Partnership that we formed at the beginning of the pandemic.  With three decades of experience planning, implementing and evaluating public health programs, I now have the pleasure of teaching the “tools of the trade” to undergraduate public health students at American University. Prior to becoming a full-time faculty member ten years ago, I worked for federal and state governmental health agencies developing health communication products and community outreach strategies for a wide range of programs. Earlier in my career, I coordinated prevention programs for college students at the University of Maryland and my academic interest areas continue to revolve around teen and young adult health.

Jody Gan

Suparna Navale, PhD(c), MS, MPH – President-elect

I am excited to be a part of this wonderful group of public health professionals who are focused on the health of all Marylanders. As a newer resident of Maryland, but having lived in Northern Virginia for most of my life, I am looking forward to learning more about Maryland and the public health issues that are important to our members. Prior to joining the MdPHA Board, I was and am actively involved in leadership in APHA, including Chair of the Student Assembly, Chair of the Intersectional Council, and currently a Governing Councilor of the Epidemiology Section and Chair of APHA’s Committee on Membership. With my experience working with all the boards and committees within APHA, I strive to increase member and student engagement and satisfaction. In my professional role, I am a research analyst at OCHIN, a nonprofit health care innovation company based in Oregon, and a PhD candidate in Epidemiology at Kent State University.

Alexandra DiOrio, MPH, CHES – Secretary

I am excited to serve on the board for the first time as secretary. As a Maryland transplant, I became a member of this wonderful organization in 2021. I have enjoyed meeting fellow Maryland public health professionals and working together to improve the health of our state residents. I am the accreditation coordinator for the University of Nevada, Reno’s School of Public Health. Prior to this role, I spent four and half years working at the accrediting organization for public health higher education. I have had the opportunity to travel the country, meet both academic and practice focused public health professionals, and evaluating curricula. I have also worked as an adjunct professor, a program manager for a reproductive health organization, and an analyst for a regional health insurance company. Each of my roles have had been rooted in quality improvement, which is very important to me. In addition to public health education, my research interests include social determinants and reproductive health.

Alexandra DiOrio

Kate McGrail, MPH, CPA – Treasurer

What a time to be a public health professional! As a first term Board Member, I am ready to dive into the exciting work of reducing disparities, addressing threats to public health, and empowering the next generation of health leaders in Maryland. In my nearly 15 years of professional experience in public health and healthcare settings, I have worked towards promoting healthy and equitable communities through partnership, collaboration and evidence-based programming. As we know, in public health we wear many hats. I am equally as comfortable conducting blood pressure screenings or leading a multi-discipline team at a COVID-19 testing site as I am in a set of financial statements. Similarly, any given day I could be addressing the health concerns of community stakeholders, collaborating to build a stronger continuum of care for discharged patients, or counseling an individual to manage their hypertension. I’ve also been known to leverage my certified fitness instructor skills to substitute a senior aerobics class. From chronic disease prevention and management, to pandemic leadership, to population health care transformation, I am proud to be serving others and champion the ever-important work of improving health.

Kate McGrail

Allie Berry – Climate and Health Coordinator

As a new arrival to Maryland from Seattle, Washington, I look forward to getting to know the state and contributing to building more community-centered, collaborative, and environmentally focused perspectives on health. I am currently a graduate student at Johns Hopkins University studying Environmental Health and Engineering, with research focused in environmental health inequities and food systems. I have experience in conducting community outreach and research for organizations such as the Fish and Wildlife Service, UDSM Seattle and WSOS. I'm excited to join MdPHA as their Climate and Health Coordinator and look forward to helping health professionals in this state to engage in climate action!

Allie Berry

Ilona Argirion Kabara, PhD, MPH – At Large Board Member, Advocacy Committee Chair

I am excited to be serving my first term as the advocacy committee chair and at large board member for MdPHA. I am an epidemiologist currently working as a postdoctoral fellow at the National Cancer Institute’s Division of Cancer Epidemiology and Genetics. My expertise lies at the cross-section between descriptive and molecular epidemiology with a focus on cancer, infectious etiology and global public health. As a recent transplant from the midwest, I am excited to meet fellow Maryland public health professionals and become more engaged in the translation of scientific research into health policy. In my role, I hope to do what I can to advocate for and improve the health of our state residents.

Ilona Argirion Kabara

Krystal Billups, MPH – At Large Board Member

Krystal is serving her second term as an At Large Board Member for MdPHA. She is also the Chief Program Officer for Community Health Programs at Mosaic Group, a national health management consulting firm. In her various roles, she has served as a connector, collaborator, and change agent to advance health equity. Krystal has worked with an array of non-profit organizations, philanthropy, as well as public and private sectors across a range of community and public health issues. She’s dedicated her career to building the capacity of organizations and communities to create systems that address complex community health challenges.

Krystal Billups

Shelley Caplan – At Large Board Member

I’m in my second fruitful year serving as an At Large Board Member at MdPHA, working on both the Communications Committee and the Annual Meeting Planning Committee. I contribute social media content and content ideas for our forthcoming revamped website. I’ve both written for and edited the e-newsletter, helped develop, plan, and promote events, served on the Selection Committee for the new organizational logo, and more. A lifetime Maryland resident, I grew up outside of Baltimore in Pikesville and have lived in Rockville and worked in the communications/marketing field for more than three decades. I am currently the Senior Director of Communications for Impact Marketing + Communications, where I develop and lead health communications campaigns for federal agencies and nonprofits. Prior to this position, I led federal health communications campaign contracts for both JBS International and IQ Solutions and oversaw corporate communications for JBS. I worked closely with social marketing pioneer Bill Novelli at the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids in the mid-to-late 1990s when the U.S. government was suing Big Tobacco. I appreciate how, through MdPHA, I can help improve public health “in my own backyard” at this critical point.

Shelley Caplan

Cassandra Chess, MPH – At Large Board Member

I am currently serving in my first term as an At Large Board Member. I currently work for the U.S. DHHS Office of Minority Health (OMH) as a Public Health Analyst serving as a Project Officer overseeing grant programs. I have a background in HIV/AIDS prevention, sexual and reproductive health education, program management, and program development. Aside from my work experience, I am involved in other community service focused organizations. That includes the NAACP Prince George's County Branch’s Women in the NAACP committee and Top Ladies of Distinction Prince George’s County Chapter UNCF and NCNW committees. Between 2010 – 2019, I served as a member of the Metropolitan Washington Public Health Association (MWPHA), two years (2015 – 2017) as the President. I also served four years as the Affiliate Representative representing MWPHA on the American Public Health Association (APHA) Governing Council and two years on the APHA Coalition of Affiliates (CoA) as an At Large member and CoA representative on the APHA Nominations Committee. As a longtime Prince George’s County resident I am looking forward to having an opportunity to address the health inequities in the county through my participation in MdPHA.

Cassandra Chess

Cara Cook, MS, RN, AHN-BC – At Large Board Member

Cara is an at-large board member of the Maryland Public Health Association. She is also the Director of Programs for the Alliance of Nurses for Healthy Environments. In her role, she leads ANHE environmental health programming to engage nurses, nursing organizations, and the profession in advancing health advocacy, education, and practice change. Cara has experience in critical care and public health nursing. She holds a Master’s in Community/Public Health Nursing through the University of Maryland.

Cara Cook

Jannat Saini, PharmD, MPH – At Large Board Member, Membership Committee Co-Chair

I serve as the Membership committee co-chair and At Large Board Member for MdPHA, and love working with all the amazing public health professionals state-wide! I am a pharmacist and previously worked at Emory University as a clinical research coordinator while receiving my MPH. My thesis focused on evaluating the impact of package insert labeling on prescribing practices during pregnancy. Currently, I am a PhD candidate in pharmacoepidemiology at the University of Maryland School of Pharmacy, where my research efforts have focused on drug safety and effectiveness, as well as substance use and mental health, especially among pregnant persons and those with unmet treatment needs for substance use disorder. 

Jannat Saini

Contact Us:

The Maryland Public Health Association
PO Box 7045
6801 Oak Hall Lane
Columbia, MD 21045-9998


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