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Board Members

Suparna Navale, PhD, MS, MPH – President

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.

Jonas Nguh, PhD, MSN, FACHE, NEA-BC, RN – President-Elect

Dr. Nguh is a global health scholar and practitioner. His scope of practice has been in maternal newborn and child health programs, immunization, family planning and reproductive health, nutrition, health systems strengthening, water/sanitation/hygiene, malaria, prevention of mother-to-child transmission of HIV, and pediatric HIV care and treatment in Sub-Saharan countries and low resource countries. Dr. Nguh has taught and worked in more than 20 countries. Dr. Nguh is a distinguished faculty with professorships in six international universities. He teaches primarily in Public Health and Nursing programs where he chairs doctoral and masters prepared students. Dr. Nguh is the former Executive Dean of the School of Health Professions at the University of Providence. He holds a PhD in Public Health, a Master of Science in Nursing, a Master of Science in Healthcare Administration, and a Bachelor of Science in Nursing. Dr. Nguh holds several certifications including Fellow of the American College of Healthcare Executive, the National Academy of Practice, and board certified as a Nurse Executive, Advanced by the American Nurses Credentialing Center. 

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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

Michelle Glover-Brown, MPH, RS, EMT  – Affiliate Representative to the Governing Council (ARGC)

As a retired NYS public health administrator, I am eager to learn and share with others. My area of public health expertise is working with employers to develop policies and procedures to reduce workplace injuries and improve employee health. An important element of improving workplace health and safety is incorporating workplace wellness programs as a part of the overall environmental health and safety (EHS) OSHA compliance program. Pre-existing medical conditions such as heart disease, stroke, and diabetes can profoundly impact an employee and their performance in the workplace. Creating a more holistic environmental, health and safety environment in the workplace will aid in promoting workplace equity and improvement in individuals' overall well-being. 

I am optimistic and passionate and desire to improve health and safety in the workplace and reduce the incidence of preventable disease and illness within the community.

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 Yale Friedman – Student Representative

My journey in the public health sector began in 2015, when I began studying in the American University's Public Health program. My key interest areas include topics such as oral health, mental health, infectious disease control, and pharmacy, many of which I am currently exploring in the Master of Public Health (MPH) program at the George Washington University. It has been an extremely rewarding experience to collaborate with and learn from instructors and classmates from a variety of disciplines all over the world. We all have a common goal to achieve health equity on a global scale. One of the most notable experiences I have had thus far was the MPH practicum experiential component, for which I had the opportunity to intern for the Director of Infection Control and Prevention at Suburban Hospital, Johns Hopkins Medicine. In addition to these experiences in academia, I am thrilled to be serving the MdPHA Board as this year’s Student Representative. In this role, my goal is to act as a leader and mentor for other students who wish to explore the field of public health to ultimately give back to the community on a grand scale. What an honor it is to represent an organization whose mission is to promote and advocate for health equity to improve health outcomes, especially among underserved populations.

Jody Gan, MPH, CHES – Immediate Past-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

Melanie Bolden, MPH – Climate and Health Coordinator

Hi everyone! I am currently a doctoral student at Johns Hopkins University's Bloomberg School of Public Health, concentrating in Environmental Health. Originally from New Orleans, I earned a BS in Biology at the University of Arkansas and an MPH in Epidemiology at SUNY-Albany. I am also a Returned Peace Corps Volunteer and served in Mozambique, working primarily on HIV/AIDS and malaria projects from 2013 to 2015. With a range of previous public health experiences and research interests, I look forward to working with the chapter on its climate action goals and initiatives as Climate and Health Coordinator! 

Lillian Agbeyegbe, DrPH – At Large Board Member

Dr. Lillian Agbeyegbe is a public health practitioner with over decades of experience in program planning and implementation. She earned her Doctor of Public Health degree from the University of North Texas Health Science Center and her Master of Public Health (MPH) in Community Health Education from The City University of New York – Hunter College. She earned her Bachelor of Science (BSc) in Economics from the University of Lagos, Nigeria.

Dr. Agbeyegbe has worked on the issues that disproportionately affect women, including human trafficking, healthy housing, homelessness, domestic violence, HIV/AIDS, and female genital mutilation.

Dr. Agbeyegbe is the founder of The Rest Of A Life (TROAL) and has served on many boards, including the Maryland Network Against Domestic Violence (MNADV) and Court Watch Montgomery County. She is currently serving a third-term as a Governor's appointee on the Maryland Family Violence Council. She is Senior Community Engagement Manager on the Strategic Initiative on Sex Trafficking team at Polaris, a leading national anti-trafficking organization.

Dr. Agbeyegbe is a Certified Health Education Specialist (CHES) and is also Certified in Public Health (CPH).


Melissa Buckley, PhD, MSW, LMSW – At Large Board Member

Hello! I am Dr. Melissa Buckley an Assistant Professor at Coppin State University in the Department of Social Work. I am excited to be a new member of the Maryland Public Health Association Board. 

I live in Baltimore and am proud to call Charm City my home. I am originally from Toronto, Canada and my parents are Jamaican…if you happen to drive by my house, you’ll see a huge Jamaican flag out front! As an immigrant, I feel that I bring a unique perspective to social work and public health conversations.

In addition to being a social work educator, I am a therapist, community activist and fitness trainer. Fitness, old TV sitcoms and face-time with my loved ones are my favorite forms of self-care. 

Jonathan Dayton, MS, NREMT  – At Large Board Member

Jonathan is a lifelong resident of Western Maryland. I am currently serving my first term as an At-Large Board Member. I now work as the Executive Director of the Maryland Rural Health Association; previously, I worked for a federally qualified health center overseeing their community health and enabling services departments. I am excited to work with my fellow board members to advance the organization's mission. I also serve on numerous state-appointed committees and councils, and when not working in healthcare serve my community as a firefighter and emergency medical technician. I am also a last-year doctor of public health student. 

Garrette Martin-Yeboah, PharmD, MPH, BCGP, PMP – At Large Board Member

I am a pharmacist of over 20 years and have 10 years’ experience in public health with a commitment to expanding access for underserved populations. I serve as U.S. Public Health Service Officer. My background includes working within contract and program management to ensure proper care to vast populations after disasters. I have both hospital and long-term care pharmacy experience and have worked as a delegate to the American Pharmacists Association to develop profession-related policy. I also have work experience with the Food and Drug Administration.  I am a Board-Certified Geriatric Pharmacist (BCGP) and a certified Project Management Professional (PMP).  I am committed to community service and have coordinated volunteer events with the Baltimore-area American Heart Association, Habitat for Humanity, and First Fruits Farm that harvests produce for local food banks.  Via MdPHA, I would like to collaborate with other public health practitioners to expand knowledge among the public and set and revise policy to align with the APHA.

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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

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

Contact Us:

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


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