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Past Interviews with Public Health Professionals

Alton Reid has been named by his alma mater, Virginia Commonwealth University, one of the university’s top 10 graduates of the past decade.

VCU Alumni’s 10 Under 10 awards celebrate alumni who earned their first VCU degree within the past 10 years and who have enjoyed remarkable professional success, made important contributions to their community and/or loyally supported the university. Reid, a health scientist for the EPA’s Office of Inspector General, graduated in 2013 with a B.S. in biology from the VCU College of Humanities and Sciences.

Reid joined the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) Office of Inspector General (OIG) in 2019. As a health scientist, he analyzes and evaluates EPA programs through a public health perspective for fraud, waste and abuse and creates reports to help programs improve themselves. His reports have allowed him to work with many different stakeholders from Mexican public health officials around the US-Mexican border , tribal groups, and various state public health agencies. For one such report, Reid and his team recently were awarded the Gold Medal of Exceptional Service in 2021, the EPA’s most prestigious award, for a report detailing how, in 2018, the EPA had deviated from typical procedures when registering a widely used pesticide. Reid pushed for more accountability and transparency in various processes for that report. He also had the honor of representing the OIG during a podcast, and for a media interview with Federal News Network’s Tom Temin.

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.

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.

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.

Allie Berry is the Maryland Public Health Association's first part-time staff member, leading our advocacy efforts in climate and health. She recently completed her master's in Environmental Health and Engineering at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, with research focused in food systems resilience and environmental justice. She is a passionate believer that every individual has the right to live in a healthy and sustainable environment, and hopes to engage other public health professionals in Maryland in the issues of climate change and environmental health.

Jonathan Dayton