Current GSPH Alumni Board Members
Barb graduated with an MPH from the GSPH in 1989, with an emphasis in Health Services Administration – now better known as HMP. She is the Vice President of Marketing for the Coventry Workers’ Comp Services division of Aetna. Barb is a strategic marketing leader with 25+ years of experience leading high-growth initiatives in B2B health care and insurance markets through the development of first-ever integrated marketing strategies. She has responsibility for a nearly $1 billion insurance division, building and leading teams in overall marketing practices, marketing organization/leadership, business development, market positioning, multi-channel advertising, social engagement, customer database, digital and traditional marketing initiatives, and e-commerce. She has expertise in B2B Marketing, Product Development, Marketing Strategy and Operations in Healthcare, Insurance, Workers’ Compensation and Managed Care.
Kelley Axelson graduated from San Diego State University’s Graduate School of Public Health with a Master of Public Health with emphasis in Health Promotion and Behavioral Sciences and from Western Washington University with a Bachelor of Science in Exercise and Sport Science with emphasis in Fitness Science. Mrs. Axelson currently works for UC San Diego Center for Community Health as Senior Manager for the Live Well @ Work initiative.
Richard Armenta graduated from the JDP in Public Health with an emphasis in Epidemiology in 2015. His research while in the program focused on infectious disease transmission dynamics and mitigation strategies to prevent the spread of HIV and other communicable diseases. He is currently an Epidemiologist with the Naval Health Research Center and holds an adjunct Assistant Professor position at UC San Diego. He received his MPH in Epidemiology and his MA in Latin American studies at SDSU and his BS in Biology and BA in Psychology from UC San Diego.
Michael Carey, MPH (EH)
Michael Carey moved from his hometown of Columbia, South Carolina to San Diego in 2007. He has a passion in the promotion of environmental education to the public and ensuring the proper disposal of hazardous materials to limit anthropogenic impacts to the environment. His other interests include football, basketball, snowboarding, yoga, and surfing. Currently Michael is a Program Manager at a biotech company where he manages their Hazardous Waste Program.
Natasha spent eight years working for internationally focused organizations before entering the MPH program in 2011. Through these work experiences, she saw first-hand the devastation that infectious diseases cause for individuals and families in the developing world. This, coupled with a personal passion for physical activity and health, was the impetus for her to join the program. Natasha graduated in 2014 with a concentration in Epidemiology, and currently works for San Diego State University as a fundraiser. In her spare time, she moonlights in the field of public health by assisting with journal publications and is currently training for the Boston Marathon.
Anita graduated with an MPH from the GSPH in 2013 with an emphasis in Health Promotion and Behavioral Science. While in the program, she interned with Palomar Health’s Community Outreach Team and went on to work as a graduate student worker with the County of San Diego, Health and Human Services Agency’s Community Health Promotion Team in North County. Since graduating, Anita has been working full time with the team as a Community Health Promotion Specialist, focusing on obesity prevention through active transportation, built environment and policy. In early 2016, Anita will transition to the County’s ConnectWellSD Program which aims move the County towards a better person-centered service delivery model through a new electronic information exchange system. In her spare time, Anita enjoys cooking, hiking and exploring the restaurant scene in San Diego.
Brynn Viale received her Master’s in Public Health from San Diego State University in 2010. She is currently a Community Health Promotion Specialist with the County of San Diego focusing on infusing intergenerational approaches into regional public health efforts. Brynn’s passions have allowed her to explore several avenues of public health; her previous experience has included roles within university-level health promotion, national research studies, and local non-profit organizations. Her interests in active communities, access to healthy foods, and effective communication guide her in supporting creative and innovative programs that truly make a difference.
Richard Hunt, MPH (EH)
Richard is a Certified Safety Professional (CSP) and a Certified Hazardous Materials Manager (CHMM) with over 15 years experience in Environmental Health and Safety. He graduated from GSPH in 2009, with an emphasis in Environmental Health. His thesis investigated the concentration of toxic compounds in house dust of homes exposed to environmental tobacco smoke. Prior to his study at SDSU, he served in the Marine Corps and undergrad in Environmental Sciences at U.C. Berkeley. Currently Richard consults for the Federal Government on environmental compliance matters associated with hazardous waste disposal. His success has been made possible by the love and support of his wife Jessica and daughter Madison. Interests outside of work include mountain biking (downhill, enduro & cross country), bmx biking (racing & dirt jump), road biking and occasionally running.
GSPH Alumni Biographies
Irma Cota, MPH, is the president and chief executive officer of North County Health Services (NCHS). For more than 20 years, Irma has had experience working in executive management, strategic program planning, finance, and operational management. Under her leadership, NCHS serves more than 62,000 individuals annually at eleven clinic locations, providing comprehensive medical, dental, mental and other related health services. Irma oversees more than a $60 million budget, more than 700 employees, and a variety of programs to provide health services and outreach to the community.
Irma is an active member of the San Diego Community. She serves as the Chair for the Board of Managers for Integrated Health Partners of the San Diego Council of Clinics and Secretary for the Board of Health Center Partners (HCP) of Southern California. In addition, Irma is a member of the Board of Directors for the Elizabeth Hospice; City National Bank Advisory Board; California State University, San Marcos University Council; Palomar College President’s Circle; California Department of Public Health, Office of Binational Boarder Health; and Latino Health Coalition.
Along with her Master’s Degree in Public Health from San Diego State University and certificates in health administration, Irma has been recognized several times for her outstanding service to the community. In April of 2016, Irma was awarded the San Diego State University- Cesar Chavez Lifetime Achievement Award for Service. She has also received the Union Tribune Healthcare Latino Champion Award in 2014, The Bill Uhland Ethics Award for the San Marcos Rotary Club in 2012, was a Finalist for “Most Admired CEO” in The San Diego Business Journal in 2009, was nominated as one of the region’s “50 People to watch” in North San Diego Lifestyle magazine, San Diego County’s Public Health Champion Award in 2003, and “Distinguished Alumni” from San Diego State University’s School of Public Health 1993.
last updated: 10/17/2016