Becky Pattison Tuttle has over twenty years of professional experience engaging community partners through grassroots local coalition efforts focusing on tobacco, physical activity, healthy eating, oral health, fetal infant mortality and worksite wellness. The majority of the experience has focused on policy and environmental changes to improve the health of the community.
As of May 2015, Tuttle is serving as the Project Manager for Health ICT at the Medical Society of Sedgwick County, as well as facilitating the Health & Wellness Coalition of Wichita. Health ICT is a four year initiative focusing on the prevention of diabetes, obesity, heart attack and stroke. The Health & Wellness Coalition of Wichita was established in 2004 and engages community members in healthy eating and increasing physical activity through program and policy implementation. Prior, Tuttle served as a Director of Wellness Initiatives for the Greater Wichita YMCA and was responsible for the coordination of numerous programs focusing on chronic disease prevention and management, including diabetes, cancer, youth obesity, arthritis, and worksite wellness. Tuttle also served at the Sedgwick County Health Department as the Community Health Planning and Performance Improvement Division where she was responsible for public health department accreditation, quality improvement, community health assessment and improvement planning, workforce development, and strategic planning/performance management. Prior to serving as a Division Director, Tuttle served as the SCHD Health Promotion Coordinator for almost six years, with highlights including the first local health department selected for the NACDD STAR Site Visit process, 2 national “I’m Your Community Guide” awards from the Public Health Foundation and a NACCHO Model Practice designation for the Health Department’s “Business Case for Breastfeeding” initiative.
Ms. Tuttle is a Kansas Public Health Leadership Institute Scholar, Advance Kansas graduate, Dental Champion and has served on many state and national boards and conference planning committees. Her career highlights include numerous local, regional, state, and national awards, including serving as the Coordinator for Tobacco Free Youth Initiative in Indianapolis, Indiana, which received the 2001 American Public Health Association-GlaxoSmithKline Partnership for Healthy Children Award. She is also the recipient of the 2012 Kansas Public Health Association Virginia Lockhart Health Education Award. Ms. Tuttle has a Master of Arts from Appalachian State University in Student Development Administration and a Bachelor of Science from the University of South Dakota in Psychology and Alcohol and Drug Abuse Studies.
Miranda Steele is the director of marketing and communications at Sunflower Health Plan in Lenexa. She manages statewide activities related to preventive health education for the health plan’s 145,000 members receiving medical, behavioral health and community-based services through the State’s KanCare program. Throughout member and provider product development and community outreach operations, she maintains the health plan’s cultural competency program in support of health literacy. Prior to joining Sunflower Health Plan, she was the director of communications at the Kansas Department of Health and Environment (KDHE) from 2011-2014, which provided a fascinating and fast-paced introduction to public health, environmental protection and Medicaid services. She managed crisis communications for a variety of emergencies such as disease outbreaks and extreme weather events, as well as federal and state policy changes impacting large sectors of the population. In addition to the Kansas Public Health Association, Miranda has served as a member of the National Public Health Information Coalition, the Kansas Association of Health Care Communicators and the Kansas Association of Public Information Officers. Prior to KDHE, she served in the public relations office at a U.S. Department of Defense installation of 5,000 government civilians and defense contractors. She earned a Master of Public Administration (2006) and Bachelor of Arts (2003) from Jacksonville State University in Alabama. She remains excited about the future of ‘population health’ with the continuing work to integrate public health and primary care.
Immediate Past President
Erica Anderson is a Population Health Strategist for Humana. In her current role, she works to advance policies, practices and programs that improve population health in Kansas, Arkansas, Missouri and Oklahoma. She serves Humana by engaging with community stakeholders in efforts to build and reinforce systems, policies and environments that support population health for all.
Megan Foreman is a Program Manager at the Johnson County Department of Health and Environment, where she runs a grant dedicated to the prevention and management of chronic disease. Megan has been in health policy for ten years, most recently as the Policy Director at Oral Health Kansas. Prior to moving to Kansas City in 2012, Megan was a senior policy specialist at the National Conference of State Legislatures (NCSL). During her six years at NCSL, Megan worked on a variety of state health policy issues, served as the content expert on adolescent health, managed a number of grants, and wrote extensively. She also owns and operates ForemanINK, a freelance writing and consulting company which helps non-profit organizations communicate their concepts to policymakers and other audiences. Megan graduated from the University of Denver with a B.A. in public policy and journalism studies. She joined the KPHA Board in 2015.
Brandon Skidmore is a Program Officer at the Sunflower Foundation. Brandon oversees the foundation’s health care programs, including the Integrated Care Initiative. The focus of this program is on attainable and sustainable integration of primary and behavioral health care at the community and statewide levels. Previously, he served as Director of the Bureau of Health Promotion at the Kansas Department of Health and Environment, where he worked for more than a decade. He is a Fellow of the Kansas Public Health Leadership Institute and a recipient of the Outstanding Service Award from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Michelle Peterson is the Public Health Strategist for Cerner Corporation. As part of Cerner’s Community Health group, Michelle’s primary responsibility is to define and execute the strategic direction, vision, and scope of capabilities for Cerner’s public health solutions. The mission of this initiative is to better integrate public health solutions across the health care system using patient driven opportunities.Prior to this position, Michelle worked as a Planning Director at the Kansas Department of Health and Environment where she was responsible for developing state guidance for health care emergency planning and driving partnership activities with public health, hospital, primary care, pharmacies and treatment centers. Michelle has been a KPHA board member for three years and has worked in the field of public health for over seven years influencing initiatives involving information technology, health alerting, public health reporting, volunteer management, disease surveillance and epidemiology, emergency preparedness, and pharmaceutical and medical management. Michelle has also dedicated time in public education as a Biochemistry instructor and through pursing doctorate level coursework. Michelle is a Certified Healthcare Emergency Profession, graduate of the Core Public Health Program, and a member of the numerous medical societies. In addition, Michelle has served on numerous national boards with ASTHO, NACCHO, CDC, HHS, and other health care associations. Michelle is a graduate of the Core Public Health Program, and a member of the American Chemical Society and the American Institute of Biological Sciences.
Gianfranco Pezzino, M.D., M.P.H., is a Senior Fellow and Strategy Team Leader at the Kansas Health Institute, where he oversees KHI’s work on public health services and systems by focusing on the development and dissemination of best practices for the organization, financing and delivery of public health services. His work includes supporting local public health departments in their preparation for national accreditation, and contributing to the field of applied public health services and systems research.
Gianfranco co-directs the Center for Sharing Public Health Services, a multi-year, multi-million dollar national initiative which is housed at the Kansas Health Institute and is funded by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. The Center focuses on cross-jurisdictional sharing as a strategy to improve effectiveness and efficiency in public health.
In addition to his work at KHI, Gianfranco serves as the Shawnee County health officer and is a site visitor for the Public Health Accreditation Board (PHAB).
Gianfranco has international health experience, and served as state epidemiologist and medical director for the bioterrorism program with the Kansas Department of Health and Environment. During that time, he was president of the Council of State and Territorial Epidemiologists.
Gianfranco obtained his medical degree magna cum laude at the University of Bologna, Italy, and his master’s degree in public health at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health. He is a Fellow of the American College of Preventive Medicine, is Board-certified in preventive medicine and public health and is certified in evaluation practice from George Washington University.
Mr. Brown, Research Instructor - Preventive Medicine and Public Health, earned his undergraduate degree from Friends University of Wichita, KS and graduate degree in public administration from the Hugo Wall School of Public and Urban Affairs at Wichita State University, Wichita, KS. He is also a graduate of the University of Southern California's Environmental Management Institute, and has completed the Mini MBA certificate program through the Wichita State University Barton School of Business and the Wichita State University Hugo Wall School's Executive Development Institute. He was one of the first groups of environmental health professionals in Kansas to become a registered sanitarian in the field of environmental health. He has 34 years of experience in the field of public health. During his tenure he served for 16 years as the Environmental Health Director and as the interim Director of the Wichita-Sedgwick County Department of Community Health. As director he established and administered local environmental programs in water quality, pollution prevention, environmental remediation, food protection, emergency response and other local environmental programs and projects. Mr. Brown lead the Arkansas River study examining the river's bacterial contamination levels and water quality which lead in part to the development of an advisory system to inform the public about the health implication relating to water conditions in the river and a plan to improve Arkansas River water quality in the future. Mr. Brown has been active in the Department since its inception and has taught the MPH Environmental Health course (PVRM 830) since the beginning of the MPH program. In addition he was involved in the development and teaching of the web version of the Environmental Health course this year and is currently a member of the MPH External Advisory Committee.
Molly Brown, MPH, is the Program Director for the Maternal Child Health Program - Baby Talk at the KUSchool of Medicine in Wichita. The program is dedicated to reducing infant mortality in Sedgwick County through education and prevention efforts by developing strong community partnerships. Additionally, Molly serves as a teaching associate in the Department of Preventive Medicine and Public Health at KU, teaching Evaluation Methods. She has strong interests in using program evaluation and data-driven management to reduce health disparities through effective public health programs and social behavioral health. Molly holds a BA from the University of Nevada-Las Vegas and Master's in Public Health from the University of Kansas School of Medicine.
Daniel Craig is the Tobacco Program Coordinator for Central Kansas Foundation. He has a strong background in planning and coordinating health promotion and tobacco prevention activities and was chosen as one of WELCOA’s Top 50 Health Promotion Professionals in 2016. Daniel is involved in a number of community coalitions including the Saline County Tobacco Use Prevention Coalition and Live Well Saline County. He currently serves as the Chair of the Primary Prevention Committee for the Chronic Disease Alliance of Kansas and serves on the Board for the Tobacco Free Kansas Coalition and Salina Area United Way. Daniel has participated in Leadership Salina and the Kansas Health Foundation Fellows VIII.
Daniel Craig earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Biology at Pittsburg State University in 2004 and a Master's of Science degree in Health Promotion & Wellness Management at Missouri State University in 2006. Daniel competed in track and field at both Pittsburg State University and Missouri State University and currently competes in a wide range of running events ranging from the 5K to the marathon.
I have been employed at Johnson County Department of Health & Environment in Kansas for 19+ years. I am currently the Strategic Planning Division Director which is comprised of the IT staff, the population health epidemiologist, the sustainability coordinator and the workforce development coordinator. I am responsible for leading our accreditation efforts, quality improvement program, strategic planning and performance management activities as well as contributing to the community health assessment and improvement plan. We became an accredited health department in June 2014. I earned an Associates degree in nursing at KCKCC Community College followed by a Bachelor’s degree in nursing at Webster University and will be completing a Master’s Degree in Public Administration at University of Kansas in May 2017. I completed a 21 credit hour certificate course for Public Health Informatics through Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health in December 2012.
Gary Martin is the Public Health Emergency Preparedness (PHEP) and Cities Readiness Initiative (CRI) Program Manager for the Johnson County Department of Health and Environment in Olathe, Kan. He manages emergency planning, training & exercise, risk communication and CRI staff within the Health Services Division.
The Public Health Emergency Preparedness (PHEP) Program is responsible for continual readiness related to large-scale disease outbreaks in Johnson County. PHEP develops, tests and maintains plans to quickly receive and distribute life-saving medicine and medical supplies from the Strategic National Stockpile following a large-scale public health emergency.
The CRI Program is a federally-funded effort to prepare major U.S metropolitan statistical areas (MSA) to effectively respond to a large scale bioterrorist event. Johnson County is the fiscal agent for the five-county Kansas City (KS) MSA including Johnson, Leavenworth, Linn, Miami and Wyandotte counties.
Prior to coming to Johnson County, Gary served a dual role as Regional Hospital Emergency Preparedness Manager for The University of Kansas Hospital System and the Kansas City Regional Coordinator for the Kansas Hospital Preparedness Program (HPP).
Gary is a retired Fire Captain and EMT with 20 years of service in the city of Lenexa. Gary has a master’s degree in public administration from the University of Kansas and is a Certified Health Emergency Professional (CHEP).
Kait Perry, a Kansas native, graduated from the University of Kansas in 2013 with a Bachelor of Science in Neurobiology. Kait was involved in several organizations on campus, including Student Senate, The Big Event, and undergraduate research in pharmacology and toxicology. While at KU, Kait received the Hemenway Award for Civic and Public Service and was a 2012 Woman of Distinction. Kait then moved to Boston to obtain her MPH in Health Law, Bioethics and Human Rights at Boston University. While in Boston, Kait served as a clinical research coordinator for the Longitudinal Examination to Gather Evidence of Neurodegenerative Disease (LEGEND) study at the Boston University Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy Center. The LEGEND study is a cohort study with over 2500 high school to professional athletes in a variety of sports. After finishing her MPH in May of 2015, Kait moved back to Lawrence to work at the KU Center for Public Partnership and Research for 4 months befor transitioning to her role at the Lawrence-Douglas County Health Department (LDCHD). Her role at LDCHD includes tobacco cessation interventions, tobacco control policy and nutrition interventions. Kait is also a board member for the Midwest Music Foundation, a non-profit that provides Kansas City area musicians with healthcare assistance, education and career development. Kait teaches a senior level community health class at KU in the Health, Sport and Exercise Science department. She lives with her fiance Ryan who is finishing his PhD in Pharmaceutical Chemistry and their dog, Peach, and cats, Stevie Nicks and Pixel. They enjoy watching and attending basketball, football and baseball games and seeing as much live music as possible.
Joey is pursuing a Master of Public Health degree with a concentration in Social and Behavior Health at the University of Kansas Medical Center. She is currently working as a Graduate Research Assistant in the Department of Preventive Medicine and Public Health studying tobacco cessation in African American non-daily smokers. The study is the first to explore treatment options for non-daily smokers and hopes to provide the first evidence-based practices. In August of 2015 Joey completed her undergraduate degree from Kansas State University with a bachelor’s degree in Human Nutrition. Throughout her time as a MPH student, Joey hopes to explore the social and behavioral determinants of health and ultimately apply them to a career in disaster preparedness and relief. In addition to her academic involvement, Joey is involved in nonprofit organizations such as the March of Dimes and American Red Cross. She is serving her first year on KPHA Board as the Student Section Chair. She is looking forward to contributing to the work of the board, as well as learning from and collaborating with fellow students and public health professionals.
Travis Rickford is the Kansas State Director for the Kansas Health Foundation’s Community Engagement Initiative. Travis has over eight years of experience working in community public health. As a community public health advocate, Travis works with communities to build their capacity to address the social determinants of health through evidence-based policy, system, and environmental changes. This includes activities such as community assessment, sustainability planning, media engagement, and project management. Travis holds a Master of Public Administration from the University of Missouri and a Bachelor’s Degree in Political Science from Fort Hays State University. In addition to KPHA, Travis is a member of the American Public Health Association. He also serves as an advisory board member for the Kansas Chapter of the American Society of Public Administration. Travis resides in Hays, Kansas with his wife Melissa, son Ashton, and daughter Olivia.
Mary Schwartz has been a staff nurse at the Kingman County Health Department for nearly 10 years. Mary is the primary infectious disease investigator for Kingman County, the role bringing her to the KPHA Board as this year’s Infectious Disease Chair. WIC, Family Planning, Early Detection Works, immunizations, and serving as Public Information Officer for the Kingman County Health Department are among her other responsibilities. Mary is also in charge of coordinating school health services with rural Kingman County school districts not able to employ full-time school nurses who usually perform the yearly vision and hearing screens that schools are required to provide to their students. Prior to her public health nursing career, Mary was a float RN at the Hutchinson Clinic after being a renal dialysis nurse. Mary graduated from Friends University in 1994 with a Bachelor Degree in Psychology/Human Services and from Pratt Community College School of Nursing in 1997.
Pam Smith is the Fluoridation Specialist and Evaluator at Kansas Department Health & Environment – Bureau of Oral Health. She is originally from Liberty Missouri and moved to the great state of Kansas in 1982. Pam currently resides with her family in Lenexa, and enjoys participating in the Lenexa BBQ & Chili competition held annually. Pam has always had a passion for oral health and graduated from the dental hygiene program offered at Johnson County Community College in 1998. Pam began her hygiene career in private practice in the Kansas City area in both general dentistry and Periodontal practices. While in the periodontal practice Pam was able to increase her ability to offer her patients the latest technologies by using NdYag laser and became certified in CO2 laser therapy. Pam enjoyed her time in the private practice but saw such a high dental need when volunteering in the Kansas School Screening Program since its inception in 2008. This led to Pam participating in several Kansas and Missouri Mission of Mercy programs over the last several years. This also inspired Pam to enroll and complete the Extended Care Permit III Certification through UMKC that the KDA and other dental professionals helped to create to allow another level of care for underserved people in Kansas. Pam joined KDHE – Bureau of Oral Health in the summer of 2014. Since joining, she has completed water fluoridation and evaluation training with the Centers of Disease Control and Prevention and is currently participating in Class VII of the Oral Health Kansas Leadership Program offered through the Kansas Leadership Center in Wichita. Through this program she joins a diverse and remarkable cadre of Dental Champions Alumni that are working in a variety of roles and capacities to improve oral health in our state. This particular class is focusing on community water fluoridation.
Mark Thompson is the Project Director for Healthy Kansas Schools (HKS) for the Kansas State Department of Education (KSDE). Healthy Kansas Schools initiatives include the Kansas Fitness Information Tracking and Let’s Move Active Kansas Schools projects. These and other projects Mark has overseen within KSDE focus primarily on addressing physical activity, nutrition, tobacco use prevention, and staff wellness. Mark also is involved in the school model wellness policies for Kansas and has overseen the bi-annual administrations of the Youth Risk Behavior Survey and School Health Profiles for Kansas. Mark received his Bachelor’s Degree in Psychology from Kansas State University and Master’s and PhD in Education from the University of Kansas. Mark assumed the position with KSDE in 2006 after sixteen years as a university faculty member in Texas and at the University of Kansas. Mark also served as the facilitator for the Douglas County Community Health Improvement Project’s (CHIP) Special Committee on Tobacco Prevention from 2005 through 2010. Mark has served on the KPHA Board as a Director-at-Large (2011-2012) and President-Elect (2014).
Ruaa Hassaballa is pursuing a Master of Public Health degree with a concentration in epidemiology. She is currently working as a Graduate Research Assistant with the Kansas Public Health Association and as a medical lab scientist at Laboratory Corporation of America. Ruaa is a graduate of KUMC's clinical laboratory science class of 2014. Through her studies, she hopes to research health disparities and improve the health of vulnerable populations. Ruaa is currently co-president of the Master’s of Public Health Student Organization at KUMC.