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CPHA’s 2019 Annual Conference

Mentoring Committee
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CPHA Mentors On Request  (MOR)


Our History

In 2007, research showed a new kind of threat to the public’s health: a growing shortage of public health workers. Contributing factors included our aging workforce and population, not enough training programs and poor health habits and health literacy among our general population.

CPHA responded with a long-term goal: Prepare youth and undergraduates as future public health advocates, leaders and health literate citizens with the help of CPHA members.  We formed a Mentoring Committee, called Mentors on Request (MOR) and armed them with activities and tools to engage youth and young adults in public health, from the classroom to the community.  Since 2007 the MOR has grown from 7 organizational members to 45. 

Our Strategy

We outlined a three-pronged plan to grow a knowledgeable and diverse public health workforce, as well as healthier future generation.

  • Start young: We targeted high school and community college students. In K-12, students are rarely taught about the field of public health and the many career options within it because there are limited courses with the name “public health” in it. Thus, majoring in the field was an unusual choice for an undergraduate. 
  • Recruit mentoring organizations, not individuals: Often mentors’ passion for their field turns to burnout when they are the only ones doing the mentoring in their organization. Therefore, we asked leaders of public health organizations to be members and to spread mentoring efforts across their staff.
  • Shape mentoring activities to fit schedules: We offered mentors experiential learning opportunities that fit their schedules, from one-hour classroom presentations to one-semester internships.   Next, we provided materials and training using PowerPoints with short entertaining videos that illustrate what public health is and does. Later we added an internship guide (Making Internships Work) and a Speed Mentoring Guide.

 MOR Leadership Team 

CPHA’s MOR Leadership Team works together to increase the range of public health career mentors and opportunities for experiential learning for Connecticut’s students, their educators and young career professionals. 

MOR Co-Chairs

N. Chineye Anako, MPH, CHES, Director, Community Health and Well Being
Cyndi Billian Stern, MA, MPH, Co-founder, CPHA MOR, Vision Health International             
Joan Lane, MPH, Public Health Specialist, Naugatuck Valley Health District

MOR Leadership Team of 2019 includes:

Maureen Couvares, MPH Lead Health Educator, Manchester  High School
Randy Domina, MPH, Workforce Development Coordinator, Public Health Systems Improvement, Connecticut Department of Public Health
Celia Meyer, MS, National Programs Coordinator, Health 360, Inc.
Lisa Michelle Morrissey, MPH, Director, Health & Human Services, City of Danbury
Deb Risisky, PhD, Assoc. Professor of Public Health, Southern CT State University


Our Organizational Members consist of local health, hospital, private non-profit and educational institutions.

They include:

CT Children’s  Medical Center.
CT Department of Public Health
CT Association of Directors of Health
Hartford Food System
Planned Parenthood of Southern New England,
HOSA Future Health Professionals,
Southern Connecticut State University
University of Connecticut Graduate Program in Applied Public Health
University of St. Josephs
Yale School of Public Health


(Click here for the full 45-member list)


*If educators and students wish to get in touch with these mentors, please email or visit MOR Career Mentors*


Our Reach, Our Recognition  

With the help of our MOR members, we have reached approximately 15,000 students over the past 11 years.  Highlights of these activities include:

  •  Training Area Health Education Centers (AHEC) members to present our introduction to public health, Adventures in Public Health (see under Resources) at high schools across the state.
  • Speed Mentoring Workshops: These successful career-mentoring activities have drawn the largest audiences at CPHA Annual Conferences and at Southern CT State. University.
  • Launching the MOVE and MENTOR Step Challenge with HOSA Future Health Professionals, which is an internationally recognized program to boost youth engagement in public health. Check out the story in The Nation's Health.
  • A Public Health 101 blended curriculum, written by CPHA members, has been taught in Newtown and New Haven high schools since 2012 as a full-year course and several more high schools use one or more public health units in related classes.

Resources and Professional Development Tools

Adventures in Public Health

This PowerPoint covers hot topics and careers in public health and  provides short videos and  engaging activities  that introduce students to the field. It is designed for users to select public health topics they wish to focus on, depending on audience need and interest.

Health Literacy: Don’t Leave School Without It

Speed Mentoring Guide

MOR to Come: 2019-2020 Priorities

MOR is taking into consideration our 2018 survey of CPHA MOR members, the growth of public health undergraduate enrollment in the state, and our continuing partnership with HOSA. Over the past 10 years, Connecticut has gone from two undergraduate programs to more than 10 programs that offer full undergraduate degrees or coursework in public health at the undergraduate level. In addition to HOSA CT Future Health Professionals continues to expand to new high schools and colleges in the state. To provide this growing population with the experiential learning that will prepare them for the public health workforce, we will work to:

  • Host a Mentoring/Preceptor Training for educators and MOR members (employers) to prepare students for public health careers.
  • Host Speed Mentoring workshops to connect students to career mentors through our higher education and public health organizational partners.
  • Post CPHA and MOR members’ workplace learning opportunities from capstones to projects to internships.

  • Post CPHA MOR Career Mentors Stories:

o Offer educators and students opportunities to view videos, short essays and links to existing interviews with public health professionals about their career paths.

  •  Help educators and their students connect with CPHA MOR Career Mentors.
  •  Expand and replicate in other states our internationally recognized HOSA-CPHA MOVE and MENTOR Partnership.
  • Recognize outstanding MOR mentors at CPHA Awards event.
  • Develop a model internship assessment form aligned to core competencies described by the Council on Linkages. 

MOR Photo Gallery 

2019 Step Challenge





 Photo (Left): The Robinson Hot Steppers, led by N. Chineye Anako is the team that had the most steps per person 562,500 (steps/person) Photo (Right) : Bridgeport HOSA students were part of The CT HOSA-Future Health Professionals which won Outstanding Student Team Performance in the 2019 Step Challenge. It was led by Jessica Silva and Najiyah Port.


Photos Above: The Farmington Land Trust Team took a two-hour hike, and added guests. While Sam Rusek impressed us with his descent using ropes on the side of a steep cliff, the most impressive hiker in my opinion, was Virginia Rosa. She dodged in and out of tight spaces avoiding slippery leaves with her baby in tow.  

Public Health Mentorship Panel

  Richard Sugarman, Hartford Promise,

 Frances Padilla, President of the Universal Health Care Foundation

 N. Chi Anako, Director of Community Health and Well Being,

 Trinity Health Care

 Tracey Scraba, Vice President and Chief Privacy Officer at Aetna

 Anthony Dias, Vice President of Data Services for the CT Hospital Association

 Michael Pascucilla, Director of Health for the East Shore District Health Department. 



Photo: Fawatih Mohamed-Abouh, Adjunct Professor - Department of Community Medicine & Health Care UConn Health teaching a health literacy program







CPHA Annual Meeting- Speed Mentoring Workshop 

 Photo: Elizabeth Schwartz, N. Chi Anako, Jenna Lupi with Crystal Schindo, Joan Lane 


Photo Above: Fawatih Abouh-Mohamed with Elaine O’Keefe, Maritza Bond 

 Students learn about Adventures in Public Health at Middlesex Community College

 Photo: Cyndi Billian Stern at MXCC Health Careers Program  







Teacher Training

Photo: Team building with infographics: a MOR Public Health program in Hartford.









 How to become a CPHA MOR Organization

We welcome educational institutions, non-profit and for-profit organizations that have a goal of  preparing young people for community service, healthier lifestyles and careers in public health.  Click here for the MOR Registration Form.

For more information about the CPHA MOR, please contact the MOR Chairs:  

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