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Speaker Bios

Tiff Allen, MS., Homeland Security, Disability and Preparedness Specialist, Ohio Department of Health

Tiffany Allen, M.S., has been a sought-after disability consultant on various corporate, state, local and national agency projects for the past 14 years. Currently, Ms. Allen is on assignment by ASTHO as the Disability and Preparedness Specialist for the Ohio Department of Health, Office of Public Health Practice. Between her lived experience of having Muscular Dystrophy since birth, and her many successes in advocating for accessibility and inclusion for our vulnerable populations, she’s grateful that all roads have led to public health.

Jennifer Benson, BA, Prevention Consultant, Ohio Coaching and Mentoring Network (OCAM)

Jennifer Benson is an Ohio Certified Prevention Consultant who received her Bachelor of Arts degree in Psychology from Florida State University and has worked in prevention for 20 years engaging in school-based programming, community services, and coalition work. Jennifer enjoys training and working with individuals and communities helping them gain the tools and skills to implement effective prevention practices.

Rob Braun, PhD, CHES, Professor of Public Health Education, Otterbein University

Dr. Robert Braun completed his doctoral degree in Health Education at the University of Toledo. He earned his M.P.H. in Health Promotion/Disease Prevention from George Washington University and a B.S. in Allied Health Professions from The Ohio State University.  He is also CHES certified and once played a Registered Respiratory Therapist on TV.  He preaches health equity and his research centers around health disparities. He and his students have worked on many research projects which have been presented at both state and national conferences. Currently, Dr. Braun resides in Westerville with his wife, Kawaki, and daughter, Victoria.

Kruti S. Chaliawala, MS, MA, CHES, Graduate Assistant and Doctoral Candidate in Health Education, University of Cincinnati

Kruti S. Chaliawala is an international student who advocates for other international students to bridge the gap between international and domestic students. Chaliawala’s current research projects focus on sexual health, mental health, international students and minority health.

Ruth Dudding, CHES, C-CHW, Director of Community Health and Engagement, Athens City-County Health Department

Ruth Dudding, Director of Community Health and Engagement at the Athens City-County Health Department, has been working with residents and public health partners to understand and address health equity issues in Athens County for more than 23 years. Dudding has worked with communities in Athens County to increase access to healthy food and physical activity, improve access to health care, and explore public health approaches to mental health. Dudding considers herself a global learner and recognizes that many ideas for addressing health equity can be found in communities from around the world.

Tonia Dunson-Dillard, M.Ed, CHES, Student Success Advisor, Mt. Carmel College of Nursing

Tonia Dunson-Dillard has a BA in Public Health Education and is a current Higher Education professional with passions in advising, public health students, leading colleges of health focused students, and general public health/higher education research.

David Ellsworth, MPH, CHES, Disability Policy Specialist, Ohio Department of Health

Mr. David Ellsworth is an experienced public health educator who specializes in improving health outcomes among people with disabilities. Mr. Ellsworth is the Principal Investigator for a CDC grant that aims to improve the health and wellness of people with disabilities across the state of Ohio. He serves as the Ohio Department of Health’s subject matter expert on population health outcomes for people with disabilities.

Megan Folkerth, CHES, Director of Health Policy and Systems, Interact for Health

Megan Folkerth leads health policy and systems efforts as part of Interact for Health’s strategic goals to advance health justice. She is responsible for the development and execution of the overall strategy to advance policy and system change, including thought leadership, stakeholder engagement, direct advocacy and grantmaking.

Gavin French, BS, CHES, Director of Community Healthcare Operations, Columbus Public Health

Gavin French, BSPH is currently serving as the Director of Community Healthcare Operations at Columbus Public Health. Gavin is committed to continuing to expand traditional and non-traditional healthcare collaborations in the Columbus community, increasing access to vital health services, and breaking down barriers in health settings.

Jennifer Gonzalez, MPH, Project Manager, Dayton-Montgomery County Public Health

Jennifer Gonzalez currently serves as a project manager supporting infant vitality initiatives in Public Health – Dayton & Montgomery County. Prior to her role, Jennifer facilitated the implementation and evaluation of three nationally recognized “food farmacies” in the Greater Houston Area. She holds extensive experience in regional coalition-building to facilitate efforts around food insecurity and housing. Raised in the Texas southern border, Jennifer is passionate about increasing access to health services and utilizing data and cross-sector collaboration to reduce health disparities.

Ashley Hartman, MPH, CHES, OPCP, Mental Health Educator, Bowling Green State University

Ashley Hartman, MPH, CHES®, OCPC is a mental health educator and recovery advocate. She has over 10 years of experience in the field of health education and prevention, predominately in the fields of mental health and addiction. Currently she serves as the Health Educator – Mental Health Focus at Bowling Green State University. In this role she implements mental health and wellness programs for the campus community. She has experience serving a variety of populations and settings including middle and high schools, higher education, older adults, racial and ethnic minorities, criminal justice, rural, urban, and suburban communities, workplaces, community mental health, and drug and alcohol treatment facilities. She obtained her degrees in Applied Health Science from Bowling Green State University, and Master of Public Health at the Ohio State University, and is a Certified Health Education Specialist, Ohio Certified Prevention Consultant, and Adult Mental Health First Aid Instructor. She has presented at local, state, and national conferences, and is the Board President of the Problem Gambling Network of Ohio.

Anne Marie Hodges, MEd, LSSGB, Manager, Applied Practice Experience, MPH Program Chamberlain University

Anne Marie Hodges is the applied practice experience manager for Chamberlain University’s College of Health Professions, Master of Public Health (MPH) degree program. She brings more than 30 years of experience supporting both academic and operational processes in educational settings. Prior to joining Chamberlain, Hodges was a director for distance learning in Cleveland, Ohio. She moved into higher education as a faculty and to administer online programs in 2006 and has been teaching online since 2008. Hodges also taught in K-12 schools for 15 years across Kentucky and Ohio. Hodges earned a bachelor’s degree in elementary education from Morehead State University and a master’s degree in educational administration from Ursuline College. She earned her Lean Six Sigma Green Belt from Dartmouth University. Most recently, Hodges recertified as a Mental Health First Aider through Mental Health First Aid USA. Hodges is currently pursuing a Doctor of Education degree in Leadership with a focus on Health and Wellness from American College of Education, with a research focus on leaders’ perceptions of well-being and approaches to self-care. Hodges is a member of the American Public Health Association [APHA], Ohio Public Health Association [OPHA], Association for Prevention Teaching and Research [APTR], American Psychological Association [APA], National Alliance on Mental Illness [NAMI], Society for Public Health Education [SOPHE], Ohio-Society for Public Health Education [OSOPHE] (President, 2023) and Quality Matters™ [QM].

Brandon Horton, MS, Alcohol, Tobacco, Other Drug Coordinator, Ohio State University

Brandon Horton serves as the Alcohol, Tobacco, and Other Drugs (ATOD) Coordinator within Student Life Student Wellness Center at The Ohio State University. His daily duties are planning, implementing, and evaluating school and community-based health promotion programs, as well as coalition building. Brandon received both his Bachelor of Arts degree in Chemistry and his Master of Science degree in Food Science, Nutrition, and Health Promotion, with a concentration in Health Promotion, from Mississippi State University. In his spare time, he enjoys spending time at local cafés and drinking a cup of coffee, as well as making people laugh and smile every day.

Ryley Jones, BS, CHES, OCPS, Program Coordinator, PreventionFIRST!

Ryley Jones is a Program Coordinator at PreventionFIRST! She is responsible for managing the Coalition Management Center, assisting with data collection and evaluation, implementing youth empowerment strategies, and managing the Ohio Coaching and Mentoring (OCAM) Network training calendar. She has a Bachelor of Science in health promotion and education with a focus in community health and a Minor in psychology from the University of Cincinnati. Ryley is an Ohio Certified Prevention Specialist (OCPS) and a Certified Health Education Specialist (CHES).

Kat Koppet, Founder of Koppet

Kat Koppett  is the Eponymous Founder of Koppett. ( a consultancy specializing in the use of improv and storytelling techniques to enhance individual and group performance. She is the author of Training to Imagine: Practical Improvisational Theatre Techniques to Enhance Creativity, Teamwork, Leadership and Learning, and a contributor to The Applied Improvisation Mindset ed. Theresa Robbins Dudeck and Caitlin McClure. She has worked with diverse clients including Meta, Apple, Prezi, PwC, Massachusetts General Hospital NASA, SUNY, CDPHP, Fenimore Asset Management, and the Clinton Global Initiative. In 2019 Kat was the winner of the North American Simulation and Gaming Association (NASAGA)’s Ifill-Raynolds Lifetime Achievement Award. She is the co-director and a performing member of the Mopco Improv Theatre (, a founding member and the current vice-president of AIN, and the cohost of the podcast, Performance Shift: The Art of Successfully Navigating Change.

Kevin Lorson, Ph.D., Professor & Program Director-Health & Physical Education, Wright State University

Kevin Lorson is a professor and the Health and Physical Education Program Director at Wright State University. He is also the advocacy chair for The Ohio Association for Health, Physical Education, Recreation, and Dance (OAHPERD).

Jaime Love, M.Ed., CHES, Director of Programs, People’s Climate Innovation Center

Jaime Love provides leadership, strategy and support to People's Climate Innovation Center programs that advance approaches to community-driven planning and movement building, while centering racial equity and whole-systems solutions. Jaime has more than 20 years of experience in a variety of spaces including public health, philanthropy, and climate resilience, with a deep focus on racial justice and health equity. Her work in the public health sector cultivated opportunities for direct community organizing and advocacy work in communities with disproportionate health impacts and enhanced her leadership in philanthropy and the nonprofit sectors around racial equity and climate justice. 

Tamisha Matus, MS, Health Educator II, Union County Health Department

Tamisha Matus is a fifth-generation farmer from northeast Ohio. Her passion for food and nutrition education came from a type 1 diabetes diagnosis at the age of 6.  She promotes healthy eating and active living through a personal lens and recommends interventions based on lived experiences.

Ann Mehl, MPH, CHES, CHIP Coordinator, Columbus Public Health

Ann Mehl has been a Certified Health Education Specialist since 2006. She has worked in both the private and public sector to improve community health outcomes. She currently serves as the Community Health Improvement Plan Coordinator at Columbus Public Health, where she aims to guide efforts to address the community's priority health needs and ensure equitable access to healthcare.

Jen Morel, MPH, CHES, Managing Director, Ohio Center of Excellence for Behavioral Health Prevention and Promotion

Jen Morel has nearly 20 years of experience serving in progressive leadership roles in Ohio.  In her current role, she is responsible for the day-to-day operations of a statewide Center of Excellence dedicated to building capacity and infrastructure to support Ohio’s prevention workforce. Prior to her current role, Jen served in a variety of roles for the City of Columbus and Columbus Public Health.  She has significant experience in grant management, program development, community health improvement planning, organizational quality improvement, and holding multiple leadership roles during the COVID-19 response. Jen is the 2023 President-Elect for the Ohio Society for Public Health Education

Chelsea Moxlow-Lantto, MSPH, PMP, President, Trenton Forging Company

Chelsea Moxlow-Lantto is the President of Trenton Forging Company. After spending 10+ years in public health, she missed the fast-paced environment of manufacturing and rejoined her father’s company in 2018 as the Business Operations Manager. She moved into the Director of Manufacturing role in 2019 and she and her brother took over operations in 2019 as President and Vice President. Chelsea is passionate about leadership development and culture, especially a transformational leadership approach, and she remains active in the public health sector working with stakeholders to create training sessions tailored to public health professionals. She holds a Bachelor’s of Science in Health Promotion and Behavior from the University of Georgia and a Master's of Science in Public Health from UNC Charlotte. She is a Master Certified Health Education Specialist.

Nicolette Powe, DrPH, MS, MCHES, Associate Professor of Public Health, Youngstown State University

Dr. Nicolette Warren Powe is Associate Professor of Public Health in the Department of at Youngstown State University. Dr. Powe’s primary interest is behavioral risk factors for chronic disease prevention and the influence of social determinants of health factors such as violence, crime, and health disparities. Dr. Powe serves on the Youngstown American Heart Association Board and the Planned Parenthood of Greater Ohio Board. She was previously elected to the Society for Public Health Education (SOPHE) Board of Trustees for Professional Development.

Richard Rogers, PhD, MS, Associate Professor of Criminal Justice, Youngstown State University

Dr. Richard Rogers holds a Ph.D. in Sociology from Princeton University and is Associate Professor of Criminal Justice at Youngstown State University. Dr. Rogers has a long history of participation in data analysis projects in the corporate sector and academics and currently teaches quantitative analysis courses at Youngstown State for students in programs in Criminal Justice, Graduate Studies in Health and Rehabilitation Services, and Educational Leadership and Administration. Prior to teaching full time, Dr. Rogers worked in the Merrill Lynch Private Client Group, starting in a position related to quantitative data analysis and later moving to strategic planning, which included leadership of the competitive intelligence initiative.

Sarah Sawmiller, MPH, CHES, OCPC,  Evaluation Director, PreventionFIRST!

Sarah Sawmiller is Director of Evaluation at PreventionFIRST! She is an Ohio Certified Prevention Consultant (OCPC) and a Certified Health Education Specialist (CHES). Sarah is an expert with data. Sarah is responsible for implementation of the biennial PF! Student Survey, the Coalition Evaluation Center, and all assessment and evaluation related projects and strategies. She is an Ohio Coaching and Mentoring (OCAM) Network coach and mentor. Sarah has a Bachelor of Science in health education with a focus in public and community health and a Master of Public Health with a concentration in biostatistics, both from the University of Cincinnati. She is a 2019 graduate of the Community Leaders Institute (CLI).

Melissa Thomas, PhD, MSPH, MSA, MCHES, C-CHW, Assistant Professor, Ohio University Heritage College of Osteopathic Medicine

Melissa Thomas, PhD, MSPH, MSA, MCHES®, C-CHW is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Primary Care at the Ohio University Heritage College of Osteopathic Medicine at the Athens campus and Founding Director of the Center for Appalachia Research in Cancer Education (CARE). Her career has always centered on addressing the health needs of communities by designing, implementing and evaluating community-led health education and promotion initiatives, especially in the area of cancer health disparities in rural and Appalachian regions.  She currently serves on the Executive Council of the American Association of Cancer Education and the Steering Committee of the Appalachian Community Cancer Alliance (ACCA) of the Association of Community Cancer Centers (ACCC).

Michelle Vargas, MA, Director, Franklin County Suicide Prevention Coalition

Michelle Vargas is a licensed professional counselor who has been working in public health for over nine years.  Her work in suicide prevention began at Miami University, and she later worked in public health policy and evaluation at United Way of Greater Cincinnati and the Ohio Department of Health. Since 2018, Michelle has served as the Director of the Franklin County Suicide Prevention Coalition, which received the Ohio Injury Prevention Partnership’s Promising Practice Award in 2021 for its community-based approach to injury prevention. She received her MA in Mental Health Counseling at the University of Cincinnati and a Certificate in Public and Nonprofit Leadership at The Ohio State University.

Lori Young, MFA, BFA, Associate Professor-Graphic Design, Bowling Green State University

Lori Young has been a faculty member at BGSU since 2001. Her area of specialization includes typography. She teaches 5 courses for the College of Graphic Design and her areas of Research/Artistic Focus include typography development. She researches the cultural narratives of ornament. Ms. Young’s recent accomplishments include work published in Visual Communications, London, periodical; Creativity and Graphic Design USA Annuals, USA; and Graphis, International, periodical and Visible Culture, Parlor Press. Published in 1000 Greetings, USA.


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