The phrase “reach one teach one” came full circle this year for the MPH Program as Dr. Kelsie Kelly (UVA-MPH ’12) returned to UVA’s MPH program to do research, teach, and help lead the Pathways program.
As a Postdoctoral Research Associate, Dr. Kelly is reaching out to recruit new students through the Pathways Scholar program, which first introduced her to UVa’s MPH program when she was an undergraduate student at Virginia State University. The program reaches out to historically black colleges and universities and post-secondary institutions that do not have MPH programs. Pathways participants take part in workshops, seminars, and honing analytical research skills on Grounds as well as in their university community throughout the academic year. The program launched in 2009 and now has graduates that are board certified physicians, nurses, lab researchers, HIV/AIDS health educators, grant coordinators, and allied health professionals.
“I’m excited about the opportunity to pay it forward and open doors for young scholars seeking to expand their knowledge, skills and capabilities,” Dr. Kelly said, adding that her efforts stem from her passion to act as a catalyst for change through advocacy, education and empowerment. She has had many mentors to assist her on her journey and credits them with helping her excel this far. The Pathways Scholar program was integral in preparing her for the MPH and completion of her PhD in Community Health at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign. Coming back to UVA, “its like returning home to a family of support, encouragement and a place of continued personal and professional growth”, she states.
Dr. Kelly’s individual research areas include health disparities in neighborhoods and communities, transnational immigrant health, infant mortality, the perceived impact of fathers on healthy birth outcomes and improving the health of African American families. Dr. Kelly additionally mentors students using qualitative research methods for their master’s thesis projects, facilitates the student advocacy committee, volunteers in the community and co-teaches health behavior and health promotion with Dr. J.W Richardson.
In her spare time, she is a group fitness instructor, enjoys hiking, wine tasting and travels to maintain her work-life balance and assist others on their health journey.