Alumni

Robyn AbreeRobyn Abree is a brand content editor at WebMD where she assists with writing, planning and reviewing advertorial content. Prior to joining WebMD, Robyn worked as a communications specialist at Northside Hospital in Atlanta, where she single-handedly wrote, edited and coordinated web content, patient education brochures, medical newsletters and editorial pieces for the hospital. Her freelance articles about health and health policy have been published by WebMD, Georgia Health News and other outlets. Robyn earned her undergraduate degree at UGA's Grady College before joining the HMJ program. (Spring 2012)

Lee AdcockLee Adcock is a freelance writer based in Atlanta. She earned a B.A. in English at Mercer University and spent a semester studying literature at The University of Swansea in Wales before coming to UGA. As a graduate student, she investigated a possible cancer cluster in South Georgia; helped the Washington Post gather data for an article on shaken baby syndrome; compiled two volumes of the UGA School of Veterinary Medicine's alumni magazine; and wrote stories about anxiety disorders, mental health first aid programs, nutrition, and water quality. She writes music reviews for Drowned in Sound, Collapse Board and other digital publications. (Spring 2015)

Lacey AveryLacey Avery is an Oak Ridge Institute for Science and Education (ORISE) fellow at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta. Lacey works as a health communications specialist, where she coordinates communications for CDC's medication safety program. Before attending UGA, Lacey earned a B.S. degree in forestry from Auburn University and worked in communications and outreach for the Department of Natural Resources. She continues to write about environmental science and health in her free time. (Spring 2013)

Lauren BaggettLauren earned her master's degree in health and medical journalism in May 2017 and currently serves as the research communication coordinator for UGA's College of Public Health. Through print and multimedia storytelling, she supports the college's goal of sharing its public health research findings with local, national and international communities. Lauren also continues to write a local foods column where she covers the intersection of farming, culture and nutrition in Athens, Georgia.

April BaileyApril Bailey is a freelance journalist and writer based in Atlanta. Before she decided to freelance full-time, she worked as a health communications specialist at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. As a second-year HMJ student, April wrote news/feature articles for UGA's Office of Public Affairs News Service and co-produced the 2014 HMJ documentary, "Match Madness," which aired on WUGA-TV. April earned a bachelor's degree in journalism from Middle Tennessee State University. (May 2014)

Katie BallKatie Ball is an independent journalist and videographer who spent the summer producing short videos for the Georgia Sea Grant Program and a longer documentary for Barrow Elementary School in Athens. The latter featured the school's annual fifth grade trip to the Georgia Coast. As a second-year student, Katie co-produced the "Match Madnes" documentary for WUGA-TV. www.katieballhealth.com (May 2014)

Leigh BeesonLeigh Beeson is a writer and editor in UGA’s Division of Marketing & Communications, where she writes and edits content for the university’s multiple publications and websites. As a grad student, she worked as a research writer for the UGA News Service; held a public affairs internship at the University of California, San Francisco; and freelanced for Georgia Health News. Prior to earning her master’s, she received a bachelor’s degree in communications from Augusta University, where she was the editor-in-chief of the university newspaper. (May 2017)

Jessika BoedekerJessika Boedeker specializes in the evolving role of social media in health communication. She lives in Atlanta, where as a strategic solution associate for Healthgrades she develops digital media content to help people find appropriate medical care. She previously worked for McCauley Marketing, where she generated blogs, newsletters and web content for physicians and other healthcare clients. During graduate school she contributed to Emory Healthcare's blog and managed social media content for Georgia Health News. Jessika earned an A.B.J. in telecommunication at Grady College before coming to health journalism. (Spring 2012)

Ian BranamIan Branam is a health communication specialist at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's National Center for Immunization and Respiratory Diseases. Working with the adult and adolescent immunization communication teams, Ian writes press releases and feature articles and conducts focus group research. As an HMJ student, he was a graduate assistant in UGA's Office of the Senior Vice President for Academic Affairs and Provost. Ian is particularly interested in using plain language and digital media to communicate about vaccines. (May 2014)

Dian CaiDian Cai is a news program director at SINOVISION, the largest Mandarin news station in the New York, New Jersey and Connecticut market. She came to UGA with a bachelor's degree in international journalism from United International College in China, and as an HMJ student she also earned a certificate in global public health at the College of Public Health. After graduation she interned at the Asia Society in New York before joining SINOVISION. (Spring 2013)

 Jodi Murphy CashJodi Cash works for Narrative Content Group as the contributing editor of Tales of the Cocktail, a site highlighting what's now, new and next in the spirits industry. Prior to coming on board with Narrative, she worked as the content manager for an Emmy award-winning educational media company, Connect with Kids. Jodi is also the editor-in-chief of The Seed & Plate, a site that tells stories of food, farming and culture in the South. On occasion, she freelances for other publications like Bitter Southerner, Eidé Magazine, Paste.com, and Georgia Health News. She earned her undergraduate degree at UGA and as a graduate student held internships at Kinfolk Magazine in Portland, Oregon, and Mother Nature Network in Atlanta. (May 2015)

Sonya Collins Sonya Collins is an independent journalist. Her work has appeared in publications including WebMD.com, Scientific American, and Yale Medicine. She is also an editor of Progress Notes, the guest-written blog of Primary Care Progress, a non-profit grass roots organization whose mission is to improve the way primary care is taught and delivered. (Fall 2010)

Carolyn CristCarolyn Crist is a freelance journalist. She writes regularly for print and digital publications including the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, Atlanta Magazine and WIRED. She earned degrees in newspapers and English from the University of Georgia in 2010 and worked as a daily reporter before joining the HMJ program. As a graduate student, she worked as a science writer for the Office of the Vice President for Research and edited the alumni magazine published by the School of Veterinary Medicine. (May 2014)

Sydney DevineSydney Devine is a health communication specialist at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's National Center for Immunization and Respiratory Diseases. Sydney works with the seasonal and pandemic influenza vaccine communications team in the Health Communication Science Office, where she helps evaluate and clear content for CDC.gov/flu and other communication pipelines. Sydney also assists the team in writing flu-related content for web and print. She is a graduate of Valdosta State University and worked as a research writer for UGA's Public Affairs Office while in graduate school. She has also written for WebMD and Georgia Health News. (December 2015)

Amanda DickeyAmanda Dickey is a reporter for Bluffton (S.C.) Today and a contributor to Hardeeville Today and The Sun Today. She has freelanced for georgiahealthnews.com, athenspatch.com and MedHelp.org, among other news organizations, and has interned at South magazine and at The Flagpole in Athens. She graduated from Armstrong Atlantic State University in Savannah with a degree in English before earning her HMJ degree at Grady College. (Spring 2013)

Hyacinth Empinado Hyacinth Empinado is a junior multimedia producer at Stat, the Boston Globe's new life sciences online news site. As an HMJ graduate student, she won the LabTV Gold Award for her video profile of a UGA post-doctoral associate and was a graduate assistant at the Office of the Vice President for Research. She also traveled to Ghana and filmed researchers and health professionals that deal with malaria, as part of a joint project between UGA's Center for Tropical and Emerging Global Disease and the University of Health and Allied Sciences in Ho, Ghana.

Elizabeth FiteElizabeth Fite is a first-year graduate student and graduate assistant in the office of the senior vice president for academic affairs and provost. She graduated from Auburn University in 2012 with bachelor's degrees in journalism and English literature and a minor in political science. She is an Athens native and avid equestrian. As an HMJ student, she is especially interested in women's health, nutrition and veterinary medicine.

Christy FricksChristy Fricks works as the Public Relations Specialist at the Peanut and Mycotoxin Innovation Lab at UGA. Previously, Fricks worked as a freelance journalist and photographer for national publications, such as USAToday and various regional outlets, including Athens Parents Magazine, The Flagpole and the Athens Banner-Herald. As a student she was a health communications research assistant for Grady College, as well as editor of the College of Public Health's Magazine. In May of 2009, she became the inaugural graduate of Grady College's health and medical journalism concentration. (Spring 2009)

Aaron HaleAaron Hale is associate editor of Georgia Magazine and senior marketing editor in UGA's Division of Marketing & Communications. He received his master's degree in journalism in 2016. (May 2016)

Ruobing HanRuobing Han is working as a video producer for the East Georgia Cancer Coalition based in Athens, Georgia. She produces videos promoting cancer awareness and immunization to protect against HPV. Coming from China, Ruobing is interested in health disparities affecting Asian communities in the United States, and she is helping the EGCC launch an Asian community navigator program. Ruobing is also the communications director for the Georgia Colorectal Cancer Roundtable, a project that aims to improve colorectal cancer outcomes in Georgia. Ruobing earned her B.A. in Communications at Wuhan University before she studied HMJ at UGA. (December 2016)

Felicia Lynne HarrisFelicia Harris, Ph.D., is a writer, researcher and educator from Georgia, by way of Texas. While completing her master's degree in health and medical journalism at UGA (Spring 2012), she developed an interest in multimedia storytelling and how social media can be used to create and share knowledge. She pursued her passions for media, health, and culture by earning a Ph.D. in mass communication, with an emphasis in media studies and health promotion and behavior, from UGA. Harris is now an assistant professor of communication studies in media at the University of Houston-Downtown, where she teaches courses centering on mass media, communication research, and race and ethnicity.

James Hataway James Hataway rejoined the University of Georgia family as a public relations specialist in January 2012.  As part of the Research Communications staff, he reports on research and scholarly activity at the university. Immediately following his graduation, James began working as an independent health, medical and science journalist.  He has written for a number of newspapers, magazines and scientific organizations including the National Academy of Sciences, the Arnold and Mabel Beckman Initiative for Macular Research and Pharmacy Today.(Spring 2010)

Erica HensleyErica Hensley is an independent journalist based in Athens, Ga. reporting data-driven health stories for WebMD, Rural Health Quarterly, Georgia Health News and Paste magazine. As an HMJ graduate student she was managing editor of the Aesculapian, UGA's College of Veterinary Medicine's news magazine and a research writer for the university's news service, and reported for WUGA, an NPR-affiliate radio station. Erica has previously reported for Atlanta's Creative Loafing and Turner Broadcasting, managed an indie bookstore, and worked as a copy editor for the American Psychological Association. She earned a double B.A. from the University of Southern California, where she studied print journalism and political science. (May 2017)

Lindsey JohnstonLindsey Johnston is a health communication specialist in the Influenza Division of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Through her work at the CDC, she is able to educate people about the flu and work with other agency branches to promote health safety and awareness. She received an M.A. from the University of Georgia in journalism and mass communication with a concentration in health and medical journalism. She also has a B.A. in English writing and publication studies and communication studies from Clemson University.

Christina KirchnerChristina Kirchner is a health communication specialist with the Influenza Division of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Her work within ID includes replying and editing public inquiries about flu and writing technical key points from studies for internal and external partners. She also has created content for the flu website including charts and graphs. She received her M.A. from University of Georgia in journalism and mass communication with a concentration in health and medical journalism. She also has her B.A. in English print journalism and German from Concordia College in Moorhead, M.N.

Victoria KnightVictoria Knight is a recent graduate of the health and medical journalism master's program. She was the first graduate assistant for WUGA-FM, the Athens-area NPR station, where she helped with daily news updates and also co-hosted a weekly health news podcast with Andy Miller of Georgia Health News. In 2014, she earned a bachelor's degree in microbiology, with a minor in English literature, from the University of Tennessee. During the summer between her first and second year of grad school she interned with the CNN Health Unit where she wrote over 30 health stories for CNN.com. In her second year of her master's she researched and wrote a thesis on the American media's "otherization" of those living with HIV/AIDS in Africa. Also during her second year she joined the Georgia News Lab investigative reporting program, which collaborates with the Atlanta Journal-Constitution and WSB-TV on their investigations. Victoria is continuing her foray into investigative reporting by interning with American University's Investigative Reporting Workshop this summer. (May 2018)

Yanli LiuYanli Liu is now pursuing her journalism career in Beijing, China. Before coming to UGA, she earned a B.S. in biology at Wuhan University and an M.S. in molecular biology from Texas A&M University-Commerce. Her thesis research focused on neural stem cells. At UGA, videos she made as an HMJ student were also used by the Department of Theater and Film Studies and the College of Family and Consumer Sciences. (Spring 2011)

Andrew LowndesAndrew Lowndes graduated from the University of Wisconsin-Madison in 2012 with a bachelor of science degree in biology, specializing in neurobiology. As a journalist he hopes to make complex principles more accessible by bridging the communication gap between the world of science and the general public. He is a graduate research assistant in the Office of the Senior Vice President for Academic Affairs and Provost at UGA. He is currently doing freelance work in Atlanta.

Jing LuoJing Luo is a graduate student in the International MPH program at Hebrew University in Jerusalem, where she was awarded a full scholarship. She is especially interested in studying Israel's highly regarded family health clinics, the Tipat Halav, and kibbutz life. In the interval between her graduate studies Jing worked as the U.S. correspondent for China Consumer Report and had a video editing internship in New York with the Asia Society. (December 2012)

Jessica LutonJessica Luton is now a writer and multimedia producer for UGA's Franklin College of Arts and Science, where among other duties she is a regular contributor to chronicles.franklin.uga.edu. She holds an undergraduate degree in journalism from Grady College and spent three years as a reporter, photographer and web guru at a small, community newspaper in central Georgia before returning to graduate school. There, she discovered the HMJ program and refined her reporting and storytelling skills. (May 2013)

Kirk McAlpinKirk McAlpin works as a science writer and web designer for Georgia Sea Grant, a program that promotes research, education and outreach on the Georgia Coast. During his second year as an HMJ student he had a science writing graduate assistantship with the UGA Office of Public Affairs. A 2005 graduate of the University of North Carolina at Asheville, Kirk is fluent in Spanish and is also a professional musician. (Spring 2011)

Marcia McClellan Marcie McClellan entered the PhD program in health and behavior promotion at UGA's College of Public Health in fall 2016. Her research interests include infant and maternal health, health disparities, and plain language. She'll also continue working as a lead content developer for the consulting firm JBS International. In this role, she oversees health information campaigns for leading public and private agencies, focusing mostly on the wellbeing of infants and new mothers. Marcie previously held an ORISE Fellowship in the Division of Communication Services at CDC, where she helped respond to Ebola, fungal meningitis, MERS and other major public health crises. She also led the development of a web-based application that gives CDC staff 24/7 access to their communication resources and tools. (Spring 2012)

Chris McGeeChris McGee is an Assistant Account Executive at Cookerly Public Relations in Atlanta. He works with clients on health, crisis and corporate communications. Before coming to UGA, he graduated from Georgia State University with a B.A. in film and video and minor in English. During graduate school, Chris held two healthcare-related internships at global public relations agencies. (December 2015)

Sandra McGillAs a second-year HMJ student, Sandra L. McGill has written for publications including Georgia Health News, UGA's Grady Newsource, and the College of Veterinary Medicine's alumni magazine, The Aesculapian. She's covered topics ranging from mental health in the foster care system to cystic fibrosis care and treatment, reporting from locations in South Georgia and in Ohio. As a graduate assistant, she edits technical articles for the Athens-based branch of the National Park System's Southeast Coast Network.

Meera NaqviMeera Naqvi graduated from the University of Georgia in 2010 with a B.A. in Philosophy. She is active in the Athens community as a volunteer for organizations helping women, children and families; she is also a certified yoga instructor who teaches classes locally. As a journalist she plans to focus on issues of public health and social justice.

Lori PindarLori M. Pindar, Ph.D. is on the faculty at Clemson University, where she is Associate Director of Undergraduate Studies for the Department of Communication and Assistant Director for the Erwin Center for Brand Communications. She parlayed her journalism and communication background into research related to branding, communication law, ethics and social justice. Lori is actively involved in university life as a teacher, adviser, and student advocate and works closely with a series of series of discussions dealing with identity, health, faith, class and all the "isms" that often divide communities, using media as a path to bridging boundaries. Lori received her BA in Communication Studies from Clemson University in 2009 and her MA in Journalism and Mass Communication from the University of Georgia. (2011)

L. Michael PoseyDuring a 30-year career as a pharmacist-editor, L. Michael Posey has worked on journals, books, newsletters, and online articles for pharmacists. His current interests are in use of technology and new media for rapid information dissemination. An employee of the American Pharmacists Association, Posey is the father of three boys. (Spring 2012)

Kathleen Frey RavenKathleen Raven is an associate editor at Yale School of Medicine in New Haven, CT. She leads the school's social media strategy and covers science and medicine stories for Yale's print and online publications. Kathleen previously reported on oncology clinical trials for the financial industry in New York City and freelanced for Reuters Health. Her work has been published in Scientific American, Nature, Nature Medicine and Pharmaceutical Executive. She holds an undergraduate degree in journalism and master's of science degree in Ecology. (May 2013)

Jordan SarverJordan Sarver is the manager of digital content and writing for the American Dental Association in Chicago. He worked as a freelance associate producer for CNN immediately after completing his M.A. degree. Before relocating to Chicago, he also worked as a web author for Georgia Gwinnett College and as a social media manager for WXIA-TV (11 Alive) in Atlanta. (Spring 2010)

Lauren SchumackerLauren Schumacker is a Chicago-based freelancer who mainly covers food and cocktails. As a graduate student, she created test-kitchen features for the Athens Banner-Herald and OnlineAthens.com and wrote a column about sustainable agriculture and healthy eating for The Flagpole. Her recent work can be found in Sauce Magazine and on talesofthecocktail.com. Before coming to UGA, Lauren graduated from St. Louis University with a B.S. in occupational science, a minor in history and a certificate in interprofessional education. In 2014, she earned a certificate in culinary arts from Le Cordon Bleu (Chicago). While in culinary school she worked for Chicago-based nonprofit Purple Asparagus and became passionate about increasing food literacy and education, particularly in urban environments. (December 2015)

Stephanie Schupska Stephanie Schupska is the public relations coordinator for the UGA News Service. She earned her HMJ degree while working as a science writer and news editor for UGA's College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences. Stephanie received her B.A. in English from Valdosta State University and began her career in newspapers, where she was a reporter and later a managing editor. (Spring 2012)

Alicia SmithAlicia Smith is an independent journalist based in South Carolina. She graduated from Limestone College in Gaffney, SC in 2012, earning a degree in English and creative writing with a minor in business administration. As an HMJ student she was a teaching assistant and a production intern at WUGA, where she transcribed video, wrote and researched stories for television and radio, and assisted in producing a daily newscast. As a second-year student she co-produced the "Match Madness" documentary for WUGA-TV. (May 2014)

Katie Smith Katie Smith is a multimedia specialist at the UGA College of Pharmacy, where she produces videos and other educational media. She is a Grady College telecomm graduate who earned an M.Ed. in instructional technology and, in Summer 2011, completed an M.S. in conservation ecology. She completed her HMJ coursework while studying ecology and deserves much credit for The Med School Project. She is deeply interested in using conventional and innovative media to communicate health and the environmental issues to the public. (Summer 2011)

Laura Smith Laura Smith is a health communication specialist for the National Center for Emerging and Zoonotic Infectious Diseases at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta. While in graduate school, Laura edited and designed Aesculapian, the alumni magazine for UGA’s College of Veterinary Medicine, and freelanced for Georgia Health News, Like the Dew and other news organizations. She won science-writing scholarships to cover two National Academies Keck Futures Initiative conferences. Although Laura has covered topics ranging from sustainable agriculture to the economic impact of obesity on Georgia, her true love is infectious disease. She followed this passion to East Africa in 2011 to report on schistosomiasis control efforts funded by the Gates Foundation. (Spring 2012)

Alyssa Stafford Alyssa Stafford is a communications specialist at Piedmont Healthcare. She is responsible for physician communications, editing hospital newsletters, and media relations for Piedmont Mountainside Hospital, a rural community hospital in Jasper, Ga. Prior to earning her master's in health media and communication at UGA, she attended Agnes Scott College. Her writing has appeared in Georgia Health News, the Association of Health Care Journalists blog, and other outlets.

Stewart AnsleyAnsley Stewart is a full-time musician in Atlanta, GA. She just released her first EP, "Light", in March 2017 and sings with a variety of local bands. She has a B.A. in English from Presbyterian College and a minor in music. As an HMJ graduate student, she wrote for Georgia Health News, won a LabTV award for her video profile of UGA postdoctoral fellow Robin Webb, received a 2015 AHCJ Academic Health Journalism Fellowship, and wrote her capstone project on her favorite thing in Athens, Nuçi's Space Camp Amped. (Summer 2015)

Chelsea ToledoChelsea Toledo is a Partnerships and Communications Manager at the Task Force for Global Health, where she promotes the operational research efforts of the Neglected Tropical Diseases Support Center. After graduating from the HMJ program, she contracted as a science writer for the National Institute of General Medical Sciences. From there, she promoted the health advocacy efforts of The Pew Charitable Trusts, as an associate and then senior associate of communications serving the institution's projects on biomedical research, antibiotic resistance, food and drug safety, and medical devices. Chelsea's full portfolio is available at www.chelseatoledo.com. (Spring 2012)

Julianne WyrickJulianne Wyrick is the digital communications writer for the American Society for Clinical Pathology, where she is responsible for creating web and social media content for both medical and general audiences. She also writes for Scientific American's Food Matters blog. While she was an HMJ student, Julianne worked as a graduate assistant in research communications for UGA's Office of the Vice President for Research. Before coming to UGA, Julianne earned her bachelor's degree in biochemistry from Asbury University. (May 2014)

Although the new MA concentration in Health and Medical Journalism officially began in Fall 2009, students in Professor Thomas's classes have been covering this beat since Fall 2006.

 

Additional Alumni

Brian Creech

Anna Dolianitis

Marona Graham-Bailey

Fall 2009

From L-R: Katie Smith, Jordan Sarver, James Hataway

From L-R: Katie Smith, Jordan Sarver, James Hataway

Harvesting Health is a 7-part series created in fall 2009 by advanced health and medical journalism students at the University of Georgia. The series aired on the WNEG-TV evening news and explored three themes: schools and healthier food choices, community gardens and neighborhood safety, and the economic and public health impact of sustainable agriculture in Northeast Georgia.

Logo for Harvesting Health

Spring 2008

The Grady Journal

For the last few months, students from Prof. Patricia Thomas' Health and Medical Reporting class and Mark E. Johnson's Documentary Photography course have been collaborating on stories looking at health care issues in the rural counties around Athens. Through words, photos, audio and video, they have investigated the issues of concern around the area, from athletes to gangs, teen pregnancy to aging.

Elbert County

Hall County

Hart County

Madison County

Oconee County

Oglethorpe County

Fall 2008

Marona Graham-Bailey

Fall 2007

The following multimedia productions were done as a collaborative project between Pat Thomas' JRMC 8350 Special Topics in Journalism and Mark Johnson's JOUR 3710 Advanced Photojournalism students.

Colin Dunlop

Tim Echols

Grey Pentecost

Amber Roessner

Fall 2006

Joe Dennis

Lenette Golding

Allison Loudermilk

Sarah Mclean

Lindsey Scott

Michael Tannebaum

Thomas Zimmerman

Wendi Zongker


Recent Students >


Students interview activists in NOLA's Lower Ninth Ward.
Students interview activists in NOLA's Lower Ninth Ward.