Journal of Appalachian Health Editorial Board
Linda Alexander, EdD
Dr. Linda A. Alexander is a Professor in the Department of Social and Behavioral Sciences and currently serves as the Senior Associate Dean for Academic, Student, and Faculty Affairs for West Virginia University’s School of Public Health. Her research primarily focuses on the complex understanding of the burden of tobacco related diseases among underrepresented and US socially disadvantaged and vulnerable populations. In addition to academic settings, Linda has over 25 years’ experience working in and for underrepresented communities, which has helped shaped her expertise in culture’s influence on health behavior. Her insights for the role of culture on health outcomes, especially in and among rural communities, was gleaned during her combined 10 years as a State Health Specialist at both Texas A & M University and University of Kentucky Agricultural Extension Service. She also applies this knowledge to the classroom when teaching public health students. During her time in academia, Linda has developed several courses with a focus on eliminating health disparities and preparing a culturally competent public health workforce.
Linda’s formal education includes graduate degrees from James Madison University and the University of Virginia. She is a founding member of the Tobacco Research Network on Disparities (TReND) and the Network on Biobehavioral Pathways in Cancer (NBPC) both funded by the National Cancer Institute (NCI). Dr. Alexander recently served as the Senior Volume Editor for NCI’s Monograph 22, the first monograph devoted exclusively to a comprehensive understanding of the research literature on smoking attributable diseases, patterns, mortality and morbidity for racial, ethnic and social minorities. Dr. Alexander currently serves as a Section Councilor for the Alcohol, Tobacco, and Other Drugs (ATOD), section of the American Public Health Association and was recently elected to the Governing Council of the American Public Health Association representing that same group.
Dr. Alexander has no competing editorial or research interests regarding her role on the Editorial Board of the Journal of Appalachian Health.
Wendy Braund, MD, MPH, MSEd, FACPM
Dr. Wendy E. Braund is the Director of the Center for Public Health Practice, Associate Dean for Practice, and Professor of Health Policy and Management at the University of Pittsburgh Graduate School of Public Health. Previously, she served as Wyoming State Health Officer and Public Health Division Administrator for the Wyoming Department of Health. Prior to moving west, Dr. Braund was employed by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, serving in the Office of the Assistant Secretary for Health, Office of Disease Prevention and Health Promotion, and subsequently in the Health Resources and Services Administration, Bureau of Health Professions.
Dr. Braund is a 2007 graduate of the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health Preventive Medicine Residency Program and is board certified in General Preventive Medicine and Public Health. She is a Fellow of the American College of Preventive Medicine. Her degrees include a BA from Duke University, MSEd from the University of Pennsylvania Graduate School of Education, MD from the Pennsylvania State University College of Medicine, and MPH from the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health.
Dr. Braund has no competing editorial or research interests regarding her role on the Editorial Board of the Journal of Appalachian Health.
Kelly Brunst, PhD
Kelly Brunst is an Assistant Professor of Epidemiology in the Department of Environmental Health in the College of Medicine at the University of Cincinnati. She earned her B.A. in Biology from Thomas More College (Crestview Hills, KY), her Ph.D. in Epidemiology from the University of Cincinnati (Cincinnati, OH), and completed a postdoctoral fellowship in the Department of Pediatrics at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai (New York, NY). Her research focuses on understanding the programming mechanisms by which prenatal/early-life exposure to physical, social and/or nutritional factors influences childhood respiratory health and neurodevelopment. She is particularly interested in studying how chemical and non-chemical exposures interact to influence health. She was recently awarded a National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences (NIEHS) Pathway to Independence Award to examine the effects of prenatal air pollution and maternal psychosocial stress exposure on childhood neurobehavioral outcomes; her study utilizes novel mitochondrial DNA biomarkers of oxidative damage to address questions regarding the role of mitochondrial function in the programming of infant neurobehavior.
Dr. Brunst has no competing editorial or research interests regarding her role on the Editorial Board of the Journal of Appalachian Health.
Al Delia is the inaugural vice president for regional development and engagement at Frostburg State University in Frostburg, Maryland. He oversees the University’s efforts to help advance the region it serves through engagement with business, industry, community organizations and government. Prior to his return to Maryland in 2018, Al served in a variety of positions in academe and in government in North Carolina. Positions he has held include service as Secretary of the NC Department of Health and Human Services; Senior Advisor and Policy Director to Governor Bev Perdue; CEO of North Carolina’s Eastern Region Development Commission; and East Carolina University associate vice chancellor for research, economic development and community engagement. Most recently, Al was director of health access at the Brody School of Medicine at East Carolina University.
Al is a political science graduate of Drew University in Madison, New Jersey. He is married to Cecelia Karas and lives in Cresaptown, Maryland. He has two adult sons, Jordan and Alex.
Mr. Delia has no competing editorial or research interests regarding his role on the Editorial Board of the Journal of Appalachian Health.
Paul C. Erwin, MD, DrPH, MPH
Paul C. Erwin is Dean of the School of Public Health at the University of Alabama at Birmingham. Prior to his appointment in August 2018, Dr. Erwin served as head of the Department of Public Health at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville. Before he came into academia, Dr. Erwin served 16 years with the Tennessee Department of Health, with most of that time directing a region of 15 county health departments in rural Appalachia. He is an Associate Editor of the American Journal of Public Health and serves on the editorial board of the Journal of Public Health Management and Practice.
Dr. Erwin has no competing editorial or research interests regarding his role on the Editorial Board of the Journal of Appalachian Health.
Michelle Foster, PhD
Dr. Michelle Foster is the President and CEO of The Greater Kanawha Valley Foundation (TGKVF). The largest community foundation in Central Appalachia, TGKVF funds initiatives in education, health, community economic development, basic needs, and arts & culture, granting more than $13 million annually to initiatives that benefit low-wealth individuals. With approximately $310 million in assets made possible by generous donors, TGKVF ranks in the top 100 among community foundations in the U.S.
Before joining TGKVF, Michelle was the CEO of the Kanawha Institute for Social Research & Action, Inc. (KISRA), a community-based, nonprofit organization that strengthens West Virginia families through health, employment, asset development, and learning initiatives. Michelle’s original career was as a chemical engineer, most recently at Union Carbide Corporation (now Dow). She has a doctorate in community economic development (CED) and two master’s degrees: one in CED and another in engineering management.
In her free time, Michelle enjoys traveling, attending music festivals and theatrical productions, making scented candles, and soul line dancing. She also places a premium on spending quality time with her family and friends.
Dr. Foster has no competing editorial or research interests regarding her role on the Editorial Board of the Journal of Appalachian Health.
Laura L. Hungerford, DVM, MPH, PhD, CPH, FNAP
Dr. Laura Hungerford is a veterinary epidemiologist and Head of the Department of Population Health Sciences at Virginia Tech, which houses the MPH, DVM/MPH, MD/MPH, BSPH and Certificate in Public Health Programs; the Center for Public and Corporate Veterinary Medicine; and the Center for Public Health Practice and Research. She has been active in teaching a wide range of epidemiology and public health courses to graduate, medical, and veterinary students, as well as providing continuing education for veterinarians and other health professionals. She is a member of numerous professional associations and was elected as a Distinguished Fellow in the National Academies of Practice.
Her publications, grants, and research interests include collaborative studies that take a One Health approach to risk factors for infectious and zoonotic diseases, application of geographic information system and spatial statistical analyses, and dynamic modeling in multidisciplinary health problems. She has collaborated on developing innovations for drug review at FDA, human infectious disease modeling, and projects with zoos and wildlife agencies involving raccoons, deer, frogs, sea turtles, big cats, birds, and aquatic mammals.
Dr. Hungerford has no competing editorial or research interests regarding her role on the Editorial Board of the Journal of Appalachian Health.
Karen Minyard, PhD, MN, BN
Karen Minyard, Ph.D. is the chief executive officer of the Georgia Health Policy Center at Georgia State University. She has led the center since 2001 and is also a research professor with the Department of Public Management and Policy in the Andrew Young School of Policy Studies. Minyard connects the research, policy, and programmatic work of the center across issue areas including: population health, health and health care financing, health in all policies, long-term services and supports, rural health, child health and well-being, behavioral health, health system transformation, and community health systems development. Minyard has applied a realist approach to much of her work over the last six years. This work involves multiple projects, the largest of which included eight rounds of sensemaking over five years to revise the original literature-based theory about health system transformation.
She received a bachelor’s degree in nursing from the University of Virginia, a master’s degree in nursing from the Medical College of Georgia, and a doctoral degree in business administration with a major in strategic management and minor in health care financing from Georgia State University.
Dr. Minyard has no competing editorial or research interests regarding her role on the Editorial Board of the Journal of Appalachian Health.
Michele Morrone, PhD
Dr. Morrone is a Professor of Environmental Health at Ohio University and the Director of the Appalachian Rural Health Institute. She earned a Ph.D. in environmental planning from The Ohio State University, an M.S. in forest resources from the University of New Hampshire, and a B.S. in natural resources from The Ohio State University. Dr. Morrone previously served as the Chief of the Office of Environmental Education at the Ohio Environmental Protection Agency. She is the author of numerous papers on environmental topics including the community impacts of hydraulic fracturing, environmental health disparities in Appalachia, and environmental justice. She has published four books and her fifth and current book project is Ailing in Place: Environmental Health in Appalachia. She was the 2012 Fulbright Research Scholar in Science and the Environment at McMaster University in Hamilton, Ontario, Canada and was a member of a group to present Appalachian-related research in Ukraine in 2014. Her research focuses on Appalachian health issues, specifically the relationship between environmental conditions and health outcomes.
Dr. Morrone has no competing editorial or research interests regarding her role on the Editorial Board of the Journal of Appalachian Health.
Randy Wykoff, MD, MPH&TM
Randy Wykoff is the founding dean of the College of Public Health at East Tennessee State University (ETSU), a position he has held since 2006. He is also the chair of the Education Committee and a member of the Board of the Association of Schools and Programs of Public Health. Prior to coming to ETSU, Wykoff was the senior vice president for International Operations at Project HOPE, responsible for overseeing all international health and humanitarian assistance programs in more than 30 countries. He previously served as the deputy assistant secretary for health (Disease Prevention and Health Promotion) in the Department of Health and Human Services, overseeing the release and implementation of Healthy People 2010, and the Surgeon General’s Call to Action to Prevent and Decrease Overweight and Obesity, as well as serving for a year as the acting executive director of the President’s Council on Physical Fitness and Sports. Wykoff also served as the associate commissioner for AIDS and Special Health Issues and later as the associate commissioner for Operations, during 11 years at the Food and Drug Administration. During this time, he served for 18 months as the deputy to the acting commissioner and completed a six-month detail with the Senate Labor and Human Resources Committee. He started his public health career as a district medical director in South Carolina, overseeing all public health activities in a rural six-county health district. He is a physician, board certified in both pediatrics and preventive medicine, with additional training and certification in tropical medicine.
Dr. Wykoff has no competing editorial or research interests regarding his role on the Editorial Board of the Journal of Appalachian Health.