Students Speak Out

Staff Bios

Terri D. Wright, Director

Terri D. Wright is the Director of the Center for School, Health & Education Division of Public Health Policy and Practice at the American Public Health Association. She provides leadership to the strategic development and integration of public health in school-based health care and education.

Prior to joining APHA in 2010, she served as a program director for health policy for the W. K. Kellogg Foundation in Battle Creek, MI for 12 years. In that capacity Terri developed and reviewed the Foundation’s health programming priorities and initiatives, evaluated and recommended proposals for funding, and administered projects and initiatives. She also assisted in public policy analysis and related policy program development, as well as provided leadership to the Foundation’s school-based health care policy program.

Previously, Terri was Maternal and Child Health Director and Bureau Chief for Child and Family Services at the Michigan Department of Community Health in Lansing, Michigan. In that role, she managed policy, programs and resources with the goal of reducing preventable maternal, infant, and child morbidity and mortality through policy and programming.

She received her bachelor’s degree in community and school health, as well as her New York State certification in secondary school education from the City University of New York and her master’s of public health degree in health planning and administration from the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor. She is currently a doctoral candidate in public health at the University of Michigan.

Terri takes an active leadership role in several professional associations and community organizations including the American Public Health Association and the Institute of Medicine’s Roundtable on the Promotion of Health Equity and the Elimination of Health Disparities.

Leslie Parks, Deputy Director

leslie picLeslie Parks is the Deputy Director for the Center for School, Health and Education at the American Public Health Association (APHA) in Washington, D.C., with responsibility for leadership and administration in the implementation of programmatic and policy strategies of the Center in collaboration with the Center’s director.

The Center was seeded in 2010 at APHA to address the social determinants of school dropout through the adoption of public health practices and principles that emphasize school-wide prevention and health promotion.

Prior to coming to APHA, Parks worked for Georgia State University in the Institute for Public Health’s National SafeCare Training and Research Center. There she coordinated the state wide effort to train and implement SafeCare, an evidence based parent education model adopted by the Georgia Department of Human Services to prevent child maltreatment.

Ms. Parks has more than 30 years of professional experience and a diverse background in both private industry and non profit administration. A former teacher, her experience also includes; project planning and management, grant writing, and leading a departmental self study for national accreditation.

Parks has an undergraduate degree from Mount Holyoke College and has worked both in the United States and abroad.

Kelly Nelson, Program Associate

3Kelly joined the Center for School, Health and Education (CSHE) at the American Public Health Association to support the execution of program strategies in a variety of ways. In collaboration with Center management, her responsibilities include overseeing the social media campaign, coordinating select CSHE activities, including but not limited to the provision of research-based strategies and resource information, coordinating and providing technical support for select CSHE projects and deliverables, assisting with policy activities, developing content for issue briefs, supporting the development and implementation of the strategic communications plan, managing the website, and other related assignments as needed.

Kelly received her Master’s Degree in Public Health, with a focus on community oriented primary care in vulnerable populations at the George Washington University (GWU). Currently, she volunteers as the Program Manager for the TC Wallace Foundation, a community-based outreach organization. Prior to attending GWU, Kelly was a postbaccalaureate training award fellow at the National Institutes of Health, where she investigated plasma cell tumors in mice.

In 2008, Kelly earned her Bachelor’s of Science in biology from Howard University and has since been involved in both basic and clinical research including, materials research at the University of Pennsylvania, biochemical and molecular research at the Center for Cancer Research within the NIH, and investigations of age-related macular degeneration at Scheie Eye Institute of the University of Pennsylvania. In addition to her research experience, Kelly has participated in community-based outreach activities including the Opportunities in Health Care (OHC) Program of Temple University Hospital, pulmonary and respiratory care assistance within Temple University Hospital’s Patient Relations department and assistant teaching at Howard University’s Middle School of Mathematics and Science. Kelly maintains an interest in addressing health disparities within minority populations.

Janet Zimmerman, Senior Planning and Evaluation Consultant

Janet Zimmerman is a Senior Planning and Evaluation Consultant for JFM Consulting Group in Detroit. Ms. Zimmerman has over 25 years of experience in research, planning and evaluation in the private and public sectors at the federal, regional, state, and community levels.

Currently, Ms. Zimmerman serves as the lead evaluator on a pilot project in Detroit related to dropout prevention and provides evaluation services to the Center for School, Health and Education.

Earlier work includes serving as the evaluation manager for a multi-site cluster evaluation of a health policy initiative funded by the W.K. Kellogg Foundation; a Senior Research Scientist and Program Director at the Michigan Public Health Institute; and a researcher and visiting assistant professor at the University of Michigan.

She received her Ph.D. from School of Public Health, Department of Health Services Organization and Policy, University of Michigan in 1990, and her Master’s Degree in Public Policy Studies, also from the University of Michigan, in 1981.