Students Speak Out

Staff Bios

Terri D. Wright, Director

Terri D. Wright is the Director of the Center for School, Health & Education and Center for Public Health Policy within the 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. Terri obtained her master of public health in health policy and administration and doctor of philosophy in public health from the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor.

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.

Tia Taylor Williams, Deputy Director

Tia Taylor Williams is the Deputy Director for the Center for School, Health and Education and the Center for Public Health Policy with responsibility for leadership and administration in the implementation of programmatic and policy strategies of the Center in collaboration with the Center’s director.

Tia has been at APHA for eight years and has managed a portfolio of projects aimed at addressing the social determinants of health to reduce health inequities. In addition to providing grant management and project oversight, Tia has authored and shepherded the development of reports, issue briefs and fact sheets including Better Health Through Equity: Case Studies in Reframing Public Health and Health in All Policies: A Guide for State and Local Health Departments.

Tia has over 14 years of experience in public health and holds a Master of Public Health from Virginia Commonwealth University, Master of Science in Nutrition and Integrative Health and a Bachelor of Science in Exercise Science from Ithaca College.

Tia has served her community in multiple capacities, with the most rewarding being as a Court Appointed Special Advocate (CASA) for abused and neglected children in the foster care system.

Tia is dedicated to promoting policies and practices designed to help all communities thrive.

Kelly Nelson, Program Manager

Kelly 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. Her responsibilities include assisting school-based health centers (project sites) in various states to move beyond the clinic walls and integrate primary care with public health, school-wide, to address the social determinants of health and graduation. Kelly also executes additional programmatic and policy strategies of CSHE in collaboration with Center leadership.

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.

Darien Mather, Program Associate

Darien joined the Center for School, Health and Education at the American Public Health Association to support the execution of program strategies. Her responsibilities include building capacity of school-based health centers and education leaders to integrate primary care with public health on a school-wide level to address the social determinants of health and graduation. Additionally, she develops and executes the social media strategy for the Center, under the umbrella of building capacity of the public health workforce, a strategic goal of the American Public Health Association.

Darien received her Master’s Degree in Public Health, with a focus on maternal and child health at the George Washington University. Her work and research focused on sexual and reproductive health among women, adolescent, and/or Latino populations. Darien’s culminating experience research investigated the connectedness of Latino youth across differing levels of social media use, within the context of positive youth development.

Prior to her work in Washington, D.C., Darien received her Bachelor of Arts in Biology from Cornell University. Darien volunteers with various nonprofits as a grant writer and reviewer. She also volunteers as a mentor for college women to prepare them for leadership in the public policy arena.

Ivana Castellaños, Program Associate

abIvana is a Program Associate for the Center for Public Health Policy at the American Public Health Association. She joined APHA in October 2014 and her responsibilities include managing and supporting work in tribal public and environmental health, transportation and health, climate change, and other environmental health areas. In addition, she works with APHA’s Center for School, Health and Education to support program development and provide programmatic support.

Prior to her work at APHA, Ivana worked with the Alliance for Health Reform to conduct research and prepare materials on a variety of health policy topics for congressional briefings, conferences, toolkits, and events. Ivana also has experience in social work, and she previously worked with New Alternatives for Children in NYC to advocate and provide direct case support for families of medically fragile children.

She received her Bachelor of Arts in Sociology from Princeton University, with a certificate in Latino Studies.