Central Office Staff

The Central Office for the Region 2 Public Health Training Center is located at the Columbia University Mailman School of Public Health (CUMSPH) within the Department of Sociomedical Sciences. The faculty and staff that work in the Central Office have expertise in training, adult learning, health promotion, and instructional design.

Principal Investigator, Christian Gloria

Christian T. Gloria, PhD, MA, CHES, is the Director and Principal Investigator of the Region 2 Public Health Training Center. He is an Associate Professor and Deputy Chair of the Department of Sociomedical Sciences at Columbia University, Mailman School of Public Health. As Deputy Chair, Dr. Gloria oversees the planning, implementation, and evaluation of the department’s master’s programs including the MS, MPH, Accelerated MPH, Dual Degree (e.g., MSW+MPH), and 4+1 (BA+MPH) programs—accredited by the Council on Education for Public Health (CEPH).

Dr. Gloria is a Visiting Scientist of the Philippine Council for Health Research & Development and a Visiting Professor of Public Health for several higher education institutions in the Republic of the Philippines (specifically, Angeles University Foundation, Ateneo de Manila University, De La Salle University, Silliman University, University of San Agustin, University of the Assumption, and University of the Philippines Manila). Through these roles, he collaborates with schools, governments, professional associations, industries, and communities to redefine and spotlight “public health” in the health system, conduct needs assessments, as well as develop public health workforce training programs.

Previously, Dr. Gloria was the Department Chair and Associate Professor of Public Health at Hawaii Pacific University (2012-21), as well as the Vice President (2016-17) and President (2017-18) of the Hawaii Public Health Association. He led the developments of the first CEPH-accredited BSPH and fully-online MPH programs in the State of Hawaii, which also provided training needs assessments, technical assistance, and continuing education for the existing public health workforce.

Nationally and internationally, Dr. Gloria continues to serve as a consultant for the development and evaluation of academic and government public health programs.

PhD, 2013, The University of Texas at Austin (Health Behavior & Health Education; Specialization: Stress & Resilience)
MA, 2009, The University of Texas at Austin (Health Education; Specialization: Nutrition & Built Environment)
BS, 2005, The University of Texas at Austin (Health Promotion & Fitness; Specialization: Exercise Science & Personal Training)

Memberships and Certifications
Member, Mental Health Technical Working Group of the Philippine Council for Health Research & Development, Department of Science & Technology
Member, Medical Sciences Division of the National Research Council of the Philippines
Co-Convenor & Curator, Independent Dialogue for the United Nations Food Systems Summit 2021
Member, National Steering Committee of the Public Health Learning Agenda for Systems Change
Member, American Public Health Association
Member, New York State Public Health Association

Assistant Director, Melinda Lippert

Melinda Lippert, MPH, CHES®, is the Assistant Director and Regional Coordinator of the Region 2 Public Health Training Center. Melinda joined the Region 2 PHTC team in March 2023. She works closely with academic and community partners to ensure that the current and future public health workforce is adequately trained to address the emerging challenges of their communities. She manages all operations of the Region 2 PHTC and the HRSA grant deliverables and reporting. She oversees the planning, development, implementation, and evaluation of all PHTC webinars and asynchronous training courses. Melinda previously worked as a Senior Program Manager at the New York State Association of County Health Officials (NYSACHO) where she served as the staff lead on the Columbia University Region 2 PHTC Contract and the New York State Department of Health Consolidated Training and Education Contract. Melinda is a Certified Health Education Specialist and is knowledgeable about workforce training, public health practice, and maternal and child health. Melinda holds a Master of Public Health degree and a Graduate Certificate in Maternal and Child Health from the University at Albany School of Public Health.

MPH, University at Albany School of Public Health

Certificate of Graduate Study, Maternal and Child Health, University at Albany School of Public Health

BA, Biology and Biochemistry, University of Southern Maine

Memberships and Certifications
Member, NYSPHA
Member, APHA

Instructional Designer, Shwetha Bhaskar

Shwetha Bhaskar has 7 years of experience developing online training for the public health workforce at the federal, state, and local levels for both the National Center for Disaster Preparedness and Region 2 PHTC. These trainings have been developed under the purview of grant-funded training programs sponsored by CDC, FEMA, HRSA, New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene, and the Assistant Secretary of Preparedness and Response. Shwetha has worked closely with experts in these agencies, and at Columbia University, to develop more than 40 online certificate courses based upon instructional design theory and using industry standard tools and software (e.g., Articulate). Topics of her trainings have included emergency preparedness and response; social media use in emergencies; climate change and disasters; and leadership and decision making. Shwetha also has experience managing the learning management systems as well as web and social media communication efforts.

MA, Columbia University, Teachers College
BA, Bangalore University

Memberships and Certifications
Advanced Business Certificate, Columbia University, School of Professional Studies

Communications Specialist, Marissa Ware

Marissa Ware is the Communications Specialist at the Region 2 Public Health Training Center. She is a seasoned communications professional with a remarkable track record of leading impactful campaigns and strategic communications for global health organizations. Most recently, she spearheaded communications efforts for the What Women Want for Health and Well-being advocacy campaign at White Ribbon Alliance. A master of many disciplines, Marissa has expertise in communications, research, advocacy, and program coordination.

Marissa is currently pursuing a nursing degree at Mercy University to unite her passion for women’s health advocacy with a commitment to healthcare excellence. With a Master of Public Health from the University of Edinburgh and currently pursuing nursing studies, Marissa is dedicated to reshaping health systems in New York and beyond, aiming to foster positive change in global healthcare.

MPH, University of Edinburgh
BSc, University of Nebraska Lincoln

Center Evaluator, Isaac Michaels

Isaac Michaels is a public health professional with a background in epidemiology. He has a passion for integrating research and practice in order to improve the health and well-being of communities. Throughout his career, Michaels has worked in various settings, including government agencies, hospitals, non-profit organizations, and international organizations. These experiences have given him a diverse skill set and a deep understanding of the complex challenges facing public health.

Michaels received his Bachelor of Arts (BA) degree in both Mathematics and Anthropology from Binghamton University. He then went on to earn a Master of Public Health (MPH) degree from the University at Albany. Currently, he is pursuing a Doctor of Public Health (DrPH) degree with a concentration in Epidemiology at the University at Albany.

DrPH Candidate, University of Albany
MPH, University of Albany
BA, Binghamton University

Region 2 Public Health Training Center