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Minnesota Public Health Association

Since 1907, MPHA has been dedicated to creating a healthier Minnesota through effective public health practice and engaged citizens. 


Executive Director, Merry Grande

Why did you join MPHA?

I joined MPHA after finishing graduate school when I moved back to Minnesota. After a career change and living away for several years, I wanted to get connected to the public health community here. My first MPHA event was a Policy Forum in 2012. I've appreciated calling MPHA my public health home ever since then!

What are you most looking forward to in the next year for MPHA?

I'm excited about the professional development and advocacy opportunities we plan with our partners. We have exciting strategic planning on the horizon, including deeper connections with rural health partners. The APHA President will speak at our spring 2024 conference (and APHA, the national conference, is being held in Minneapolis Oct. 2024!).

Operations Specialist,  Leika Pierre-Louis

Why did you join MPHA?

After moving to Minnesota 2 years ago, I decided to get involved in the community as much as possible and that started with a career change. I have spent the last 2 years working with the unsheltered community and through that I have met so many amazing individuals that have a heart for that population and a passion to see their community thrive. I share that same desire, so I am always looking for more opportunities to grow and equip myself so that I can be a resource for those around me. I am excited about this new opportunity and looking forward to learning more about MPHA and the work that is being done.

What are you most looking forward to in the next year for MPHA?

I most excited about MPHA's conference. It will be my first one and so I am looking forward to connect with those who will attend and participate in the sessions that will take place.


MPHA Governing Council is made up of six elected officers, six elected at‑large members, one member from each of the four standing committees, and two student representatives. Any individual member, student/retired or sustaining member may hold office or serve as a member of the Governing Council.

Members of the Governing Council are constant ambassadors and proponents of MPHA. They ensure that the mission and vision of the organization moves forward through leadership and service.

President, Antonia Wilcoxon

What is your favorite thing about Minnesota?

I have built a community around me and I am grateful. As an immigrant, I have an obligation to be a servant leader. It is my thank you for the opportunities, life and security this state has extended to me.

I am so honored to be the President!!

Email Antonia

President-Elect, Kristin Moore

What is your favorite thing about Minnesota?

I was away from Minnesota for about 5 years and I was most surprised that I missed getting to experience all four seasons. But my absolute favorite thing about Minnesota is that my family is here.

Email Kristin

Immediate Past President, Ellen Saliares

What are you most looking forward to this year with MPHA?

I'm excited for upcoming work on rural health equity and have lots of anticipation for what the next conference theme will be!

What is your favorite thing about Minnesota? 

The summer activities - gardening, small town parades, farmers markets, and lakes!

Email Ellen

Secretary, Tarissa Host

Why did you join MPHA?

I joined MPHA because of the collaborative environment, uniting professionals at all levels to collectively work towards addressing the public health challenges directly affecting Minnesota communities.

What are you most looking forward to in the next year for MPHA?

In the upcoming year at MPHA, I'm looking forward to collaborating on health equity initiatives. Drawing from my personal background of growing up in a rural farming community in Minnesota, I am eager to contribute to expanding MPHA's network and promote the health and well-being of our communities.

Treasurer, Cherylee Sherry

Affiliate Representative to the Governing Council, Annie Halland

Why did you join MPHA?

To work with “my people” to make Minnesota a healthier place for all.

What are you most looking forward to in the next year for MPHA?

Learning and growing as take on this new role to be the representative for Minnesota at APHA and the Great Lakes Coalition.

What is your favorite thing about Minnesota?

Our vibrant cultures and natural resources.

Member-at-Large, Evett Ellis 

Why did you join MPHA?

I was introduced to the association by a colleague and I saw the wonderful work that has been done as a result of the collective body, and wanted to utilize my 3 cents to work towards making a difference bring a real life perspective from the BIPOC community.

What are you most looking forward to in the next year for MPHA?

Hands down the next MPHA conference is what I’m most excited about being apart of to help come up with exciting material and allowing great minds come together to problem solve and see what MPHA is doing for community in regards to the connection to public health.

Member-at-Large, Caleb Schultz

Member-at-Large, Jakesa Thompson

Why did you join MPHA?

I joined MPHA after being inspired by a colleague and member of MPHA. She consistently shared the engaging and impactful work that MPHA was and is doing, which prompted me to do my own research. I felt the urge to join after learning of the mission and vision of MPHA; to be an active voice for public health in Minnesota, creating a healthier place for us to live. Community health is near to my heart, and MPHA recognizes and champions that.

What are you most looking forward to in the next year for MPHA?

I'm most looking forward to MPHA growing in membership and having a wider footprint in Minnesota. MPHA is already doing such impactful work in policy and health equity. I'm so excited to be a part of an organization that focuses on community health and making tangible results in the community we live in.

Member-at-Large, Tolu Oyelowo

Why did you join MPHA?

To be a part of an organization working for choice and access in health care.

What are you most looking forward to in the next year for MPHA?

Exploring how to impact health issues that are both local and global.

What is your favorite thing about Minnesota?

The changing seasons.

Member-at-Large, Connie Norman

Student Representatives

Roshan Khatri

My decision to become a student representative for MPHA is driven both by my desire to actively contribute to the advancement of public health as well as serve as a voice for the public health students in our state and convey their perspectives to the organization's leadership. I am currently in a doctoral program, deeply passionate about global health, disaster preparedness and recovery.

I am originally from Nepal and my favorite aspects of living in Minnesota is its people- their warmth, inclusivity, and strong sense of community. This welcoming environment has made my time here incredibly enriching and fulfilling. Furthermore, the natural beauty of Minnesota is awe-inspiring, with its abundant outdoor recreational opportunities. Whether it's hiking in the North Woods, enjoying the pristine lakes, or partaking in winter sports, the state's outdoor offerings are second to none. For me, the combination of a friendly population and the state's natural wonders makes Minnesota a truly exceptional place to call home.

Tatianna Lopez

I am a second-year graduate student focusing on Global Health. I believe that we all have the potential to make change and stay in-tuned with what our community needs from a policy perspective. I decided to join the organization to ensure that student voices were heard and aid in policy change. I strongly believe in the work MPHA does and cannot wait to see what this year has instore, and how I can make a difference. As a Community Health Worker I can appreciate the change that the MPHA advocates for and look forward to the role I will take on to advocate for effective and equitable policy reform.

I was born and raised in St. Paul so there is plenty to love about Minnesota. My favorite part of growing up here is experiencing all four-seasons. Although the winter months take up most of the year, seeing our beautiful greenery change colors, enjoying the summer heat and splashing through the puddles make it worth it!

Learn about our Committee Chairs on their Committee Pages

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