CBH Student Association

The Community and Behavioral Health Student Association was established to provide opportunities for professional development, service oriented outreach and social events for students. CBHSA aims to create unity among all students in the Department of Community and Behavioral Health by serving as a means of communication between students, faculty, the College of Public Health, and the community.

Aims and Functions

  • Develop a sense of community among all students and staff in the Department of Community and Behavioral Health
  • Expand opportunities for student professional development
  • Facilitate student dialogue with local, state, and national organizations


All CBHSA sponsored events are open to students studying Community and Behavioral Health. Elections for officer positions are held twice a year. Contact an officer for more information.

2020-2021 Officers

Abby Hellem – President (She/her/hers)

Abby Hellem is a second-year MPH student in the Department of Community and Behavioral Health. Abby is originally from Iowa City, and graduated from the University of Iowa with B.A.’s in Spanish and International Studies (Latin American focus) in 2018. Abby currently works as a Graduate Research Assistant in the College of Dentistry in the Department of Preventive and Community Dentistry, working on several studies regarding cognitive impairment and dementia family caretakers. Her interests are in aging & caregiver research, global health system and capacity building, and qualitative & anthropological research methods. She looks forward to collaborating with her peers through CBHSA to build community in the department.

Emily Shaw – Vice President (she/her/hers)

Emily Shaw is a second year MPH student in the Community and Behavioral Health Department from Lisle, IL. She earned her B.A. in Psychology from the University of Iowa in 2015, and spent time after graduation working at The University of Iowa’s Hospitals and Clinics (UIHC) in research. She worked as a Clinical Research Assistant in Psychiatry, Neurology, and Ophthalmology before recognizing her interest in Public Health and deciding to come back to school. Emily’s main interests involve nutrition, food security, and sexual health, and a whole lot more! She will be working as the Vice President this year and is so excited to be a part of the team!

Abigail Lee – Social Chair (she/her/hers)

Abigail Lee is a first year PhD student from Iowa City. She earned her BAs in Biology Research, Spanish, and Music at the University of Northern Iowa in 2015, and her MPH in Community and Behavioral Health at the University of Iowa in 2020. Before attending the CPH Abigail worked as a research associate within the Carver College of Medicine and interned at United Action for Youth, where she focused on youth wellbeing and comprehensive sexual health education. She was certified as an Adolescent Sexual Health Educator through EyesOpenIowa in 2018. Abigail is involved in the CPH Graduate Ambassador program and was named an ASPPH “This is Public Health” Ambassador for 2019-2020. During her time at Iowa, Abigail has worked as a graduate research assistant on a variety projects, though her main focus is sexual and reproductive health, relationships, and stigma. Since late 2018 Abigail has collaborated with Dr. Story, Tangaza University College, and Gynocare Women’s and Fistula Hospital to conduct an exploratory research project in western Kenya, which will be the ongoing focus of her PhD.

Bikere Ikoba – Service Chair (she/her/hers)

Bikere Ikoba is a second-year MPH student in the Community & Behavioral Health department, and she grew up in the Quad Cities. She graduated from the University of Iowa with a B.A. in Health & Human Physiology (Health Studies) and a minor in Psychology, then went on to work as a Cru Justice Intern and the North Liberty Community Pantry’s Volunteer & Services Coordinator for the next two years. In this program, Bikere now works with the Native Center for Behavioral Health as a Graduate Research Assistant alongside her studies. Bikere is particularly interested in the areas of global health disparities, food/water insecurity and justice, maternal/child health, immigrant/refugee health, and mental health. She is also excited to bring her passions for service, health equity, and social justice together in this role!


Sarah Kersten – Professional Development (she/her/hers)

Sarah Kersten is a second-year MPH student in the Community and Behavioral Health Department. She is from the Quad Cities and Graduated from the University of Iowa in 2018 with a B.A. in Health & Human Physiology with an emphasis in Health Promotion and a minor in Human Relations. After graduating, she went to work as an AmeriCorps member in the Columbia River Gorge region of Oregon as a Community Food Systems Coordinator for Oregon State University Extension Services. After returning to Iowa for graduate school she has worked with Student Wellness as a Student Interventionist for their Healthy Hawk program. She then transitioned to a Graduate Research Assistant on a project with Dr. Gilbert that studies how individuals who do not seek formal treatment recover from a drinking problem, how they define recovery, and how untreated recovery may vary by gender and race/ethnicity. Her interests include food justice, nutrition, substance use and harm reduction, and health equity.


Kathleen May – Public Relations (she/her/hers)

Kathleen May is a second year U2G MPH student from Lakewood, Colorado. She earned her BS in Public Health, a minor in Global Health Studies, and a certificate in Nonprofit Management from the University of Iowa in 2020. She currently works at the Institute for Public Health Practice and is the Community Health Initiative Advocate for the international nonprofit organization, Far Away Friends, that does education, health, and community development work in Namasale, Uganda. She is also a member of the Health Equity Advancement Lab here at the university. Her interests include rural health, substance use and harm reduction, health equity, and maternal and child health.