Meet the Team

Meet the Team

Deepa L. Sekhar, MD, MSc

Executive Director

    Deepa serves as executive director for Penn State PRO Wellness and Associate Professor of Pediatrics at Penn State College of Medicine. Her responsibilities include leading PRO Wellness; engaging agencies, organizations, schools and community groups; maintaining a team-focused climate which attracts, keeps and motivates a staff of high quality individuals; and ensuring that research and projects further our important work to advance the health and wellness of our communities, both within Pennsylvania and beyond.

    Deepa joined Penn State as an Assistant Professor in 2008. She is a clinician-investigator caring for infants, children and adolescents at Penn State Pediatrics, and using her challenges in primary care to spark research endeavors to improve the health of children and families. Her research has been funded by the Children’s Miracle Network, the Academic Pediatric Association, The Sackler Institute, the Health Resources & Services Administration, and the Patient-Centered Outcomes Research Institute. Her work has been presented at the regional and national levels.
     

    Kara Bowers, RD, LDN

    Project Manager

      Kara is a Registered Dietitian who serves as a project manager for the PRO Wellness Center. She utilizes her background in counseling and community nutrition for health promotion to assist in planning, implementing, and evaluating outcomes related to obesity and overall wellness. She is working specifically with Boy Scouts of America to implement an obesity prevention program, which aims to create a supportive nutrition environment and increase opportunities for physical activity within the Boy Scouts organization. Additionally, Kara works with employee wellness programs across multiple Penn State campuses to expand opportunities for wellness in the workplace.

      Kara holds a Bachelor of Science in Nutrition and Dietetics from Messiah College and obtained her RD status through the Sodexo Allentown program. In her spare time, Kara enjoys cooking, reading, working out, and relaxing with her husband and two cats, Yoda and Vader.

      Lauren Green, MPH, CHES

      Research Project Associate

        Lauren serves as a part-time research project associate for Penn State PRO Wellness. She uses her background in health education to assist the center with the Healthy Champions program. She also aids in grant writing and program planning, implementation and evaluation.

        Lauren holds a Bachelor’s degree in Health Promotion from Liberty University as well as a Master of Public Health degree with a concentration in Community and Behavioral Health from Penn State University. She has also been a Certified Health Education Specialist for over ten years. She enjoys reading and experimenting with food in her free time.

        Elizabeth Hivner, M.Ed, CHES

        Project Coordinator

          Elizabeth is a Certified Health Education Specialist who serves as a project coordinator for PRO Wellness. She utilizes her education and background in public health education to assist school districts in developing sustainable wellness programs around physical activity through training and technical assistance. She also is responsible for implementing a multi-tiered community and school-based research study to enhance school-aged children’s recommended vaccinations.

          Elizabeth holds a degree in Health Sciences with a concentration in Public Health Education from James Madison University and a Master’s of Education in Health Education from Penn State University. Elizabeth also enjoys running, cooking, going to the beach and traveling.

          Alicia Hoke, MPH, CHES

          Senior Project Manager

            Alicia serves as senior project manager for our school-based grants, which create supportive nutrition environments and increase opportunities for physical activity in school districts across the Commonwealth. She utilizes her background in health education to develop educational materials and informational webinars on various school health topics.

            Alicia holds a Bachelor’s Degree in biology from Lycoming College and a Master of Public Health from Penn State University. She is also a Certified Health Education Specialist. In her spare time, Alicia enjoys boating and skiing with family and friends.

            Abbey Kinard, BA

            Marketing Communications Specialist

              Abbey serves as Marketing Communications Specialist for PRO Wellness. Her responsibilities include the development and design of promotional and educational communications. Utilizing social media, web design and web analytics Abbey manages PRO Wellness’s online presence. She also assists with the implementation of our marketing strategy and brand consistency through digital and print advertising.

              Abbey holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in Communication/Journalism, from Shippensburg University. In her spare time, she enjoys diving into creative DIY projects, photographing life’s special moments and making memories with friends and family.

              Nidesh Lamichhane, BS

              Project Coordinator

                Nidesh serves as a project coordinator for PRO Wellness. He utilizes his background in social psychology, child development and health communication to help implement a multi-tiered community and school-based research study to enhance school-aged children’s recommended vaccinations.

                Nidesh holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Psychology from Duke University and is pursuing his Master of Public Health with a Nutrition concentration online through UNC Gillings School of Global Public Health. In his spare time, Nidesh enjoys cooking experiments, rooting for the underdog outside of his favorites (Broncos, Blue Devils, Lebron, Serena and Federer), and spending time with his parents, grandmas and friends.

                 

                Alissa Molinari, MPH

                Project Coordinator

                  Alissa serves as a project coordinator for PRO Wellness. She utilizes her knowledge and experience in education, outreach and health promotion to assist with the implementation of a school-based study that focuses on mental health and community engagement.

                  Alissa holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in Psychology from East Stroudsburg University and a Master of Public Health from West Chester University. In her spare time, Alissa enjoys working out, skiing, traveling, and cheering on the Philadelphia sports teams.

                   

                  Andrea Murray, M.P.H.

                  Project Manager

                    Andrea serves a project manager for community-focused projects, including Better Together an initiative that addresses community health needs in both Lebanon County and Derry Township as well as Public Health 3.0: Dauphin County a state-wide initiative started by the Pennsylvania Department of Health (DOH) designed to bring together different sectors of communities  to create conditions that support healthy lives.

                    Andrea holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Nutrition and Dietetics and a Masters of Public Health from West Chester University. In her spare time, she enjoys skiing, days at the beach and spending time with her husband, son and their dog and cat.

                    Krista Pattison, MS

                    Research Project Manager

                      Krista serves as a Project Manager for our school-based grants, which promote obesity prevention efforts for children ages 2-19 across the Commonwealth. She utilizes her background in child development and education to assist schools in planning, implementing and evaluating policy and practice changes in order to work toward sustainable improvement of the wellness environment.  Additionally, Krista works on a randomized control trial examining the benefits of conducting a universal depression screener with high school students.

                      Krista holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Psychology from Washington and Jefferson College and a Master’s Degree in Applied Developmental Psychology, with a concentration in Program Design and Leadership, from the University of Pittsburgh. In her free time, Krista enjoys cooking, crafting and spending time with friends and family.

                       

                      Amy Rhine, BS

                      Social Media and Events Specialist

                        Amy serves as Social Media and Events Specialist for PRO Wellness. Her responsibilities include the creation, scheduling and monitoring of PRO Wellness social media channels to engage with the community on various wellness initiatives. Amy will also utilize her event planning experience by coordinating various events and outreach activities in community.

                        Amy holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Sport Management from DeSales University. In her spare time, she enjoys traveling, supporting her favorite sports teams, learning to golf and spending time with her husband, golden retreiver Hemi as well as family and friends.

                         

                        Angela Schlegel, RD

                        Project Coordinator

                          Angela is a Registered Dietitian who serves as a Project Coordinator for PRO Wellness. She utilizes her background and knowledge in assessment, counseling and education to help promote a healthy work environment across multiple Penn State campuses through employee wellness programs.

                          Angela holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Nutrition and Dietetics from Penn State University and obtained her Registered Dietitian credential through the Penn State University Dietetic Internship program. In her spare time, Angela enjoys traveling, cooking/baking and outdoor activities such as kayaking and hiking.