Winter Preparedness Drive

The holidays are quickly approaching and during this time of thanks the Public Health Student Association have decided to have a winter preparedness drive for the Memphis Union Mission. We will collect blankets, socks, winter caps, gloves and Chap Stick. Please bring items to the Foundations class (Scates Hall, Room 204) on November 30th and December 7th. All donations will be donated after finals to the Memphis Union Mission.  If you are unable to make these dates, please let Executive Social Action Chair Obrenka Thompson know. Here email is as follows:

Service on Saturday


Students Advocating Service presents:

Service on Saturday – November 21, 2015

Service on Saturday is a program designed to give University of Memphis students, faculty, and staff opportunities to volunteer in the community without a long-term commitment. The program takes place once a month starting at 8:30am with free breakfast. Projects last anywhere from 2.5 – 3.5 hours. Free lunch is provided afterwards.

Date: 11/21/2015 (Sat.)

Time: 8:30am CST

Location: UC Memphis Room (340)

Sign up here.

Public Health Community Scholarships – Applications Due

The School of Public Health is now accepting applications for Public Health Community Scholarships, available to MPH students who are currently in their first year of study. These scholarships are made possible by generous funding from an anonymous donor. We anticipate that funds will be available for a cohort beginning in June 2016.

Up to five first-year MPH students will be named Public Health Community Scholars.  Awardees will receive a monthly stipend of $1,000 during their 3-month summer MPH Practicum and the following academic year that completes the student’s graduate study. Additionally, a tuition waiver will be provided for the second year of MPH coursework. In return, students will work 20 hours per week during their 3-month summer practicum at a community location and will continue working 20 hours/week at that location during the following academic year. Preference is given to students with a history of contribution to health improvement in the Memphis metropolitan area, have high academic qualifications, and are in need of financial assistance. Advisor recommendation is required.

Please see the attached application and advisor recommendation forms

Public Health Comm Scholar Application

Public Health Comm Scholar Advisor Recommendation

The deadline for applications: December 20th (midnight)

Please submit your application to the SPH Assistant Dean via email at Students are responsible for asking their advisor to submit a recommendation.  The advisor recommendation is to be sent directly to Completed applications (including application form, essay, and advisor recommendation) must be received by December 20th at midnight. The Scholarship Committee will announce awardees by January 31st.

Student Spotlight – Bhavin Chauhan

Bhavin1. Where are you from? Where did you grow up?

I am originally from India, and came to America when I was 11 months old. I grew up in two different states. First being in Texas until the 4th grade, and later Michigan until 2012, where I then moved to Tennessee.

2. What previous degrees and educational experiences have you earned?

I have earned a Bachelor’s of Science in Biology with a minor in Environmental Studies here at the University of Memphis. I have also worked in several biology related fields such as pharmacy tech, nurse assistant, bioresearch, and lab analyst.

3. Where do you work?

Currently, I work as a Graduate Assistant for Tiger Blue Goes Green event, under the supervision of Dr. Levy. I plan to continue working here at School of Public Health with Dr. Jia and Dr. Banerjee in the department of Environmental Health.

4. What got you interested in public health?

The environment is what got me interested in Public Health; particularly global environment problems/disasters. I realized that longevity and good health can be achieved for everyone if we solve the environmental problems that occur daily and affect us in many ways. It is not enough to just cure the disorder, but rather prevent and eliminate the possibility of it to occur. As often said, “an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.” We are all connected to the biosphere, and I believe that if we look at the larger picture to tackle the original upstream causes, our livelihood would benefit greatly.

5. Why did you choose our MPH program?

Having a passion for the environment, I interacted with many of my advisors and professors during my undergrad days about where I would like to be going next. After graduation, I had a wonderful opportunity to work in a cancer lab. It got me thinking about ways to prevent cancer and other health related diseases, which in large part are caused by environmental stressors. So I decided to visit the Public Health department at UofM, where I met Dr. Jia and Dr. Banerjee. After talking to them, I felt that this is what I wanted to do and where I wanted to be. 

6. What do you like most about our School of Public Health?

The students and faculty members is what I love most about our School of Public Health. Everyone at the school is so passionate about what they believe in and the changes they can make to the PH cause. The many qualities they keep at heart and show enthusiastically all play a role in SPH being a place of knowledge-driven, professionalism, and fun environment.

7. What one public health change would you like to see in the Memphis area?

I would like to see more initiations and actions towards environmental concerns that impact the greater Memphis. The particular environmental concerns would be the bio/chemical exposures that are prevalent in the city from air and food sources.

8. How would you like to apply your MPH degree to your future goals and career?

I would love to join the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). My goal is to be involved in coordinating/consulting solutions for environmental problems throughout the nation, and bringing those ideas forward on a global scale.

9. What are you passionate about?

I am passionate about helping people and the environment. A harmonious co-existence of human, science, technology, and nature is something I would like to bring about. I would also like to advocate new methods and practices that can reverse the affects of current environmental damages caused by humans (climate change, global warming, etc.).

10. What are your hobbies/interests?

I love biking, hiking, working out, and hanging with friends. When I am indoors, I tinker around with computer software and electronics, read books, listen to music and on occasion play video games.

“Rockin’ the Rivers” River Clean-up with Memphis River Warriors

Rockin’ the Rivers

Clean up the Memphis Rivers with the Memphis River WarriorsRockin_The_Rivers_flyer

This month, the Public Health Student Association has pledged to participate in the 1st annual “Rockin’ the Rivers” River Cleanup. On October 24th the Memphis River Warriors, the Wolf River Conservancy, Memphis City Beautiful, and Clean Memphis will come together to host possibly the biggest and baddest river cleanup in the MidSouth. This event will focus on cleaning up the city’s waterways in an effort to better our city and environment. The cleanups will begin at 10am at Nonconnah Creek, McKellar Lake, and the Wolf River, with an after party held at Wiseacre Brewery.

Registration can be found at

Memphis River Warriors

Learn about the Memphis River Warriors

MRWI was lucky enough to be a founding member of this group during my undergraduate career, when the Memphis River Warriors consisted of 30 of our closest friends and whoever else we could strong-arm into giving us their Saturday morning. We considered our technique to be more “guerilla warfare” and less “___ attack plan”. There was no “Memphis River Warriors” flag to lead us to victory yet. We were a rag tag group of students fed up with a problem and with just enough gumption to actually do something about it. We had an advisor that believed in us and partner organizations that wanted to fund our dreams. Our group cared little about established methods of practices and the “best” techniques of gaining community support. Instead, we lived and breathed river cleanups.  We blasted everyone on social media and in real life with the sad problem we had all been ignoring – our river was a wreck. In the first 2 years, our volunteers picked up over 50,000 lbs. of trash from the Mississippi River. 100,000 lbs. came and went and still we weren’t finished. As of Fall 2015, the Memphis River Warriors have held over 25 cleanups, with 2800 volunteers and 115,000 lbs. of trash collected.


My time with the Memphis River Warriors was ultimately what convinced me to pursue my MPH. I loved the feeling of uniting people over a common good and actually making a difference in the world.  I strengthened my leadership skills, learned how to apply for grants, and saw just what a little hard work can accomplish. I was blown away by the goodness of people, by the possibility that together we might actually be able to fix this after all.

The Warriors have spent their weekends fighting trash for the last 4 years, and they are nowhere near slowing down. This event looks to be the biggest in the Warrior’s illustrious career, garnering support from other local organizations such as Clean Memphis, Memphis City Beautiful, and the Wolf River Conservancy.

Author: Cheyenne Medlock, MPH Student & Co-Founder of Memphis River Warriors