Ms. Samantha Croffut, graduate student in nutrition at the UNC Gillings School of Global Public Health, has been selected as a delegate to the 2016 Millennial Health Leaders Summit.
The event, which will be hosted by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) in Atlanta, GA, March 31 – April 1, will convene a group of the next generation of public health leaders. According to the summit planning committee, all chosen delegates are poised to rise to the challenge of eliminating health disparities in diverse populations in the years to come.
Ms. Croffut, selected based on her long history of leadership and her promise as a scholar, will connect with colleagues at the summit through interactive workshops and case study discussions. She also will have the chance to speak with a wide range of health disparities researchers and policy makers from the CDC.
“I feel honored and excited about the opportunity to engage with current and future leaders in public health,” Ms. Croffut said of her appointment as a summit delegate. “I look forward to building on the knowledge and skills I’ve gained in public health nutrition at the UNC Gillings School by learning from and working with like-minded individuals from related fields. Effective collaboration will be essential as we work to achieve health equity, so I am eager to share, learn and be inspired.”
During her time at UNC, Ms. Croffut has channeled that spirit of collaboration into active roles with a number of student organizations. Since 2014, she simultaneously has served as co-chair of the Student Global Health Committee, co-chair of the Nutrition Coalition and public relations co-director for the American Mock World Health Organization. She also has been involved with organizing the UNC Minority Health Conference, working first as a member of the communications committee and later as fundraising committee co-chair.
In addition, Ms. Croffut is the Leadership Education in Neurodevelopmental and Related Disabilities (LEND) trainee in the UNC Gillings School’s nutrition department.
“Sam participated in intensive leadership training [for this role] in the fall,” said Ms. Janice Sommers, clinical assistant professor of nutrition at the Gillings School. “This semester, she’ll join interdisciplinary trainings and seminars that focus on neurodevelopmental disorders, particularly in children.”
Ms. Croffut, originally from Seattle, WA, also has spent time abroad as a Peace Corps volunteer in Niger and South Africa. During her years of service, she acted as a community health agent and furthered the work of the Community HIV/AIDS Outreach Project.
Her future career interests were particularly shaped by these experiences in sub-Saharan Africa. After witnessing severe health disparities first-hand, Ms. Croffut has focused her post-graduation sights on becoming a registered dietitian and working to improve global public health nutrition.