Chelsey Chmelar, MPH

Chelsey K. Chmelar is the Accreditation Coordinator and Quality and Performance Manager at the Kent County Health Department in Grand Rapids, Michigan. Since joining the Kent County Health Department in 2012, Ms. Chmelar has led the department’s efforts in national accreditation preparation, community health needs assessment and health improvement planning, strategic planning, workforce development, quality improvement and performance management. She is an active member of NACCHO’s Performance Improvement Workgroup, NACCHO’s Accreditation Coordinator Learning Community, and serves as a site visitor for the Public Health Accreditation Board.

Ms. Chmelar holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in psychology and health sciences from Saginaw Valley State University in University Center, Michigan and a Master of Public Health degree from Des Moines University in Des Moines, Iowa. Prior to serving in her current role, Ms. Chmelar was a member of the 2010 cohort of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s Public Health Associate Program and served two years as a public health field assignee at the Cuyahoga County Board of Health in Parma, Ohio.


Karen Niemchick, MHS

Karen Niemchick is passionate about education. She considers the ability to transform minds and inspire tomorrow’s leaders as both a welcoming challenge, and a humble privilege. 

Karen received her Bachelor’s degree in biology and chemistry from the University of Toledo. She holds a Master’s of Health Science Degree from Grand Valley State University and is currently pursuing her PhD in Public Health, Epidemiology from Walden University. During this time, she has been actively involved with education at the college/university level for the past 12 years teaching classes and laboratories in cell biology, human anatomy and physiology, pathophysiology, and clinical classes, at Grand Valley State University, Davenport University, and Grand Rapids Community College. Additionally, she has developed classroom curriculum, and supervised a biological tutorial laboratory.

Her love of education is translated into other roles and pursuits. Along with curriculum and tutorial labs, she has also developed Service Learning Activities and is part of the human cadaver dissection and management team. 


Paige Birkelbach, MPH

Ms. Birkelbach works as a Public Health Epidemiologist for the Kent County Health Department in Grand Rapids, Michigan. She received her Master of Public Health degree in Epidemiology from the University of Kentucky and her Bachelor of Science degree in Mathematical Sciences: Statistics from Virginia Commonwealth University in Richmond, Virginia. 

While at the University of Kentucky, she worked as an Epidemiology Intern, aiding in the Community Health Needs Assessment processes of both Clark County, Kentucky and Montgomery County, Kentucky. She also worked as a Research Assistant for the University of Kentucky and the Institute of Museum and Library Science, as well as, a Statistical Analyst for the University of Kentucky Center for Drug and Alcohol Research. During her time at Virginia Commonwealth University, Ms. Birkelbach worked as a Teaching Assistant/Adjunct Professor for an Introduction to Statistics course. 

Ms. Birkelbach’s research interests include Chronic Diseases, Genetic Epidemiology, and Autoimmune Disorders. Her Master’s thesis, titled The Epidemiology of Cancer Screening Practices in Women with a Family History of Disease, explored the influence of family history on Breast, Colon, and Cervical Cancer screening using the 2010 Kentucky Women’s Health Survey.


Julien Kouamé, Ph.D., MPH

Dr. Kouamé has been a research manager for the Community Research Institute, at the Johnson Center at GVSU, since 2012. He is responsible for the evaluations of Community LINC and the Early Learning Neighborhood Collaboration (ELNC) and is an evaluation advisor for the Community Transformation Grant. Previously he was health communication specialist at Grady Hospital (Atlanta, GA) and research assistant at the CDC malaria branch in Atlanta, GA. 

Since 2006, Kouamé has served as a member of the American Evaluation Association. He earned a Bachelor of Arts in interpersonal and organizational communication from Manchester University; a Master of Public Health from the Rollins School of Public Health at Emory University; and a Ph.D. in research and evaluation from Western Michigan University. 

Kouamé writes on diverse research and evaluation topics and speaks at conferences and universities. Selected Publications and presentations include:

  • Rowe, A. K., Kouamé, J. et al. (2012). Trends in Health Worker Performance after Implementing the Integrated Management of Childhood Illness Strategy in Benin. Bulletin of the World Health Organization 
  • Kouamé, J. (2010). Using Readability Tests to Improve the Accuracy of Evaluation Documents Intended for Low-Literate Participants. Journal of Multidisciplinary Evaluation 6(14), 132-139. 
  • Kouamé, J. (2010, November). Alternative Approach to Success Case Method. Presented at the 2010 American Evaluation Association conference in San Antonio, Texas. 
  • Kouamé, J. (2008, November). Using Readability Tests to Improve the Accuracy of Evaluation Documents Intended for Low-Literate Participants. Paper Presented at the 2008 American Evaluation Association conference in San Denver, Colorado. 
  • Kouamé, J., Ayyad, F. (2007, November). Evaluation of African American Religious Communities Involvement in HIV/AIDS Awareness Programs. Paper Presented at the 2007 American Evaluation Association conference in Baltimore, Maryland.


We also welcome Dr. Guenter Tusch, Professor and Chair of the Medical and Bioinformatics Graduate Program in the School of Computing and Information Systems, who will be teaching in the MPH program during Summer 2014.

Page last modified October 21, 2014