Public health programs leverage industry leaders as adjunct professors

Tuesday, February 26, 2019

As part of continued efforts to grow its connection with the health care industry and prepare graduates to succeed in their careers, the UNC Charlotte Department of Public Health Sciences continues to welcome a growing list of highly qualified external adjunct professors to its classrooms.

Tchernavia Montgomery, chief program officer for Crisis Assistance Ministry, is one such industry leader. Despite maintaining her full-time position and the long list of responsibilities that comes with it, she accepted a role as an adjunct professor with the College of Health and Humans Services Department of Public Health Sciences.

“To be in a role like this is a gift. Not only do I have an opportunity to further my own pursuits for knowledge, but more importantly, I can foster that for others,” she said.

Montgomery '08, '09, who recently received the 2018 Charlotte ATHENA Leadership Award for Service, is one of a growing list of professionals who are helping to shape the next generation of UNC Charlotte health care professionals.

Currently, the Public Health Sciences Department employs 14 adjunct professors whose collective experience runs the gamut in the industry. Resumes includes work in the public, private and nonprofit worlds, with leadership roles in organizations like Novant Health and the Medical Association of Georgia that range from director of industry relations to general counsel.

“UNC Charlotte’s mission in part is to address the cultural, economic, educational, environmental, health and social needs of the greater Charlotte region,” Montgomery said. “As an alum of UNC Charlotte, I absolutely love and support this mission. Adjunct faculty help fulfill this promise to the community in that we help enhance classrooms by adding diversity of profession, experiences and thought.”

Building a strong stable of adjuncts to support the Public Health Sciences Department’s excellent full-time faculty is part of a strategic effort to graduate students who are prepared to succeed.

“Engaging practitioners who hold key positions in the health care workforce as instructors in our academic programs exposes our students to the realities of our complex health system and serves as an invaluable bridge between our academic coursework and the workforce that our students will join upon graduation,” said Lyndie Forthofer, chair of Public Health Sciences.

The diversity of organization experience that these practitioners represent is particularly valuable to support students’ career development and decision-making about preferences for first jobs after graduation.

“Our adjunct professors have many experiences you cannot read about in a text book, or find in a lab. The real-world experience they share has improved my understanding and appreciation for those in the current workforce greatly,” said Hayley Summerville, president of the student Health System Management Association.

An overview of current UNC Charlotte Department of Public Health Sciences adjunct professors:
Public Health Sciences adjuncts