We are a team of many, working for the sake of all. Through a growing network of community partners, stakeholders, and citizens, we are working to address economic opportunity, early childhood education, school-based health, quality neighborhoods, and health care access. Together, we strive to improve the health of all people in our community by focusing attention on the most vulnerable. Learn more about how you can take action to support this mission.
Rachel Barth earned a Bachelor’s Degree in Psychology from Eastern Illinois University and a Master’s in Social Work with a community concentration from Saint Louis University (SLU). During her time at SLU, she worked on research studies examining the impact of a microloan program in a rural community in Haiti and the impact of the redevelopment of downtown St. Louis. Rachel joined the Brown School at Washington University in 2012 with the Center for Public Health Systems Science where she worked on an evaluation of the Missouri Foundation for Health’s Healthy and Active Communities initiative and the Best Practices User Guide project funded by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Rachel joined the For the Sake of All project team in 2015. As Project Coordinator, Rachel leads the research activities of the project.
Laura Brossart is the Assistant Director of Communications and Dissemination for the Center for Public Health System Science at Washington University’s Brown School. She directs the Center’s communication plan and activities, overseeing all internal and external print and electronic communications with Center partners. Laura also oversees the design, development, and production of all Center evaluation and research products (print, web, and interactive). Additionally, Laura serves as the Co-Investigator for the User Guide project, funded by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The User Guides are a series of implementation guides on specific topics within the State and Community Interventions category of the CDC’s 2014 Best Practices for Comprehensive Tobacco Control Programs. Laura joined the FSOA project team in 2014 and has been instrumental in development of Discussion Guides and Action Toolkits, as well as other project communications tools, including the FSOA website. She will continue to help guide project communications and dissemination efforts.
Jasmine attained her Bachelor’s Degree in African American Studies & Sociology at the University of California-Los Angeles and her Master’s of Public Health from Washington University’s Brown School. In 2014, she returned to California via the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Public Health Associate Program where she worked as a field assignee providing data management and program coordination to a local public health department. After working in the government sector, she realized the academic setting had her heart. Jasmine returned to St. Louis in Summer 2016 as a Project Coordinator for the For the Sake of All project.
Prior to joining For the Sake of All in 2017 Nancy Cambria was the children and families reporter for the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. Her award-winning reporting focused on juvenile justice, child well-being, day care quality and safety, foster care, and, most recently, the links between toxic stress, trauma, and poverty as they relate to lifelong health. Her special report based in Ferguson, Missouri, “The Crisis Within: How toxic stress and trauma endanger our children,” was cited as one of the top pieces of solutions journalism in The New York Times in 2016. Nancy manages For the Sake of All’s written materials, web site and social media and works closely with the St. Louis community to tell the stories of families dealing with inequity and health disparities and solutions being initiated by For the Sake of All.
Sheree is a Master’s of Social Work candidate at the Brown School, specializing in Social and Economic Development policy. She holds a Bachelor’s of Social Work from Harding University in Searcy, Arkansas. Since 2015, Sheree has served as a community liaison through North City Church of Christ, a non-profit within the Mark Twain neighborhood here in St. Louis. Through strong relationships, North City has been successful in teaching their youth and families about the importance of social factors as it relates to the health and well-being of their neighborhood and the process of reconciliation in building sustainable community leadership. Sheree hopes to analyze policies that hinder African American families from achieving generational social and economic well-being in highly segregated metropolitan cities. As a Student Research Assistant, Sheree works with For the Sake of All in designing school-based health centers for three North St. Louis County High Schools.
Derek is a Master’s of Public Health candidate specializing in Urban Design at Washington University’s Brown School. He earned his Bachelor of Science degree in Family Science from the School of Public Health at the University of Maryland, College Park. Derek is a proponent of a dynamic approach to improve health equity, health communication, and dissemination. His previous experience includes outreach and CDC program implementation with the Baltimore County Healthcare Access Bureau, empowering youth and developing a tobacco education and advocacy curriculum with the Truth Initiative, based in Washington, D.C., and using athletics as a vector to improve youth health outcomes with the Baltimore City Track Club and Bethesda Striders, based in Maryland. Derek joined the For the Sake of All project in the Fall of 2016 as a Master’s Research Fellow to support planning, development, and analysis.
Irum graduated from Washington University in St. Louis in August 2017, where she earned her Master’s of Public Health degree with a concentration in epidemiology and biostatistics. Before joining For the Sake of All, she was conducting data analyses on the association between patients diagnosed with urologic chronic pelvic pain syndromes and meteorological factors at Washington University School of Medicine. Irum is a St. Louis native who is interested in improving health outcomes and closing the disparity gap in her hometown. As a Research Assistant, Irum is working on a Robert Wood Johnson Foundation grant to build an implementation toolkit that will help educators at St. Louis Public Schools and Normandy Schools Collaborative successfully integrate the Whole School, Whole Community, Whole Child framework into their school systems.
Emily Kryzer joined the For the Sake of All team in August 2016. Prior to joining the FSOA team, Emily worked at the Center for Innovation at BJC HealthCare, where she supported efforts to better understand and address health care access challenges faced by the health system and the St. Louis community. Other project work has included supporting the Dissemination and Implementation Research Core and the Implementation Research Institute. Emily received her MSW and MPH from Washington University in St. Louis, with specialized training in research.
Nikole has a diverse background in research, evaluation, and project management. Nikole’s primary interests include public health and systems-level research and evaluation, health equity, qualitative methods, data visualization, and innovative and effective dissemination and reporting. Nikole has served as the Evaluation Manager of the For the Sake of All project since 2014. In this role, she oversees evaluation planning and implementation. Nikole also supports For the Sake of All’s School Health work. For example, Nikole previously worked with Dr. Purnell on an evaluation of a school-based health center in the St. Louis region. Currently, Nikole also serves as the Co-Director of a Robert Wood Johnson Together for Healthy and Successful Schools Research and Translation grant, which works with two high-need St. Louis area school districts to determine the key relationships, messages, and systems necessary to make schools healthy environments for learning and development. Nikole is also the Associate Director for the Center for Public Health System Science at Washington University’s Brown School where she facilitates the development and implementation of the Center’s strategic plan, provides overall programmatic and operational guidance for Center staff, and identifies and implements new research and evaluation opportunities and partnerships.
Hannah is a first year MSW/MPH student at Washington University in St. Louis. She received her Bachelor of Social Work degree from Lipscomb University in Nashville, Tennessee in 2015. Before moving to St. Louis for graduate school, Hannah did a year of service with City Year Boston and then worked in Nashville as a Housing Specialist with an HIV/AIDS organization. Hannah is currently working as a Graduate Student Research Assistant on the overall For the Sake of All project.
As part of the For the Sake of All team, Anne Milne partners with local school districts to conduct needs assessments to inform the development, implementation, and evaluation of School-Based Health Centers. In addition, Anne contributes to data analysis and the development of dissemination materials. Before joining For the Sake of All in 2017, Anne worked as a Research Interviewer and Clinical Assessment Specialist for the Brown School’s Institute for Advancing Justice Research & Innovation. In that role, Anne worked in several Missouri prisons focusing on reentry research and services for individuals preparing to return home to the community. Anne earned both her Bachelor of Science degree in Public Health and her Masters of Public Health with a concentration in Behavioral Science and Health Education from Saint Louis University.
Aviva Needle earned a Bachelor of Arts degree from Yeshiva University where she was awarded a Presidential Fellowship for Community Leadership. She arrived at the Brown School with over 6 years’ experience as an accounting assistant for Washington University’s Performing Arts Department. Aviva’s experience in journalism, as a writer and editor, have been instrumental to the For the Sake of All project. She now serves as the administrative assistant with For the Sake of All and provides support for the project through event planning, technology integration, and organization of project data.
Airianne Posey earned her Master of Social Work degree with a concentration in American Indian and Alaska Native communities from Washington University in St. Louis in August 2017. Prior to joining For the Sake of All, Airianne worked in multiple roles at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill’s American Indian Center on projects, such as the North Carolina Native Asset Coalition Forestry Project and Carolina Horizons. She also worked as a Research Assistant at the Kathryn M. Buder Center for American Indian Studies on a project about indigenous traditional foods and health. As a Research Assistant with For the Sake of All, Airianne is working on the Together for Healthy and Successful Schools project, funded by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, to develop an implementation toolkit that will leverage the strengths of St. Louis Public Schools and Normandy School Collaborative and the community to integrate the Whole School, Whole Community, Whole Child framework into their school systems.
Dr. Jason Purnell is an Assistant Professor at Washington University’s Brown School. He is trained in both applied psychology and public health and is a licensed psychologist. Dr. Purnell’s research focuses on how socioeconomic and sociocultural factors influence health behaviors and health outcomes and methods for mobilizing community response to health disparities.
In March 2013, alongside scholars from Washington University and Saint Louis University, Dr. Purnell embarked on a year-long exploration of health disparities in the St. Louis region called For the Sake of All. This multi-disciplinary project brought together stakeholders and community partners from across the St. Louis region and focused on the social determinants of health, including education, economics, neighborhoods, and community resources.
With the release of the For the Sake of All report in May 2014, Dr. Purnell and his team concluded Phase One of the project and took the next steps of taking the report to the St. Louis region. In Phase Two, the project team engaged business leaders, policy makers, and community members. Through community forums, discussion guides, outreach to the faith community, legislative briefs, articles, presentations, and more, Dr. Purnell and For the Sake of All have reached thousands of St. Louis citizens around implementation of the report’s recommendations. The work continues in Phase Three, as the project focuses on engaging all levels and sectors of the St. Louis region in strategic implementation of the recommendations.
Dr. Purnell graduated magna cum laude from Harvard University, with a bachelor’s degree in Government and Philosophy. His doctoral degree in counseling psychology is from The Ohio State University, and his master’s in public health is from the University of Rochester School of Medicine & Dentistry. Dr. Purnell is also a licensed psychologist in the State of Missouri.
With primary research focuses on health equity and the social determinants of health, Dr. Purnell places a special emphasis on the social, cultural, and economic factors that influence health behaviors and health outcomes. He is also interested in how communities can be mobilized to respond to health inequity. His work has been published in leading scientific journals such as JAMA, American Journal of Public Health, Annual Review of Public Health, and Journal of Clinical Oncology. Significant interest in For the Sake of All has led to coverage by NPR, the Washington Post, Bloomberg Businessweek, Mclean’s (Canada), Korea Times (Korea), the “Joe Madison Show” on SiriusXM Radio, vox.com, and the St. Louis Post-Dispatch.
Dr. Purnell is very active in the St. Louis community, both personally and professionally, including service on the boards of Beyond Housing, Inc. and the American Youth Foundation. He is a member of the Leadership Council for the Ready by 21 St. Louis collective impact initiative and was appointed by Archbishop Robert J. Carlson to the Peace and Justice Commission of the Archdiocese of St. Louis. He has also been honored with the Young Leader Award from the St. Louis American Foundation and the Young Professionals Awards in Health and Quality of Life Empowerment from the Urban League Young Professionals of Metropolitan St. Louis. Dr. Purnell recently received the FOCUS St. Louis 2016 Leadership Award for his work on the For the Sake of All project.
Julie is a second year graduate student at the Brown School of Social Work at Washington University in St. Louis, where she seeks to earn her Masters of Social Work in May 2018. Before coming to the Brown School and joining For the Sake of All, she completed a year of service with City Year Philadelphia, an AmeriCorps program working to reduce the dropout rate of high school students. Julie is originally from the greater Philadelphia area and is passionate about improving the lives of students, especially in regards to health and mental health concerns. As a Graduate Student Research Assistant, Julie is working on needs assessments for three regional high schools, which are set to receive school-based health centers next fall.
Michelle Witthaus has a diverse background in education, community organizing, and philanthropy. Before joining the For the Sake of All project, Michelle worked as Program Associate for the Incarnate Word Foundation, where she managed grantee partnerships, foundation programs, and philanthropic collaborations. Prior to her work at Incarnate Word, she launched an initiative called Participatory Budgeting–St. Louis, which aimed to bring about a more democratic way of spending public money. The initiative was launched in St. Louis’s Sixth Ward and allowed residents to decide how to spend 40% of the ward’s capital improvement funding. At the time of inception, St. Louis was the fourth city in the United States to implement this inclusive process. As Program Manager, Michelle manages day-to-day operations for the project.