Cynthia Chafin, M.Ed., MCHES®
Associate Director for Community Programs
Ms. Chafin has served as Associate Director for Community Programs since May 2018 and previously served as interim director of the center from October 2015 - April 2018. She has been with the center as a project director since 2002. Ms. Chafin has a Master of Education in health promotion and education from Vanderbilt University’s Peabody College, and a Bachelor of Business Administration from Middle Tennessee State University. She was part of the first national cohort to receive advanced-level certification as a master certified health educator from the National Commission on Health Education Credentialing (NCHEC). Ms. Chafin has a lengthy history in public health having worked for and with the state health department along with multiple local, state, and national non-profit and community-based organizations as a volunteer, project director, and consultant. She has been awarded the Health Educator of the Year award from the Tennessee Public Health Association in 2006 and received the inaugural Eloise Q. Hatmaker Distinguished Service Award from the Rural Health Association in 2009 for her public health work in rural Tennessee communities.
Ms. Chafin’s interest and experience in public health is broad, though specific areas of interest include cancer control and prevention as well as cancer survivorship, maternal/child health, community health and wellness, and obesity. She managed the Tennessee Comprehensive Cancer Control project from 2004-2016 and was instrumental in the development of 3 state cancer plans and implementing 12 state cancer Summits as part of that project. She has also managed the Death Scene Investigation/Sudden Unexplained Infant Death project for multiple years, the Yes I Can! Diabetes Self-Management project, Smart Mothers are Resisting Tobacco- a prenatal tobacco cessation and prevention program implemented in all of Tennessee’s 95 counties - the Career Mapping and Folic Acid projects, and multiple other grants awarded to the center. She has co-founded internship programs for three organizations and has served as a mentor and supervisor to more than 55 students as of 2018 and is a frequent guest lecturer on the MTSU campus. She is active in multiple public health and community services activities and in 2007, she founded Community Health Collaboratives, LLC to provide consulting services. Her projects have received numerous national and state awards and recognition.
Ms. Gwinn has served as the Grant and Program Coordinator since March of 2018. She came to MTSU with a background in grant writing, grant management, and fundraising from the local nonprofit community. Ms. Gwinn has earned a Revenue Development Certificate from the Center for Nonprofit Management, and holds a Bachelor of Arts in Political Science from East Tennessee State University.
Ms. Gwinn’s interest in public health is rooted in her background addressing the unique needs and barriers to food security and health care access that individuals living in poverty face daily. The activities of the Center for Health and Human Services are a natural extension of her interests, allowing for state-wide impact, education, and systems change in Tennessee’s public health outreach.
Christina Byrd, CHES®
Special Projects Coordinator
Ms. Byrd has served as the Special Projects Coordinator since August 2017. Ms. Byrd is a proud alumna, receiving a Bachelor’s of Science degree from Middle Tennessee State University in May 2017. She received certification by the National Commission on Health Education Credentialing (NCHEC) as a Health Education Specialist in June 2018. In the short amount of time that Ms. Byrd has been in the with the Center for Health and Human Services, she has served as project coordinator and project assistant for multiple grants including Death Scene Investigation/Sudden Unexplained Infant Death, SPARK, Smile SMART and most recently, SPARK 2 Read. Her last semester as a college student, she completed a 360-hour internship with CHHS. During the internship, she gained experience in promoting, marketing and implementing multiple health education programs for a non-profit organization. Ms. Byrd has always had interest in health and wellness since she was young. Being born and raised in Tennessee, Ms. Byrd is honored to serve and impact her hometown community so closely.
Other Staff and Support:
The center employs experienced and qualified personnel for programs, projects, and research facilitated through the center, including staff located remotely who allow the center to serve all areas of Tennessee through its work. A student internship program allows the center to provide learning opportunities and practical experience for students while supporting the work of the center. The center also collaborates with faculty from multiple departments and disciplines to assist with research, evaluation, and other needs vital to successful completion of grant-funded activities of the center.
The center reports to and has the full support of the Vice Provost for Research & Dean of the College of Graduate Studies as well as the support and involvement of the many faculty and staff on campus involved with its grants and projects.