2021 College of Public Health Alumni Award Recipients

Distinguished Alumnus Award

Elizabeth Chentland, MPH'12


Elizabeth Chentland, MPH currently serves as Director of Strategic Communications & Marketing at the Lutheran School of Theology at Chicago and as Adjunct Instructor at the University of Nebraska-Omaha in the Department of Gerontology. Before moving to Chicago in 2020, Elizabeth served as Regional Director of Communications at the Alzheimer’s Association Nebraska Chapter for six years and as the Executive Director of Partnerships in Aging, Inc for two years. She received her bachelor’s degree from Iowa State University in 2009 and her Master of Public Health degree from the University of Nebraska Medical Center (UNMC) in 2012.

Elizabeth strives to elevate the vision, awareness, and revenue of reputable non-profit organizations by building effective public relations and marketing campaigns, growing sustainable community partnerships, empowering volunteers, and advancing public policy initiatives. She has achieved significant accomplishments throughout her professional career. Highlights include: implementing the first-ever SEO, social media, media relations and digital marketing strategy at the Lutheran School of Theology at Chicago and the Alzheimer’s Association Nebraska Chapter; growing the volunteer base at the Alzheimer’s Association by 60% over five years; and growing a community serving, older adult networking group by 400% in two years.

Public health advocacy has been a hallmark of Elizabeth’s career, demonstrated by her involvement with teaching, research, and community service. Her expertise in this area has been recognized locally in Nebraska with her appointment by the Governor to the State Preventative Health Advisory Council. Additionally, her work collaborating with UNMC researchers on public awareness campaigns between 2017-2019 while employed with the Alzheimer’s Association received national attention.

Community involvement continues to be important to Elizabeth. Currently, she serves as a special events volunteer with Little Brothers of the Elderly in Chicago and as a committee volunteer with the Public Relations Society of America, Chicago Chapter. Other voluntary commitments have included mentoring at-risk youth, facilitating caregiver support groups, and organizing and executing signature events for health-related charities.  Elizabeth also served as a board member for the South Omaha Community Care Council for nine years. She has played a part in growing the skill sets of future public health professionals through her participation and leadership in UNMC and UNO student orientations, Capstone experience fairs, and service learning/internship placements.

Early Career Achievement Award

Shelby Braun, MPH'17 


Shelby Braun currently works at Sanford Health in Sioux Falls, South Dakota as a program development specialist for the Sanford fit program. She serves as the public health advisor throughout the development of free health promotion resources for children and families. The past year she has focused on developing content in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. She has led the development of tangible resources and articles that focus on healthy lifestyle education and social and emotional learning to help people through this difficult time. She continues to live out her passion of empowering all to live healthy lifestyles through equitable resources, education, and outreach. 

Ms. Braun received her MPH at the University of Nebraska Medical Center College of Public Health in 2017. During her time as a student, she volunteered with several student-led organizations, helped with Nebraska’s Behavioral Health Needs Assessment, and interned at Douglas County Health Department. Upon graduation, she served as a community health educator at Douglas County Health Department and worked under a CDC-funded chronic disease prevention grant. 


Past Award Recipients