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Melissa Pennise, M.P.H.

Associate Director of Strategic Initiatives

Melissa Pennise has a proven track record of success in community collaboration, quality improvement and change management in health care.

Most recently, she served as senior health project coordinator for the health disparities initiative at the University of Rochester Medical Center’s Strong Center for Developmental Disabilities. Pennise helped identify and address health disparities for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities. She led a project to build and deliver a training curriculum for Spanish interpreters to better serve Latinx patients with intellectual and developmental disabilities and their families in health-care settings.

Earlier, Pennise served as research and data analysis coordinator at the Monroe County Department of Public Health. In this role, she contributed to design and data collection processes for epidemiological analysis and internal quality improvement projects for the communicable disease division. She also managed an electronic health record project and contributed to Monroe County’s response to an increase in HIV diagnoses among young people in Rochester in 2010.

Pennise offers an international perspective gleaned from her experience with Japan’s largest cultural-exchange program. She taught junior high school and elementary school students, helping them to build English-language skills and to cultivate international awareness. 

Pennise also serves as a Healthy Baby Network board member and as an adjunct professor in the State University of New York - College at Brockport’s Department of Public Health and Health Education. Her work has been published in peer-reviewed journals, such as Public Health Reports and Maternal and Child Health Journal.

Melissa Pennise earned her master’s degree in public health in epidemiology and biostatistics from Oregon Health & Science University and her bachelor’s degree in psychology from Rollins College. Her hobbies include reading, gardening, home-improvement projects and spending time in the Finger Lakes with her husband and two daughters.

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