Melissa Hawkins is the Director of the Public Health Scholars Program in the Department of Health Studies at American University. An epidemiologist with over a decade of experience in the application of public health methodologies to government and private sector challenges, her current research addresses the integration of Community Health Workers (CHW) in the U.S. health workforce, in both clinical and community-based teams, examining the effectiveness of CHWs as change agents in improving health equity. She is also the research director for a 5-year intervention study, funded by the USDA, to improve health literacy and prevent obesity in elementary school students in Washington, D.C.