Kalani Upshaw

Meet Kalani Upshaw!

For this week’s staff spotlight, we caught up with Kalani Upshaw, one of our Community Health Educators. Kalani shared her favorite NCHPAD resources, what brought here to NCHPAD and the work she does to develop GROWTH, our mental wellness program.

Tell us about your background & education. What brought you to NCHPAD?

I have a Bachelor of Science in human environmental science and a Master of Public Health in global health. I served as an AmeriCorps VISTA where my work focused on mental health promotion. I wanted to continue serving others and promoting mental health, so I joined NCHPAD as a Community Health Educator about a year and a half ago.

What program or programs do you work with?

I’m working to develop our mental wellness program called GROWTH, which stands for Growing Resilience Out of Wellness and Thoughtful Habits.

What do you do?

In addition to my work on GROWTH, I’m a Community Health Educator – I go out into the community for outreach and engagement.  

What talents or expertise do you bring to NCHPAD or this program?

I have personal experience in the mental health field and have worked in this area for three years.

What is your favorite thing about NCHPAD or GROWTH?

My favorite thing about NCHPAD is the sense of community that it provides for those living with disabilities.

What’s your favorite NCHPAD resource or video series?

My favorite NCHPAD resource is the Mindfulness Meditation series provided on the NCHPAD YouTube channel.

What are you most looking forward to in this program?

I’m looking forward to hearing stories from our participants and strategies for how they self-manage their mental health and well-being. I also look forward to helping participants find new ways to cope with daily life stressors and prevent early signs of mental distress. 

Share a success story. Tell us about a time when you really saw your program working in the life of a participant.

One of our participants shared that they had little knowledge about mental health, so seeing them learn and ask questions throughout the program really showed how the program was working in the life of this participant.

What hobbies do you have outside of work?

I enjoy traveling, swimming, yoga and trying new things.

What’s your favorite food, favorite thing to cook or favorite recipe?

My favorite food is curry and rice.

What’s your favorite music, movies or tv shows?

I really enjoy watching action/adventure movies.

What’s the last book you read? How was it?

The last book I read was Essentials of Biostatistics in Public Health. It was for my master’s degree.

Who or what inspires you?

What inspires me the most is a drive to become the best at what I do.

If you could switch careers for a day, what would you choose?

I would spend the day working as a physician.

What’s one thing (not related to your job) that you could teach someone else how to do?

I could teach someone else how to swim.