Thrive is a campus-wide initiative – owned by every member of the Wake Forest University community. The Office of Wellbeing leads the campus in making wellbeing a part of every experience in the lives of our students, faculty, and staff.
Malika Roman Isler, PhD, MPH (’99)
Director of Wellbeing
Malika is the inaugural Director of Wellbeing at Wake Forest University. As a Wake Forest alumnna, Malika has a Bachelor of Science in Health and Exercise Science. She continued her studies and completed a Master of Public Health (Health Promotion) at the University of South Carolina and a PhD in Public Health (Health Behavior and Health Education) from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Malika has over 10 years of experience integrating research and programming, developing health and wellbeing programs and interventions, developing strategic plans that guide health and wellbeing initiatives, and defining assessment tools to ensure research and program effectiveness. Malika has prevention research and programmatic experience in several areas, including cancer and HIV. Prior to returning to Wake Forest, she served on the faculty of the UNC-Chapel Hill School of Medicine, as an administrator and faculty lead with the NC Translational and Clinical Sciences Institute (NC TraCS), and faculty investigator with the Center for Genomics and Society. In these capacities, Malika was on the investigative team for 10 federally and institutionally funded projects and centers, serving as principal investigator for 3 projects. With her training and outreach expertise, she provided consultation and technical assistance to collaborative efforts in health and wellbeing among students, community members, clinicians, researchers, and public health practitioners. In addition to her role as Director of Wellbeing, she has an appointment in the Department of Health and Exercise Science.
Peter Rives is the Assistant Director of Wellbeing – Alcohol and Substance Abuse Prevention. Upon graduating from Wake Forest with a major in Psychology in 1998, Peter attended the University of Delaware where he completed 4 years of doctoral study in Social Psychology as well as undergraduate teaching and research. In 2001 Peter began work in community-based public mental health, substance use and intellectual/developmental disabilities services. Over the next 15 years Peter developed as a leader and expert in evidence-based program development, implementation and management within the North Carolina public behavioral health and healthcare systems. Peter has recognized expertise in and has served as a consultant and presenter in the area integrated healthcare. He also has a passion for Motivational Interviewing (MI) and is a member of the Motivational Interviewing Network of Trainers (MINT). Peter was recognized in 2013 as one of the “Top 40 Under 40 Business Leaders” by the Business Journal and completed a Jim Bernstein Rural Healthcare Leadership Fellowship in 2014 at the Foundation for Health Leadership and Innovation.
Brianna is a Project Coordinator with the Office of Wellbeing at Wake Forest University. Brianna has a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology from Spelman College. She continued her studies and completed a Master of Public Health, with a concentration in Health Behavior and Health Education, at the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor (Go Blue!).Brianna has had experience working with the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) as a federal student intern. During the duration of this prestigious internship, Brianna lead the “Pregnant and Postpartum Women Substance Abuse and Mental Health Support: Fatherhood Friendly Assessment” research. With this project, Brianna developed the “Fatherhood Friendly evaluation tool, and provided technical assistance to government supported greantee organizations participating in the research. Brianna has also worked in partnership with University of Michigan and domestic (Brownsville, TX and Detroit, MI) and international (Grenada, West Indies and Ghana, South Africa) Health Departments for public health surveillance projects. Her latest work experience as a Health Professions Education Program Assistant, Brianna composed evaluation reports in order to provide recommendations technical assistance to federal, state, local, and private programs regarding training of public health workers throughout the state of Michigan. In her current capacity at Wake Forest, Brianna coordinates the delivery of quality health promotion programs, she works to establish and promote program standards, set objectives and goals, and develops evaluation plans to better attend to the student’s overall efforts to THRIVE! Brianna’s public health mission as a practitioner is to provide awareness, support, and action to communities.
Tomma Guastaferro joined the Office of Wellbeing in 2015, bringing with her 11 years’ experience in administrative support. Tomma’s role as Administrative Coordinator includes assisting the Director in managing the day to day operations of the Office of Wellbeing, budget reporting, and assisting with coordinating and implementing programs and workshops. Prior to joining the Office of Wellbeing Tomma was Coordinator, for the Professional Development Center (PDC). The PDC is a collective resource between the Human Resources Department and the Office of the Provost. Tomma’s work included marketing, conference registration, and organizing classes and workshop series focusing on health and wellbeing. In the fall of 2009, Tomma was instrumental in the implementation of the Gatekeepers program, which emphasizes the value of diversity, inclusion, and the understanding of cultural similarities, differences, and perceptions.
Alexa was born and raised in the beautiful suburbs of Dallas, Texas. Although a Texas girl at heart, she made her way to North Carolina to attend her dream school, Wake Forest. As a freshman, Alexa discovered her passion for helping and understanding human interaction after attending her first psychology class. This led her on a path to declare a major in psychology and a minor in Health and Human Services. Along with her academic interest in psychology, Alexa gained a love of politics and gender studies through the extensive liberal arts education at Wake Forest. These newfound interests converged to help her develop a new program at Wake Forest to end rape culture on campus called Taking the Lead. This successful program resulted in a shift in campus dialogue around the issue of sexual assault, along with the growth of a new student group called Trailblaze that hosted a week of events in October 2015. Her efforts around sexual assault brought her to the Pro Humanitate Institute, which sparked in her a new passion for social justice. She was chosen as a Pro Humanitate Institute Fellow her senior year to research and design programs around domestic violence resources in Forsyth County. She applied for the Campus Life Fellowship because she wanted to pursue programming and engaging students as a career. Alexa is excited to take the skills she learned as a student and apply them to helping the school that has given her so much.
Sarah is in her Junior year at Wake Forest University where she is double majoring in Health & Exercise Science and Psychology. Sarah is currently employed by the Office of Wellbeing providing research support and assisting with the coordination and planning of campus wide events.
Haley is a freshman on the Pre-Med track majoring in Psychology with a double minor in German and Neuroscience. She is currently employed by the Office of Wellbeing working closely with students and staff on Thrive initiatives and wellbeing programs for the Wake Forest Community. She aspires to become a physician and hopefully travel the world.