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University of Colorado Denver

Centers for American Indian and Alaska Native Health

Center for Native Oral Health Research

Staff Bios

Judith E. Albino, PhD, CNOHR Principal Investigator and Director
Judith Albino, PhD, Principal Investigator and Director of the Center for Native Oral Health Research, is Associate Dean and Clinical Professor in the Colorado School of Public Health and Professor in the School of Dental Medicine. She has worked in dental research since the 1970's when she began her academic career as a faculty member in the School of Dentistry at the State University of New York at Buffalo.  Her early work focused on prevention of oral health problems in adolescents and on the social and psychological effects of malocclusion.  After a hiatus of several years, during which she served as Associate Provost and Dean of the Graduate School at Buffalo, and then as President of the University of Colorado and, subsequently, of Alliant International University, she returned to Colorado to work with colleagues to develop this Center.  During the 1980's, Dr. Albino served as president of Behavioral Scientists in Dental Research; and she has served the American Association for Dental Research in a variety of committee roles.  She has been active in the peer review process, both as a reviewer of manuscripts for journals in the behavioral sciences and in dentistry, and as a frequent member of NIH review panels.  She also has served on the Council of the National Institute for Dental and Craniofacial Research and currently is a member of the NIDCR Special Grants Study Section.  Dr. Albino directs the senior leadership program for the Colorado Clinical and Translational Research Institute (CTSA). She serves on the board of directors for Caring for Colorado, and she provides coaching and consulting on leadership development for higher education.
Terry Batliner, DDS, MBA, CNOHR Co-Investigator and Director; Principal Investigator, RC1; CNOHR Training and Career Development
Terry Batliner, DDS, MBA is the Associate Director for CNOHR. He is also the Director of the Training and Career Development Core and the Principal Investigator for Research Component 1, a clinical trial using motivational interviewing to improve the oral health of small children in a Plains Indian Nation. Terry is a member of the Cherokee Nation of Oklahoma with family roots in eastern Oklahoma.  Before coming to UCD, Terry held senior leadership positions at Delta Dental, The VA, Harvard Pilgrim Health Care and the Indian Health Service. In addition to the University of Colorado, he has held faculty appointments at the Medical College of Georgia and the Harvard School of Dental Medicine. He received his DDS and MBA degrees from the University of Iowa and holds the designation of certified professional in health care quality. Terry is a practicing dentist working part time in private practice in the Denver area.  
Cathy Bell, MA, Senior IT Coordinator
Cathy received her Master’s degree in Applied Health Psychology in 1998 and soon after began working for the Centers for American Indian and Alaska Native Health as a Senior Professional Research Assistant.  In 1999 she took the position as Senior IT Coordinator and has been providing technical support for researchers since.  Cathy manages five servers, all desktops, software, IT purchases, and the HIPAA compliance for the department.
Angela Brega, PhD
Angela Brega, PhD, is an Assistant Professor with the Centers for American Indian and Alaska Native Health (CAIANH) in the Colorado School of Public Health.  Dr. Brega is a social psychologist with extensive training and expertise in measurement, health outcomes, and health psychology.  Much of her work has focused on evaluating patient outcomes as a means of assessing quality of care.  Along these lines, she has received funding from the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services and the New York State Department of Health to develop and test innovative approaches for evaluating the quality of services received by Medicare and Medicaid beneficiaries.  Since joining CAIANH in September 2008, Dr. Brega has provided measurement-related expertise on three projects designed to improve health outcomes among American Indian and Alaska Native populations.  As Program Evaluator for the Center of Excellence for Eliminating Disparities, Dr. Brega is developing the approach for evaluating the effectiveness of provider- and patient-level interventions intended to reduce cardiovascular disease risk among urban Indian populations.  In addition to assessing clinical outcomes, the impact of the project on knowledge, attitudes, and health behavior will be assessed.  Dr. Brega also serves as co-investigator for the Center for Native Oral Health Research (CNOHR), for which she has played a leading role in developing the approach to measuring key oral health constructs (e.g., knowledge, attitudes, behavior) that will be implemented across three health disparities centers funded by the National Center for Dental and Craniofacial Research.  For the Special Diabetes Program for Indians Healthy Heart Project, she has conducted extensive psychometric analyses to evaluate the performance characteristics of measures of health literacy and disease knowledge.  Dr. Brega also has a strong background in research addressing neuropsychological and psychosocial factors that influence health outcomes.  Much of her work in this area has addressed the implications of limitations in health literacy and deficits in executive cognitive functioning for health behavior and clinical outcomes.
Lucinda Bryant, PhD, MSHA, MBA, Co-Investigator RC2
Lucinda L. Bryant is Associate Professor in the Departments of Community & Behavioral Health and Health Systems, Management & Policy, Colorado School of Public Health.  Dr. Bryant received PhD (health and behavioral science), MBA and MS Health Administration degrees from the University of Colorado Denver; she brings expertise in social epidemiology, health across the lifespan, community-based research using both qualitative and quantitative methods, and health systems issues.  Dr. Bryant has been Principal Investigator of the UCD member center of the Centers for Disease Control & Prevention’s Healthy Aging Research Network since its inception in September 2001, conducting community-based research focused on disseminating aging-health promotion research into community practice and policy nationwide, collaborating with a community team in the rural biethnic San Luis Valley of southern Colorado.  Her research interests include factors that affect healthy aging, community-based health promotion, dissemination of evidence-based programs, rural health and health systems, and related policy.  
Diana Cudeii, RDH, BS
Diana Cudeii, RDH, BS, serves as the Field Coordinator for RC2. Diana earned her Associate Degree in Dental Assisting at University of New Mexico, followed by the degree of Dental Hygiene education from the University of Texas Health Sciences Center at San Antonio, and a BA in Psychology from the Northern Arizona University in Flagstaff. Diana is currently pursuing an MA degree in Applied Communications at Northern Arizona University. Diana has extensive experience as a Dental Hygienist in IHS at Albuquerque & Isleta NM, Phoenix Indian Medical Center, AZ, and Belcourt, ND as well as in Tribal Health Centers and State health departments. Diana has recently worked as an Oral Health Educator and Prevention Consultant for the Inter Tribal Council of Arizona and as Clinical Instructor at the Northern Arizona University School of Health Professions, Department of Dental Hygiene.
Karen A. Fehringer, PhD, Interventionist Director, RC1
Karen Fehringer, PhD, Interventionist Director for the Center for Native Oral Health Research, RC 1, is an Assistant Clinical Professor in the Colorado School of Public Health, Centers for American Indian and Alaska Native Health.  She commenced her career as an occupational therapist, working with children and families in early intervention home visitation programs, school systems, rehabilitation clinics, and hospitals, including neonatal intensive care units. Her clinical work has focused on the dynamics of parent-child interaction as the foundation for child development and early learning.  While working in Massachusetts and at the University of Connecticut Health Sciences Center, Neonatal Intensive Care Unit, she completed the Richardson Fellowship in conjunction with the Child Development Unit of Harvard Medical School and Children’s Hospital, Boston. During her PhD program, Dr. Fehringer was a fellow in the University of Colorado Health Sciences Center Harris Fellowship in Child Development and Infant Mental Health. Dr. Fehringer was employed in a shared position with UC Denver School of Medicine, Department of Pediatrics and the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment before joining CAIANH.  Her recent and current research interests with CAIANH include the Science and Ecology of Early Development (SEED) longitudinal study with American Indian infants and families, Head Start Research Center, Promoting Cognitive Development during Infancy in a Northern Plains Indian Reservation, and as the intervention director for CNOHR with the Northern Plains Indian Reservation (RC-1).  Dr. Fehringer’s overarching interest is in the promotion of physical, mental, and oral health for infants and their families.
Carmen George, MS, Field Study Coordinator, RC2
Carmen George, MS serves as the Field Study Coordinator for RC2. Carmen resides in Beclabito, NM and is a member of the Navajo tribe. She is from the Manygoats clan and born for the Towering House People clan. Carmen received her BS degree in Environmental Science (Hydrology) from New Mexico State University, Las Cruces, NM and her MS degree in Environmental Health (Epidemiology) from Colorado State University, Fort Collins, CO. She previously spent five years conducting research on the Navajo reservation with the University of Utah with the Navajo Education And Research Towards Health (EARTH) Study, Salt Lake County Children’s Health Study, and Navajo Nation Special Diabetes Program Evaluation Team. Carmen completed the Native Researcher’s Cancer Control Training Program with Oregon Health and Science University and the summer Cancer Research Training Award Fellowship with National Institutes of Health/National Cancer Institute.
William Henderson, PhD, Principal Investigator, Stat Core
William Henderson, PhD, received his BA degree in mathematics from Pomona College, Claremont, CA in 1965, and his MPH and PhD degrees in biostatistics from the University of Michigan School of Public Health in 1967 and 1970.  From 1970-71, he served as a mathematical statistician at the National Institute of Neurological Diseases and Stroke.  From 1971-76, he was on the biostatistics faculty at the University of Iowa College of Dentistry.  In 1976, Dr. Henderson joined the VA Cooperative Studies Program Coordinating Center in Hines, IL in order to have the opportunity to conduct large-scale research which would have an impact on clinical practice, and became the Director of that center in 1978.  During his tenure at the VA Cooperative Studies Program from 1976 to 2002, Dr. Henderson helped design, implement, conduct, analyze, and publish over 40 multicenter clinical trials in the VA system in many different disease areas.  He also helped to design and implement the VA National Surgical Quality Improvement Program (NSQIP), a surgical quality improvement program that is now in over 300 hospitals in the U.S. in the private sector, VA, and Department of Defense.  Dr. Henderson retired from the VA in 2002, and is now a Professor in the University of Colorado School of Public Health (CSPH) and Director of the Biostatistics Core in the University of Colorado Health Outcomes Program (COHO).  Dr. Henderson also serves as a biostatistical consultant to the Centers for American Indian and Alaska Native Health (CAIANH) at the CSPH.  He participates in the Native Elders Research Center training program, the data core of the coordinating center for Indian Health Services’ Special Diabetes Program Initiative Competitive Grants Program (SDPI-CGP), and is the Director of the Statistics Core for the Center for Native Oral Health Research (CNOHR).  Dr. Henderson is a Fellow in the Society for Clinical Trials and the American Statistical Association. 
Spero Manson, PhD, CNOHR Co-Investigator, CAIANH Director
Dr. Manson's programs include 8 national centers, entailing research, program development, and training among 102 Native communities, spanning rural, reservation, urban, and village settings. Dr. Manson has published 160 articles on the assessment, epidemiology, treatment, and prevention of physical, alcohol, drug, as well as mental health problems in this special population. A member of the Institute of Medicine, he has received numerous awards including 3 Distinguished Service Awards from the IHS (1985; 1996; 2004), the prestigious Rema Lapouse Mental Health Epidemiology Award from the APHA (1998), the Distinguished Mentor Award from the Gerontological Society of America (2006), the Herbert W. Nickens Award from the AAMC (2006), and the George Foster Award for Excellence from the Society for Medical Anthropology (2006).
Kristen Nadeau, MD, MS, Principal Investigator, GRINS Development Project
Type 2 diabetes disproportionately affects American Indian and other historically disadvantaged youth. Dr. Nadeau strives to serve this population. She is a Pediatric Endocrinologist with a Masters in Clinical Sciences and is an investigator in translational pediatric diabetes and obesity research, focused on reducing long-term complications of pediatric-onset diabetes. She is the PI of the CNOHR developmental project investigating periodontal health in American Indian youth with Type 2 diabetes and obesity. The project focus is to better understand the mechanism(s) of insulin resistance (IR) in pediatric diabetes and interrelationships with periodontal disease, and identify treatment targets for interventions.  She was awarded an NIH K23 award, several local supplemental grants, a SEARCH/NIDDK supplement, and a JDRF Innovative Award to study cardiovascular deficits in pediatric diabetes, and their relationships to IR and ectopic fat, and develop an indes to estimate IR in diabetic youth from the NIH/CDC-sponsored SEARCH study.  Through the K23 and related grants, she became proficient at independent study management; ethical research conduct; recruitment/retention; continuous glucose monitoring; activity monitoring; and performance of hyperinsulinemic clamps, glucose and glycerol isotopes, muscle biopsy, venour plethysmography, and autonomic function and exercise testing in youth.  More recently, she has been funded by a 5-year JDRF Research Award, and ADA career development award, and NIH R56 award, and a CCTSI co-pilot grant for muscle MRI/MRS technology development to study relationships between insulin resistance, exercist, and muscle mitochondrial dysfunction in Type 1 and Type 2 diabetes using 31P MRS spectroscopy; and she is the PI of a new UO1 investigating beta cell preservation in youth and adults with prediabetes and type 2 diabetes. She is also a co-investigator on the NIH multicenter TODAY trial, a large randomized, double-blinded trial comparing two alternative diabetes drugs to a combined exercise and diet intervention in youth. Both the TODAY and SEARCH studies include pediatric American Indian cohorts with diabetes.
David O. Quissell, PhD, Principal Investigator, RC2
David O. Quissell, PhD is Chair, Department of Craniofacial Biology at the University of Colorado School of Dental Medicine. He obtained his BA degree from Augustana College, Sioux Falls, SD with a major in Chemistry and minor in Biology and Mathematics. David then received his Ph.D. from the University of Wisconsin, Madison, WI in Biochemistry and minor in Physiology; and a two-year NIH Postdoctoral Fellowship in Oncology & Pathology at McArdle Laboratory for Cancer Research, University of Wisconsin, Madison. He has been actively involved in biomedical research for the past thirty years. He has served on NIH Oral Biology and Medicine Study Section, Chair of 2002 Gordon Research meeting on Salivary Gland Function, was a member of National Cystic Fibrosis Foundation Research Committee, and has been a speaker at several National and International Scientific meetings, and is a member of several professional organizations, including the American Society of Biological Chemists, American Society for Cell Biology, International and American Association for Dental Research and Society of American Indian Dentists.
Greg Schaffer, BS, IT Manager
Greg Schaffer, BS is the IT Manager with the Centers for American Indian and Alaska Native Health (CAIANH) in the Colorado School of Public Health. Greg graduated in 1987 from University of Colorado Denver with a Bachelor of Science in Computer Science. Greg joined CAIANH in March 2005 working as the IT Manager for the coordinating center for Indian Health Services’ Special Diabetes Program Initiative Competitive Grants Program (SDPI-CGP) and is currently doing programming, assisting in computer related issues and working with the Statistics Core for the Center for Native Oral Health Research (CNOHR).
Rachel Simpson, MA, IRB Specialist
Rachel Simpson (Oglala Lakota/Yankton) has worked for the University of Colorado Denver, Anschutz Medical Campus since 2008.  Ms. Simpson has managed grants since 1999.  She is responsible for ensuring the protection for human participants in research.  Ms. Simpson serves on the Board of Directors for Denver Indian Health and Family Services, and her primary goal is to help improve the health of American Indian and Alaska Natives, with a special emphasis on urban Native populations.
Vongphone Smith, BA, RC2 Project Manager
Vong Smith serves as the Project Manager for RC2.  She obtained her Bachelor of Arts degree from Western Washington University in Elementary Education and History in Bellingham, WA in 2000.  Vong has spent most of her professional career working and advocating for children, particularly those from diverse and disadvantaged backgrounds.  Before moving out to Colorado, she spent most of her time in Seattle, working with inner city youth.  Her previous work experience included serving as a site supervisor for the North Seattle Boys & Girls Club and as a children’s advocate at an emergency shelter for women and children effected by domestic violence.  Prior to joining the RC2 team, Vong was the Project Coordinator with the University of Colorado on a grant entitled, “Colorado Systems Integration Model for Infants (CSIMI),” which worked with substance exposed newborns and pregnant women who use illicit drugs and alcohol.
Tamanna Tiwari, MPH, MDS
Tamanna Tiwari is a Senior Professional Research Assistant at CNOHR.  She is engaged in RC1 with research compliance and, publications, training field staff and management of quality control activities related to collection of dental data.  She has several years of experience in research, teaching, public health and clinical practice.  Her research interests have been in health disparities and minority communities.  She has worked with several populations globally, namely Asian, Hispanic, African American and now American Indian to address issues in oral health and chronic disease.  Since 2010 she has worked in developing federal and foundation grants and intervention design for various nonprofits working in domestic and global health.  She received her Bachelors in Dentistry (BDS) and her Masters in Dentistry (MDS) from Bharati Vidya Peeth Dental School, Pune, India.  She received her Master in Global Public Health (MPH) from New York University.
Tracy Zacher, BA, RN, Field Study Coordinator
Tracy Zacher is the Field Study Coordinator for Research Component 1, a research study using motivational interviewing to improve oral health outcomes for children living on an Indian reservation. Tracy is a member of the Rosebud Sioux Tribe. Tracy graduated in 1996 from the University of South Dakota with a bachelor of arts degree, double majoring in Spanish and Psychology. She then graduated with an associate degree in nursing in 1999 also from the University of South Dakota, and has been a registered nurse since that time. Tracy has experience in basic science research, clinic nursing, hospital nursing, extended care nursing, teaching, and coordinating various programs that benefit the American Indian population. While Tracy now works full time as the Field Study Coordinator for UCD, she still maintains her nursing license by working part-time for Rapid City Regional Hospital as a floor nurse in the Orthopedics, Neurology, Surgical Department. She currently serves on the Board of Directors for the SuAnne Big Crow Boys and Girls Club and the Asniya program. She in her 11th year working as volunteer coordinator for the Asniya program, a service learning program that benefits American Indian Children throughout South Dakota.
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