David R. West, PhD, the Director for COHO, is a Colorado native. Dr. West has been on the Faculty of the School of Medicine since 1994, and an active COHO investigator since 2003. He completed his doctoral degree in Sociology from the University of Denver while serving as the Colorado State Medicaid Director (until 1994). Dr. West then founded Colorado Access, a not-for-profit Health Maintenance Organization for underserved populations. Dr. West serves as the Associate Chair for Departmental Affairs for the Department of Medicine. Dr. West is the Principal Investigator for two NIH grants to redesign chronic disease delivery systems in primary care, two AHRQ Master contracts, and numerous other large scale multi-year projects for state governments and private funders. He brings a unique blend of administrative, policy, and scientific skill to his research and management responsibilities. Dr. West focuses on Health Services Research with an emphasis upon the lessons learned through the modification of health care delivery and financing mechanisms to improve effectiveness and outcomes.
Allison Kempe, MD, MPH, Director of Children's Outcomes Research Program, is a graduate of Oberlin College and the University of Colorado School of Medicine. She was a resident in pediatrics at the Strong Memorial Hospital at University of Rochester, and a fellow in the Robert Wood Johnson General Pediatrics Academic Development Program at the University of Rochester, where she received a Master of Public Health degree. She has been a faculty member at the University of Colorado Denver since 1992. She is currently a Professor of Pediatrics, and Director of the Research Division of General Academic Pediatrics and of the Primary Care Research Fellowship and Faculty Development Fellowship. Additionally, she remains actively involved in junior faculty development. Dr. Kempe is a member of the Pediatric Academic Society and the American Academy of Pediatrics.
Karen Albright, PhD, received her PhD in Sociology from New York University in 2004 and was previously a Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Scholar in Health Policy Research at the University of California, Berkeley, and a National Institute of Mental Health Postdoctoral Fellow at the Center for Culture and Health in the Semel Institute for Neuroscience and Human Behavior, David Geffen School of Medicine, University of California, Los Angeles, a position she held jointly with Stanford University. Her research interests include health disparities among socioeconomically disadvantaged populations, the psychosocial and health implications of socioeconomic mobility, and the social-psychological effects of trauma. Dr. Albright, an expert in qualitative methodologies, is the Qualitative Research CORE Leader at COHO and COR. She is also an Assistant Professor in the Department of Community and Behavioral Health in the School of Public Health. She has been the recipient of a National Institute of Health Loan Repayment Program in Clinical Research fellowship and has received a number of honors for her published work, including the 2005 Robert E. Park Award for the most distinguished scholarly paper to be published in urban and community sociology.
Mandy Allison, MD, MSPH – Assistant Professor
Pediatrics. Dr. Allison graduated from Williams College
in Massachusetts in 1995 then moved to the Mississippi Delta where she taught 9th
grade Biology and earned her Masters in Education as part of the Mississippi Teacher
Corps program. Mandy completed her medical school training at the
University of Utah in 2001 and continued there to complete her residency in
Pediatrics in 2004. She then completed a Primary Care Research fellowship
and MSPH at the University of Colorado, Denver. After fellowship, she
returned to the University of Utah as an Assistant Professor in the Division of
General Pediatrics from 2006 to 2012 where her clinical time was spent at a
resident continuity clinic serving mainly low-income Latino patients and she
continued to develop her research career with an emphasis on immunization
delivery and school health. In addition to her clinical and research
activities, Mandy served as the physician consultant to the Salt Lake City
School District school nurses, on the Utah School Health Advisory Committee,
and was the course director for two research methods classes. She
currently serves in an elected position on the American Academy of Pediatrics
Council on School Health Executive Committee. Mandy’s long term goal as a
pediatrician and academician is to conduct teaching, research, clinical, and
service activities that improve the health, mental health, and academic
outcomes for underserved children by changing systems of care and increasing
collaboration between pediatricians, public health officials, and schools. Her
current research includes: studying systems to ensure that all children
enrolled in child care programs are up to date for required and recommended
immunizations, conducting national surveys of primary care providers about
vaccine policy issues, evaluating the Bright Beginnings program’s effect on
children’s language and cognitive development and school readiness, and using
community-based participatory research methods to study how students’ access to
health care affects school absenteeism. Mandy is a Co-Director for the
Primary Care Research Fellowship.
Brenda Beaty, MPH, joined the Colorado Health Outcomes Program in 2002 and has served as analytic coordinator since that time. She manages the efforts of the COHO analytic team as well as performing data analysis on a number of projects. She has been a SAS Certified Base Programmer since 2003. Brenda currently serves as the Chair for the Denver SAS Users Group, as well as the Local User Group Liaison for the Western Users of SAS Software Regional Users Group. She works with projects both at COHO and the Children's Outcomes Research Program (COR) in the Department of Pediatrics. She received her Master of Science in Public Health in 1993 from the University of Colorado Denver and her Bachelor of Science in Chemical Engineering with distinction from Colorado State University in Fort Collins, Colorado in 1989.
Jud Blatchford, PhD, graduated from Pepperdine University in 1991 with a bachelor’s degree in both Sports Medicine and Physical Education. In 1992 he completed his Master of Education at the University of California Los Angeles. After teaching in Santa Monica for a year, he and his wife moved to Colorado in 1993. Jud taught mathematics at Columbine High School in Littleton, Colorado from 1993 to 2003. He decided to pursue a degree in statistics, and graduated in 2007 with a PhD in Biostatistics from the University of Colorado Denver. He worked as a professional research assistant in the UCD Department of Preventive Medicine and Biometrics from 2004 through 2007. Jud is currently an Instructor in the CSPH Department of Biostatistics and Informatics. He also serves as the director of COHO’s Research Methods and Statistics Discussion Series.
Patty Braun, MD, MPH, a Colorado native, is an Associate Professor of Pediatrics and Family Medicine at the University of Colorado Denver School of Medicine. She obtained BAs in Biochemistry and in Molecular, Cellular and Developmental Biology at the University of Colorado in Boulder and went to the University of Colorado School of Medicine. After completing her pediatric residency at Yale University in New Haven, CT, she came to Denver Health where she has been a board certified pediatrician for 15 years and teacher of both medical students and residents. She recently completed a HRSA Faculty Development Fellowship during which she completed her Masters in Public Health. Her recent interests include improving the oral health of children. She is an advocate for the Colorado American Academy of Pediatrics oral health chapter. She currently is leading the states evaluation of the Cavity Free at Three Oral Health Initiative; is an original member of the Cavity Free at Three Technical Assistance Team; and is the principal investigator of a Dental Hygienist Co-location project.
Mark Brittan MD, MPH, received his medical degree from the
Chicago Medical School in 2000 and completed his pediatric residency at Johns
Hopkins Hospital. He has worked as a hospitalist at Children’s Hospital since
2003, and completed a Primary Care Research fellowship and Masters in Public
Health in 2011. His research and quality improvement interests involve
transitions from hospital to home, care coordination, and readmissions.
Maya Bunik, MD, received her medical degree from the University of Minnesota Medical School, Minneapolis in 1988. She completed a residency, including a chief residency, in pediatrics at the University of Colorado Denver and The Children's Hospital in 1992. She was Clinical Assistant Professor UCSF working at Children's Hospital in Oakland for over 10 years. She returned to Colorado to complete the primary care research fellowship at the University of Colorado Denver including MPSH 2003-2005. Dr. Bunik is currently Associate Professor in Pediatrics and medical director of the Child Health Clinic. Her main health services research interest lies in improving breastfeeding initiation and duration and healthy early infant feeding practices (ages zero to three) as they relate to the continuum of obesity for low-income populations and more specifically, Latinos. Her other interest lies in quality improvement with asthma, second hand smoke and integrated mental health in the outpatient setting. She has published investigations in combination feeding (breast and formula) in Latina mothers as well as telephone support and culturally-enhanced scripted guidelines to support breastfeeding in low-income Latinas; completed secondary database study of breastfeeding and enrollment in the Special Supplementation Program for Women, Infant and Children (WIC) Program. Also, she published the evaluation of an innovative field trip model breastfeeding curriculum that she developed during her time at Children's Hospital Oakland. She was recently invited to speak about Planning A Research Agenda for WIC and Breastfeeding by the Institute of Medicine.
Elizabeth Juarez-Colunga, PhD, joined the COHO program in 2012 as a biostatistician. Elizabeth is an assistant professor in the Colorado School of Public Health. She received her BS and MSc in Applied Mathematics and Statistics, respectively in Mexico, and her doctoral degree in Statistics from Simon Fraser University in Canada in 2011. She worked as a statistical analyst in the National Institute for the Assessment of the Educational System in Mexico. During her doctoral studies Elizabeth worked as a research assistant in the Department of Statistics and collaborated in projects with the Vancouver General Hospital
among others. Elizabeth's research interests are the modeling of repeated
outcomes over time, data with many zeroes, and joint analysis of several
Art Davidson, MD, MSPH, leads Public Health Informatics at Denver Public Health, Denver Health. COHO was the recipient of an AHRQ-funded contract in which Dr. Davidson led foundational work for the statewide health information excahange (CORHIO). He works with CORHIO and other research colleagues bringing extensive public health and health care informatics expertise.
Amanda Dempsey, MD, PhD, MPH graduated from the University of Rochester in New York in 1991 and earned her Doctorate degree at Vanderbilt University in Nashville, Tennessee in 2000. Amanda completed her residency at Seattle Children’s/University of Washington in 2003. In addition, she is involved in Health Services Research/epidemiology. Amanda has been affiliated with Pediatric Academic Society for 7 years, the Society for Pediatric research for 4 years, the International Papillomavirus Society for 6 years and the Academic Pediatric Association for 5 years. Before Amanda began her career in January 2012 with University of Colorado as the Associate Professor of Pediatrics, she held the positions of Assistant Professor of Pediatrics at the University of Michigan from 2006-2011 and Acting Instructor for the Department of Pediatrics at the University of Washington from 2003-2006. Amanda’s interests include Immunization Delivery, vaccine refusal, human papillomavirus infection and mathematical modeling. Her clinical interests include sick and well general pediatrics, well newborn care and pediatric dermatology.
Diane Fairclough, DrPH ,Director of the Analytic Core, received her doctoral degree in Biostatistics from the University of North Carolina and has held appointments at St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital, Harvard School of Public Health, AMC Cancer Research Center and the University of Colorado Denver. She is a past President of the International Society for Quality of Life Research and has over 170 peer-reviewed publications. Dr. Fairclough's primary research interest is Quality of Life, outcomes in palliative/hospice care, and psychosocial sequelae of cancer and its therapy in pediatric and adult patients. This includes the neuropsychological sequelae of therapy in pediatric patients treated for brain tumors or receiving CNS prophylaxis (primarily ALL), long-term outcomes for survivors, the impact of therapy on QOL, and end of life issues including attitudes concerning PAS and euthanasia. Dr. Fairclough’s statistical research interests include the design and analysis of longitudinal studies with non-random missing data due to disease morbidity or mortality. She is the author of Design and Analysis of Quality of Life Studies in Clinical Trials, 2nd edition (2010).
David Fox, MD, received his medical degree from the University of Medicine and Dentistry of NJ in 1996 and completed his residency and chief residency at the Children’s Hospital of New York. For the next five years he served as the Director of Pediatric Inpatient Medicine at St. Barnabas hospital in the Bronx, NY. While there, he helped to start a new pediatric residency at St. Barnabas, and served as an Associate Residency Director for three years. After moving to Colorado in 2006 and working as a hospitalist and ambulatory pediatrician, he began a Primary Care Research fellowship. His research interests include regional variation in pediatric care, the utilization of pediatric decision aids and fundoplication in the special needs population.
Karl Hammermeister, MD, received his undergraduate and medical school education, as well as most of his postgraduate training, at the University of Washington in Seattle. He retired from the VA in July 2004 following 34 years of service as a cardiologist. He continues to hold an appointment of Professor of Medicine and continues his long-time research interest in measuring and improving the quality of care as part-time investigator at COHO. His primary research interest is evaluation of outcomes of care, particularly the use of risk-adjusted outcomes as measures of quality of care. He is one of the originators (together with Frederick L. Grover, MD) in 1987 of the ongoing VA Continuous Improvement in Cardiac Surgery Program, where risk-adjusted outcomes have been used to assess and improve the quality of cardiac surgery throughout the VA. Currently funded outcomes research includes: the assessment of the effect of intra-operative changes in blood pressure, heart rate, and oxygen saturation on late mortality; predictors of length of stay; and the development of automated, point-of-care decisions support to reduce perioperative complications. His most recent project is to develop and evaluate the electronic provision of decision support for the control of hypertension and dyslipidemia to about 200,000 primary care patients receiving care at 11 clinics/organizations participating DARTNet (Distributed Ambulatory Research in Therapeutics Network), which was developed by Drs. David West and Wilson Pace.
Bill Henderson, PhD, received his BA degree in mathematics from Pomona College, Claremont, California, in 1965, and his Master of Public Health and PhD degrees in biostatistics from the University of Michigan in 1967 and 1970. From 1970-71, he served as a mathematical statistician at the National Institute of Neurological Diseases and Stroke, and from 1971-76, he was a biostatistics faculty member at the University of Iowa. In 1976, Dr. Henderson joined the VA Cooperative Studies Program Coordinating Center in Hines, Illinois, to conduct large-scale research that would have an impact on clinical practice. He became the Director of the Center in 1978. During his tenure at the VA Cooperative Studies Program Dr. Henderson helped design, implement, conduct, analyze, and publish over 40 multicenter clinical trials in the VA system in many different disease areas. Dr. Henderson retired from the VA in 2002 and is now Director of the Biostatistics Core in the Colorado Health Outcomes Program, and a Professor in the Department of Preventive Medicine at the University of Colorado. Dr. Henderson is a member of the Board of Directors of the Society for Clinical Trials. He helped design the 5-day clinical trials course for the American College of Surgeons and helped design and coordinate a similar course in the VA. Dr. Henderson currently serves as co-chair of the National Surgical Quality Improvement Program (NSQIP), and manages the NSQIP Data Coordinating Center located at COHO. The NSQIP is a quality assurance program that collects pre-operative risk factors, intra-operative data, and 30-day post-operative mortality and morbidity outcomes in patients undergoing major surgery and feeds the patient risk-adjusted outcomes back to the Chiefs of Surgery at participating institutions. The NSQIP currently has all 123 VA medical centers that perform major surgery participating in the program and 14 non-VA private institutions under a grant from AHRQ. There are plans to expand the program to other interested private hospitals throughout the country.
Laura Hurley MD, MPH ,received her medical degree from the University of New Mexico in 1997 and completed her internal medicine residency and chief residency at the University of Colorado. She worked as a hospitalist for two years, both in Colorado and New Mexico, before joining Denver Health's medical staff in 2004 as a primary care physician. She completed a HRSA Faculty Development Fellowship in 2008 during which time she completed her Masters in Public Health. She has been involved in research related to adult immunization since 2005 when she began working on the Vaccine Policy Collaborative Initiative with Dr. Kempe. Her other research interests include cardiovascular health disparities and healthcare for undocumented individuals. She is currently an Assistant Professor of Medicine. She is a member of the American College of Physicians as well as the Society of General Internal Medicine.
Kathy James, PhD, MSPH, MSCE
Kristin Jensen, M.D., M.Sc., joined COHO/COR in August of 2011 and is currently working at the University of Colorado as Assistant Professor in the Linda Crnic Institute for Down Syndrome within the Departments of Pediatrics and Internal Medicine. Kristin received her BA in History from Duke University in 2000 and graduated from Loyola University Chicago – Stritch School of Medicine in 2005. She completed her residency in Internal Medicine and Pediatrics at the University of Michigan from 2005-2009. Kristin stayed at the University of Michigan as a part of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Clinical Scholars Program from 2009-2011 through which she received her Master’s degree in Health and Health Care Research in 2010. Kristin’s research interests include improving the health and healthcare of adolescents and adults with Down syndrome and improving the transition between pediatric and adult providers for persons with chronic illnesses originating in childhood.
Michael Kahn, MD, leads the Colorado Clinical Translational Science Institute Research Informatics Core (CCTSI). Translational informatics helps turn research data into knowledge using informatics tools, into a learning community. Dr. Kahn also leads the Department of Clinical Informatics at The Children's Hospital and has extensive experience building research databases from clinical data.
Karen Kelminson, MD, performed her residency and earned her MD in pediatrics at UCD. As a member of the Primary Care Research Fellowship at UCD she also earned her MPH. Karen is an Assistant Professor at The Childrens Hopsital in pediatrics. Her current areas of exploration are medical home for children with special health care needs and improvement in care coordination.
M. Kwan, PhD, MSPH is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Family
Medicine. She holds a PhD in social psychology from the University of Colorado
Boulder (2010), a MS in Public Health from the University of Colorado Health
Sciences Center (2005), and a BS in Chemistry and Psychology from Carnegie
Mellon University (2001). She is a social/health psychologist with research
interests in health behavior change in primary care settings. Her career
objective is to improve the quality and effectiveness of behavior change
interventions in primary care, based on a platform of patient-centered outcomes
research, health care informatics and behavior theory. Her graduate training
was in behavior theory and quantitative methods in the context of health
behavior change at both the individual and population level, and she has
post-doctoral experience in practice-based research, comparative effectiveness
research, health information technology and stakeholder engagement. She had an NRSA predoctoral
fellowship (F31) from the NIMH to support her training and research in
mechanisms of exercise behavior change in those with and without depression.
Since 2010, she has managed a large multi-site AHRQ-funded distributed
research network (SAFTINet), based in COHO, building an information technology
infrastructure of electronic health records, claims and patient-reported data
that supports comparative effectiveness research in primary care settings.
Nia Mitchell, MD, MPH, is an Assistant Professor of General Internal Medicine. She has B.S. and M.S. degrees in chemical engineering from Tulane University and the University of Virginia, respectively. After working as a chemical engineer, she attended medical school at Washington University in St. Louis. She completed the Primary Care Internal Medicine residency at the University of Colorado, and she continued her training with the institution’s Primary Care Research Fellowship, during which she earned a Master of Public Health degree. Her research interests involve treating obesity in low-income populations and treating obesity in primary care settings. She provides clinical care at High Street Internal Medicine Clinic.
Elaine Morrato, PhD, received her masters degree in Public Health from Johns Hopkins University in 2003 and her Doctor of Public Health in Epidemiology in 2006. Previously, she was a manager in the pharmaceutical industry for 15 years where she had responsibility for leading prescription and over-the-counter drug development programs. Her experience encompasses the US, Canadian, and European health care systems and covers a variety of therapeutic categories, including cardiovascular, gastrointestinal, and periodontal diseases. Dr. Morrato completed her Fellowship in Outcomes Research at the University of Colorado Denver, School of Pharmacy. She is now an Assistant Professor in the Department of Health Systems, Management & Policy in the Colorado School of Public Health with secondary appointments in the Departments of Pediatrics and Clinical Pharmacy at the University of Colorado Denver. Dr. Morrato is also Assistant Director for the Children’s Outcomes Research Program sponsored by The Children’s Hospital. Dr. Morrato’s research interests include FDA policy evaluation and promoting the diffusion of drug warnings and other medical evidence. She is currently a member of the U.S. Food and Drug Adminsitration’s Drug Safety and Risk Management Advisory Committee.
Don Nease, MD, joined COHO in May 2011 as Associate Clinical Professor, Department of Family Medicine at the University of Colorado and also serves as Director of the SNOCAP Practice-Based Research Network Collaborative, Associate Vice Chair for Research in Family Medicine, and Director of the CaReNet PBRN. Don received both his B.A. and M.D. degrees at the University of Kansas. He did his Residency at the Medical University of South Carolina/Department of Family Medicine and a Faculty Development Fellowship at the University of North Carolina. Prior to joining COHO, Don held Assistant Professor positions at the University of Kansas, University of Texas Medical Branch Galveston and Associate Professor at the University of Michigan. Don’s research interests include modifying clinician behavior and compliance around chronic disease detection and management with a focus on depression and cancer and clinical trials using reminder and survey interventions and medical practice redesign for quality improvement. Don has not only led the development and commercialization of clinical decision support software for primary care practices, he has also been an active, funded practice-based network researcher, examining issues of improving the delivery of evidence-based care in the areas of cancer prevention, depression and risk-based communication. He has played a leadership role in projects utilizing the state-based research networks in Michigan and Colorado, as well as national networks of the American Academy of Family Physicians and the American College of Physicians. Don fluently reads, writes and speaks English and German languages.
Sean O'Leary, MD, is a Pediatric Infectious Diseases specialist and Assistant Professor of Pediatrics at the University of Colorado. He received a BA in Environmental Studies from Brown University in 1991 and graduated from University of Texas Houston Medical School in 1996. After completing pediatric residency at The Children's Hospital in Denver in 1999, he moved to Fort Collins where he practiced as a general pediatrician for 8 years. He then returned to the Children's Hospital to pursue a fellowship in Pediatric Infectious Diseases, which he completed in June 2010. He currently is an Assistant Professor with a joint appointment in the sections of General Pediatrics and Pediatric Infectious Diseases. Dr. O'Leary is also currently a second year fellow in the NRSA Primary Care Research Fellowship and is also pursuing a Masters in Public Health. His research interests include vaccines and vaccine preventable diseases. Dr. O'Leary is a Fellow of the American Academy of Pediatrics and a fellow member of the Infectious Diseases Society of America and the Pediatric Infectious Diseases Society.
Lisa Schilling, MD, MSPH is
board-certified in Internal Medicine and a practicing general internist with
the University of Colorado. She received her BS with Honors from Brown
University in 1984 and graduated from the University of Chicago Pritzker School
of Medicine in 1990. She completed her internship and residency at the
University of Chicago and was a faculty member at there from 1993 to 1997. In
1997 she joined the University of Colorado's Department of Medicine where she
is currently an Associate Professor. She completed a HRSA Faculty Development
Fellowship in 2007 during which time she acquired her Masters of Science in
Public Health. Her research interests focus on the optimization of health care
delivery and health via information technology, clinical research informatics,
clinical decision support, and data modeling. She currently leads the
Clinical Informatics Core within COHO and is the Principle Investigator of the
Scalable Architecture for Federated Translational Inquiries Network (SAFTINet),
a 3-year AHRQ funded project to develop comparative effectiveness research
capacity to benefit safety-net stakeholders. The project supports
building a multi-state scalable infrastructure with participating safety-net
providers and Medicaid agencies.
Marion Sills, MD, received her medical degree from the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine in 1993 and completed her residency in pediatrics at Hopkins in 1996. She completed her fellowship training in pediatric emergency medicine at Children's National Medical Center while also completing her MPH at the George Washington University. Dr. Sills is board-certified in Pediatric Emergency Medicine and in Pediatrics, and is a member of the Academic Pediatric Association and the American Academy of Pediatrics. She is currently an Associate Professor of Pediatrics at the University of Colorado Denver School of Medicine, and is an Attending Physician in the Emergency Department at The Children's Hospital. She serves as a faculty mentor to residents and fellows. Her research interests include emergency department crowding, quality measures for care provided to children in the emergency department, and health information technology in the emergency department.
Christina Suh, MD,received her medical degree from Indiana University School of Medicine in 2003. She completed a general pediatrics residency at Cincinnati Childrens Hospital Medical Center in 2006 and the Primary Care Research Fellowship in 2008. She is board certified in General Pediatrics, is currently an Instructor of Pediatrics at the University of Colorado Denver, and attends in the ambulatory outpatient general pediatrics clinic at The Childrens Hospital. Her research interests include immunization delivery and policy and community based interventions to prevent childhood overweight and obesity.
Vijaya Vemulakonda, MD, JD earned her degrees from Harvard Law School in Cambridge, MA in 1996 and the University of Mississippi School of Medicine in 2000. Dr. Vemulakonda completed her urology residency at Baylor College of Medicine in 2006. In 2008, she completed a fellowship in Pediatric Urology at the University of Washington School of Medicine, Seattle Children’s Hospital. Vijaya has been a member of the American Urologic Association and of the Society for Fetal Urology and is currently a candidate member of the American College of Surgeons and the Society for Pediatric Urology. Prior to joining the University of Colorado, Department of Urology as Assistant Professor at Children’s Hospital in June 2010, she held the position of Assistant Professor for the Division of Urology Department of Surgery from 2008-2010 at Washington University in St. Louis School of Medicine. Dr. Vemulakonda’ s research interests include health care disparities in children with congenital urologic anomalies, the effects of integrated care models on quality of life and health status in children with complex medical needs, and the role of shared decision making in optimizing pediatric surgical outcomes. She is currently a member of the Clinical Faculty Scholars Program at the Colorado Clinical and Translational Sciences Institute.