Skip to main content
Sign In

Marcus Institute for Brain Health

Marcus Institute for Brain Health
​​​​
​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​
 

Our Team


James Kelly, MD Picture  
James Kelly, MD
Executive Director

Dr. James Kelly is Professor of Neurology at the University of Colorado School of Medicine. Dr. Kelly is a behavioral neurologist who has been leading both the medicine and the science of mild traumatic brain injury (TBI) for over 30 years. His career began serving elite athletes with concussion and has been a leading authority in sport concussion since 1991. While continuing his work in sport-related concussion management, Dr. Kelly shifted to become the founding Director of the National Intrepid Center of Excellence, providing specialty care for active duty service members struggling with mild TBI and changes in psychological health.  As the Executive Director of the MIBH, Dr. Kelly oversees the clinical care provided to military Veterans and retired athletes. In addition to his work at the MIBH, Dr. Kelly is Senior Fellow at the George W. Bush Institute, serving as an advisor to the former president related to the "Invisible Wounds" of war including TBI and psychological health conditions related to current conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan. 

 
 
Michael W. Hartford Picture  
Michael W. Hartford, MHA, CAPT, USN (Retired)
Chief Operations Director

Mike joins the MIBH after completing distinguished careers as a senior healthcare executive in Veterans Health and Military Medicine. He retired as a Navy Medical Service Corps Officer and was the only senior military officer to have ever worked in the C-suite of a Veterans Affairs Healthcare facility. His role was to provide oversight and support for our Nation's most catastrophically Wounded, Injured and Ill along with their family members. He was able to leverage his vast knowledge of VA and DOD to ensure smooth transitions and warm handoffs throughout the recovery, rehabilitation and reintegration process. As Chief Operations Director he oversees all daily operations of the MIBH to include administrative, clinical, research and educational operations. In addition to his work at MIBH he is involved in several veteran service organizations and serves as Chairman of the Board for a non-profit Wounded Warrior Retreat located in Camden County, Georgia called Team Reid Retreat

 
 
Wendi Pevler, MBA Picture  
Wendi Pevler, MBA, MS
Director of Finance and Administration

Wendi is the Director of Administration and Finance for the MIBH. Wendi is experienced at managing large projects and has worked in multiple departments across the CU System. At the MIBH, she oversees budgeting and day-to-day financial operations. Additionally, Wendi manages the administrative aspects of the MIBH, including human resources, Federal, State and University policy compliance, revenue cycle and contracts. Wendi is an avid skier and loves spending time with her 6'2" son.

 
 
Spencer Milo, BA Picture  
Spencer Milo, BA, Staff Sergeant US Army, (Retired)
Director of Veteran Programs, Communications, and Community Outreach

Spencer is a medically retired, post-9/11 U.S. Army combat Veteran and Purple Heart recipient, who served in both Iraq and Afghanistan. A passionate advocate and spokesman for military Veterans and veterans' issues, he also serves transitioning military members and Veterans in his civilian career today. At the MIBH, Spencer coordinates community outreach specifically for military Veterans and athletes.  

 
 
Daniel Wilkerson, JD Picture  
Daniel Wilkerson, JD
Director of Special Projects

Dan comes to the MIBH with an extensive background in higher education law and administration.  As Director of Special Projects, Mr. Wilkerson works directly with Dr. Kelly to advance the vision and mission of the Marcus Institute. Mr. Wilkerson is a former Army JAG officer who was stationed at Fitzsimons Army Medical Center from 1986 until 1989.  In 1989, Mr. Wilkerson joined CU's Office of University Counsel and represented the Health Sciences campus and its medical school in particular.  In 2007, Mr. Wilkerson became the Vice President, University Counsel and Secretary of the Board of Regents for the CU System.  In 2012, Mr. Wilkerson retired from CU, but continued to consult for CU, the Association of American Medical Colleges and other organizations.  Wilkerson is a distinguished military graduate of Cornell University in Ithaca, NY and earned his J.D. from Willamette University in Salem, Oregon. 

 
 
Melody Johnson Picture  
Melody Johnson, AA
Clinical Coordinator

Melody is a Business Services Senior Professional specializing in clinical operations and clinical coordination.  She has 20 years of healthcare administration experience particularly in Neurology, Rehab Medicine and Psychiatry.  Melody has an Associates of Arts degree from the Community College of Aurora and is working toward a Bachelor's degree from the University of Colorado.  In her spare time, Melody enjoys reading, camping and water sports.  She also enjoys spending time with her husband, three daughters and granddaughter.

 
 
Kimberly Dunn Picture  
Kimberly Dunn, AS
Clinical Coordinator

Kimberly is a Business Services Professional, specializing in clinical operations and care coordination. Kim is a Colorado native, who's worked within the neurosciences field in multiple roles on the Anschutz Medical Campus over the past twelve years. Outside of her professional career, Kim is a wife and mother, who loves getting out and enjoying the beauty that Colorado has to offer.​

​​​​​​
 
 
Angela Kirkpatrick Picture  
Angela Kirkpatrick, BA
Business Administrative Senior Specialist

Angela joins the MIBH with a background in customer service, accounting, human resources and project management. She has worked in higher education for more than a decade and appreciates an environment that encourages learning and helping others. Angela will be working behind the scenes to ensure that the team at MIBH is supported in a way that benefits those that come through our doors. Angela's family has a history of serving in the military and she is proud to be of service at the MIBH.

 
 
Christopher M. Filley, MD  
Christopher M. Filley, MD
Senior Scientific Advisor

Dr. Filley is Director of the Behavioral Neurology Section and Professor of Neurology and Psychiatry at the University of Colorado School of Medicine. The first behavioral neurologist in the history of the university, Dr. Filley founded the Behavioral Neurology Section in 1991 to represent the study of brain-behavior relationships. In his role as Senior Scientific Advisor at the MIBH, he will help guide multidisciplinary research on traumatic brain injury (TBI) and related psychological disorders, pursuing such questions as the identification of diagnostic biomarkers, the correlation of clinical features with neuroimaging data, and the development of optimal treatments. In addition, he will facilitate the integration of these studies with a variety of other neurobehavioral programs at the university, including in the important area of dementia, increasingly recognized as a potential long-term sequel of TBI. A key collaboration will be maintained with the Rocky Mountain Alzheimer's Disease Center, where Dr. Filley serves as Co-Leader of the Clinical Core and Research Physician investigating the etiology, pathogenesis, and treatment of Alzheimer's Disease. At the MIBH he will also assist with the development of diverse educational initiatives and the organization of comprehensive patient care. Informing all of this work is Dr. Filley's career interest in the behavioral neurology of white matter, including neurologic, psychiatric, neuropsychological, neuroimaging, neuropathological, and genetic aspects of all varieties of white matter disorders. The author or co-author of 150 peer-reviewed scientific publications, Dr. Filley is also the author of three monographs – Neurobehavioral Anatomy, The Behavioral Neurology of White Matter, and White Matter Dementia – and the senior editor of the acclaimed textbook Behavioral Neurology and Neuropsychiatry.

 
 
Daniel Wilkerson, JD Picture  
Lisa A. Brenner, PhD
Director, Clinical Research

Lisa is a Board Certified Rehabilitation Psychologist, and Research Director for the Department of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation (PM&R), Professor of Psychiatry, Neurology and PM&R at the University of Colorado, Anschutz School of Medicine, and Director of the Department of Veterans Affairs Rocky Mountain Mental Illness Research, Education, and Clinical Center MIRECC; http://www.mirecc.va.gov/visn19/. Additionally, she is the President of Division 22 (Rehabilitation Psychology) of the American Psychological Association (APA), an APA Fellow and serves as Associate Editor of the Journal of Head Trauma Rehabilitation. Her primary area of research interest is traumatic brain injury, co-morbid psychiatric disorders, and negative psychiatric outcomes including suicide. As Director of Clinical Research for the Marcus Institute for Brain Health (MIBH), Dr. Brenner will facilitate rigorous evaluation of clinical services provided at the Institute, as well as translation of best evidence to MIBH clinical practices. She will also actively engage in research pertaining to the work being conducted at the MIBH and provide opportunities for those seeking care at the MIBH to participate in these studies. 

 
 
Riley Grassmeyer, MS  
Riley Grassmeyer, MS
Professional Research Assistant

Riley joins the MIBH as a Professional Research Assistant working with Dr. Lisa Brenner. Riley first engaged in clinical research as a volunteer research assistant with the University of Colorado Department of Sports Medicine. Completing a Master's of Science in Toxicology confirmed his enthusiasm for the research process. Riley combined his interests in athletics and science during his undergraduate career when he worked for the Colorado State University football team. As a native Coloradan, Riley enjoys cheering on the Colorado Rockies, Denver Broncos, Colorado Avalanche, and Denver Nuggets.

​​​​​​
 
 
Kelly A. Stearns-Yoder  
Kelly A. Stearns-Yoder

Kelly serves as the Research Program Manager for the Marcus Institute for Brain Health. She graduated with Bachelor of Arts degrees in Molecular, Cellular, and Developmental Biology and Psychology, and completed a Masters of Art degree in Psychology. In addition to her work at the MIBH, Kelly has worked with Dr. Lisa Brenner at the Rocky Mountain MIRECC at the Denver VA since 2012 as a research assistant and then lab manager. She has vast experience in research administration, grant writing, and study design and management. As the Research Program Manager, Kelly will work closely with Dr. Brenner to evaluate the clinical services, as well as manage research studies that patients at the MIBH may wish to participate in.

 
 
Kathryn Hardin, CCC-SLP, CBIST Picture  
Kathryn Hardin, CCC-SLP, CBIST
Clinical Lead

Kathryn is an Assistant Professor at the University of Colorado School of Medicine. She is a licensed speech-language pathologist and Certified Brain Injury Specialist Trainer. Professor Hardin is nationally known for her work in concussion and advocacy for people with mild TBI. At the MIBH, Kathryn see patients directly and assists with coordination of care. Outside of work, Kathryn is married, a soccer mom, and grows serious tomatoes. 

 
 
Catherine Johnston-Brooks – PhD, ABPP-CN – Neuropsychologist Picture  
Catharine Johnston-Brooks – PhD, ABPP-CN
Neuropsychologist

Dr. Catie Johnston-Brooks is a Board Certified Clinical Neuropsychologist (ABPP-CN) and an Assistant Professor at the University of Colorado School of Medicine. She comes to the MIBH from the Denver VA Medical Center where she was lead neuropsychologist since 1999 and the psychology internship training director since 2010. Dr. Johnston-Brooks is a former present of the Colorado Neuropsychological Society and is currently the chair of the Colorado Traumatic Brain Injury Trust Fund Board of Directors as well as the chair of their Research and Program Evaluation committee. Dr. Johnston-Brooks' years of experience at the VA allows her to work comfortably with individuals who have both emotional and medical difficulties. In her role at the MIBH, Dr. Johnston-Brooks will conduct neuropsychological evaluations, provide feedback and education to patients and family members, and will be involved in clinical research. Dr. Johnston-Brooks believes that clinical neuropsychology's role is to help patients, family members and clinical teams better understand individuals' functioning so that the most effective treatments can be utilized to maximize recovery. Outside of work, Dr. Johnston-Brooks and her two teenage children enjoy music, outdoor activities, and traveling.

 
 
Mark Babcock, MSW, LCSW  
Mark Babcock, MSW, LCSW
Social Worker

Mark received his Master’s degree in Social Work from Virginia Commonwealth University and completed his internship at Behavioral Health and Family Advocacy Program Fort Lee, Virginia. He is a Senior Instructor at the University of Colorado School of Medicine. Mark is a licensed clinical social worker who specializes in providing individual, family, and group therapy to clients recovering from brain injury and traumatic stress. He has worked for over 30 years in multiple settings including a residential wilderness school for adolescents, Navy Family Service Center-Oceana Naval Air Station, inpatient psychiatric and medical facilities, private practice, and over 20 years at outpatient brain injury programs. Mark comes to the MIBH from Boulder Community Health where he worked for over 20 years, and provided individual therapy and group work for patients with neurological diagnoses and cancer. He takes a multi-faceted approach to intervention. Mark received training in a variety of approaches to treating people impacted (please take out effected) by trauma including EMDR and a collection of other interventions and tools and carefully integrates these approaches within his work with clients. He has presented extensively on the topics of brain injury and traumatic stress to hospital staff, patients, the community, and Brain Injury Alliance of Colorado.   ​   ​

​​​​​​
 
 
Brandon Utter  
Brandon Utter
Clinical Pharmacist

Brandon Utter is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Clinical Pharmacy at Skaggs School of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences. Dr. Utter received his PharmD from the University Of Kansas School Of Pharmacy in 2011and then pursued specialty training in mental health within the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) health system. During training Dr. Utter worked in outpatient clinics specializing in the pharmacotherapeutic management of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). He continues his work in mental health and broader topics with Colorado's Medicaid population and with the Drug Utilization Review (DUR) program for Colorado. Prior to his current positions, he was a Clinical Pharmacy Specialist with Inpatient Mental Health at both the Orlando VA Medical Center and the West Palm Beach VA Healthcare Center in Florida and has also worked abroad as a lecturer in Pharmacotherapy and Psychopharmacology in Lusaka, Zambia at the University Teaching Hospital. Dr. Utter is a Veteran of Operation Iraqi Freedom where he served in Baghdad as a combat medic in 2005-2006. His professional interests include Metal Health, Substance Abuse and Public Health Policy.

 
 
Jeffrey R. Hebert, P.T., Ph.D.  
Jeffrey R. Hebert, P.T., Ph.D.
Physical Therapist

Dr. Hebert is an Associate Professor in the Department of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation at the University of Colorado (CU) School of Medicine. He brings 20 years of experience to the Marcus Institute for Brain Health providing specialized physical therapy clinical care for persons living with neurological conditions with an emphasis on mild traumatic brain injury (mTBI) and multiple sclerosis (MS). In 2009, he received his Ph.D. in clinical science from the CU Anschutz Medical Campus. His clinical and research expertise includes examining, treating and investigating balance, mobility and related outcomes, and the effectiveness of exercise approaches for these problems for people with mTBI and MS. He has been the Principle Investigator on multiple research projects. The focus of much of his clinical and research efforts is on building novel conceptual frameworks of the complex interrelationships of balance and postconcussive symptoms for Veterans with mTBI and other related factors for people with MS. From these frameworks, he constructs innovative treatment approaches, such as multi-faceted vestibular rehabilitation programs, for people living with neurological conditions. His mTBI research interests include the investigation into the causes, management and treatment of a variety of clinical manifestations of people with mTBI, with a primary emphasis on balance, mobility, fatigue, dizziness, visual stability, exercise tolerance and brain health. Developing, investigating and implementing the most effective treatments to improve the quality of life for persons living with the persistent symptoms from mild head injuries will serve as a major pillar of his work at the Marcus Institute for Brain Health.

 
 
 C. Alan Anderson, MD  
C. Alan Anderson, MD
Education and Training Coordinator

Dr. Anderson is Professor of Neurology, Psychiatry, and Emergency Medicine at the University of Colorado School of Medicine. He is the Fellowship Director for the Behavioral Neurology & Neuropsychiatry Fellowship and serves as the Vice-Chair for Education for the Department of Neurology. Dr. Anderson collaborates with the Neuropsychiatry Service of the Department of Psychiatry and provides clinical consultation in various settings. As an Educational Advisor, Dr. Anderson will develop educational programs for staff at the MIBH, coordinate educational programs with affiliated centers, and serve as liaison for educational opportunities for residents and fellows in the Department of Neurology and other Departments in the University of Colorado School of Medicine.

 
 
 
David B. Arciniegas, MD, FANPA, FAPM
Director of Education

Dr. Arciniegas is Chief Medical Officer at the Center for Mental Health in Montrose, Colorado, Clinical Professor of Neurology and Psychiatry at the University of Colorado School of Medicine in Aurora, Colorado, and Clinical Professor of Psychiatry, Neurology, and Physical Medicine & Rehabilitation at the Baylor College of Medicine and Senior Scientist in the Brain Injury Research Center at TIRR Memorial Hermann. Over the last 20 years, his clinical work and patient-oriented research as a subspecialist in Behavioral Neurology & Neuropsychiatry has focused on the phenomenology, neurobiology, and rehabilitation of the cognitive and non-cognitive neuropsychiatric sequelae of traumatic brain injury (TBI), other acquired brain injuries and neurodegenerative disorders, and neurodevelopmental conditions. His work as an educator focuses on training subspecialists in Behavioral Neurology & Neuropsychiatry, Brain Injury Medicine, and the medical neurosciences. He has been continuously funded since 1996 as a clinical investigator on more than 35 extramurally-funded studies, including more than 15 federally-funded projects and clinical trials. He has authored more than 115 peer-reviewed journal articles, 125 peer-reviewed abstracts, and 30 book chapters, and has edited seven textbooks, and is a highly sought lecturer nationally and internationally. He is Editor of the Journal of Neuropsychiatry and Clinical Neurosciences and is a member of the editorial boards of Brain Injury, Journal of Head Trauma Rehabilitation, and the International NeuroTrauma Letter. In addition to his clinical and academic duties, Dr. Arciniegas serves as Chairman and CEO of the International Brain Injury Association, is President-Elect of the International Neuropsychiatric Association, and contributes his efforts to governmental and non-governmental organizations striving to improve the lives of persons and families affected by brain injuries.

 
 
Dave Rubenstein, MD  
Dave Rubenstein, MD
NeuroRadiologist

Dr. Rubinstein completed a 27-year career in Neuroradiology at the University of Colorado shortly before joining the MIBH. His career focused on all aspects of clinical radiology including brain trauma. While his early research concentrated on anatomy as depicted by radiological imaging, one of his first contributions to the medical literature was as a coauthor on one of Dr. Kelly's first articles on concussion in sports. The latter portion of Dr. Rubinstein's career was dedicated to Radiology education. He served as the Director of the University of Colorado Radiology Residency and the Vice-Chair of Education in the University of Colorado Radiology Department. At the MIBH he will serve as a consultant on radiologic matters.

 
 
​​​​​​​​​​​​
 
 
Justin Perrson, MD  
Justin Perrson, MD
Neuro Behavioral Fellow

Dr. Persson is a Neurobehavioral and Neuropsychiatry Fellow at the University of Colorado. He completed Medical School at the University of Minnesota and his Neurology Residency at the University of Colorado. He served in the Army National Guard for 10 years and was deployed to Iraq in 2008 where he served as a driver/gunner for a convoy security team. At MIBH he is involved in the initial and follow up evaluation of patients.

​​​​​​
 
 
Amber Velarde  
Amber Velarde
Medical Assistant

Amber is a Colorado native who is a mother of two and enjoys spending her free time with them while they do sporting activities as well as cooking, baking, and crafting. She is currently a Medical Assistant at the Anschutz Health and Wellness Clinic and has been for two years. She has worked in the medical field off and on for 10 years and while she was not working in the medical field, she helped with her parent’s restaurant.


​​ ​​​​​​
 
 
 Kelsey Martinez  
Kelsey Martinez
Medical Assistant

Kesley is a Medical Assistant, who is currently attending Community College Of Aurora and finishing her perquisites to apply for the CU College of Nursing. She has experience working as a medical assistant at Anschutz Medical Campus, within the outpatient multispecialty clinic working in wound care, bariatrics, plastic surgery, and general surgery. Outside of her professional career, Kesley is a mother who enjoys spending time with her son and family.

​​