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Core faculty and staff

Core Faculty

View our faculty's in-depth research profiles and publication histories by clicking on their names.
Carol Runyan, MPH, PhD, PIPER Program Co-DirectorRunyanC.png
Carol Runyan, MPH, PhD brings over 30 years as a leader in the field of injury and violence prevention to the program. She founded PIPER when she joined the faculty of the Colorado School of Public Health (CSPH) in 2011 as Professor of Epidemiology with secondary appointments in Community and Behavioral Health and Pediatrics (School of Medicine “SOM”).
In 1987, Dr. Runyan co-founded one of the longest operating and most successful injury control research centers in the nation, the University of North Carolina Injury Prevention Research Center — a “Center of Excellence” on injury prevention — and served as director for over 20 years. Her research has shaped state and national policy, identified priorities, and broken new scientific ground, publishing more than 130 refereed papers and 30 book chapters in the process.
Dr. Runyan has mentored dozens of graduate students, fellows, and junior faculty and has been an innovator in training the injury workforce. She was the chief architect of the National Training Initiative, a joint effort of the Society for the Advancement of Violence and Injury Research (SAVIR) and Safe States Alliance. This initiative resulted in the creation of a set of core competencies for injury and violence professionals and in 2003, Dr. Runyan developed the PREVENT (Preventing Violence through Education, Networking and Technical Assistance) program, which has trained over 900 professionals from 44 states. Her research has addressed numerous topics including adolescent worker safety, safety in the home environment, and violence prevention.
She was honored with the first Excellence in Science award from the American Public Health Association and was the first recipient of the Home Safety Council’s Research Award. In 2012, Runyan was recognized by the National Center for Injury Prevention and Control as one of the most influential leaders of the injury field over the past twenty years.

Ashley Brooks-Russell, MPH, PhD, PIPER Program Co-DirectorBrooksRussellA.png
Ashley Brooks-Russell, MPH, PhD has expertise in social and behavioral sciences, including intervention development and evaluation. She joined the PIPER faculty in January 2014 as Assistant Professor of Community and Behavioral Health (CSPH) and has an MPH from Case Western Reserve University and a PhD from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill in health behavior.
As a postdoctoral researcher in the Prevention Research Branch at the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development, Dr. Brooks-Russell studied trends and risk factors for youth violence, modifiable risk factors for underage drinking and driving, and the increased risk of crashes associated with peer passengers and distracted driving. Her interests include developing interventions tailored to community-based and clinical settings, with a focus on adolescents.

Marian (Emmy) Betz, MD, MPH, PIPER Deputy DirectorBetzE.png
Marian Betz, MD, MPH is trained in emergency medicine and epidemiology, with a research focus on traffic safety and suicide. She is an attending physician at the University of Colorado Hospital, as well as Assistant Professor of both Emergency Medicine (SOM) and Epidemiology (CSPH); she completed medical and public health training at Johns Hopkins University.
Dr. Betz was recently awarded a Paul Beeson K23 award from the National Institute on Aging for her work to develop a tiered assessment system for older drivers. She has served as an invited member of national workgroups to develop guidelines for suicide prevention by emergency providers and currently serves as an elected section councilor for the Injury Control and Emergency Health Services Section of the American Public Health Association. She is the 2014-15 President of the Academy of Geriatric Emergency Medicine (part of the Society for Academic Emergency Medicine).

Sara Brandspigel, MPH, PIPER Assistant DirectorBrandspigelS.png
Sara Brandspigel, MPH has fifteen years of experience managing public health and education programs and has overseen daily operations of the PIPER program, including program development, communications, and grants management, since early 2012. She serves as a Research Instructor in the Department of Epidemiology at the Colorado School of Public Health. Ms. Brandspigel leads the National Peer Learning Team on Child Maltreatment, a CDC-funded initiative, and collaborates on several research and training projects.
Prior to joining PIPER, she led education and outreach activities for the family planning program at the Montana Department of Public Health and Human Services and served as development director for Heads Up, an educational enrichment program for underserved youth in Washington, DC, and project manager at the Association of Maternal and Child Health Programs. She received her MPH with a focus on maternal and child health from the University of North Carolina.


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