School of Medicine

Researchers


Stephen Alder | Kelly Baron | Melissa Cheng | Jennifer Coombs | Marlene Egger | Katherine Fortenberry | Steven Godin |
Lisa Gren | Rodney Handy | Mia Hashibe | Kurt Hegmann | Matthew Hughes | Rachael Jones | Ivette Lopez | Michael Magill | Kola Okuyemi |
Dominik Ose | Christy Porucznik |Charles Rogers | Joanne Rolls | Susan Saffel-Shrier | Karen Schliep | Kimberley Shoaf |
Darrah Sleeth | Joseph Stanford | Matthew Thiese |Virginia Valentin | James VanDerslice | Eric Wood | Sarang Yoon |


Steve Alder
Stephen C. Alder, PhD

Professor Alder is a Health Ecologist specializing in community-based health development. He has a background as a clinical research and biostatistical methodoligist. His doctoral training emphasized individual and group health behavior change. His research experience includes developing theorty-based health behavior change interventions aimed at public health issues such as reducing unnecessary antibiotic...   Read More

Research Interests: Global Health and Development, Community Engagement, Health Ecology, Leadership and Administration, Community-Based Primary Healthcare, Integrating Public Health & Clinical Medicine, Health Behavior, Health Policy, Health & Medical Innovation and Entrepreneurism, and Biostatistical, Epidemiological & Research Methods

[Current Funded Research]      [Recent Publications]

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Kelly Baron
Kelly G. Baron, PhD, MPH, CBSM

Dr. Baron is involved in sleep research as well as providing non-drug treatment for sleep disorders. In the clinic, she provides Cognitive Behavioral Therapy for Insomnia (CBT-I), the most effective treatment for chronic insomnia. She also delivers cognitive and behavioral treatment for other sleep disorders inclulding circadian disorders, problems using CPAP treatment in sleep apnea, nightmares, sleep walking and coping with disorders of excessive sleepiness such as narcolepsy.

Research Interests: Circadian Rhythms Disruption and Obesity, Technology-Assisted Interventions for Sleep, Non-Pharmacologic Treatments for Sleep Disorders in Medical Populations, Couples and Continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP)

[Recent Publications]

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Melissa Cheng
Melissa Cheng, MD, MOH, MHS

Dr. Cheng is an Assistant Professor (clinical track) at the University of Utah's Rocky Mountain Center for Occupational and Environmental Health (RMCOEH). Dr. Cheng received a Bachelor of Science (BS) in Medical Technology. She earned her Masters in Health Science in the department of International Health with an emphasis on complex humanitarian emergencies at Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Medicine. She earned her Medical Doctorate at...  Read More

Research Interests: Health Professions Workforce; Health Professions Education & Mentoring; Occupational Health; Substance Abuse and Policy

[Current Funded Research]      [Recent Publications]

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Jenny Coombs
Jennifer Coombs, PhD, MPAS, PA-C

Jennifer Coombs, PA-C, PhD researches rural and underserved healthcare. Dr. Coombs dissertation assessed the workforce capacity of physician assistants in Utah. This was collaborative work with the Utah Medical Education Council (UMEC) and the Physician Assistant Workforce Advisory Committee who was involved in the collection and analysis of the PA workforce data. Dr. Coombs received the only research scholarship award from....  Read More

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Marlene Egger
Marlene J. Egger, PhD

Dr. Marlene J. Egger is a PhD credentialed biostatistician with additional training in clinical quality improvement, health services research, and qualitative and mixed methods (QUAL/QUAN) research. Professor of Family and Preventive Medicine, she has 38 years’ experience in curriculum development, faculty mentorship, and statistical collaboration. She directs the interdepartmental, interdisciplinary MSTAT/Biostatistics track and has served 4 terms as the overall MSTAT program director. She is a Fellow of the American Statistical...  Read More

Research Interests: Health Professions Education & Mentoring; Reproductive & Women's Health

[Current Funded Research]      [Recent Publications]

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Katie Fortenberry
Katherine T. Fortenberry, PhD

She is currently an Associate Professor (Clinical) in the University of Utah Division of Family Medicine, where she serves as the Behavioral Science Education Director and sees patients at the Madsen and Sugarhouse Family Clinics. Her overall goal is to promote effective treatment of mental and behavioral health concerns in primary care settings by: 1) educating family physicians and other healthcare professionals to effectively utilize behavior change principles and maintain their own self-care; 2) training psychology and medical trainees to effectively work in an interdisciplinary environment; 3) increasing access to high quality care through improving behavioral health services and reducing barriers to care.

Research Interests: She is currently focusing on translating research to improving care for individuals with comorbid diabetes and mental health conditions, including substance use disorders, in the primary setting. Additionally, she guides Family Medicine residents in developing and disseminating clinic quality improvement (CQI) projects.

[Current Funded Research]      [Recent Publications]

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Steve Godin
Steven Godin, PhD, MPH

Steven Godin received his Ph.D. in Clinical Psychology from the APA approved program at the Illinois Institute of Technology. He also received training and supervision from the faculty at the New Jersey Family Therapy Institute. He was licensed to practice clinical psychology in New Jersey from 1991 to 2017. From 1991 until 2001, he practiced family and marital therapy at the Associates in Psychological Services in Somerville, NJ. He also specialized in health psychology (risk behavior reduction), as well as sports psychology (performance anxiety and peak performance).   Read More

Research Interests: Primary Care Research; Health Disparities; Community Engaged Research

[Current Funded Research]      [Recent Publications]

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Lisa Gren
Lisa H. Gren, PhD

My overall research goal is to identify the right type of care needed to improve health, and deliver it to the right person at the right time. My clinical trials work is focused on finding the right type of care, and has resulted in (1) changes to the United States Preventive Services Task Force recommendations on cancer screening and...   Read More

Research Interests: Global Health; Primary Care Research; Health Disparities; Community Engaged Research; Cancer Epidemiology & Prevention

[Current Funded Research]      [Recent Publications]

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Rod Handy
Rodney G. Handy, MBA, PhD, CIH

I joined the Department of Family & Preventive Medicine at the University of Utah on July 1st, 2015 bringing with him over twenty-five years of experience in environmental and occupational health and safety. Dr. Handy received his AAS and BS degrees from Purdue University (1981/1983), an MBA from Ball State University (1989), and a PhD in Environmental Engineering Sciences from the University of Florida (1995). He has been certified in the comprehensive practice of industrial hygiene (CIH) since 1999. Rod's past industrial experiences have included five years as an engineer with Ford Motor Company and two years as an electromechanical technician with a small, computer floppy diskette firm. His past teaching experiences have most recently included eight years at Western Kentucky University, eight years at Purdue University, and three years in the University of North Carolina system. He was initially tenured at Western Kentucky in 2000 and promoted to full professor at Purdue University in 2010. Dr. Handy is currently a Professor in the Division of Physician Assistant Studies in Department of Family and Preventive Medicine, teaching departmental courses in toxicology and physical agents. In his career, Rod has taught a myriad of environmental health and safety (EH&S) engineering courses at both the undergraduate and graduate levels, including offerings such as industrial hygiene sampling and monitoring, environmental toxicology, green manufacturing, and indoor air quality. His current research interests are in thermal stress assessment, real-time contaminant measurement and characterization, and EH&S engineering.

Research Interests: Occupational Health; Environmental Health; Emergency Preparedness & Disasters

[Current Funded Research]      [Recent Publications]

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Mia Hashibe
Mia Hashibe, PhD

My areas of expertise are on global and molecular cancer epidemiology and cancer survivorship. My research projects include a head and neck cancer exome sequencing project (NIDCR R01), a pilot study of HPV and head and neck cancer in Nepal (NCI supplemental grant) and the International Head and Neck Cancer Epidemiology Consortium (INHANCE; NCI R13). The goal of the exome-sequencing project is to identify...   Read More

Research Interests: Global Health; Health Disparities; Cancer Epidemiology & Prevention

Research Websites

[Current Funded Research]      [Recent Publications]

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Kurt Hegmann
Kurt T. Hegmann, MD, MPH

I have a career-long interest in musculoskeletal disorders (MSDs) that provided the intellectual foundation/gaps for the two multi-state prospective cohort studies we incepted in the early 2000s and then followed on a monthly basis for almost a decade. This rich dataset (>100M datapoints, >1,000 workers and 47 employers) continues to provide a wealth of unique scientific contributions. These publications are clarifying the answer that, indeed, there are job physical factors that are risk factors. Yet, that force appears to be the most important risk factor, which has potentially massive impacts regarding job design, instead of the common thoughts that posture and repetition are the issues. Our recent analyses suggest cardiovascular disease risks factor prominently in shoulder tendinitis, lateral epicondylitis and CTS and the magnitudes of those estimates outstrip those of work factors and this work continues. My second area of research is Transportation, and particularly emphasizes the trucking industry with its approximately 6M US commercial drivers. Recently, we proved a longstanding hypothesis that multiple medical conditions increase risk of crash.   Read More

Research Interests: Musculoskeletal disorders epidemiology, Transportation safety, Evidence-based guidelines

[Current Funded Research]      [Recent Publications]

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Matt Hughes
Matthew Hughes, MD, MPH, FACOEM

Matthew Hughes is an Occupational and Environmental Medicine physician with a strong and unique background in academic and corporate sector practice settings. His professional interests include corporate management of medical programs, evidence based medicine, international health, toxicology and workplace health promotion. Dr. Hughes has extensive experience in corporate medical management, serving previously as the Corporate Medical Director for Huntsman LLC, the Western Hemisphere Medical Director for BP and Associate Medical Director for Marathon Oil Company, and currently serves in consulting roles for numerous fortune 500 clients.  Read More

Research Interests: Evidence-based analysis of management practices for the advancement of occupational health and safety of workers, toxicology, and musculoskeletal medicine.

[Current Funded Research]

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Rachael Jones
Rachael M. Jones, MPH, PhD

Rachael M. Jones, PhD, MPH, CIH is an industrial hygienist and exposure scientist. Dr. Jones completed her graduate training at the University of California, Berkeley and her post-doctoral training at the University of Illinois at Chicago. Dr. Jones' research interests include: the development and application of mathematical models and statistical methods to characterize occupational and environmental exposures, particularly to infectious agents; quantitative microbial risk assessment; and the social, legal and political conditions of work.

Research Interests: Community Engaged Research; Occupational Health; Environmental Health; Life Course Epidemiology & Health

[Recent Publications]

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Ivette López
Ivette López, PhD, MPH

Ivette Amelia López is a Professor of Public Health at University of Utah Department of Family and Preventive Medicine. She is also the Deputy Director of the Utah Area Health Education Centers. Dr. López was born and raised in Caguas, Puerto Rico, and came to the United States mainland to pursue an advanced education. She is, and has been for over two decades, a dedicated professional in pursuit of...   Read More

Research Interests: Latino health, Latina and African American women’s health, community-based mixed research and pedagogy, cultural humility, health literacy, and racial and ethnic disparities in higher education and health academic faculty/administration.

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Mike Magill
Michael K. Magill, MD

One of my current research project aims to model inter-professional primary care workforce for the State of Utah to address population health needs. We start with the prevalence of chronic conditions, incidence of acute illness, and best practice for prevention. We then describe services needed for these founded on evidence-based guidelines, assign services to capable members of an extended team working at the top of license, and project the number of...   Read More

Research Interests: Health Professions Workforce; Health Professions Education & Mentoring; Primary Care Research

[Current Funded Research]

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Kola Okuyemi
Kola S. Okuyemi, MD, MPH

Dr. Okuyemi’s career in the last 20 years focused on research and programs to improve the health of underserved populations and eliminate health disparities using pharmacological and culturally tailored behavioral interventions as well as community-engaged research approaches. He has been Principal Investigator on several National Institutes of Health (National Cancer Institute; National Institute on Drug Abuse; National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute; National Institute on Minority Health Disparities; National Institution on General Medical Sciences) funded centers, research, and training grants aimed at reducing cancer-related health disparities especially among...   Read More

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[Current Funded Research]      [Recent Publications]

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Dominik Ose
Dominik Ose, MPH, DrPH





Research Interests: Primary Care Research; Quality Improvement in Healthcare; Cancer Epidemiology & Prevention

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Christy Porucznik
Christy A. Porucznik, PhD, MSPH

Her area of research interest is in appropriately timing measurement of exposures. In the environmental domain, she studies endocrine disruptors and reproductive endpoints including fertility, pregnancy outcomes, and breastfeeding. Her other primary focus area is on prescription medications, primarily opioids, and the impact of policy changes on drug dispensing and adverse events.   Read More

Research Interests: Primary Care Research; Reproductive & Women's Health; Life Course Epidemiology & Health; Substance Abuse and Policy

[Current Funded Research]      [Recent Publications]

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Charles Rogers
Charles R. Rogers, PhD, MPH, MS, CHES

Since racial inequalities in health are extensive in the US, Dr. Rogers is committed to serving medically underserved and minority populations. His long-term career goal is to become a reputable independent researcher who utilizes community-based approaches to develop, implement, and evaluate culture-specific interventions to eliminate cancer disparities among racial/ethnic minority men. In support of this goal, he has supplemented his academic training with 23+ extensive and innovative research projects across the...   Read More

Research Interests: Health Professions Education & Mentoring; Health Disparities; Community Engaged Research

[Current Funded Research]      [Recent Publications]

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Joanne Rolls
Joanne Rolls, PA-C, MPAS

Joanne Rolls, MPAS, PA-C, is a Certified Physician Assistant and an Assistant Professor (Clinical) at the University of Utah School of Medicine, Division of Physician Assistant Studies. She is a Family Medicine PA who serves University of Utah students and patients as a PA educator and Family Medicine PA.   Read More

Research Interests: Health Professions Education & Mentoring; Primary Care Research; Quality Improvement in Healthcare; Health Disparities; Community Engaged Research

[Current Funded Research]

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Susan Saffel-Shrier
Susan Saffel-Shrier, MS, RD

Susan Saffel-Shrier, M.S., R.D., C.D., is a registered dietician and certified gerontologist, and currently serves as Associate Professor in the Department of Family and Preventive Medicine and Adjunct Associate Professor in the Division of Nutrition at the University of Utah. Susan provides both general nutrition services and geriatric nutrition as part of the Senior Clinic at the Sugar House Health Center. In addition to partnering with patients to pursue healthy lifestyles, she provides nutrition care for patients with chronic diseases including diabetes, hypertension, heart disease, and weight issues. She offers both individual and group appointments for diabetes and weight management.   Read More

Research Interests: Global Health; Primary Care Research; Community Engaged Research

[Current Funded Research]

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Karen Schliep
Karen C. Schliep, PhD, MSPH

Through my training, I have developed a solid foundation in reproductive epidemiology. My research to date has centered on determining the impact of diet, lifestyle, and psychosocial factors on premenopausal women’s reproductive health, including sex steroid synthesis and gynecologic pathology. My prior research has led me to my current research focus investigating differences in chronic disease pathogenesis between men and women, specifically as...   Read More

Research Interests: Reproductive & Women's Health; Life Course Epidemiology & Health

[Current Funded Research]      [Recent Publications]

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Kim Shoaf
Kimberley Shoaf, DrPH, MPH

Over the course of my academic career, I have been a practice-based public health systems and services researcher utilizing mixed-methods. Much of my research has focused on the field of emergency public health and the development of the health workforce. Over the past 20 years, I have been the Principle Investigator or Co-Principal Investigator on numerous grants conducting both research and training activities relevant to public health emergencies and disasters both domestically and internationally. My research has focused on two main areas, identifying and quantifying the health impacts of a variety of hazards and connecting the...   Read More

Research Interests: Global Health; Health Professions Workforce; Health Professions Education & Mentoring; Health Disparities; Community Engaged Research; Emergency Preparedness & Disasters

[Current Funded Research]      [Recent Publications]

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Darrah Sleeth
Darrah K. Sleeth, PhD, MPH, CIH

My overall research goal is to improve exposure assessment for occupational and environmental stressors in order to keep workers and the community healthy. Improved exposure data should lead to a more accurate understanding of the relationship between exposures and health outcomes. My laboratory work has involved the design of a low speed wind tunnel for controlled exposure studies, which has subsequently been used for air sampler design and testing. With this facility, my work has focused on (1) performance studies of...   Read More

Research Interests: Occupational Health; Environmental Health

[Recent Publications]

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Joseph Stanford
Joseph B. Stanford, MD, MSPH

I seek to understand and improve the impact of reproductive health on child health and development. Since 1991, I have conducted research in natural family planning, natural procreative technology, reproductive epidemiology, and life course epidemiology, including serving as principal investigator or co-investigator for five preconception cohort studies. I am currently principal investigator for the Utah Children's Project, a cohort to investigate...   Read More

Research Interests: Reproductive & Women's Health; Environmental Health; Life Course Epidemiology & Health

Research Websites

[Recent Publications]

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Matt Thiese
Matthew S. Thiese, PhD, MSPH

My research focuses on the overlap between a person’s job and their health. This includes everything from musculoskeletal disorders like Low Back Pain or Carpal Tunnel Syndrome, to motor vehicle crashes, to cancer. I am interested in identification of potential risk factors, interventions to prevent injury or illness, evidence-based practice for both treatment and prevention, and assessments of worker health and safety fitness-for-duty. My background is in epidemiology and exercise physiology. I have co-authored...   Read More

Research Interests: Community Engaged Research; Cancer Epidemiology & Prevention; Occupational Health; Environmental Health; Emergency Preparedness & Disasters; Substance Abuse & Policy

[Recent Publications]

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Virginia Valentin
Virginia L. Valentin, DrPH, PA-C

My overall research goal is to improve patient health outcomes through understanding the role of physician assistants within the health care team. My research on Physician Assistant role has focused on the barriers to PA utilization through understanding the impact of state scope of practice on both graduates and employed PAs. My work with PA students focuses on community-engaged research to teach students the basics of research and how to integrate their clinical work with community health.   Read More

Research Interests: Health Professions Workforce; Health Professions Education & Mentoring; Qualilty Imporvement in Healthcare; Community Engaged Research

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Jim VanDerslice
James A. VanDerslice, PhD

James VanDerslice, MSEE, PhD, is an environmental epidemiologist who focuses on methods to assess community exposures and the relationships between these exposures and a wide variety of health outcomes. He is currently working on studies of the impacts of poor ambient air quality on...   Read More

Research Interests: Global Health; Community Engaged Research; Environmental Health; Life Course Epidemiology & Health

[Recent Publications]

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Eric Wood
Eric Wood, MD, MPH

Dr. Wood is actively involved as a researcher on two large-scale prospective cohort studies investigating causes of musculoskeletal disorders. He was appointed as the inaugural medical fellow for the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration and performs research on health concerns of truck drivers. His clinical interests include occupational injury and illness management and prevention, and occupational and environmental exposure assessment and evaluation. Dr. Wood teaches several courses in the graduate school Occupational Health Curriculum including Industrial and Environmental Toxicology and Physiology, and Occupational Safety and Health Solutions.   Read More

Research Interests: Global Health; Health Disparities; Occupational Health; Environmental Health

[Current Funded Research]

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Sarang Yoon López
Sarang Yoon, DO, MOH

Dr. Yoon is an Assistant Professor at the University of Utah Rocky Mountain Center for Occupational and Environmental Health. Her responsibilities include research, teaching, administration, and patient care. She is board-certified in Occupational Medicine. She has performed research on lateral epicondylitis of a large prospective cohort study and on the health and wellness of firefighters, specifically focusing on the topic of obesity. She has also participated...   Read More

Research Interests: Occupational Injury, illness management and preventionn

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