VPCAT Program Personnel
Title: Director of the VPCAT Program
I began participating in the VPCAT Research Scholars Program in 2014. From 2014-2017, I provided senior mentorship to seven exceptional junior faculty. In late 2016, I succeed Dr. Carrie Byington as the Director. I am pleased to be able to lead this unique program, a program that serves as one of the University’s flagship, junior faculty mentoring programs.
By way of introduction, I am a Tenured Professor of Medicine with a nationally recognized research program around antibiotic resistance and infection prevention, with several key leadership roles in research and administration at both the University of Utah and the VA Salt Lake City Health Care System. In 1997, I graduated from the University of Illinois at Chicago as part of the combined MD/PhD program, with a doctorate in microbiology and immunology. I completed both my residency in internal medicine and a fellowship in infectious diseases at the University of Utah. In 2003, I joined the faculty in the Division of Epidemiology and the VA staff in 2009.
I am recognized as an innovator and leader in faculty development, both at the University and the VA. Within the VA, I serve as the Section Chief of Epidemiology and the Associate Director for the Salt Lake VA Informatics, Decision Enhancement, and Surveillance (IDEAS) Center. As part of this position, I lead the IDEAS Mentoring and Career Development Program, which oversees the mentoring of early-career VA investigators and supports the submission of VA career development awards. I relish and excel in the mentoring of others to ensure their success, which has led to several additional leadership roles across the University. I serve as the Vice Chair for Faculty Development for the Department of Internal Medicine, charged with facilitating the success of approximately 400 faculty in areas including faculty advancement, mentoring, leadership development, and career satisfaction.
Further, I am an experienced investigator with a history of extramural funding and expertise in health services research and implementation science encompassing the domains of medical informatics, decision-support systems, and computer simulation modeling, particularly as these relate to topics in infectious diseases, antibiotic resistance, and infection control surveillance. My research focus is on preventable healthcare-associated infections (HAI) and infections with multidrug-resistant organisms (MDRO), including Clostridioides difficile and methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus. I am a national leader in antimicrobial stewardship, simulation modeling, and population health tool development for electronic health records. Relevant recent and ongoing projects include longitudinal epidemiologic analyses of MDRO infection rates, hospital-based interventions to reduce device-associated infections and antimicrobial prescribing, and the development of state-of-the-art computer simulation models to test novel HAI intervention strategies and to analyze their clinical and economic impacts. With my expertise and the strong collaboration and unified vision of the University of Utah and my VA operational partners, I have been instrumental in advancing national priorities for infection prevention and surveillance using advanced informatics methods and tools.
Title: VPCAT Research Manager
I have the honor to serve as the VPCAT Research Manager and, as evidenced below, am well suited to this position.
Over the past 21 years, I have worked within the University of Utah. It was in 2002, upon joining the Department of Pediatrics, that I unknowingly began upon a path towards a career in research administration. I started within the Division of General Pediatrics where I played an integral role in improving the Division’s grants and accounting processes. I quickly advanced due to my growing expertise with complex federal and private agency grant submissions. In 2008, I joined, and thrived, within the Pediatric Research Pre-Award Office; an office with a strong, team-oriented institutional reputation that valued mentorship highly. With guidance from both my mentors, Dr. Carrie Byington and Ms. Rebecca Childs, I received multiple opportunities for development. Their mentorship was essential for my career success, as well as necessary for me to gain the experience to accept the Pre-Award Office’s managerial role in 2014. The Pediatrics’ Pre-Award Office benefited from my near 7 years of progressive experience in research leadership and mentorship. I led and guided a team of grants/contract officers in a well-balanced and extremely productive environment. In 2015, I took a leap and accepted the opportunity to gain further experience at an institutional level by joining the Utah Clinical and Translational Science Institute (CTSI). As the Utah CTSI Funding and Program Development Manager, I took a major role in the re-engineering of the Utah CTSI organizational structure. I directed all aspects of the training and development programs and led the submission of large, complex center grants that further enhanced the University’s reputation. Examples include the Utah Trial Innovation Center (U24TR001597) and the Utah ECHO Program: Early Life Exposures and Child Trajectories (UG3OD023249).
In mid-2017, I accepted my position as the VPCAT Research Manager. In this capacity, I guide the VPCAT program, including the Pre-Award and Grant Submission Mentorship component, by leveraging my unique grant expertise, tacit knowledge, and just a pinch of common sense in order to achieve my objective of educating, guiding, and mentoring the next generation of independent clinical and translational researchers!
Title: Director of the SVPHS Education Unit
I am the Director of the Senior Vice President for Health Sciences (SVPHS) Education Unit. I have had the pleasure of working for the University for over 11 years. During this time, I was an honored recipient of the University Staff Excellence Award. My career began in the Department of Pediatrics Research Enterprise. In this environment, I developed a passion for supporting faculty career development in both research and education missions. Since then, I have implemented and managed many training and development programs, including the VPCAT Research Scholars Program, Leadership Development Seminars, and a variety of initiatives within the Academy for Health Science Educators (AHSE). As the Director of the SVPHS Education Unit, I work closely with the AVP for Health Sciences Education and the Health Sciences Education Executive Committee to elevate, create and support educational efforts across the six health sciences academic units.