Academic Affairs & Faculty Development

VPCAT Research Scholars Program


2017-2018 Scholar Cohort

Brian T. Bucher, MD

Dr. Brian T. Bucher is a board certified Pediatric Surgeon in the Division of Pediatric General Surgery with specialized training for surgical treatment for infants, children, and teenagers.  He is also an Assistant Professor of Surgery at the University Of Utah School Of Medicine.    He sees patients at Primary Children’s... Read More

Specialties: Pediatric Surgery, Pediatric Trauma Surgery

Fellowship: Department of Pediatric Surgery/Monroe Carell Jr. Children's Hospital at Vanderbilt University

Residency: Barnes-Jewish Hospital/Washington University

Residency: Barnes-Jewish Hospital/Washington University

Medical School: University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine


Daniel Carlson, PhD

Assistant Professor
College of Social and Behavioral Science
Department of Family and Consumer Studies

Dr. Carlson is a medical sociologist and family demographer. He is interested in examining variations across gender, socioeconomic status, and race/ethnicity in individuals’ life course transitions, trajectories, and contexts and the consequences of this variation for health disparities and social inequalities.

Melissa Cortez, DO

Melissa Cortez, DO, is a neurologist who has specialized expertise in neurological diseases affecting the autonomic nervous system (autonomic neurology), as well as multiple sclerosis (MS). She is board certified in neurology and clinical neurophysiology (EMG, nerve conduction studies, evoked potentials, and autonomic testing). Dr. Cortez is t... Read More

Research Interests: Autonomic Dysfunction, Autonomic Nervous System Diseases, Clinical Neurophysiology (EMG), Multiple Sclerosis

Specialties: Autoimmune Neurology, Autonomic Neurology, EMG, Multiple Sclerosis, Neurology, Neuropathy, Ultrasound

Fellowship: Mayo School of Graduate Medical Education, Mayo Clinic

Fellowship: Mayo School of Graduate Medical Education, Mayo Clinic

Residency: University of Utah School of Medicine


Anna R. Docherty, PhD

Dr. Docherty is licensed to practice as a Clinical Psychologist in the State of Utah. Evidence-Based Intervention and Assessment: Clinical Psychologist, Huntsman Mental Health Institute's Downtown Behavioral Health. 1000+ hours, 10/01/2016-Present. Minneapolis VA Medical Center. 4000+ hours, 07/30/2013. Columbia Psychological Services Clini... Read More

Research Interests: Anxiety Disorders, Autism Spectrum Disorders, Biological Psychiatry, Depression, Genetic Risk for Psychopathology, Genomic Analysis, Psychiatric Genetics, Psychopathology, Schizophrenia and Disorders with Psychotic Features

Specialties: Anxiety, Bipolar Disorder, Clinical Psychology, Depression, LGBTQ, Mood Disorders, Psychiatric Genetics, Psychiatry, Psychology, Clinical, Psychology, Family, Psychosis, Psychosis Prodrome, Schizophrenia, Survivorship/ Late Effects, Transgender Health

Fellowship: University of Minnesota, NIMH


Aaron W. Eckhauser, MD, MSCI

I joined the University of Utah, Division of Pediatric Cardiothoracic Surgery in 2012. I am board certified by the American Board of Surgery and the American Board of Thoracic Surgery. My clinical interests are focused on caring for all patients, from neonates to adults, with congenital heart defects. I have a special interest in pediatric heart... Read More

Research Interests: Health Services Research, Quality Improvement, Translational Research

Specialties: Cardiac Mechanical Support, Cardiothoracic Surgery, Heart Transplant, Pediatric Cardiothoracic Surgery

Fellowship: Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia

Residency: University of Pennsylvania

Residency: Vanderbilt University Medical Center

Residency: Vanderbilt University Medical Center

Medical School: University of Kentucky


Heather A. Hayes, PT, DPT, PhD

Heather Hayes, DPT, NCS, PhD is a Doctor of Physical Therapy (DPT) with advanced certification as a neurologic clinic specialist (NCS). She specializes in the treatment and research of individuals with any neurological disorders, including but not limited to; Stroke, Multiple Sclerosis, Parkinsonsim, ALS, balance and vestibular disorders. ... Read More

Research Interests: Learning and Memory, Motor Neuron Disease, Multiple Sclerosis, Parkinsonian Disorders, Stroke Rehabilitation

Specialties: ALS, Balance/Vestibular, Geriatrics, Movement Disorders, Multiple Sclerosis, Neurology, Physical Therapy, Stroke


Stacey Knight, PhD, MStat

Intermountain Health Care

Dr. Knight currently works at Intermountain Heart Institute as a Cardiovascular and Genetic Epidemiologist. Today, she oversees the Intermountain Genealogy Registry for use in family-based genetic research. She also leads efforts, using families, to find genes that protect against cardiovascular diseases.

Michelle L. Litchman, PhD, APRN, FNP-BC

Michelle Litchman, PhD, FNP-BC, FAANP is an Assistant Professor at the College of Nursing and School of Medicine. Her position includes research, teaching, and clinical work at the Utah Diabetes and Endocrinology Center. She is passionate about teaching and precepts health sciences students and teaches didactic courses at the College of N... Read More

Specialties: Endocrinology & Metabolism


Marta McCrum, MD, MPH

Specialties: Acute Care Surgery, Critical Care, Trauma Surgery

Fellowship: University of Washington School of Medicine

Residency: Brigham and Women’s Hospital

Residency: University of Alberta

Medical School: McGill University


Brock O'Neil, MD

Brock O’Neil, MD is an assistant professor in the Division of Urology at the University of Utah School of Medicine and the Huntsman Cancer Institute. His clinical practice focuses on the surgical treatment of genitourinary malignancies including prostate, bladder, kidney, adrenal, testicular, penile and urethral cancers. He is an experienced ... Read More

Specialties: Adrenal Cancer, Bladder Cancer, Blue Light Cystoscopy With Cysview, Cystectomy, Genetic Counselor, Kidney Cancer, Laparoscopy, Penile Cancer, Prostate Cancer, Robotic Cystectomy and Diversion, Robotic Kidney Surgery, Robotic Prostatectomy, Testicular Cancer, Urinary Diversion, Urologic Oncology, Urology

Fellowship: Vanderbilt University

Residency: University of Utah

Medical School: University of Rochester School of Medicine & Dentistry


Leah Owen, MD, PhD

Title:  Assistant Professor, Ophthalmology and Visual Sciences (Pediatric Ophthalmology)

Leah Owen, MD, PhD, specializes in the medical and surgical treatment of pediatric eye disease at the John A. Moran Eye Center, University of Utah, Salt Lake City. Dr. Owen has a special research interest in advancing our understanding and treatment of pediatric eye conditions including retinopathy of prematurity, strabismus, amblyopia and heritable retinal disease.


Ithan Peltan, MD, MSc

Intermountain Health Care
Internal Medicine

Dr. Peltan is an attending physician and researcher based in the Shock-Trauma Intensive Care Unit at Intermountain Medical Center.  Since joining the pulmonary/critical care faculty of the University of Utah and Intermountain Medical Center, Dr. Peltan’s research has focused on the early diagnosis and management of critical illness. In particular, Dr. Peltan is interested in factors that interfere with high-quality care during medical emergencies and novel, dynamic methods to aid clinical decision making and treatment optimization at the point of care for cardiac arrest and new-onset sepsis.

Jacob O. Robson, MD, MS

Dr. Robson received his medical degree from the University of California San Francisco, graduating Alpha Omega Alpha (AOA) with an area of concentration in medical education. He completed his pediatric residency and a chief residency at the Boston Combined Residency Program (Boston Children’s Hospital, Brigham and Women’s Hospital ... Read More

Research Interests: Competency in Medical Education, Cystic Fibrosis, Eosinophilic Esophagitis, Infant Nutrition

Specialties: Pediatric Gastroenterology

Fellowship: University of California, San Francisco

Residency: Boston Medical Center/Boston Children's Hospital

Medical School: University of California, San Francisco School of Medicine


Anthony J. Schaeffer, MD, MPH

As a pediatric urologists, Dr. Schaeffer specializes in diagnosing, managing, and repairing congenital birth defects and acquired conditions involving the male and female urinary and reproductive systems in children from pregnancy to 18 years. He performs surgery on the adrenal glands, kidneys, ureters, bladder, urethra, penis, testicles, and the ... Read More

Research Interests: Bladder Augmentation, Bladder Calculi, Bladder Exstrophy, Bladder, Neurogenic, Cost Allocation, Cost-Effectiveness, Delivery of Health Care, Development of the Constructs of the Perceived Quality of Life (PQOL) Measurement Instrument, Health Care Quality, Access, and Evaluation, Hypospadias, Incontinence

Specialties: Pediatric Urology

Fellowship: Boston Children’s Hospital

Residency: Johns Hopkins Medical Institutions, Brady Urological Institute

Medical School: University of Chicago Pritzker School of Medicine


Phone: 801-662-5555

Karen C. Schliep, PhD, MSPH

Karen Schliep, PhD, MSPH is an assistant professor in the Division of Public Health. She completed her bachelor's degrees in English from Carleton College (Northfield, MN) and Biology from the University of Utah and her MSPH and PhD in Public Health from the University of Utah. Dr. Schliep completed her pre-doctoral and post-doctoral fellowship... Read More

Research Interests: Biopsychosocial Mechanisms of Women's Health and Illness Using Time-Varying Covariates Across the Lifespan, Life Course Epidemiology, Reproductive & Perinatal Epidemiology


Lab: Lab Website

Aaron M. Secrest, MD, PhD, MBA

Aaron Secrest, MD, PhD, MBA, brings clinical expertise in general adult and pediatric dermatology to Davis and Weber Counties with his main office at Farmington Health Center. He also has a half-day clinic at the University Hospital outpatient clinic each week. He treats a broad range of common skin disorders, such as acne (teenage and adult f... Read More

Research Interests: Dermatitis, Drug Costs, Epidemiology, Health Care Costs, Melanoma, Nonmelanoma Skin Cancers, Patient Reported Outcomes, Population Health Management and Quality Improvement

Specialties: Dermatology, General Dermatology, Pediatric Dermatology

Residency: University of Utah School of Medicine

Medical School: University of Pittsburgh


Phone: 801-581-2955

Megan E. Vanneman, PhD, MPH

Megan Vanneman, PhD, MPH is an Assistant Professor in the University of Utah School of Medicine’s Department of Internal Medicine, Division of Epidemiology and Adjunct Assistant Professor in the Department of Population Health Sciences, Division of Health System Innovation and Research. She is also a Core Investigator and Career Dev... Read More

Research Interests: Health Insurance, Health Policy, Healthcare Value, Access, Coverage, and Disparities, Mental Health, Prevention, Substance Use


Omar Wever-Pinzon, MD

Dr. Wever-Pinzon is an Assistant Professor of Medicine and the Medical Director for the Hypertrophic Cardiomyopathy Association Center of Excellence Program at the University of Utah. He received his medical degree from the University of Panama. Dr. Wever-Pinzon completed his Internal Medicine Residency, followed by a fellowship in Advanced Ca... Read More

Specialties: Cardiac Imaging, Cardiac Sarcoidosis, Cardiology, Cardioversion, Echocardiography, Heart Failure, Heart Transplant, Hypertrophic Cardiomyopathy, Mechanical Circulatory Support, Nuclear Cardiology

Fellowship: New York Presbyterian Hospital-Columbia University Medical Center

Fellowship: University of Utah

Fellowship: St. Luke’s-Roosevelt Hospital Center, Columbia University College of Physicians & Surgeons

Residency: St. Luke’s-Roosevelt Hospital Center, Columbia University College of Physicians & Surgeons

Medical School: Universidad de Panamá