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The use of cannabis as a medical treatment for various health conditions has spread rapidly across the US, with legal prescribing and dispensing of medical cannabis (MC) now available in most states. Nevertheless, state policies vary regarding the management of MC programs. The (Medical Cannabis Evaluation Program) aims to gather information that will enable state leaders to recommend needed program changes in order to support the needs of program participants.


This project will focus on

  • Understanding patients’ experiences within a state MC program—both in terms of treatment access and health-related impact
  • Conducting a program evaluation of the Utah MC program
  • Building a patient-centered, stakeholder-engaged, sustainable platform for long-term health-related inquiry and knowledge dissemination

Our Goals

Establish an Evaluation Advisory Board that includes community members and health care providers who will work with our research/evaluation expert team. 

Answer immediate critical questions of program effectiveness and patient benefit using a mixed methods prospective evaluation framework. Topics of interest include methods of medical/non-medical cannabis acquisition, patient use characteristics, provider characteristics, monthly product costs, barriers to MC access, effects of medical treatment over time, reasons for discontinuation, patient experiences in the program, and recommendations for program improvement.

Identify barriers and facilitators of long-term prospective cohort utilization following the initial evaluation period—which will lay the groundwork for continued evaluation and research of the Utah MC program into the future. 

    Evaluation Services

    Safe and Effective Methodologies:

    • Prospective Surveys
    • Clinical Trials
    • Qualitative Interviews
    • Data Collection & Analysis
    Filler photo, needs to be more evaluation services specific

    Leadership Team

    Jerry Cochran, PhD, MSW

    Principal Evaluator

    Gerald (Jerry) Cochran is an Associate Professor in the Department of Internal Medicine, Division of Epidemiology at the University of Utah and serves as the Director of Research for the Program on Addiction Research, Clinical Care, Knowledge, and Advocacy (PARCKA) within the Division of Epidemiology. He also has an adjunct Associate Professor appointment with the University of Utah Department of Psychiatry and is core faculty with the Informatics, Decision-Enhancement, and Analytic Sciences (IDEAS) Center of Innovation within the VA Salt Lake City Health Care System. Dr. Cochran’s area of expertise involves identifying and studying appropriate care for underserved populations in health care settings, with particular emphasis on individuals who use drugs and alcohol.

    Clint Hardy, PhD, LCSW

    Co- Principal Evaluator

    Clint Hardy, PhD, LCSW, is a Research Associate in the Program for Addiction Research, Clinical Care, Knowledge, and Advocacy and the Greater Intermountain Node within the Division of Epidemiology at the University of Utah School of Medicine. Dr. Hardy’s research interests center around behavioral health services in community, inpatient, and residential care settings. Dr. Hardy’s previous and current projects focus on reducing adverse client experiences among adolescents involuntarily admitted into residential treatment for substance use or mental health problems, improving access to perinatal care to prevent substance abuse among Native Americans/American Indians and others living in rural areas, and community pharmacy interventions to reduce opioid misuse.  

    A. Taylor Kelley, MD, MPH, MSc

    Co- Principal Evaluator

    A. Taylor Kelley, MD, MPH, MSc, is an assistant professor in the Division of General Internal Medicine and a primary care physician in the Vulnerable Veteran Innovative Patient-Aligned Care Team Initiative (VIP) clinic at the Salt Lake City VA. Dr. Kelley received his medical degree from the University of Texas McGovern Medical School at Houston and holds a master of public health degree from Harvard and master of science degree in health care research from the University of Michigan. As a general internist and pediatrician, his research interests include access to care for vulnerable populations, with focus on immigrants, veterans, and individuals covered by Medicaid. 

    Adam Gordon, MD, MPH


    Dr. Gordon’s professional mission is to improve the access and quality of care of patients who have vulnerabilities. He is a physician, board-certified in internal medicine and addiction medicine. He is the Elbert F. and Marie Christensen Endowed Research Professor, tenured Professor of Medicine and Psychiatry, at the University of Utah School of Medicine and the Section Chief of Addiction Medicine at the VA Salt Lake City Health Care System. Dr. Gordon founded and is the Director of the Program for Addiction Research, Clinical Care, Knowledge, and Advocacy (PARCKA); he is a PI of the Greater Intermountain Node (GIN), a node of the NIH NIDA Clinical Trials Network; and he founded and is the Emeritus Director the Vulnerable Veteran Innovative Patient-Aligned-Care-Team (VIP) Initiative.   

    Mike Incze, MD, MSED


    Dr. Michael Incze is a primary care physician in the Division of General Internal Medicine who is board certified in internal medicine and addiction medicine. Dr. Incze attended medical school at University of California, Davis and residency at the University of California, San Francisco. His clinical interests include patient education, high value care, and caring for vulnerable populations including people experiencing homelessness and people with substance use disorders. Outside of clinical practice, Dr. Incze is involved in several research, quality improvement, and educational initiatives aimed at improving care for patients with chronic pain and substance use disorders.   

    Evaluation Staff

    Carter Reeves

    Evaluation Assistant

    Carter completed his Bachelor's of Science in Psychology from Brigham Young University. Before joining PARCKA, he worked at Maple Mountain Recovery – a mental health and addiction rehabilitation center where he gained valuable hands-on experience working with people with SUD, AUS, and OUD. He saw countless people overcome addiction and mental health challenges through persistence, compassion, and dedication. He is passionate about learning more in the field to help others improve their mental health and overcome addictions. He will further his education by attending graduate school soon with an emphasis in Psychology and Substance Abuse.   

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