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Dr. Gordon’s professional mission is to improve the access and quality of care of patients who have vulnerabilities. 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. He is a physician, board-certified in internal medicine and addiction medicine. He 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. He has a 20+ year track record of conducting research on the quality, equity, and efficiency of health care for vulnerable populations. He is the Editor-in-Chief of the journal Substance Abuse and authored over 290 peer reviewed manuscripts (15.3% first authored, 27.2% senior authored, 40.8% authored with mentee) in high impact journals (H-index=53). He has received national recognition for his mentoring activities for post-doctoral trainees through senior faculty.

Jerry Cochran (PARCKA)

Jerry Cochran, PhD, MSW

Director of Research

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 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. He has extensive expertise in clinical- and system-level behavioral health services research. Dr. Cochran’s work has focused on development and testing of evidence-based practices for addressing opioid and other substance use in health care settings. Dr. Cochran’s work aims to improve substance use prevention and treatment services.

Elizabeth Howell

Elizabeth Howell, MD, MS

Director of Education

Elizabeth Howell, MD, MS, Professor of Psychiatry (Clinical) at the University of Utah School of Medicine in Salt Lake City, Utah, seeing patients at the Huntsman Mental Health Institute and University of Utah Hospital. She is the Training Director for the Addiction Psychiatry and Addiction Medicine fellowship programs at the University of Utah School of Medicine and Principal Investigator for a NIDA Clinical Trials Network project (CTN-0100) on Opioid Use Disorder. Dr. Howell is Board-certified in Psychiatry and Addiction Psychiatry by the American Board of Psychiatry and Neurology, and in Addiction Medicine by the American Board of Preventive Medicine. Her past leadership and service to national professional organizations is recognized with designations as Distinguished Life Fellow in the American Psychiatric Association [APA] (2017-present) and as Distinguished Fellow in the American Society of Addiction Medicine [ASAM] (2016-present). In addition to her education and research, she is an attending on the inpatient Addiction Consult Service at UUH.

Kristi Carlston

Kristi Carlston

Clinical Research Manager

Kristi has ten years of progressive research experience that includes design, implementation and management of clinical research projects in an academic setting. She received her bachelor's at the University of Utah in Health Promotion and is certified as a Clinical Research Coordinator through the Association of Clinical Research Professionals. She is responsible for coordination support to study investigators, staff and data management on several multi-site projects.


Jacob Baylis_2024

Jacob Baylis, MPH


Jacob earned his Master of Public Health from Indiana Wesleyan University and a Bachelor of Science in International Health from Bethel University. He joined the team with experience in harm reduction, health education, and data management and plans on continuing that work with PARCKA. Jacob has a passion to use data for improving patient’s quality of care, especially for vulnerable populations. After work hours, you can find him climbing, hiking, or camping in the mountains.

Priscilla Blosser_2024

Priscilla Blosser, RN, BSN

Sr. Clinical Research Coordinator

Priscilla Blosser is born to the Diné (Navajo) Nation. She is Honágháahnii, One-Walks-Around clan, born to the Korean race on her Father’s side. Kinłichíi’nii, the Red House People, on her maternal Grandfather’s clan. The bilagáana, white people, is her paternal Grandfather’s clan.

She graduated with her associates degree from Salt Lake Community College in 2010, then attended Westminster College and graduated in 2014 with a baccalaureate in Nursing. She spent the first 4 years of her nursing career on the inpatient Bone Marrow Transplant and Hematology unit at Huntsman Cancer Hospital, following this she spent some time as a Case Manager with the Neuro Critical Care unit with the University of Utah. Priscilla made the transition from clinical nursing to clinical research nursing in 2019 and started with Huntsman Cancer Institute’s Clinical Trials Office coordinating Phase I, II, and III Hematology clinical trials where she was able to use her nursing skills and apply this to the research.

Grace Broussard_2024

Grace Broussard, MPH, SSW

Clinical Research Coordinator

Grace received her Master’s in Public Health with an emphasis on Community Health from the University of Utah in 2024. She received her Bachelor of Social Work from the University of Utah in 2021.  

Prior to joining PARCKA, she worked in the expressive therapy department at Huntsman Mental Health Institute on the ROPES course with community and substance use treatment groups. She also worked at the Division of Child and Family Services and is passionate about advocating for children and families in our community through a social justice lens. Outside of work, Grace loves to spend her free time doing all things Utah - enjoying the mountains through climbing, skiing, and hiking!

Spencer Calder

Spencer Calder, MPH

Academic Program Manager

Spencer graduated with a master’s in public health from the University of Utah in 2019 after completing an undergraduate degree in public health from Brigham Young University. As a graduate student, he worked as a Connect2Health mentor and with the University of Utah’s Hotspotting program to improve vulnerable patients’ access to healthcare, affordable housing, and other basic needs. Prior to working as a research analyst, he worked as a lead medical scribe for Robin Healthcare where he worked with otolaryngologists and urologists at UCSF. He is passionate about the potential of nutrition and physical activity to promote health and prevent chronic diseases. In his free time, he loves running and exploring new plant-based recipes.

Elysha Cash

Elysha Cash

Clinical Research Coordinator

Elysha received her Bachelor of Science in Psychology in 2021. She is passionate about mental health and has worked in different levels of mental health treatment. Her previous research experience includes published research in therapy outcomes of LGBT+ students and the psychobiology of nonhuman primates, including as it relates to substance use. While she misses the monkeys, she loves working at PARCKA and collaborating with SUPeRAD.

Stephanie Castro

Stephanie Castro, MPH

Clinical Research Coordinator

Stephanie earned her Master of Public Health and a Bachelor of Science in Health Society in 2019 and Policy B.S, and a minor in Chemistry from the University of Utah in 2017. Before joining PARCKA Stephanie worked at the Child Adaptation Neurodevelopment lab on research focusing on Neonatal Opioid Withdrawal Syndrome (NOWS). Before that, she worked at the Community Health Centers as a Prenatal Registration and Pharmacy Assistance Coordinator. She is passionate about working with under-represented communities because of the individuals that provided assistance to her growing up as a second-generation Latina in the USA. In her free time, she enjoys traveling and spending time with family.

Jasmin Charles (PARCKA)

Jasmin Charles, MS, PA-C

Study Medical Clinician

Jasmin E Charles, certified Physician Associate, is the Clinical Director of SUPeRAD (Substance Use & Pregnancy, Recovery, Addiction, Dependence) clinic; a specialty prenatal clinic for individuals of childbearing age with any form of a substance use disorder. SUPeRAD clinic is located in the Department of Obstetrics & Gynecology in the Division of Maternal-Fetal Medicine at the University of Utah where Jasmin has the appointment of Adjunct Assistant Professor. She is also a Medical Clinician on several NIDA funded research trials for PARCKA (Program of Addiction Research, Clinical Care, Knowledge, Advocacy) in the Division of Epidemiology; Department of Internal Medicine at the University of Utah where she has a special interest in research with pregnant and postpartum people. Additionally, she is a visiting lecturer and lead coordinator for Women's Health rotations for the University of Utah Physician Assistant Program. Jasmin received her undergraduate degree from Utah State University and completed the PA program at the University of Utah. She is a member of the American College of Obstetrics and Gynecology, Association of Physician Associates in Obstetrics and Gynecology, and the American Academy of Addiction Medicine. Her areas of clinical interest and expertise include all aspects of women's healthcare with particular interest in substance use and pregnancy, marginalized population care, women's health care of incarcerated individuals, pregnancy, family planning and preventative health care. Prior to joining the OBGYN Department at the University of Utah, Jasmin practiced with the Community Health Centers as a family practitioner. In her free time she enjoys attending Bar Method fitness classes, hiking with her giant doodles Olive and Migo, attending fundraisers, spending time with her spouse and daughter and spreading joy.

Cole Fordham

Cole Fordham

Study Coordinator

Cole has previously worked for the State of Utah Health Department in their Covid Outreach program and he has a Bachelor’s degree from the University of Utah in Kinesiology. Cole is originally from Cedar City, Utah, he came to the Salt Lake City for school and decided to stay in the area. He lives with his dog, Luna. Cole enjoys anything involving general fitness and staying active. He spends his time swimming, hiking, and lifting.

Jacob Foringer

Jacob Foringer

Study Coordinator

Jacob Foringer is a Certified Peer Support Specialist committed to finding evidence-based practices that support individuals with Substance Use Disorder. His interests are working with antepartum and postpartum women. Jacob implemented the Peer Coaching Model into the SUPeRAD Clinic at the University of Utah Hospital in June of 2018. He regards this as his most impactful project to date. His professional goal is to be a Physician Assistant one day.

Lirit Franks

Lirit Franks, PhD

Research Development Associate

Lirit graduated with a PhD in cannabinoid pharmacology from the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences in 2016. She received her bachelor's degree from the University of California at Berkeley. Prior to joining the University of Utah, Lirit helped develop research studies in the cannabis industry. During her doctorate training, she focused on exploring the affinity and activity of cannabinoid compounds at the cannabinoid receptors and bone cells. Lirit is excited to learn about the world of clinical research and merge her knowledge with those around her. When she’s not working, she enjoys reading, being outdoors, and baking. If you happen to converse with her, she will definitely talk about her lovely children and the adventures they have together.

Mitchell Garets, MSW, CSW (PARCKA)

Mitchell Garets, MSW, CSW

Academic Program Manager

Mitchell holds both a bachelor and master degree in Social Work from the University of Utah. Additionally, he holds certifications in "Leadership, Justice, and Community Practice" and "Substance Use Disorder Treatment." Mitchell has worked in substance use disorder research and treatment since 2018 in different capacities, including case management, direct clinical intervention, program/project coordination, community advocacy, and DEI work. 

Mitchell is passionate about social and community justice and has experience working closely with diverse populations. Mitchell is a proud member of the LGBTQIA+ community and recognizes that substance use disorder (SUD) disproportionally impacts this community and is privileged to be a part of PARCKA in researching ways to treat SUD. 

In his spare time, Mitchell enjoys shopping, watching trash tv, and listening to the poppiest of pop music. He is a lover of astrology, all things pop culture, and time spent with his cats.

Brady Groneman

Brady Groneman

Clinical Research Coordinator

Brady joined the team as a Clinical Research Coordinator with extensive experience in varying inpatient and outpatient clinical and research roles, including as an Advanced Emergency Medical Technician, Psych Tech and Behavioral Health Specialist, Lead Medical Assistant, and Study Coordinator. He has always been passionate about mental health in particular and has strived to do all he can to improve the access to healthcare and medications for mental health patients in Utah. He has worked collaboratively with a number of leading physicians, especially within the University of Utah healthcare system, to maintain the efficacy of successful and effective treatment options for patients on their journey to healing.

Brady received his education at the University of Utah and has plans to continue furthering his education with a focus on Anthropology and Human Technology Interface Informatics. In his spare time, he enjoys reading, working on citizen science projects, being out in nature, and spending quality time with his family and two dogs.

Grace Humiston (PARCKA)

Grace Humiston

Sr. Clinical Research Coordinator

Grace earned a Bachelor of Science in Gender Studies from the University Utah and is currently enrolled in the University of Utah’s MBA program. Most recently, she joins PARCKA from Huntsman Cancer Institute where she coordinated Phase I-III investigational drug trials. Grace is passionate about harm reduction and social justice and has extensive experience working directly with vulnerable communities in Salt Lake County. She has been working with patients during pregnancy and labor as a licensed doula for the past 8 years.

Katie Kinsey, MSW, LCSW (PARCKA)

Katie Kinsey, MSW, LCSW

Social Service Worker

Katie completed a bachelor’s degree in Social Work at Utah State University. She then went on to earn a master’s degree in the Advanced Standing Social Work program at Utah State University. Katie has experience working with a variety of clients who experience substance use, mental health disorders, and trauma. As an intern in the Juvenile Probation mental health court, Katie used Cognitive Behavior Therapy and the Stages of Change Model to help adolescents and their families overcome their various challenges. She worked closely with probation officers, families, and school officials to provide clients with as many resources as needed to succeed. While employed at Utah State University’s Sexual Assault and Anti-Violence Information center, Katie provided therapy for clients experiencing all types of interpersonal violence. Katie is also trained in Trauma-Focused Cognitive Processing Therapy (TF-CPT), Mind Body Bridging (MBB), Dialectal Behavior Therapy (DBT), and Motivational Interviewing (MI). In her free time, Katie enjoys rock climbing, river rafting, reading, camping, and spending time with her husband and dog.

Nicole Mauerman

Nicole Mauerman, MA (Soc)

Senior Regulatory Coordinator

Nicole graduated with a Bachelors and Master’s Degree in Sociology from Utah State University. Upon graduation she worked as an Epidemiologist for both the Idaho and Utah Departments of Health. Since 2010 she has worked in clinical research with a focus on oncology and pediatrics. She is excited to be part of the PARCKA team.

Carter Reeves

Carter Reeves

Clinical Research Coordinator

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. In his free time, he loves spending time with his family, enjoying the outdoors, eating good food, and following the world of sports.

John Saunders worked in the retail pharmacy setting as a technician and intern for 11 years. He got his PharmD from the University of Utah in 2019. After graduating, he completed a 2-year clinical research fellowship focusing on anticoagulation with the U College of Pharmacy. During his fellowship he was the primary resource for extracting and organizing the data used in research projects. He is currently working toward a master’s degree in biomedical informatics here at the University of Utah.

Britnee Sengpraseut_2024

Britnee Sengpraseut

Clinical Research Coordinator

Britnee completed her B.S in Health Promotion and Education with a community emphasis in 2017 with the University of Utah. Prior to joining PARCKA, Britnee has over 8 years of experience in pharmacy that includes medical terminology and assisting in coordination of patients and provider communication. Britnee has always been interested in behavioral health and helping her community on what they need most. Britnee is looking forward to learning and adapting her skills with PARCKA.

Andrea Stofko

Andrea Stofko

Research Analyst

Andrea received her bachelor’s in cell and developmental biology from the University of California, Santa Barbara in 2017. Before moving to Utah, she worked as a laboratory researcher at the University of California, San Diego for several years. She now supports ongoing research within PARCKA as a research analyst and hopes to one day pursue a graduate degree in population health sciences. In her free time, she is passionate about trail running, skiing, and volunteering with a local outdoor nonprofit.

Laura Stolebarger

Laura Stolebarger, RN, CM

Nurse Care Manager

Laura graduated with a Bachelor of Science in Nursing from University of Phoenix in 2019 after completing her Associate of Science in Nursing from College of Marin in 2018. Laura is joining the PARCKA team with over 2 years of inpatient nursing experience in both adult and neonatal medicine. She is passionate about education, social justice, and equal access to care. She is excited to be bringing these passions with her into her role as a Nurse Care Manager.

Kathryn Szczotka

Kathryn Szczotka, MPH

Sr. Clinical Research Coordinator

Kathryn received her Bachelors of Arts in History and Women’s Studies from Colorado State University and then earned her Masters in Public Health from the University of Utah in 2015. She has worked in clinical research since 2013, predominately focusing in women’s health, and joined PARCKA from the Obstetrics and Gynecology Research Network at the University of Utah. Kathryn is passionate about merging the principles of public health and clinical research to make meaningful and sustainable change in people’s lives. In her free time, she enjoys skiing and spending time with her family.

Melissa Tyszko

Melissa Tyszko

Research Assistant

Melissa completed a Bachelor's degree in Sociology from the University of Utah in 2023, with a certificate in Social Justice Advocacy. She supports PARCKA with qualitative research analysis and assistance. Prior to joining PARCKA, Melissa worked with local organizations on community-based research projects, collaborating with Salt Lake's underserved youth and marginalized populations. She is excited to be part of the PARCKA team and hopes to expand her research skills and knowledge.

Ashley earned a Bachelor of Science in Psychology from Colorado State University in 2009, and a Master of Arts in Transpersonal Counseling Psychology from Naropa University in 2015. Prior to joining the PARCKA team Ashley worked as a mental health therapist for an intensive outpatient substance use and dual diagnosis treatment program serving adults in the criminal justice system.  Ashley has two years of experience as a research assistant in both a cognitive psychology lab and a neuropsychology lab, and she is excited to blend her clinical skills with her interest in research through her position with PARCKA. Ashley hopes to continue serving under-represented communities through a social justice perspective, incorporating the healing powers of mindfulness, creativity, and contact with the natural world.