PARCKA Team

Adam Gordon, MD, MPH, FACP, DFASAM, CMRO

Title:  Director, PARCKA - Chief, Addiction Medicine, SLC VA Healthcare System - Elbert F. and Marie Christensen Endowed Research Professor

Dr. Gordon arrived at the University of Utah in spring 2017. He’s been researching and practicing medicine in the field of addiction science for over 20 years. He is board certified in internal medicine (American Board of Internal Medicine) and addiction medicine (American Board of Addiction Medicine). He has received distinction in both fields as a Fellow in the American College of Physicians (FACP) and a Distinguished Fellow in the American Society of Addiction Medicine (DFASAM). He maintains an active internal medicine – addiction medicine practice and has been honored nationally for his community service, mentoring, research, and clinical activities.

Major themes of his research include examining the efficacy, effectiveness, and implementation of evidence-based identification, assessment, and treatments for patients with addiction disorders; the access and quality of healthcare provided to homeless and other medically underserved patients; and understanding the intersection of pain syndromes, opioid misuse, and engagement into opioid use disorder treatment. He has authored over 200 peer reviewed articles and, additionally published or presented hundreds of scholarly products in academic and non-academic journals and other environments. He is the Editor in Chief of the peer reviewed journal, Substance Abuse. He has received national recognition and been honored as a clinical investigator, educator, and mentor.

Gerald Cochran, PhD, MSW

Title:  Research Director, PARCKA

Dr. Cochran earned his PhD from the University of Texas at Austin School of Social Work and completed postdoctoral training with the Johns Hopkins School of Medicine, Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences. Before joining the University of Utah PARCKA team, Dr. Cochran was an Associate Professor of Social Work and Psychiatry at the University of Pittsburgh. At the University of Pittsburgh, he also served as the Associate Dean for Research in the School of Social Work.

Dr. Cochran’s research interests are centered on behavioral health services research. His area of expertise involves identifying and studying appropriate care for underserved populations in healthcare settings, with particular emphasis on individuals who misuse drugs and alcohol. Dr. Cochran’s work aims to improve substance abuse prevention and treatment services provided in health care settings.

Elizabeth Howell, MD, MS, DLFAPA, DFASAM

Title:  Education Director, PARCKA - Program Director, Addiction Psychiatry Fellowship - Program Director, Addiction Medicine Fellowship

Dr. Elizabeth Howell is Associate Professor of Psychiatry (Clinical) at the University of Utah School of Medicine in Salt Lake City, Utah, with an inpatient and outpatient practice at the University of Utah Neuropsychiatric Institute. She is the Training Director for the ACGME-accredited Addiction Psychiatry and Addiction Medicine fellowship programs at the University of Utah School of Medicine. Dr. Howell is Board-certified in Psychiatry and Addiction Psychiatry by the American Board of Psychiatry and Neurology, is Board-certified in Addiction Medicine by the American Board of Preventive Medicine and holds lifetime certification in addiction medicine from the American Board of Addiction Medicine.

Dr. Howell served as the President of the American Society of Addiction Medicine (ASAM) from 2005-2007 and was a long-serving member of the ASAM Board of Directors. She received the ASAM Annual Award in 2012. She served on the inaugural board of the American Board of Addiction Medicine for 3 years. She is a Distinguished Fellow of the American Society of Addiction Medicine (ASAM) and a Distinguished Life Fellow of the American Psychiatric Association (APA). Dr. Howell served two four-year terms on the Utah Physicians Licensing Board from 2007 to 2015 and was Chairperson of the Licensing Board from 2010-2014. She was President of the Utah Medical Association from 2017-2018.

Connie Kitchens, PhD

Title:  Community Advocacy/Outreach Director, PARCKA

Connie Kitchens, PhD, is currently the Director of Community Advocacy/Outreach with the Program of Addiction Research, Clinical Care, Knowledge and Advocacy (PARCKA) at the University of Utah, housed in the Division of Epidemiology. She has an adjunct Assistant Professor appointment within the University of Utah School of Medicine, Department of Family and Preventive Medicine, Division of Public Health. She was a full-time Assistant Professor for three-and-a-half years.

She has a broad range of experience in starting and implementing new projects and programs. Her experience was gained in the substance abuse field by implementing a grant that started the formal office of Alcohol and Drug Prevention at Utah Valley State College. Later, at the Utah Division of Substance Abuse and Mental Health, she managed a statewide college health survey for five years surveying between 5,000-10,000 Utah college students and managed a statewide $2.25 million grant for substance abuse prevention efforts on Utah college campuses. That experience peaked her interest into pursuing health related issues among Utah college students for her dissertation, which focused on medically unsupervised use of prescription drugs in the Utah population. This prior experience has been key in helping to move forward the new PARCKA program. She says that her prior connections and networks have been invaluable in building the program throughout the state of Utah.
Nodira Codell, MPA

Nodira Codell, MPA

Title:  Program Director, VIP

Nodira earned her Masters of Public Administration from the University of Utah with a focus on Health Care Administration. She has eighteen years of project management experience in institutional, hospital, and nonprofit organizations. She has ten years of professional-level contract experience. Nodira facilitates the preparation and submission of applications for research grants and contracts, budgets, planning and development activities. Nodira oversees multiple studies at the Department of Veterans Affairs. She reviews study protocols, IRB, HIPPA waivers, Patient Informed Consents and Investigator Conflict of Interest documents. She develops and implements compliance programs to ensure the organization operates in accordance with State and Federal laws. She conducts internal monitoring and auditing assessing policies and procedures providing amendments as necessary. Nodira is responsible for planning, organizing, and directing designated strategic activities as well as providing project management oversight of designated initiatives in support of the mission, vision, and goals of the VIP (Vulnerable Initiative Population) Program. In addition, Nodira has extensive experience and knowledge working with Industry, Pharmaceutical and International companies by leading complex multi-site clinical trials at the VA.

Email:  nodira.codell@hsc.utah.edu

Gina Gregovich

Gina Gregovich

Title:  Research Manager, GIN

Gina has twenty years of experience as a Clinical Research Professional, working on phase I -IV clinical trials. She has experience in investigator-initiated trials, national cooperative trials, and industry-sponsored, multi-center clinical trials. She has held leadership positions at local and national levels including serving a three-year term on the Society of Clinical Research Associates (SoCRA) Board of Directors.

Email:  gina.gregovich@hsc.utah.edu

Nancy West, PhD

Nancy West, PhD

Title:  Biostatistician

Dr. Nancy West completed a doctorate in Epidemiology from the University of Michigan and a master of science degree in Statistics from Utah State University. Before joining the PARCKA team, Dr. West was an Associate Professor of Preventive Medicine at the University of Mississippi Medical Center. For the past 25 years she has provided analytic and epidemiologic research support for several large observational studies with data collection sites across the country. Her research interests include the epidemiology of substance use, particularly among older adults.

Email:  nancy.west@utah.edu

Kristi Carlston

Kristi Carlston

Title:  Senior Clinical Research Coordinator

Kristi has seven 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.

Email:  kristi.carlston@hsc.utah.edu

Phone:  (801) 213-0799

Elizabeth (Betsy) Charron, PhD, MPH

Elizabeth (Betsy) Charron, PhD, MPH

Title:  Postdoctoral Fellow

Betsy Charron, PhD, MPH, is a postdoctoral fellow in the Program of Addiction Research, Clinical Care, Knowledge and Advocacy (PARCKA) within the Division of Epidemiology at the University of Utah. Betsy is a health services researcher focused on identifying and evaluating approaches to improve reproductive, maternal, and perinatal health care delivery for women and children impacted by substance use. Her dissertation research used quantitative and qualitative methods to evaluate trends and patterns in contraceptive provision for reproductive-age women with substance use disorders. Prior to joining PARCKA, she coordinated an implementation evaluation of a comprehensive, family-centered intervention to improve treatment outcomes for opioid-dependent mothers and their infants. Betsy started her career as a photographer and has worked in public health and community development since 2008 via nonprofits and academic institutions. She holds a PhD from Clemson University and a MPH from Tulane University.

Email:  betsy.charron@utah.edu

Jade Hill, MPH

Jade Hill, MPH

Title:  Clinical Research Coordinator

Jade completed her Master of Public Health (MPH) from the University of New England in December 2019. She graduated in 2017 from Weber State University with a Bachelor of Science in Health Promotion. Before PARCKA, Jade gained diverse healthcare experience by working in clinical and administrative roles. Jade’s role as a Research Analyst allows her to provide research support to investigators, working on various multi-site studies aimed at substance abuse prevention and treatment. She has a strong passion for achieving health equity and working with minority populations and women.

Email:  jade.hill@hsc.utah.edu

Phone:  (801) 213-0797

Ashley White, CMHC

Ashley White, CMHC

Title:  Social Service Worker

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.

Email:  ashley.white@hsc.utah.edu

Phone:  (801) 213-0786

Martha G. Zarate

Martha G. Zarate

Title:  Clinical Research Coordinator

Martha has been involved in Public Health and in Clinical Research for over 25+ years. Her career began in Houston, Texas working for Baylor College of Medicine, VA Hospital, Texas Children’s Hospital and MD Anderson Cancer Center. She is currently working on obtaining a B.A. in Phycology (Senior status) with a Minor in Mexican-American Studies from the University of Houston. Martha has a true passion for the field of research and take the approach that with research studies we obtain knowledge for the greater good in science and cutting edge medicine.

Email:  martha.zarate@hsc.utah.edu

Ashley Hagemann

Ashley Hagemann

Title:  Clinical Research Coordinator

Ashley completed her Bachelor of Arts in Psychology from Western Washington University in 2011 where she focused on behavioral neuroscience research. Ashley brings over 10 years of clinical research experience to the PARCKA team. Prior to moving to Utah, Ashley was responsible for the oversight and management of phase I-IV clinical oncology trials across North America. She also has extensive professional experience working in drug development including the management of preclinical research at Shin Nippon Biomedical Laboratories. Ashley is dedicated to ending the stigma surrounding mental health issues and to furthering our advancement of treatment options for addiction recovery.  

Email:  Ashley.Hagemann@hsc.utah.edu

Ary Bryan, MSW, CSW

Ary Bryan, MSW, CSW

Title:  Research Analyst

Ary earned a Bachelor of Science in Neuroscience and a Masters in Social Work from the University of Michigan, where she was an Integrated Health Scholar. Ary has been involved in addiction research and treatment delivery since 2011, and plans to continue this work as a part of the PARCKA team.

Email:  aryana.bryan@utah.edu

Phone:  (801) 213-0795

Matthew Dungan, MPH

Matthew Dungan, MPH

Title:  Research Analyst

Matthew earned his Master of Public Health (MPH) from the University of Utah School of Medicine in May 2019. Matthew graduated in 2017 from Brigham Young University with a Bachelor of Science in Public Health and statistic minor. Prior to working with PARCKA, Matthew worked as an Enteric Disease Investigator for the Utah Department of Health and has several years of experience working and managing rural emergency medicince. Matthew works as a research analyst for VIP (Vulnerable Initiative), APEX, and BUP Discontinuation programs at the VA.

Email:  matthew.dungan@hsc.utah.edu

Jacob Baylis, MPH

Jacob Baylis, MPH

Title:  Research Analyst

Jacob earned his Master of Public Health (MPH) from Indiana Wesleyan University in August of 2019 and a Bachelor of Science in International Health in 2018 from Bethel University. He worked at a local health department prior to joining the PARCKA team as a Health Educator/Emergency Preparedness Coordinator, primarily focusing on harm reduction strategies, OUD mitigation in rural counties, and medical countermeasure planning. Jacob has a passion to continue working towards reducing the burden of OUD in rural areas along with achieving health equity in the most vulnerable populations.

Email:  Jacob.Baylis@hsc.utah.edu

Mitchell Garets

Mitchell Garets

Title:  Research Analyst/MSWI

Mitchell is currently working towards his Master of Social Work from the University of Utah, expected to graduate Spring 2021. He concurrently earned a Bachelor of Social Work and completed the education/training in the Substance Use Disorder Treatment Training Certificate Program from the University of Utah in 2018. Mitchell has years experience working both in substance use disorder research and social justice. Currently, Mitchell is a research analyst on several local and national funded multi-site studies/projects focused in 1) treating opioid use disorder in various and diverse populations, 2) maternal health, and 3) community collaborations. In addition, Mitchell is a Managing Editor of the peer-reviewed journal, Substance Abuse.

Email:  mitchell.garets@hsc.utah.edu

Phone:  (801) 213-0806

Jacob Foringer

Jacob Foringer

Title:  Research Analyst

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.

Email:  jake.foringer@utah.edu

Phone:  (801) 213-0809

Shayla Archer, MS

Shayla Archer, MS

Title:  Administrative Program Coordinator

Shayla completed her Master’s in Health Promotion & Education at the University of Utah’s College of Health in 2018. Shayla joins the PARCKA team with years of experience coordinating programs in the health and wellness field, and is passionate about mental health and decreasing stigma around mental wellbeing.

Email:  shayla.archer@hsc.utah.edu

Phone:  (801) 213-3438

Janelle Crowther

Janelle Crowther

Title:  Research Assistant

Janelle completed her Bachelor of Arts in Psychology from Loyola Marymount University in 2017 with a focus in neuroscience research and minors in Philosophy, Business, and Theatre. She has a passion for mental health and helping others as best she can. She has 4 years of experience implementing behavioral plans and designated interventions for clients suffering from various behavioral conditions. She is currently working with the PARCKA team as a research assistant on several local and national projects. Her professional desire is to become a University professor and help teach others about behavioral and medical health.

Email:  Janelle.Crowther@utah.edu

Tammy Sheffield

Tammy Sheffield

Title:  Administrative Officer

Tammy has 25 years of accounting experience from conducting audits, accounts payable, receivables, invoicing, budget calculation and tracking, pre- and post-grant award setup and tracking, clinical revenue projections, along with setting up clinical patient templates and billing. Tammy has 18 years’ experience at the University of Utah and most recently held a position in the Pediatric Genetics department as the Operations Manager.

Email:  tammy.sheffield@hsc.utah.edu

Madison Van Buskirk

Madison Van Buskirk

Title:  Research Assistant

Madison graduated with a Bachelor of Science in Social Work from the University of Utah in December 2020. She is primarily interested in pursuing a career in medical social work and is passionate about alleviating disparities in healthcare and mental health access. She has 4 years of experience as a pharmacy technician and has spent the last year working in geriatrics. She is currently working with pregnant women with Substance Use Disorder with the PARCKA team and as a research assistant on several local and national projects.