Title: Director, PARCKA - Chief, Addiction Medicine, SLC VA Healthcare System - Elbert F. and Marie Christensen Endowed Research ProfessorDr. 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.
Title: Research Director, PARCKADr. 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.
Title: Education Director, PARCKA - Program Director, Addiction Psychiatry Fellowship - Program Director, Addiction Medicine FellowshipDr. 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.
Title: Community Advocacy/Outreach Director, PARCKAConnie 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.
Shayla Archer, MS
Title: Administrative Program CoordinatorShayla 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.
Jacob Baylis, MPH
Title: Research AnalystJacob 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.
Ary Bryan, MSW, CSW
Title: Research AnalystAry 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.
Spencer Calder, MPH
Title: Research AnalystSpencer 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.
Title: Senior Clinical Research CoordinatorKristi 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.
Title: Graduate Research AssistantGentry is working towards her masters of statistics with an emphasis in biostatistics. Her research so far has mainly been in surgical outcomes, but is more interested in behavioral health outcomes. When not working, she loves to play sand volleyball, pickleball, and watch TV.
Elizabeth (Betsy) Charron, PhD, MPH
Title: Postdoctoral FellowBetsy 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.
Nodira Codell, MPA
Title: Program Director, VIPNodira 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.
Title: Research AssistantJanelle 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.
Matthew Dungan, MPH
Title: Research AnalystMatthew works as a research analyst for VIP (Vulnerable Initiative), MAT-VA, and CONDUIT programs based out of the VA Salt Lake City Health Care System. Matthew is responsible for planning, organizing, and directing national training initiatives designed to increase access to MOUD treatment with in the Veteran Health Administration. In addition, Matthew has extensive experience with implementation facilitation and addressing barriers to MOUD treatment in rural clinical settings. 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 medicine. He is also an adjunct professor at Brigham Young University (BYU) where he teaches ‘Health 345 – Introduction to Epidemiology’ for undergraduates. Matthew earned his Master of Public Health (MPH) from the University of Utah School of Medicine in May 2019 and a graduate certificate in ‘Emergency Health’. He also graduated from the Area Health Educators Centers scholars program. The AHEC Scholars Program is a 2‑year program for health professions students interested in addressing and serving underserved urban and rural health needs. Matthew graduated in 2017 from BYU with a BS in Public Health (Epidemiology) and statistics minor.
Title: Research AnalystJacob 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.
Mitchell Garets, MSW
Title: Research AnalystMitchell earned both a bachelor and master’s degree in Social Work from the University of Utah. Mitchell is trained in Enhanced Motivational Interviewing, Substance Use Disorder Treatment, and in Leadership, Justice, and Community Practice. He is dedicated to social justice and was recently awarded the Suazo Social Justice Macro-Practice Award for achievement and promise in advocacy and activism. Mitchell has several years’ experience working in substance use disorder research and treatment. He has offered project support and coordination on several local and national funded multi-site studies, and has direct experience offering clinical and case management services to pregnant individuals with substance use disorders.
Title: Graduate Research AssistantErinn earned a Bachelor of Arts in Clinical Psychology from Tufts University in 2016 and is a current two-year Master of Social Work Student at the University of Utah. Erinn has previously worked at Mass General Hospital on multiple research studies during her undergraduate program. She moved to Utah in 2017 where she worked for a wilderness therapy program as a field instructor for several years and grew a passion for working with adolescents who struggled with a variety of clinical diagnoses, more specifically substance use related disorders. She transitioned to working at a substance use recovery program in Salt Lake City where she worked with mothers in recovery and their children. Through this experience, Erinn had the opportunity to see the resilience and vulnerability of women in recovery and the healing power of the parent-child relationship. Currently, she works as a substance use recovery counselor at a residential treatment center for adolescent boys for her practicum experience. Erinn is thrilled to combine her clinical skills, her research experience, and her passion to work with individuals struggling with substance use with the PARCKA team.
Title: Research Manager, GINGina 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.
Title: Clinical Research CoordinatorGrace 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.
Title: Research AssistantAshley graduated with a B.S in Biology from the University of Utah in 2017, focusing heavily on Human Anatomy and teaching. She has over three years of experience in research, ranging from bench-side biochemistry research to Phase I pharmaceutical studies. As a Research Assistant with PARCKA, she hopes to learn more about addiction medicine and mental health in order to eventually apply this knowledge as a healthcare provider. Her professional goal is to become a physician. Ashley is passionate about catering to rural, medically-underserved communities and marginalized populations, and is excited to be working as a member of the PARCKA team.
Title: Graduate Research AssistantStella earned her Bachelors of Arts in History from the University of Utah in 2017, she is currently a two-year Master of Social Work Student at the University of Utah about to begin her second year. Stella worked for the Huntsman Mental Health Clinic and in conjunction with the University Recovery Clinic. She learned a great deal by working with a multi-disciplinary team and discovered that she wanted to work with trauma, women's health, and maternal mental health. Within her current practicum, Stella works with survivors of cancer and other catastrophic illnesses and their families. She is looking forward to working with PARCKA and substance use research. Stella is an avid photographer, and prior to the pandemic enjoyed traveling regularly. She lives with her partner in Midvale and has two cats. Stella recently started her own perennial flower and produce garden and will probably try to share some vegetables with you.
Title: Administrative OfficerTammy 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.
Laura Stolebarger, RN, CM
Title: Nurse Care ManagerLaura 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.
Title: Clinical Research CoordinatorMaddisen earned her B.S. in Psychology with a minor in Neuroscience from Weber State University and has three years’ experience as a Research Coordinator. Her passion for clinical research was ignited at the beginning of her academic career, and she is honored to work with PARCKA in optimizing the standard of care for patients suffering from substance use disorders. Maddisen is passionate about legislative reform in drug policy and is a strong advocate of shifting the paradigm of addiction from a criminal offense to that of a public health crisis.
Nancy West, PhD
Title: BiostatisticianDr. 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.
Ashley White, CMHC
Title: Social Service WorkerAshley 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.