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Researcher Partners

Learn more about our Community Health Researchers at the University of Kansas Medical Center (KUMC). If you would like to connect with one of our Community Health Researchers, please contact us at

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KUMC – Department of Preventive Medicine and Public Health

Ed Ellerbeck Ed Ellerbeck, Chair, Preventive Medicine & Public Health
Dr. Ellerbeck’s research focuses on improving primary care delivery and delivery of preventive services with a particular focus on tobacco control, cancer screening, diabetes management, and cardiovascular health. Hi teaching addresses the intersection of public health and clinical practice. Research Topics: Redesign of clinical practice to improve delivery of preventive health services and management of chronic illness.

Megha Ramaswamy Megha Ramaswamy, Associate Professor
Dr. Ramaswamy’s research has focused on how the intersection of urban living, race, class, and gender structure health and social risk for women and men involved in the criminal justice system. Current research addresses the social context for sexual and reproductive health risk among women leaving jail. Additionally, she teachers in the Master of Public Health program, taking an integrative and experiential approach. Her courses seek to round the students in sociological theory that helps explain social determinants of health, such as theory on intersectionality, inequality, and resistance.

Kimber Richter Kimber Richter, Director of UKanQuit
Kim Richter, PhD, MPH, focuses her research on identifying the best ways to link tobacco users with treatment. She currently conducts treatment, research, and training in hospital settings, drug treatment facilities, and primary care. Dr. Richter’s teaching interests include grantwriting skills, quality improvement, and evidence based medicine. Research Topics: Hospital based tobacco treatment; Tobacco treatment for people in drug treatment.

Won Choi Won Choi, Professor
Won Choi, PhD, MPH, is the Executive Director of the Master of Public Health (MPH) Program at the University of Kansas Medical Center.  His teaching interests include epidemiology, tobacco control and public health, survey research, and behavioral clinical trial research. Dr. Choi’s research aims to reduce health disparities related to tobacco control. This research focuses on smoking cessation and prevention among underserved populations. Examples of this research include the following grants:
R01 CA141618: Culturally tailored Smoking Cessation for American Indians
R01 CA174481: Web-based Smoking Cessation Program for Tribal College Students

Romina Barral Romina Barral, Doctor of Adolescent Medicine and Pediatrics
Dr. Barral is a practicing Pediatrician at Children’s Mercy in Kansas City. Dr. Barral is currently funded by CMH to lead a mixed methods project “Developing a Strategy to Reduce Unplanned Pregnancy Disparities in Latino Youth” conducted in the rural areas of southwest Kansas. Her research focuses on the reproductive health in the adolescent population, including the uptake of HPV immunization in Kansas and the use of contraception among Latino teens. She is completing a Master of Science in Clinical Research at KUMC. She is fluent in Spanish and English.

Paula Cupertino Paula Cupertino, Director of Juntos
Dr. Cupertino’s goal has been to initiate a new line of health disparities research in the Latino community in Kansas tied to binational initiatives in Mexico and Brazil. As a social behavioral scientist, my tobacco control research has focused on smoking cessation and access to cessation treatments among underserved and understudied populations with a primary focus on Latinos. She also has experience in the development and implementation of research projects incorporating cultural factors and principles of community-based participatory research.
KUMC Profile | Juntos Profile

KUMC – Family Medicine Research

K. Allen Greiner K. Allen Greiner, Professor, Vice Chair of Research
K. Allen Greiner, MD, MPH, directs the Department of Family Medicine’s Research Division and teaches in the M.P.H and M.S. in Clinical Research Programs in the Department of Preventive Medicine and Public Health. He has also directed the community engagement program (the Community Partnership for Health) for the past seven years in Frontiers, the KUMC Clinical Translational Science Award Program. Through this program he leads efforts to expand community-based research and to assure a strong infrastructure and community input into KUMC’s bioscience activities. Dr. Greiner is well versed in community-based participatory research (CBPR) methods and has worked to merge health services and access to care enhancements into his various research programs. He has received federal and foundation grant support to study health information technology, health disparities, chronic disease management, health literacy, and patient health risk behavior in rural and underserved community settings. Dr. Greiner’s future plans include policy work and pursuit of funding for multilevel research in cancer control and prevention, health behaviors, and the social determinants of health for underserved populations.

Crystal Lumpkins Crystal Lumpkins, Assistant Professor
Crystal Y. Lumpkins, PhD, is an Assistant Professor of Family Medicine and Assistant Professor at the School of Journalism at the University of Kansas. Dr. Lumpkins has advised several undergraduate students and has also dedicated her time to mentoring minority students from multiple disciplines including sociology, psychology and journalism. Currently, Dr. Lumpkins’s research focuses on cancer communication, specifically breast and colorectal cancer risk and prevention communication targeted to minority and underserved populations. She also studies the impact of religion and spirituality on health behavior outcome by evaluating the efficacy of faith-based health promotion. Dr. Lumpkins addresses health disparities by using community based participatory research approaches to engage Kansas and Missouri communities in the research process. Research Topics: Public Health Communication; Faith Based Research; Community Based Participatory Research.

Jana Zaudke Jana Zaudke, Physician, Assistant Professor
Jana Zaudke MD, MA is a family physician and medical educator at the University of Kansas Medical Center.
Currently, she sees patients with interprofessional teams of students at the point of care in the Interprofessional Teaching Clinic. Her aim is to expose School of Medicine, Nursing, Pharmacy and Health Professions students to collaboration before graduation. In addition to her work in the outpatient context, she has also been actively involved in supporting interprofessional activities in the hospital as the Medical Director of the Family Medicine Inpatient Service. Family Medicine residents and physicians now ‘huddle’ daily with Case Management, Nursing, Physical Therapy, Pharmacy and Law to discuss patient care and discharge planning. She intends to continue to develop innovative IPE-related activities in the outpatient and inpatient settings, all the while developing a workforce well-equipped to change healthcare delivery.

Joseph LeMaster Joseph LeMaster, Physician, Associate Professor
Dr. LeMaster, MD, MPH, is a practicing family physician in the Department of Family Medicine, and is one of two primary faculty advisors to the Jaydoc Free Clinic, a medical student run clinic for the uninsured in Kansas City. Dr. LeMaster’s research focuses on epidemiology, refugee health and minority populations.

Mark Meyer Mark Meyer, Associate Dean of Student Affairs, Professor
Dr. Meyer has been recognized for his teaching, service, mentoring and leadership. In 2009, Dr. Meyer received the Rainbow Award, an honor that students bestow on a faculty member and mentor who they feel best exemplifies excellence in medicine. Dr. Meyer’s service activities include serving as a volunteer physician at JayDoc Clinic and as a member of a number of board of directors, all of which are service related.

KUMC – Other Departments

Heather Gibbs Heather Gibbs, Registered Dietitian, Assistant Professor
Gibbs’ research interest focuses upon nutrition education, with particular interest in nutrition literacy, or the capacity with which individuals can use nutrition information to make healthy dietary choices. Visit the Nutrition Education and Literacy Laboratory for more information on her current research endeavors.

Susan Carlson Susan Carlson, AJ Rice Professor of Nutrition
Her major research interest was on the effects of fatty acids that compose a large percent of brain membranes and found in human milk but not in vegetable oils typically used in the production of U.S. infant formulas.

Jerrihlyn McGee Jerrihlyn McGee, Program Director, Leadership Program; Clinical Assistant Professor
Dr. McGee, DNP, RN been a KU School of Nursing faculty since 2011. Her research interests include leadership, healthy work environment, diversity and inclusion, health equity, educational equity, cultural proficiency and professional development.

Doug Wright Doug Wright, Director of Graduate Studies, Professor, K-INBRE
Research in his laboratory is focused on the biology of sensory neuron development and recovery from disease. Sensory neurons are powerfully regulated during development by endogenous neurotrophic factors. However, these neurotrophic factors may also have great potential to regulate neurons in adulthood and thus serve as potential therapeutic agents. The long-term objective is to characterize the cellular and molecular actions of neurotrophins on sensory neurons in order to understand how neurotrophins may improve sensory impairments. The research involves two different populations of neurons: large myelinated proprioceptive neurons and small unmyelinated nociceptive neurons.

John Stanford John Stanford, Associate Professor, K-INBRE
His research is focused on diseases and conditions that affect motor function, such as Parkinson’s disease, Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS), neonatal jaundice, and aging. His approach is best described as a systems neuroscience approach using operant behavioral methods in rodent models. He also has a longstanding interest in determining mechanisms that underlie, and potential treatments to ameliorate, age-related orolingual motor deficits. Recent efforts in my lab have focused on the effects of isometric strength training on disease progression in the SOD1-G93A rat model of ALS. He has also become involved in new research into determining the short- and long-term neurological effects of hyperbilirubinemia in rodent models of neonatal jaundice. Finally, he remain interested in the effects of a high fat diet on neural function in order to understand the co-morbidity between obesity and neurodegenerative diseases.

Vickie Collie-Akers Vickie Collie-Akers, Associate Director of Health Promotion Research
Dr. Collie-Akers is the principal investigator on the CDC-funded REACH project supporting policy, systems, and environmental changes in Kansas City, Kansas, through the Latino Health for All Coalition. In addition, she has been a lead researcher for community measurement in the National Healthy Communities Study funded by the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute since 2010. Dr. Collie-Akers played a lead role in the community measurement team of the long-term study that explored the association between community programs and policies and prevalence of childhood obesity in 130 communities. In addition, she directs several evaluation projects that support partners such as CityMatCH, who are working to promote health and health equity through their community and public health initiatives.

Ellen Averett Ellen Averett, MHSA Program Director, Associate Professor
Dr. Averett’s consulting and research interests include health communications, public health education and disease prevention, health-related behavior change, health system ethics, the impact of hospital ethics committees, training long-term care workers in communication and leadership skills, quality improvement methods in health care organizations and public health systems, and evaluation and survey research.

Eric Vidoni Eric Vidoni, Physical Therapist, Research Assistant Professor
Eric’s research focus is using brain imaging and other techniques to quantify change in brain health and ability to be independent as we age or develop Alzheimer’s disease.
Eric’s interest in movement and how we interact with our environment began with his undergraduate coursework, culminating in a Bachelor of Science degree in Kinesiology from the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign in 2001. After a year of working as a research coordinator studying visual attention at the Beckman Institute for Advanced Science and Technology at Illinois, he resumed his formal education at KUMC in the Department of Physical Therapy and Rehabilitation Science. There, Eric entered a joint PT/Ph.D. program to receive both clinical and research training in physical rehabilitation with a particular emphasis on brain function.

Louann Rinner Louann Rinner, Occupational Therapist, Training Coordinator, LEND
Rinner directs the Leadership Education in Neurodevelopmental Disabilities (LEND) interdisciplinary training program, provides supervision for occupational therapy student training at the CCHD and contributes to pediatric and family services including clinical transdisciplinary evaluations and consultations. Rinner also provides technical assistance to Kansas early intervention network teams and teaches graduate students as a clinical instructor in the Occupational Therapy Education Department.

KUMC-Wichita – Department of Preventive Medicine and Public Health

Tracie Collins Tracie Collins, Chair, Preventive Medicine & Public Health, Wichita
Dr. Collin’s research focuses on physical activity, health disparities, and disease prevention. She also works with faculty members to further develop the research, education, and clinical portfolio for the department.

Robert G. Badgett Robert G. Badgett, Professor
Dr. Badgett’s research focuses on 1) using the National Library of Medicine’s Clinical Questions Collection to evaluate and compare search strategies and knowledge resources, 2) developing original MEDLINE search strategies 3) knowledge representation, and 4) outpatient quality improvement. Within the field of public health, Dr. Badgett’s research is in evidence-based health policy and the dissemination of health policy claims.

Lisette Jacobson Lisette Jacobson
Dr. Jacobson, Ph.D., M.P.A., M.A., P.H.R, has more than ten years of professional experience in Human Resource Management and Finance in the private and public sectors. In the Department of Preventive Medicine and Public health, her current research focuses on the long-term health effects of breastfeeding and the development of cardiovascular disease and atherosclerotic vascular disease among women who breastfeed. Additionally,  Dr. Jacobson teaches graduate classes in the Master’s of Public Health degree program including public health administration, financial and human resource management, and other public health topics.

Sharla Smith Sharla Smith, Research Assistant Professor
Dr. Smith is a health services and systems researcher whose primary focus concerns strategies for organizing and financing public health services, infant mortality, program and partnership development, and community health education. Dr. Smith also has experience teaching public health law, introduction to public health, introduction to health policy and politics, and epidemiology.

KUMC-Wichita – Pediatrics

Deborah Alliston Deborah Alliston, Associate Professor; Associate Residency Program Director
Dr. Alliston, M.D., M.Ed., is a pediatric physician specializing in general pediatrics and academic medicine. Her research interests include medical education and global health. Additionally, Dr. Alliston integrates health disparities and the social determinants of health into the pediatrics residency training program.

Kari Harris Kari Harris, Associate Professor
Dr. Harris, M.D., is a pediatric physician. Her research interests include teen pregnancy, high-risk adolescents, and HPV vaccination.

Cari Schmidt Cari Schmidt, Director of Research
Cari Schmidt, Ph.D., is the Director of Research at KUMC-Wichita, and specializes in community psychology and pediatric research. Specifically, Dr. Schmidt’s research interests include infant mortality prevention, safe sleep, injury prevention, maternal/infant health, provider/parent communication, health literacy, and general health promotion.

Other KUMC Departments & Wichita Community

Paul Uhlig Paul Uhlig, Executive Director, Mid Continent Regional Center for Health Care Simulation
Dr. Paul Uhlig is a thoracic and cardiac surgeon in Wichita, Kansas and is affiliated with multiple hospitals in the area, including Via Christi Hospital on St. Francis and Wesley Medical Center. At KU-Wichita, Dr. Uhlig is the Executive Director of the Mid Continent Regional Center for Health Care Simulation, focusing on health care teamwork and interprofessional education. His research utilizes social science methods to study how health care practice culture can be intentionally transformed through collaborative approaches and relationship centered interventions.

Maurice Duggins Maurice Duggins
Dr. Maurice Duggins is a family medicine doctor in Wichita, Kansas and is affiliated with Via Christi Hospital on St. Francis. Dr. Duggins is highly involved with the Wichita community, and has helped support systemic efforts to reduce health disparities related to infant mortality.

Dee Ann Bragg Dee Ann Bragg
Dr. Dee Ann Bragg is a Family Medicine practitioner in the Wichita, KS community. She has helped conduct a Community Health Needs Assessment in the Wichita community, and focuses her work on food deserts and health disparities.

Pamaline King-Burns Pamaline King-Burns, Workforce Development Coordinator
Pamaline King-Burns is the Workforce Development Coordinator in the Public Health Performance Division, within the Sedgwick County Division of Health. Pamaline addresses health disparities in the Wichita community through the promotion of community health advocacy.

Want a speaker like Pamaline? The Sedgwick County Division of Health and Human Services coordinates the Division of Health’s Speakers Bureau. The purpose of the Speakers Bureau is to consolidate the division’s community presentation efforts by staff, thus providing the public with Public Health topics from which to choose when requesting presentations.

Speaker Requests can be made here.

Funding Support

This project was supported by the National Institutes of Health Science Education Partnership Award (SEPA) under Award Number R25OD020214. The content is solely the responsibility of the authors and does not necessarily represent the official views of the National Institutes of Health.

For more information, go to the SEPA T-SCORE Project Page.

National Institutes of Health logo and the Science Education Partnership Award logo

Last modified: Jun 19, 2019