Professor, Primary Care Research Institute
As a medical anthropologist and health services researcher, I leverage quantitative and qualitative data to learn more about social, cultural, economic and political factors that influence access to treatment. My research focuses on vulnerable, low-income people living with substance use disorder, behavioral health conditions, and chronic disease. In these studies, I use in-depth interviews to obtain personal histories and uncover contextual factors, such as social support, which influence physical and mental health. I have been principal investigator/lead evaluator on a series of quality improvement studies of enrollees in a Medicaid managed-care insurance program for individuals with substance use and behavioral health conditions. I have also led numerous qualitative interview studies and have been co-investigator on NIH-funded studies with qualitative research components. My community-based research has promoted the growth and sustainability of academic-community partnerships and initiatives to improve health care.
My current research investigates barriers and facilitators to self-sufficiency and addictions treatment among people with complex chronic health conditions who are enrolled in the specialty courts, including the drug treatment courts. This study entails in-depth interviews with a vulnerable, difficult-to-reach population. Results will inform interventions to address barriers to addiction treatment, especially for opioid use disorder, among people involved in the justice system.
I am an energetic teacher and strive to encourage novice researchers, especially medical students and clinical faculty who have little or no research experience. In 2012, I began a monthly manuscript-writing workshop that draws participants from multiple disciplines and promotes interdisciplinary collaborations. Following the success of this workshop, I began a monthly grant-writing workshop; and launched a Writing Accountability Group (WAG) based on the WAG model developed at Johns Hopkins School of Medicine. In 2016, I became Principal Investigator/Director of a T32 NRSA Fellowship Training Program to prepare Primary Care Research Fellows (health professional doctorates and trainees with research-related doctorates) with knowledge, attitudes, and skills for translational research emphasizing the Triple Aim agenda: (1) better health, (2) better health care, and (3) better value.
I collaborate with a diverse group of colleagues across the University, local health departments, insurance providers, and primary care practices to conduct health services research. On collaborative research teams, I specialize in the human factors and processes involved with implementing interventions that translate research into practice.