Refer to these models to write a clear, engaging summary of your research.
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.
I am interested in brain processes that enable cognitive functions and contribute to individual differences in cognitive abilities. My particular focus is assessing brain function associated with stimulus categorization and resource allocation during working memory. Working memory involves a complex set of mental processes that are at the core of human cognition, general intellectual functioning and aspects of daily life. I study working memory and related cognitive processes (i.e., executive functions and cognitive control) in normal human populations and in patients with clinical disorders that compromise these cognitive abilities. This research utilizes a variety of methodological approaches, including dense-electrode EEG and event-related potential (ERP) measures of brain function, psychometric and neuropsychological measurement and MRI measures of brain structure and function.
A central aim of my work is characterizing the nature of large-scale brain network activity that underlies impaired cognitive performance in patients with multiple sclerosis (MS), systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE), post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and traumatic brain injury (TBI). The relationship between the brain and behavior is an emphasis of this research. A major goal of this work is to establish measures of cognitive processing that have clinical value and are useful as outcome measures for translational research.
Another primary area of my work is the examination of neuroplasticity of working memory and other cognitive processes. Along these lines, I am exploring the impact of targeted training of working memory and stimulus interference/distraction control processes on cognition and brain function. This research aims to disentangle the specific neurocognitive mechanisms that are affected by different forms of cognitive training, and to understand the generalizability of these kinds of interventions. My long-term goal is to determine the viability of cognitive training for improving outcomes in cognitively impaired clinical populations, such as patients with MS.
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