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Alumni Spotlight for Ph.D. Program, Health and Policy Management

Please help us to celebrate the accomplishments of our alumni!

Belz portraitNorbert E. Belz, Ph.D., MHSA (2015)
Ph.D., Health Policy and Management, University of Kansas 
MHSA, Health Policy and Management, University of Kansas
BS, Health Information Management, St Louis University

Current Position: President and Founder, norbbelz, Inc.
Research Interests: Health Information Technology (HIT), Information and Communication Technologay (ICT), and Health Outcomes
Dissertation: "Advanced Use of Electronic Health Records in Patient-Centered Medical Homes"

Gayle M Brekke, PhD, MBA, FSAGayle M. Brekke, Ph.D., MBA, FSA (2023)
PhD, Health Policy and Management, University of Kansas 
MBA, Health Care Leadership, Rockhurst University, Kansas City, MO
BA, Mathematics, St. Mary’s University of Minnesota, Winona, MN

Current Position: Internationally recognized Presenter/Actuary. Founder/Contributor; Primary Care Mindset Newsletter and podcast, Nurturing the Heart of Family Practice; Board Member, Concerned Actuaries of the United States
Research Interests:
Health economics, patient engagement and empowerment, disruptive innovation, measurement and communication of quality and outcomes, impact of insurance benefit design on health care expenditures, and modeling and simulation techniques
Dissertation: Patient Selection and Impacts of Plan Choice on Specialty, Urgent Care Center and Emergency Department Visits and Total Expenditures when Families Choose between a Direct Primary Care Option and a Traditional Option for Employee Medical Benefits”

Taynara Formagini FaragTaynara Formagini Farag, Ph.D., MS (2022)
Ph.D., Health Policy and Management, University of Kansas 
MA, Psychology/Psychosocial Processes and Health, Federal University of Juiz de Fora (Brazil)
BA, Psychology, Federal University of Juiz de Fora (Brazil)

Current Position: Postdoctoral Scholar, Center for Behavioral Health Research and Training, University of Central Florida
Research Interests:
 Public health policy, racial/ethnic health disparities, poverty, health care disparities, health promotion, drug use/prevention, tobacco cessation
Dissertation: "Structure, Socialization and Agency in Diabetes Prevention Behaviors among Latinxs: A Mixed-methods Study”

gafford portraitJ. Atlee Gafford, Ph.D., MA (2020)
Ph.D., Health Policy and Management, University of Kansas 
MA, Applied Economics, Western Kentucky University
BA, Political Science, Western Kentucky University

Current Position: Senior Analytics Consultant, Cerner Corporation, Kansas City, Missouri; Instructor, Masters of Health Services Administration (MHSA) program, KUMC Department of Population Health
Research Interests:
 Health Economics, Medicaid/Medicare cost effectiveness, and Efficiency of Medical Institutions.
Dissertation: "The Impact of Financial Changes on Hospital Quality of Care: Evidence from State Medicaid Expansion"

Hill portraitJacqueline D. Hill, Ph.D., MPH (2016)
Ph.D., Health Policy and Management, University of Kansas
MPH, Health Management and Communication, Tufts University School of Medicine
BS, Health Promotion, Oklahoma State University

Current Position: Director, Office of Faculty Development, Children's Mercy Kansas City
Research Interests: Social determinants of health access to health care services, and impact of health insurance design on health care service utilization and outcomes
Dissertation: "The Role of County-Level Socioeconomic Characteristics in Low-Income Women's Use of Screening Mammography in Kansas"

Li Huang portraitLi Huang, Ph.D., MPH (2021)
Ph.D., Health Policy and Management, University of Kansas 
MPH, University of Oklahoma
BS, Medicine, University of Guangzhou (P.R. China)

Current Position: Kansas Center Registry Research Analyst, Sue Min Lai Laboratory, KUMC Department of Population Health
Research Interests:  Mental Health Care Coordination Models, Social Determinants of Health
Dissertation: "Improving Care Coordination for Children with Autism Spectrum Disorders and Developmental Disorders/Delay/Disabilities in the United States"

Hughes portrait

Dorothy Hughes, Ph.D., MHSA (2019)
Ph.D., Health Policy and Management, University of Kansas
MHSA, Health Policy and Management, University of Kansas
BA, International Studies, American University

Current Position: Assistant Professor, Department of Population Health, University of Kansas
Research Interests: Local, state and federal public policy
Dissertation:"The Role of Community in Midwestern General Surgeons' Practice Location Decisions"

Melissa Jaffee Gelb portraitMelissa Jaffee Gelb, Ph.D., MBA (2015)
Ph.D., Health Policy and Management, University of Kansas 
MBA, Krannert School of Business, Purdue University
BA, Economics, University of Texas (Austin)

Current Position: Health Economics and Outcomes Research Value Demonstration Manager, Boehringer Ingelheim
Research Interests: Health and Behavioral Economics, Chronic Care and Disease Management, Social Determinants of Health
Dissertation: "Emergency Department Utilization Among Kansas Medicaid Aged, Blind, and Disabled Beneficiaries with Severe Mental Illness: the Context and Extent of Ambulatory Care Sensitive Visits"


Karen S. Johnson, Ph.D., MHSA (2018)
Ph.D., Health Policy and Management, University of Kansas
MHSA, College of Business, Arizona State University
BA, Sociology, Hanover College (IN)

Current Position: Vice President, Practice Advancement, American Academy of Family Physicians, Leawood, Kansas 
Research Interests: Health insurance, the Patient-Centered Medical Home, medical management interventions in commercial/Medicare/Medicaid populations, and workplace wellness initiatives
Dissertation: "Understanding the Role of the Patient-Centered Medical Home in Building a Strong Primary Care Foundation in the U.S."


Danielle D. Jones, Ph.D., MPH (2021)
Ph.D., Health Policy and Management, University of Kansas
MPH, Public Health, University of West Florida, Pensacola
BS, Biology, University of Missouri-Kansas City

Current Position:  Vice President of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion for the Association of Women's Health, Obstetric and Neonatal Nurses (AWHONN), Washington DC
Research Interests: Racial/ethnic disparities, infant and maternal mortality, social determinants of health and health equity
Dissertation: "Deconstructing Unconscious Bias in the Health Care Workforce: An Iterative Mixed Methods Approach"


Christine Mackay, Ph.D. (2019)
Ph.D., Health Policy and Management, University of Kansas
MS Administration - Health Services, Central Michigan University
BSN, Nursing, University of Kansas

Research Interests: Health policy influence on insurance coverage of clinical trial participation, research training and education of health professionals working in clinical trials.
Dissertation: "Examining Enrollment Barriers to Adults Cancer Clinical Trials"

Dinesh Pal MudaranthakamDinesh Pal Mudaranthakam, Ph.D., MBA, MS (2023) 
Ph.D., Health Policy and Management, University of Kansas
MBA, Leadership and Management, University of Kansas
MS, Computing and Information, Kansas State University, Manhattan, Kansas
B.Tech, Computer Science Engineering, Jawaharlal Nehru Technological University, Hyderabad, India

Current Position: Assistant Professor, Biostatistics & Data Science, Kansas University Medical Center
Research Interests: Population health, epidemiology, electronic health records, administrative claims data, observational study design, categorical data analysis, survival analysis, longitudinal data, system integration, informatics eco-system
Dissertation: "Financial toxicity among cancer patients leads to worse health outcomes"

Letycia Nunez-ArgoteLetycia Nuñez-Argote, Ph.D., MPH, CPH, MLS(ASCP)cm (2022)

Ph.D., Health Policy and Management, University of Kansas
MPH, Public Health Administration, National Institute of Public Health of Mexico
BS Clinical Laboratory Science, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

Current Position: Clinical Assistant Professor, SHP Clinical Laboratory Sciences, Kansas University Medical Center
Research Interests: Access to healthcare, health for migrant populations, rural health, LatinX health outcomes, impact of PAMA in clinical laboratory fee schedule
Dissertation: “Work-Related Health Burdens and Turnover Intention of Laboratory Professionals”

Alicia O'Neal, PhD, M.EdAlicia O’Neal, PhD, M.Ed (2023)
Ph.D., Health Policy and Management, University of Kansas
M.Ed, Higher & Post-Secondary Education, Arizona State University, Tempe, AZ
BS, Biology & Society (Minor: Education), Cornell University, Ithaca, NY

Current Position: Clinical Research Associate, Digital Medicine Society (DiMe), Boston, MA
Research Interests: Sociobehavioral research, including 1) health inequities affecting select populations: people of color (POC), women, children, and people with mobility disabilities (PMD); and 2) preventative chronic disease(s) investigation
Dissertation: "Breast Cancer Care across the Cancer Continuum: Understanding the effects of sociodemographic, clinical, and geographic factors on timeliness to breast cancer diagnosis, treatment initiation, and mortality amongst women in Kansas"

Joseph PachecoJoseph Pacheco, Ph.D., MPH (2022)

Ph.D., Health Policy and Management, University of Kansas
MPH, Environmental Health, University of Kansas Medical Center
BS, Pre-Medical Biology, Northwest Missouri State University

Current Position: Assistant Professor and Research Scientist, Department of Community and Population Health and Institute for Indigenous Studies; Lehigh University College of Health (Ohio)
Research Interests: Reduction of health disparities among American Indian communities; reducing the burden of commercial tobacco use among American Indians through community-based participatory research methods
Dissertation: “Examining the various factors and influences impacting COVID-19 vaccine intentions among American Indians and Alaska Natives”


Taiye Popoola, M.D., Ph.D., MPH (2018)
Ph.D., Health Policy and Management, University of Kansas
MPH, University of North Texas Health Sciences Center
Degree of Medicine and Surgery, University of Ilorin, Nigeria

Current Position: 4th Year Medical Resident of Psychiatry, University of Missouri-Coulumbia
Research Interests:
 Patient-centered care and outcomes, primary care, hospital readmissions and health disparities
Dissertation: "Provision of Extended Office Hours at the Usual Source of Care and its Effect on Healthcare Utilization and Expenditures in the Population of Adults with Chronic Ambulatory Care Sensitive Conditions"


Tiffany Pothapragada, Ph.D., MS (2020)
Ph.D., Health Policy and Management, University of Kansas
MS, Molecular Biotechnology, University of Kansas Medical Center
BS, University of Kansas (Genetics), University of Kansas Medical Center (Clinical Laboratory Science)

Current Position: Clinical Operations Manager, Immune Tolerance Network, San Francisco, CA
Research Interests: Policies surrounding immunization recommendations, immunization registries, and improving the tracking and documentation of vaccines
Dissertation: "The Association Between Immunization Information Systems and Immunizations in Children 19-35 Months of Age in the United States"


Allen K. Solenberg, Ph.D., MBA (2019)
Ph.D., Health Policy and Management, University of Kansa
MBA, Business Administration, Aspen University (Denver, CO)
BBA, Healthcare Management, American Intercontinental University

Current Position: Assistant Professor, Hamaker School of Business, University of Texas-Waco 
Research Interests:
 Healthcare and Business: quantitative and qualitative research and analysis of patient care delivery and demand v. scheduling and availability, budgetary constraints and manpower authorizations v. assigned personnel
Dissertation: "Experiences and Adherence to Colorectal Cancer Screening within the University of Kansas Health System for People with Spinal Cord injuries and/or Disorders"


Kevin Sykes, Ph.D., MPH (2014)
Ph.D., Health Policy and Management, University of Kansas
MPH,University of Kansas
BA, Trevecca Nazarene University

Current Position: Director, Clinical Research at University of Kansas Physicians, Inc.
Research Interests:Global humanitarian healthcare delivery, healthcare for the medically underserved, enrolling underrepresented populations in clinical trials, and the impact of socioeconomics on clinical outcomes
Dissertation: "An Exploration of Participant Motives and Motivational Tensions in Short-Term Medical Service Trips"

Sharon A Wolff, PhD, MPHSharon A. Wolff, PhD, MPH (2023)
Ph.D., Health Policy and Management, University of Kansas
MPH, Epidemiology and Biostatistics, University of Kansas Medical Center
BS, Biology & Spanish, Missouri State University, Springfield, MO

Current Position: Research Instructor, Population Health, Kansas University Medical Center
Research Interests: Health impact of neighborhood and individual-level social determinants of health; Improving preventive services with a particular interest in smoking cessation, vaccinations, diabetes management, use of information technology in healthcare settings, home health nutrition and cardiovascular health; database design, implementation, data management and analysis
Dissertation: "Social Determinants of Health and Glycemic Control among Patients with Type 2 Diabetes Mellitus"

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