Who We Are
Russell Rothman, Director
Matthew B. Weinger
Richard Oliver White
Russell Rothman, M.D., M.P.P.
Associate Professor, Internal Medicine and Pediatrics
Chief, Internal Medicine & Pediatrics Section
Director, Center for Health Services Research
Director, Program on Effective Health Communication
Deputy Director, Prevention and Control Division,
Diabetes Research and Training Center
Assistant Director, Quality Scholars Program, Nashville VAMC
Russell Rothman, M.D., M.P.P., received his bachelor´s degree in Zoology and Political Science from Duke University in 1992. He received his M.D. from Duke in 1996. During this time he also completed a master´s in Public Policy (M.P.P.) at the Sanford Institute of Public Policy at Duke. After this, Dr. Rothman remained at Duke where he completed a combined Internal Medicine and Pediatrics residency in 2000. From 2000 to 2002, he served as a Robert Wood Johnson Clinical Scholar at the University of North Carolina in Chapel Hill. In 2002, he joined the faculty at Vanderbilt as an Assistant Professor in Internal Medicine and Pediatrics. Dr. Rothman´s current research focuses on improving care for adult and pediatric patients with diabetes and other chronic diseases. He has been funded by the NIH, American Diabetes Association, and the Pfizer Clear Health Communication Initiative to examine the role of literacy and numeracy in patients with diabetes. He has also served as a reviewer on the NIH Special Emphasis Panel on Health Literacy and the Pfizer Health Literacy Fellowship Awards. Dr. Rothman has been a Pfizer Visiting Professor in Health Literacy at the University of Pittsburgh. Dr. Rothman currently serves as the Director of the Vanderbilt Program on Effective Health Communication, and the Deputy Director of the Prevention and Control Division of the Vanderbilt Diabetes Research and Training Center.
Sunil Kripalani, M.D., M.Sc.
Associate Professor of Internal Medicine
Director, Section of Hospital Medicine
Associate Director, Program on Effective Health Communication
Sunil Kripalani, M.D., M.Sc., is Director of the Section of Hospital Medicine and Associate Director of the Effective Health Communication Program in the Division of General Internal Medicine and Public Health at Vanderbilt University School of Medicine. He is an academic hospitalist and health services researcher whose work concerns health literacy, medication adherence, and transitions of care at hospital discharge. Dr. Kripalani was recognized as a Pfizer Health Literacy Scholar in 2003, and he was named a Pfizer Visiting Professor in Health Literacy in 2006. He has served as a member of numerous national committees and task forces related to literacy and health, including being Chair of the NIH grant review panels for health literacy research and coordinating the SGIM health literacy interest group. He served as co-Editor of the special issue on health literacy published by the Journal of General Internal Medicine. Dr. Kripalani graduated summa cum laude from Rice University and received his M.D. with honors from Baylor College of Medicine. He completed a residency in Internal Medicine at Emory University, where he also completed a Hospital Medicine Fellowship and a Master of Science in Clinical Research. His has received research funding from the National Institutes of Health, Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, American Heart Association, Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, American Society of Health System Pharmacists Foundation, and Pfizer Health Literacy Scholars Program.
Ken Wallston, Ph.D.
Professor of Psychology in Nursing, Nursing
Professor of Psychology, Arts and Sciences
Professor of Psychology and Human Development, Peabody
Professor of Human Organization and Development, Peabody
Joe B. Wyatt Distinguished University Professor
Kenneth A. Wallston, Ph.D. (University of Connecticut, 1968, in Social Psychology). Dr. Wallston has been on the faculty at Vanderbilt since 1971. He is based in the School of Nursing with secondary appointments in the College of Arts & Science and Peabody College. One of the founders of the field of health psychology, Professor Wallston has many interests in the interdisciplinary arena termed behavioral medicine, including: adaptation to chronic illness; perceptions of control related to health behavior and health status; effects of psychological interventions (such as expressive writing) on mental and physical health; health literacy and numeracy; health communication and health promotion. He is best known as one of the developers of the Multidimensional Health Locus of Control Scales, but he has also helped develop and validate a number of other psychometric instruments, such as the Perceived Health Competence Scale and the Perceived Medical Condition Self-Management Scale.
Matthew B. Weinger, M.D.
Norman Ty Smith Chair in Patient Safety and Medical Simulation
Professor of Anesthesiology, Biomedical Informatics, & Medical Education
Vanderbilt University School of Medicine
Dr. Matthew B. Weinger is the Director of the Center for Perioperative Research in Quality. At Vanderbilt University, he holds the Norman Ty Smith Chair in Patient Safety and Medical Simulation and is a Professor of Anesthesiology, Biomedical Informatics, and Medical Education. He is also the Co-Director, Middle Tennessee Center for Improving Patient Safety and Director, Simulation Technologies Program of the Center for Experiential Learning and Assessment. He has been teaching and conducting research in anesthesia patient safety, human factors, and clinical decision-making for almost two decades. Dr. Weinger received the James S. Todd Memorial Award for Patient Safety Research from the National Patient Safety Foundation in 1998. He has received over $3 million in direct research support from federal agencies and foundations and has published extensively on topics relevant to medical technology design and evaluation. In 2004, Dr. Weinger was selected as one of the top 100 notable people in the medical device industry by Medical Device and Diagnostic Industry magazine. Currently, he is Co-Chairman of the Association for the Advancement of Medical Instrumentation (AAMI) Human Factors Committee that is developing national standards for all medical device user interfaces.
Kerri Cavanaugh, M.D., M.H.S.
Assistant Professor of Medicine
Division of Nephrology
Vanderbilt University Medical Center
Kerri Cavanaugh M.D., M.H.S. received her bachelor´s degree in Chemistry and Psychology from Dartmouth College in 1995. She received her M.D. from Yale in 1999. After this, Dr. Cavanaugh completed an Internal Medicine Residency and fellowship in Nephrology in 2005. During this time she also served as Chief Resident of Internal Medicine at Johns Hopkins Hospital. In 2006, she graduated from the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health with a Masters in Health Science (M.H.S.) degree with a focus in clinical epidemiology. In 2006, she joined the faculty at Vanderbilt in Internal Medicine Division of Nephrology and the Vanderbilt Center for Health Services Research. Dr. Cavanaugh´s current research focuses on exploring the role of patient awareness and education regarding chronic disease self-management. This includes elucidating the role of health literacy and numeracy in the communication between patients and providers as well as potential barriers to effective self-management in patients with diabetes, hypertension and kidney disease. She has been funded by the NIH and the National Kidney Foundation.
Chandra Osborn Ph.D., M.P.H.
Assistant Professor of Medicine & Biomedical Informatics
Vanderbilt University Medical Center
Chandra Osborn Ph.D., M.P.H. received her bachelor´s degree in Psychology and Sociology from California State University, San Marcos in 2001. She received her master´s degree in Psychology from the University of Connecticut (UConn) in 2004, and Ph.D. in Social Psychology from UConn in 2006. From 2006 to 2008, Dr. Osborn served as an AHRQ Health Services Research Fellow at the Institute for Healthcare Studies at Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine. During this time, she also completed a master´s degree in public health from Northwestern; and graduate certificate in quantitative research methods from UConn. In 2008, Dr. Osborn joined the faculty at Vanderbilt as an Assistant Professor of Medicine in the Division of General Internal Medicine and Public Health. She is currently a research investigator at the Center for Health Services Research and Diabetes Center, and a core faculty member in the Program on Effective Health Communication. Dr. Osborn´s research focuses on improving care for underserved patient populations (e.g., ethnic minorities, patients with limited literacy skills) with diabetes and other chronic illnesses. Her current work involves understanding population-specific determinants of behavior change and testing frameworks to inform the design and content of self-care interventions that are culturally-tailored and literacy appropriate.
Richard Oliver White, M.D.
Assistant Professor of Internal Medicine and Pediatrics
Meharry Medical College
Richard Oliver White, M.D. earned his bachelor´s degree in Biology from Duke University in 1998. He earned his M.D. from Vanderbilt University in 2002 and went on to complete his internship and residency in Internal Medicine and Pediatrics also at Vanderbilt in 2006. He joined Meharry Medical College in 2006 and currently holds the position of Assistant Professor in the departments of Internal Medicine and Pediatrics. He is currently a 2nd year scholar in Meharry´s Clinical Research Education for Career Development (CRECD) program and is working towards his Masters of Science in Clinical Investigation. Dr. White´s research interests focus on addressing health disparities and particularly ways to improve the management of chronic diseases affecting adults and children in minority populations. He has received funding from the NIH, Tennessee´s Diabetes Prevention and Health Improvement Program, and Pfizer´s Health Literacy and Clear Communication Fellowship. Dr White is currently conducting a study addressing health literacy and numeracy as a means to improve diabetes care among Latinos.
Shelagh Mulvaney, Ph.D.
Assistant Professor of Nursing
Dr. Mulvaney received her doctorate in Clinical Psychology from the University of Arizona in 2002. There she specialized in pediatric psychology, research design, and program evaluation. In 2002, she completed her Clinical Internship in Pediatric Psychology at Fletcher Allen Hospital of the University of Vermont. Dr. Mulvaney completed a post-doctoral position as a Research Associate in the Center for Evaluation and Program Improvement at Peabody College, Vanderbilt University. From 2003-2006, she directed and conducted research on children´s mental health services, evidence-based practices, informatics, and pediatric diabetes. Dr. Mulvaney has been funded by Vanderbilt’s Peabody College, Vanderbilt Institute for Clinical and Translational Research (VICTR), the Diabetes Research and Training Center (DRTC), NovoNordisk, and the National Institutes of Health (NIH). Her research interests focus on the design and testing of Internet and mobile technology, and informatics interventions to teach problem solving, and improve adherence and clinical outcomes in adolescents with diabetes and other chronic illnesses. In 2006 Dr. Mulvaney was awarded an R21 grant from the NIH, through the National Institutes of Diabetes, Digestive, and Kidney Disease (NIDDK). The research has resulted in novel measures of adherence and problem solving, and one of the first websites to teach self-management problem solving to adolescents with type 1 diabetes. Dr. Mulvaney teaches Quantitative Research Design in the School of Nursing PhD program, participates in national professional organizations in diabetes, informatics, and Internet research, and reviews articles for Health Psychology, Journal of Pediatric Psychology, Pediatrics, Journal of Behavioral Medicine, Journal of Medical Internet Research, Ambulatory Pediatrics, and Adolescent Health.
Tony Brown, Ph.D.
Associate Professor in Sociology
Tony N. Brown, Ph.D., earned his bachelor´s degree in Sociology from the University of Maryland, Eastern Shore, in 1991. He earned his master´s degree in 1993 and doctoral degree in 1998 from the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor. From 1999 to 2001, he was a Postdoctoral Fellow at the Program for Research on Black Americans in the University of Michigan´s Institute for Social Research. Dr. Brown joined the Sociology department faculty at Vanderbilt in 2001 as an Assistant Professor and was promoted to Associate Professor in 2007. He also serves as faculty in the Program in African American and Diaspora Studies, the Developmental Psychopathology Research Training Program, the Center for Medicine, Health, and Society, and the Center for Evaluation and Program Improvement. His research interests include the mental health impact of race-related stressors, racial identity, ethnic/race socialization, the conceptualization of mental health, and psychiatric epidemiology. His approach to these research interests is informed by critical race theory and mainstream social psychological theories. In recent work, he examines the psychological costs of racism for blacks as well as the mental health benefits some whites receive because of racism. Dr. Brown is involved in funded projects that investigate whites´ racial attitudes, race-related predictors of young adults´ subjective well-being, and how poor physician-patient communication contributes to continuing racial/ethnic health disparities.
Shari Barkin, MD
Marian Wright Edelman Professor of Pediatrics
Director, Division of General Pediatrics
Director of Pediatric Obesity Research, Diabetes Research and Training Center
Dr. Shari Barkin, Marian Wright Edelman Professor of Pediatrics, Director of Pediatric Obesity Research in the Diabetes Research and Training Center, and Chief of General Pediatrics at Vanderbilt University Medical Center, earned her undergraduate degree at Duke University, her medical degree at University of Cincinnati, and completed her pediatrics residency at Children´s Hospital of Los Angeles. She was a Robert Wood Johnson Clinical Scholar at UCLA and completed a 4 year fellowship in Health Services Research. Her research has focused on examining the effectiveness of pediatric office-based interventions and the development of connections from the office into the community to create sustainable effects on health. She is an NIH-funded researcher in the area of injury prevention and obesity prevention and early intervention. Most recently, she was funded by the NIH to evaluate the use of a recreation center as the extension of a doctor´s office to provide early intervention for childhood obesity. She has also been the recipient of a Duke Endowment Grant that supported the building of the Collaborative to Strengthen Families and Neighborhoods- a learning lab to test a new model of community engagement that allows community and academic partners to develop and test meaningful interventions to address pediatric obesity. The Nashville Collaborative was launched in June 2008 in partnership with Metro Parks and Recreation. Building from her NIH studies, she has received a Tennessee State Implementation Grant to test the effect of a community-based family-centered pediatric obesity intervention program for Latino families with young children. Working with the Maternal Infant Health Outreach Worker program, Barkin’s team is also developing an approach to decrease excessive weight gain during pregnancy and increase appropriate infant feeding practices. She collaborates with a group of pediatric obesity researchers to develop and test promising approaches to stem the tide of pediatric obesity. Dr. Barkin is a co-investigator for the National Children’s Study and for the Vanderbilt Institute of Clinical and Translational Research. She chairs the National CTSA Pediatric Metrics of Success working group and serves as the Co-Chair of the National CTSA Consortium Child Health Oversight Committee.
Kathleen Wolff, M.S.N., B.C.-A.D.M., B.C.- F.N.P.
Diabetes Nurse Practitioner, Vanderbilt Eskind Diabetes Clinic
Clinical Instructor, Vanderbilt University School of Nursing
Researcher, Vanderbilt Diabetes Research and Training Center
Kathleen has over 25-years of experience as a diabetes nurse practitioner caring for patients along the spectrum of mild type 2 diabetes to type 1 patients using insulin pumps. Her current research interests include the use of Expressive Writing to decrease stress and improve diabetes self care and improving diabetes care for people with poor literacy. Clinical interests are focused on helping people with diabetes improve their diabetes control, their overall health and their quality of life.
Lindsay S. Mayberry, Ph.D.
Division of General Internal Medicine & Public Health
Vanderbilt University Medical Center
Lindsay S. Mayberry, Ph.D. received her bachelor’s degree in Psychology from Vanderbilt University in 2006. In 2008, she received her master’s degree in Community Counseling, with an emphasis on couples and families from the University of North Carolina, Greensboro. She completed her Ph.D. in an interdisciplinary program called Community Research and Action in the department of Human and Organizational Development at Peabody College, Vanderbilt University in 2012, and began a postdoctoral fellowship in Health Services Research at the Vanderbilt University Medical Center. Her research focuses on families’ experiences with the health and mental health care systems, and interactions between family members and health care providers in the context of chronic illness. Her current work focuses on the role of family member support in diabetes self-management behaviors among adults to inform the development of family-based interventions.
Dianne L. Davis
Cecilia C. Quintero
Mary Lou Jacobson
Andrea Bachus Bronaugh, B.A.
Andrea Bachus Bronaugh is the lead research coordinator of Dr. Russell Rothman´s NIH funded, early-childhood obesity RCT, the Green Light Study. She graduated from Northwestern University where she conducted original research on emerging and established Latino consumer markets for General Motors. She assisted with a needs and assets assessment of cancer disparities in Nashville’s Latino community through the Meharry-Vanderbilt-TSU Cancer Partnership and worked in maternal-fetal health for United Neighborhood Health Services before joining Dr. Rothman´s research team.
Becky Gregory, M.S., R.D., L.D.N., C.D.E.
Becky Gregory is the Nutrition Coordinator for the Diabetes Research and Training Center at the Vanderbilt University School of Medicine. She also works at the Vanderbilt Eskind Diabetes Clinic in the High Risk Diabetes & Pregnancy Clinic. She has years of experience teaching both patients and professionals on diabetes-related topics.
Courtney Cawthon, M.P.H.
Courtney has been working with Dr. Kripalani since December 2007 as the lead research coordinator for studies focusing on health literacy, medication management and health outcomes. She has also worked with Dr. White on a study addressing health literacy and numeracy in Latinos with diabetes. After receiving her B.A. cum laude from Mercer University, Courtney went on to earn her M.P.H. from Boston University, where she received the Award for Excellence in Public Health Practice for original research conducted in rural Nicaragua, which was funded by a grant award from the American Public Health Association through the Colgate-Palmolive company.
Dianne L. Davis, R.D., L.D.N., C.D.E.
Dianne Davis participates in on-going diabetes relapse research, conducts training workshops for registered dietitians and provides medical nutrition therapy for adult diabetes patients.
Duff Green, B.A., M.Div.
Research Analyst II with the Vanderbilt Diabetes Research and Training Center since 1998, Duff brings his life experience as an adult educator to assist in a wide variety of research projects supporting diabetes self management training and medical nutritional therapy.
Shari Barto, M.B.A.
Shari is a Research Project Coordinator, working with Dr. Russell Rothman in studies related to health communication. Current research focuses on literacy and numeracy with regards to improving care for adult and pediatric patients with diabetes. She is an honor graduate from Brenau University and completed Graduate work with CCU.