Core Team

Waridibo (Wari) Allison MD, PhD, FACP, CPE, FIDSA

Principal Investigator/ Program Director

Dr. Allison is Vice President of Health Policy in the Division of Research and Innovation and Associate Professor in the Department of Medical Education at the University of North Texas Health Science Center at Fort Worth (HSC). She is director of the HSC Center for Health Policy. Dr. Allison believes health care is a human right and the focus of her work is on improving access to health care for underserved, marginalized populations by combating disease specific, racial, cultural, gender-based, geographical, and economical barriers to health care access from the individual to the health systems level. This includes telementoring and work force development. Her work has received consistent federal funding for several years. She is the principal investigator and program director of the multi-million-dollar Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) funded national Rural Telementoring Training Center.

Jim Bridges, BS

Database Manager

Mr. Bridges supports all aspects of data management for the RTTC including REDCap database building. He has worked in data management for over 36 years. Previously at the Texas Biomedical Research Institute, Mr. Bridges helped develop PEDSYS a pedigree-based database. He built and maintained several data files for pedigree information retrieval and analysis. He also coordinated data from several different laboratories and institutions for large program projects. Within the RTTC, Mr. Bridges builds and manages several REDCap databases. Mr. Bridges has also been involved in innovative ways of utilizing REDCap for the UT Health San Antonio ECHO program and the TACKLE HIV/HCV program.

Kristen Cathey, BFA

Senior Project Coordinator

Ms. Cathey serves as project coordinator at the University of North Texas Health Science Center, Department of Research and Innovation, Center for Health Policy.  She provides administrative and financial reporting support for the RTTC.  Ms. Cathey earned a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree in Art with an emphasis in printmaking from Texas Christian University.  She has over twenty years of non-profit arts management experience with a background in ticket services and financial operations.   Ms. Cathey seeks to create a landscape of healthier communities with universal access to care that utilizes a whole health approach.

Aro Choi, MS

Senior Statistician

Ms. Choi leads statistical analysis of RTTC activities including program outreach and telementoring implementation. Before joining the RTTC team, she worked with various clinical and pharmaceutical data at Duke Clinical Research Institute, GlaxoSmithKline (GSK), NC Department of  Health and Human Services (NCDHHS), and the Center for Research to Advance Community Health (ReACH) at UT Health San Antonio. She has extensive experience in data management, data analysis, and data visualization using SAS. She graduated from Duke University with a master’s degree of Biostatistics and her master’s project focuses on methods and applications for clustered data by sites in the subject and hospital levels. She holds a bachelor’s degree in Statistics. She is an expert in SAS programming and has a passion for simple & effective data visualization to make a positive impact on eliminating health disparities.

Erin Finley, PhD, MPH

Implementation Science Co-Investigator

Dr. Finley is an Associate Professor in the Departments of Medicine and Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences at UT Health San Antonio, and a Research Investigator with the Center for the Study of Implementation, Innovation, and Policy (CSHIIPP) at the Greater Los Angeles Veterans Healthcare System. Dr. Finley is a medical anthropologist, health services researcher and implementation scientist with expertise in mixed methodology, evaluation, and the implementation of evidence-based practices in inpatient and outpatient settings. She contributes D&I methodological expertise to the RTTC and guides its implementation evaluation efforts.

Charde’ Jones

Senior Administrative Coordinator

Ms. Charde’ Jones serves as the Senior Administrator, Executive Support for the Center for Health Policy in the Division of Research and Innovation. Ms. Jones joined the UNT Health Science Center in 2018 and has served in various office management roles assisting high-level executives, facilitating all aspects of internal and external communications and coordinating special projects. As part of her experience, Ms. Jones has helped improve office procedures, managed office budget tracking systems all while maintaining a high degree of excellent customer care.

Keito Kawasaki, MPH

Research Associate

Ms. Kawasaki supports all components of the RTTC including administration and communication, training and technical assistance, evaluation and policy and dissemination.  She supports program data collection and analysis of its implementation and communication activities as well as contributing to scholarly output. She graduated from Tulane University School of Public Health with an MPH, with a focus on global health. Her research interests include HIV, hepatitis C, social determinants of health, health systems strengthening, health program management, and program monitoring and evaluation. Prior to coming to the United States, she lived in Japan, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, Nepal, and Pakistan. She embraces diversity and as a RTTC team member, she is eager to contribute to improving access to quality healthcare for all who need it regardless of their race, ethnicity, age, gender, and socio-economic status.

Holly Lanham, PhD

Implementation Science Co-Investigator

Dr. Lanham is an Associate Professor of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences at The University of Texas Health San Antonio. Dr. Lanham’s primary research focuses on topics at the intersection of information technology and human behavior in health care organizations. She contributes dissemination and implementation methodological expertise to support the RTTC’s program activities and evaluation efforts.

Sarah Lill, MA

Business Operations Lead

Ms. Lill oversees the business and administrative operations of the RTTC. She holds a BA in Communication Studies from Randolph-Macon Woman’s College and an MA in Arts Management from George Mason University.  Ms. Lill has provided overall management and oversight of financial and administrative operations of the Center for Research to Advance Community Health (ReACH) at UT Health San Antonio since 2016 and has over a decade of experience in financial and budgetary management, strategic management, entrepreneurship, and public relations in non-profit and higher education settings

Charles Mathias, PhD

Policy Co-Investigator

Dr. Mathias is an Associate Professor in the Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences at UT Health San Antonio.  His research focuses on improving health outcomes stemming from behavioral health risk and its interaction with community systems.  His policy work applies a Culture of Health Framework in promoting solutions for population well-being through cross-sector collaboration.  He is an alumnus of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Health Policy Fellowship, Dr. Mathias guides RTTC activities related to strategic communication and health policy.

Trisha Melhado, MPH

Evaluation Staff Lead

Ms. Melhado leads evaluation efforts across the RTTC, including the development of telementoring quality measures, an evaluation toolkit, and dissemination of program findings. As a Senior Research Scientist, she brings experience in various research roles, where she provides research guidance to faculty and residents on all aspects of the research process with an emphasis on study methodology and statistical analysis. She has collaborated with faculty from multiple institutions to implement multi-year grant funded projects and has worked on CPRIT, DOD, and HRSA funded grants as well as provided analytical and statistical expertise to projects. She has presented research at local and national conferences in addition to co-authoring several publications based on her analytical contributions.

Bridgett Piernik-Yoder, PhD, OTR

TTA Pilot Faculty and Steering Committee Member

Dr. Piernik-Yoder is an occupational therapist with expertise in geriatrics and adult neuromuscular dysfunction. She is an Associate Professor and serves as the Chair of the Department of Occupational Therapy at UT Health San Antonio and the Berneice Castella Allied Health Chair in Aging Research.  Dr. Piernik-Yoder supports the RTTC’s implementation efforts and serves on its Steering Committee.

Angela Reilly, MS

TTA Navigator

Ms. Reilly works closely with the training and technical assistance team to support partners in designing, launching, and evaluating telementoring programs that improve rural health. After completing her B.S. in Public Health at the University of Texas at San Antonio, she went on to gain clinical experience in the dental field. Driven by her passion for education and public health, she earned a Master of Science in Health Informatics and Analytics degree from Tufts University School of Medicine. As a recent graduate, Angela is eager to  support initiatives geared towards reducing health disparities, improving health literacy among the most vulnerable populations, and increasing access to quality care.

Andrea Rochat, MFA

Communication Staff Lead, ECHO Program Lead, TTA Co-Lead

Ms. Rochat manages the multimedia RTTC communication portfolio to promote the project and engage rural health stakeholders. She also co-leads RTTC training and technical assistance programming, providing guidance and support for content development, communications, and interactions with Learning Partners. She also serves as Manager of the UT Health San Antonio ECHO Program. After getting dual degrees in English and Classics from Washington University in St. Louis, Ms. Rochat earned a Master of Fine Arts in Creative Writing from Pennsylvania State University. As a communicator with experience in education, strategic consulting, and health services research, Andrea is eager to help write a newer narrative of healthcare in which individuals are empowered through access, technology, and partnership to improve their own health and the health of their community.

Jason Rosenfeld, DrPH, MPH

CHC Co-Investigator

Dr. Rosenfeld is an Assistant Professor of Medicine/Research and the Assistant Director of Global Health Education for the Center for Medical Humanities at UT Health San Antonio’s Joe R. and Teresa Lozano Long School of Medicine. He has dedicated his career to empowering under-resourced communities around the world with the knowledge, skills, and social support to address health disparities and inequities using Community-Based Participatory Research approaches. Dr. Rosenfeld has 20 years of experience collaborating with community health workers in Africa, the Caribbean and South Texas to implement and evaluate community-based health promotion programs that focus on water, sanitation and hygiene, reproductive and sexual health, nutrition and physical activity, and infectious disease prevention. For the RTTC, Dr. Rosenfield guides the adaptation of the Community Health Club (CHC) telementoring model into an all-virtual format designed to educate and empower rural health workers.

Suyen Schneegans, MA

TTA Staff Lead

Suyen Schneegans is a Research Scientist for the Rural Telementoring Training Center at the Research to Advance Community Health at UT Health San Antonio. Suyen has been with UT Health San Antonio since 2004. She has a MA from the University of Texas at San Antonio in Bicultural Bilingual Studies with a concentration in Cultural Studies and is a graduate of the University of the Incarnate Word with a BA in Spanish, Literature and Language and a minor is Psychology. Ms. Schneegans has worked on various social science projects pertaining to substance use disorders, community health, and screening, brief intervention, referral to treatment (SBIRT). She is also a qualitative researcher and has presented at numerous local and national conferences and co-authored several publications.

Joel Tsevat, MD, MPH

Steering Committee Faculty Member and Co-Investigator

Dr. Tsevat is a general internist and outcomes researcher. He holds a joint appointment at UT Health San Antonio and Dell Medical School in Austin. In San Antonio, he is Professor of Medicine and Joaquin G. Cigarroa, Jr., MD, Distinguished Chair; Director, Center for Research to Advance Community Health (ReACH); and Director, Institutional Clinical and Translational Science Award (CTSA) KL2 program. At Dell Medical School, he is a professor in the Departments of Population Health and Internal Medicine Dr. Tsevat serves on the RTTC Steering Committee and supports its policy and dissemination efforts.