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Our Team

Waridibo (Wari) Allison, MD, PhD

Principal Investigator/ Program Director

Dr. Wari Allison is a physician-scientist, an Assistant Professor of Infectious Disease at UT Health San Antonio, Director of both the UT Health San Antonio ECHO and South Central AIDS Education Training Center programs and Medical Director at the San Antonio AIDS Foundation. Dr. Allison believes health care is a human right and her work focuses 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. She is the principal investigator and program director of two multi-million-dollar US federal Health Resources and Services Administration funded projects; a 'special project of national significance' for "Curing Hepatitis C among People of Color Living with HIV” and a project to establish a national Rural Telementoring Training Center.

Jim Bridges, BS

Database Manager

James Bridges 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 in people of color program.

Aro Choi

Senior Statistician

Aro Choi is a senior statistician in the Division of Infectious Disease at the UT Health San Antonio. Before She joined 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

Co-Investigator

Erin P. Finley, PhD, MPH 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.

Keito Kawasaki, MPH

Research Associate

Keito Kawasaki is a research associate for RTTC program. Keito graduated from Tulane University School of Public Health with an MPH, with a focus on global health before joining the TACKLE team in January 2018. 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.

Debra Kichline, BA

Program Manager

Debra Kichline is the Program Manager for the Rural Telementoring Training Center housed in the Research to Advance Community Health at the University of Texas Health Science Center, San Antonio.  Ms. Kichline earned her Bachelor of Arts in Psychology from Southern Illinois University at Carbondale. She assisted in multiple research projects with the developmentally disabled population at Choate Mental Health and Developmental Center in Anna, Illinois. Ms. Kichline also conducted research in the field of organizational behavior management through Project 12-Ways in the Behavior Analysis and Therapy Department of Southern Illinois University.

Holly Lanham, PhD

Co-Investigator

Holly Jordan Lanham, PhD, MBA, is an Associate Professor of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences at The University of Texas Health San Antonio. She received her PhD in Information Systems from the McCombs School of Business, The University of Texas at Austin. Dr. Lanham’s primary research focuses on topics at the intersection of information technology and human behavior in health care organizations. Dr. Lanham enjoys being part of large mixed methods field studies and applying ideas from complexity science to organizational challenges.

Sarah Lill, BA, MA

Sarah Lill serves as the Manager of Research Operations for the Center for Research to Advance Community Health (ReACH) at the University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio.  Ms. Lill 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 ReACH Center 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

Co-Investigator

Dr. Charles Mathias is an Associate Professor in the Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences at the University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio (UT Health San Antonio).  His research focuses on improving health outcomes stemming from behavioral health risk and its interaction with community systems.  This includes the experience of people with mental illness and/or substance use disorder in pretrial justice settings.  His policy work applies a Culture of Health Framework in promoting solutions for population well-being through cross-sector collaboration.  Dr. Mathias has degrees from Indiana University (BS Psychology) and the University of New Orleans (MS and PhD Applied Biopsychology).  He is an alumni of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Health Policy Fellowship.

Trisha Melhado, MPH

Senior Research Scientist

Ms. Trisha Melhado is the Senior Research Scientist for RTTC. Ms. Melhado has 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 successfully 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.

Rahma Mungia, BDS, MSc, DDPHRCS

Dr. Rahma Mungia is an Associate Professor, Department of Periodontics, School of Dentistry at the UT Health San Antonio. Currently, she serves as the Director for the South Texas Oral Health Network (STOHN), a local PBRN supported by the Clinical Translational Science Award (CTSA) and additionally as the Assistant Director of the Southwest Region of the National Dental Practice-Based Research Network (PBRN).

Bridgett Piernik-Yoder, PhD, OTR

Dr. Bridgett 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‘s scholarly work addresses rehabilitation outcomes, home safety needs of older adults including fall risk reduction, professional issues and learning needs of health science professionals, and the scholarship of teaching and learning in health science education.

Andrea Rochat, MFA

Senior Research Coordinator

Andrea Rochat serves as a Senior Research Coordinator for the Center for Research to Advance Community Health (ReACH) at UT Health San Antonio. After completing dual majors in English and Classics at Washington University in St. Louis, Andrea went to Pennsylvania State University, where she earned a Masters of Fine Arts in Creative Writing. Her work in communications and content development led her to ReACH, where she has served as a writer, communicator, and coordinator for over six years on projects involving telementoring, primary care practice redesign, hepatitis C management in primary care, specialist teleconsultation, non-pharmacologic chronic pain management, and community engagement. She supports communications, marketing, training, and evaluation efforts for the National Rural Telementoring Training Center. Andrea also serves as a facilitator and coordinator for the UT Health San Antonio ECHO Service Center. Her background makes her passionate about improving the patient and provider experience through innovative forms of communication. As a health communicator, Andrea is eager to help write a newer narrative of healthcare, in which individuals are empowered through access, technology, and education to improve their own health and the health of their community.

Jason Rosenfeld, DrPH, MPH

Co-Investigator

Dr. Jason Rosenfeld is an Assistant Professor of Medicine/Research and the Assistant Director of Global Heatlh Education for the Center for Medical Humanities at UT Health San Antonio’s Joe R. and Teresa Lozano Long School of Medicine. Dr. Rosenfeld is a graduate of Duke University (BA in Political Science), received his MPH from Emory University's Rollins School of Public Health, and holds a DrPH in Public Health Leadership from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill’s Gillings School of Global Public Health. 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.

Suyen Schneegans, MA

Research Scientist

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

Co-Investigator

Dr. Tsevat is a general internist and outcomes researcher. He holds a joint appointment at the University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio (UT Health San Antonio) and Dell Medical School. 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 is a graduate of UT Austin (BA in Plan II) and of UT Health San Antonio. He received an MPH degree from the T.H. Chan Harvard School of Public Health and completed a fellowship in Clinical Decision Making at Tufts Medical Center. He was on faculty at Harvard, then moved to Cincinnati where he spent 22 years. He relocated to Texas in June 2017.

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