People

Marcia Ward, PhD

Marcia M. Ward, PhD

RTRC Director

Dr. Ward is a Professor in the Department of Health Management and Policy and Director of the Center for Health Policy and Research in the Department of Health Management and Policy, College of Public Health, University of Iowa. Her 35 years of research experience focus on health services research, rural healthcare delivery, and health outcomes. Dr. Ward has authored more than 100 peer-reviewed journal articles, many of which are highly cited. She has been funded on more than 70 grants and contracts during her research career and has extensive experience directing research teams and conducting evaluations of healthcare implementation and quality improvement projects. She has been involved in telehealth research for nine years. Dr. Ward has two policy briefs and 10 peer-reviewed publications specifically related to telehealth. In October 2016, Dr. Ward was selected to serve as co-chair and member of the National Quality Forum's (NQF's) Telehealth Multistakeholder Committee for the Telehealth Framework to Support Measure Development project. The objective of this NQF project is to assess the best way to measure the quality of healthcare services that incorporate telehealth as the primary delivery method and to guide the future development of telehealth-related measures. This multistakeholder group includes 26 individuals charged with providing guidance and recommendations to determine appropriate telehealth measurements by reviewing clinical and non-clinical aspects of telehealth, such as quality metrics, outcomes, and differentiation of modes of care. They will then identify gaps and develop a measurement framework as well as a set of guiding principles. The committee is tasked to complete its work in one year.

A. Clinton MacKinney, MD, MS

A. Clinton MacKinney, MD, MS

RTRC Deputy Director

Dr. MacKinney has worked in health care for more than 30 years - the first 14 years as a rural family physician, practicing the full scope of family medicine. He continues to practice rural emergency medicine. Dr. MacKinney has been an analyst and researcher with the RUPRI Health Panel and Center since 1998 and he has served on national committees for the Institute of Medicine, the Department of Health and Human Services, the American Academy of Family Physicians, and the American Medical Association. Recently Dr. MacKinney participated as a senior researcher evaluating a large-scale telehealth program. Dr. MacKinney writes and presents nationally regarding rural health system transformation, health care value, physician/administration relationships, physician payment, rural health policy, and population-based health care. He is also a clinical associate professor in the Department of Health Management and Policy in the University of Iowa College of Public Health.

Timothy J. Carney, PhD, MPH, MBA

Timothy J. Carney, PhD, MPH, MBA

RTRC Co-investigator

Dr. Carney recently completed a Cancer Health Disparities post-doctoral fellow in the University of North Carolina (UNC) Gillings School of Global Public Health (SPH) and Lineberger Cancer Center and is currently serving as Assistant Professor in the UNC SPH Department of Health Policy and Management. Prior to receiving a PhD in Health Informatics from the Indiana University, Dr. Carney spent nine years at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) as an Informatics Specialist in program development, training, planning, and consulting. He has conducted information technology needs and capability assessments, interfaced with multilevel stakeholders to gather system requirements, and conducted impact evaluations of health information technology on public health practice and research.

Elizabeth A. Chrischilles, PhD

Elizabeth A. Chrischilles, PhD

RTRC Co-investigator

Dr. Chrischilles is Professor of Epidemiology specializing in pharmacoepidemiology and comparative effectiveness of medical products and care management interventions at the University of Iowa College of Public Health. Dr. Chrischilles will contribute to all of RTRC's studies on comparative clinical effectiveness. She leads the Research Expertise and Methods component and co-directs Biostatistics, Epidemiology and Research Design in the UI Institute for Clinical and Translational Science where she is responsible for comparative effectiveness and medical product safety research leadership. She also directs the UI Health Effectiveness Research Center. Dr. Chrischilles has been PI of many federally funded projects and has published extensively on comparative clinical effectiveness.

Andrew F. Coburn, PhD

Andrew F. Coburn, PhD

RTRC Co-investigator

Dr. Coburn is Research Professor, and Director of the Maine Rural Health Research Center (MRHRC) in the Muskie School of Public Service, University of Southern Maine. Dr. Coburn's research has focused principally on health care delivery and financing, especially in the rural health context. With funding from HRSA, AHRQ, the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, the Kaiser Commission on Medicaid and the Uninsured, among other sources, he and colleagues have studied issues related to patterns of health insurance coverage for rural populations, Critical Access Hospitals and the Rural Hospital Flexibility Program, rural hospital patient safety, rural long term care, and the impact of public and private health reform on rural health systems. He has published widely and was a member of the IOM's Committee on the Future of Rural Health that published Quality Through Collaboration: The Future of Rural Health. Since 1993, he has served on the Rural Policy Research Institute's Expert Panel on Rural Health.

Kimberly A. S. Merchant, MA

Kimberly A. S. Merchant, MA

RTRC Project Manager

Ms. Merchant is Project Manager of RTRC. She brings a background of research, reporting, program development, and marketing to RTRC. Over the course of a 35-year career, she has worked for Fortune 500 companies, been president of a Chamber of Commerce, published a sports and fitness magazine, and been an active civic volunteer. Since coming to the University of Iowa College of Public Health in 2008, she has facilitated worksite wellness group sessions, conducted certified cognitive functioning tests, written and designed newsletters and other publications, conducted a statewide eating disorders needs assessment, and been project coordinator for the RUPRI Center's Mission: Lifeline program evaluations in South Dakota, North Dakota, Wyoming, and Minnesota.

Nicholas Mohr, MD, MS

Nicholas Mohr, MD, MS

RTRC Co-investigator

Dr. Mohr is Associate Professor of Emergency Medicine and Anesthesia Critical Care and Assistant Fellowship Director in Critical Care at theUniversity of Iowa. He is interested in regionalization of rural emergency medicine and critical care services. He has been funded previously by the Emergency Medicine Foundation, the Children's Miracle Network, and the Injury Prevention Research Center. Much of Dr. Mohr's prior work has focused on sepsis, acute respiratory failure, and early trauma care. He has authored more than 30 peer-reviewed publications focused on the intersection between emergency medicine and critical care. He recently concluded a clinical trial testing the use of telemedicine to enroll participants in research studies, and he is currently collaborating on studies testing the quality of telemedicine-enabled physical examinations and utility of telehealth in supporting airway management.

Keith Mueller, PhD

Keith Mueller, PhD

RTRC Co-investigator

Dr. Mueller is Gerhard Hartman Professor and Head, Department of Health Management and Policy, College of Public Health, University of Iowa. He is also the Director of the Rural Policy Research Institute (RUPRI) Center for Rural Health Policy Analysis. He has served as President of the National Rural Health Association (NRHA) and as a member of the National Advisory Committee on Rural Health and Human Services. He also served on the Advisory Panel on Medicare Education for the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, and the Advisory Committee to the Agency for Health Care Policy and Research. He has published more than 200 publications in health services research and policy and received awards recognizing his research contributions from NRHA, RUPRI, and the University of Nebraska. Dr. Mueller has directed major health services studies funded by the U.S. Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, the Federal Office of Rural Health Policy, and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. He has testified on numerous occasions before committees of Congress and in other forums, including the Institute of Medicine and the Medicare Payment Advisory Commission.

Steve North, MD, MPH

Steve North, MD, MPH

RTRC Co-investigator

Dr. North is founder and medical director of the Center for Rural Health Innovation (CRHI) in Spruce Pine, NC, which operates the Health-e-Schools school-based telemedicine program that currently provides access to primary care, preventive cardiology and psychiatry to more than 12,000 students at 30 rural schools in the mountains of western North Carolina. Additionally, Dr. North practices family and adolescent medicine at a rural health clinic; serves as medical director for the Mission Center for Telehealth; and serves on the board of the Mid-Atlantic Telehealth Resource Center and on the ATA Pediatric Guidelines Telemedicine Committee. In October 2016, Dr. North was selected to serve as a member of the National Quality Forum's (NQF's) Telehealth Multistakeholder Committee for the Telehealth Framework to Support Measure Development project. The objective of this NQF project is to assess the best way to measure the quality of healthcare services that incorporate telehealth as the primary delivery method and to guide the future development of telehealth-related measures. This multistakeholder group includes 26 individuals charged with providing guidance and recommendations to determine appropriate telehealth measurements by reviewing clinical and non-clinical aspects of telehealth, such as quality metrics, outcomes, and differentiation of modes of care. They will then identify gaps and develop a measurement framework as well as a set of guiding principles. The committee is tasked to complete its work in one year.

Christopher M. Shea, PhD

Christopher M. Shea, PhD

RTRC Co-investigator

Dr. Shea is Assistant Professor of Health Policy and Management in the Gillings School of Global Public Health and Research Fellow at the Cecil G. Sheps Center for Health Services Research at the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill. Regarding telehealth, he led a study that evaluated the feasibility of a virtual tumor board program, which employed videoconferencing technology to enable community-based oncologists located across the state of North Carolina to participate in tumor board meetings held in Chapel Hill. Complementing this work, Dr. Shea has studied electronic health record (EHR) implementation, with a focus on quality improvement and organizational change. He also has experience developing valid, reliable, and pragmatic survey measures of health organization variables that historically have been difficult to measure, such as organizational readiness for change.

Jean Talbot, PhD, MPH

Jean Talbot, PhD, MPH

RTRC Co-investigator

Dr. Talbot is a core member of the Maine Rural Health Research Center (MRHRC) rural behavioral health research team in the Muskie School of Public Health, University of Southern Maine. A clinical psychologist by training, she focused in more than 10 years of practice on providing behavioral health interventions in inpatient facilities, community mental health agencies, university medical centers, and primary care. Since joining the MRHRC, she has been the principal investigator or lead author on a range of projects that have contributed to insights into behavioral health needs, treatment access, infrastructure gaps, and capacity building in rural areas.

Erika Ziller, PhD, MS

Erika Ziller, PhD, MS

RTRC Co-investigator

Dr. Ziller is Senior Research Associate and Deputy Director of the Maine Rural Health Research Center (MRHRC) in the Muskie School of Public Service, University of Southern Maine. She is an accomplished rural health researcher and experienced methodologist with 15 years of experience working with complex surveys, claims, and other health data. She serves on the Editorial Board of the Journal of Rural Health, received the Louis Gorin award from the National Rural Health Association in 2012 and has published in Health Affairs, Journal of Rural Health, and other recognized journals.