ABOUT INTERDISCIPLINARY
RESEARCH LEADERS

Interdisciplinary Research Leaders is a leadership development opportunity for teams of researchers and community partners, including community organizers and advocates. These teams use the power of applied research—informing and supporting critical work being done in communities—to accelerate that work and advance health and equity. Their innovation helps build a Culture of Health, one that enables everyone in America to live longer, healthier lives.

[Pictured Left to Right]

BILLY KIRKPATRICK, PhD, Executive Director, West Alabama AIDS Outreach, Tuscaloosa, Alabama

SAFIYA GEORGE, PhD, Associate Professor, University of Alabama, Tuscaloosa, Alabama

GEORGE MUGOYA, PhD, Assistant Professor, University of Alabama, Tuscaloosa, Alabama

 

 

THE EXPERIENCE: INTERDISCIPLINARY RESEARCH LEADERS

Over the course of the three-year program, fellows will:

  • Receive $25,000 per year for each team member ($75,000 over three years) to support time in the program (approximately one day per week).
  • Receive up to $125,000 in funding to support a team research project.
  • Develop high-level leadership skills through professional coaching, networking, and an advanced leadership curriculum, including at least one in-person gatherings (travel funded by the program), as well as virtual leadership development trainings and coursework.
  • Work on their project with their team and national program advisers.
  • Continue working in their home communities and applying new learnings in real time.
  • Receive mentoring from national experts in research, community action, health equity, public policy, and advocacy.
  • Explore one of two annual themes. The 2017 themes are “youth development approaches for the prevention of violence and promotion of health” and “community and individual resilience and health.”

THE RESULT: LEADERS EQUIPPED TO BUILD A CULTURE OF HEALTH IN AMERICA

Upon completion, fellows will be equipped to:

  • Lead and collaborate across sectors, professions, and disciplines.
  • Draw upon and apply relevant research to inform and ultimately increase the impact of community work.
  • Engage with communities using community-informed research to influence systems and institutions.
  • Strengthen programs and policies by applying research and data.
  • Integrate equity, Culture of Health, research, and other concepts into current work.
  • Advocate for systemic change to improve health and health equity.
  • Frame systemic issues and build public will to address them.

Interdisciplinary Research Leaders is a program of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, led by University of Minnesota.

The Robert Wood Johnson foundation

These programs continue the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation’s legacy of supporting the development and diversity of leaders. Initially focused on health and health care, the programs have been expanded, because we know that building a Culture of Health requires all of us in every sector, profession and discipline working together.

For more than 40 years, the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation has worked to improve health and health care. It is working with others to build a national Culture of Health, enabling everyone in America to live longer, healthier lives.

PROGRAM LEADERSHIP

Michael Oakes
MICHAEL OAKES DIRECTOR, INTERDISCIPLINARY RESEARCH LEADERS, PROFESSOR, UNIVERSITY OF MINNESOTA SCHOOL OF PUBLIC HEALTH

Michael Oakes is a Professor of Epidemiology at the University of Minnesota, co-director of the University’s US Federal Statistics Research Data Center, Director of the Division of Epidemiology’s PhD program, and the University’s Faculty Liaison to the Minnesota State Legislature. Michael is an active researcher on a wide variety of NIH, NSF and RWJF funded studies addressing a vast array of methodological, health, social and ethical topics. Michael has authored over 115 papers exploring problems at the intersection of social and health sciences. The second edition of his book, Methods in Social Epidemiology is to be released in early 2017.

Jan Malcolm
JAN MALCOLM CO-DIRECTOR, INTERDISCIPLINARY RESEARCH LEADERS, VICE PRESIDENT OF PUBLIC AFFAIRS, ALLINA HEALTH

Jan Malcolm, is Co-director of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Interdisciplinary Research Leaders (IRL) Program and on the adjunct faculty at the University of Minnesota School of Public Health. Jan’s most recent leadership roles have been as Vice President of Public Affairs for Allina Health and CEO of the Courage Center, which merged with Sister Kenny in 2013 to become the Courage Kenny Rehabilitation Institute. She served as Minnesota’s Commissioner of Health from 1999-2003, and in that capacity led one of the top public health agencies in the country. Jan also was a senior program officer at the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation on the public health and childhood obesity teams from 2003-2005.

Sarah Gollust
SARAH GOLLUST ASSOCIATE DIRECTOR OF CURRICULUM, INTERDISCIPLINARY RESEARCH LEADERS, ASSOCIATE PROFESSOR, UNIVERSITY OF MINNESOTA SCHOOL OF PUBLIC HEALTH

Sarah Gollust is an Associate Professor in the Division of Health Policy and Management at the University of Minnesota School of Public Health. Dr. Gollust is a social scientist studying the intersections of communication, politics and health policy. In her past research, she has examined the roles of news media and public opinion within significant health policy issues, including obesity, health disparities, the Affordable Care Act and cancer screening. She also examines how research is communicated in the policymaking process. She has received grants from the American Cancer Society, the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and the National Institutes of Health to support her work. Dr. Gollust was a Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Health & Society Scholar at the University of Pennsylvania from 2008 to 2010, and received her PhD in Health Services Organization and Policy from the University of Michigan.

Ezra Golberstein
EZRA GOLBERSTEIN
ASSOCIATE DIRECTOR OF RESEARCH, INTERDISCIPLINARY RESEARCH LEADERS;
ASSOCIATE PROFESSOR, UNIVERSITY OF MINNESOTA SCHOOL OF PUBLIC HEALTH

Ezra Golberstein is an Associate Professor of Health Policy and Management in the University of Minnesota School of Public Health. His research areas focus around health economics, mental health services and policy, nonmedical determinants of health, and health care financing and costs. Dr. Golberstein earned his PhD in Health Services Organization and Policy from the University of Michigan and completed a post-doctoral research fellowship in mental health economics at Harvard Medical School.

Kathleen Call
KATHLEEN CALL ASSOCIATE DIRECTOR OF COMMUNITY ENGAGEMENT, INTERDISCIPLINARY RESEARCH LEADERS PROFESSOR, UNIVERSITY OF MINNESOTA SCHOOL OF PUBLIC HEALTH

Kathleen Call is a Professor in the Division of Health Policy and Management at the University of Minnesota School of Public Health. She co-chairs the Health Equity Work Group in the School of Public Health and plays a role in the community engagement core of the Clinical Translational Science Institute. Dr. Call has developed a body of research on the complexities of measuring health insurance coverage, understanding variation in estimates of coverage between different state and national surveys, and exploring discrepancies between survey and administrative data counts of insurance coverage—referred to as the “ Medicaid undercount.” Dr. Call’s research examines access to health insurance coverage and the extent to which health insurance translates into equitable access to health care services. She has also worked on a number of community-engaged research projects focusing on barriers to health care.

Joe Konstan
JOE KONSTAN ASSOCIATE DIRECTOR OF INFORMATION TECHNOLOGY, INTERDISCIPLINARY RESEARCH LEADERS, PROFESSOR, COMPUTER SCIENCE AND ENGINEERING, UNIVERSITY OF MINNESOTA

Joseph Konstan is Distinguished McKnight Professor and Distinguished University Teaching Professor in the Department of Computer Science and Engineering at the University of Minnesota, where he also holds the title Adjunct Professor of Public Health. His research addresses a variety of human-computer interaction issues, including personalization (particularly through recommender systems), eliciting online participation, designing computer systems to improve public health, and ethical issues in research online. He is probably best known for his work in collaborative filtering recommenders (the GroupLens project, which recently won the ACM Software Systems Award). Joe received his PhD from the University of California, Berkeley in 1993.

Ira Moscovice
IRA MOSCOVICE SENIOR PROGRAM ADVISOR, INTERDISCIPLINARY RESEARCH LEADERS, PROFESSOR, UNIVERSITY OF MINNESOTA SCHOOL OF PUBLIC HEALTH

Ira Moscovice is the Mayo Professor and the Director of the University of Minnesota Rural Health Research Center funded by the Federal Office of Rural Health Policy. Dr. Moscovice is one of the leading rural health services researchers and policy analysts and was the first recipient of the National Rural Health Association’s Distinguished Researcher Award. He has research interests in rural health care and the impact of health policy on disadvantaged populations. His current research interests include the quality of rural health care, the evaluation of alternative rural health care delivery systems and strategies for addressing the social determinants of rural health. He teaches courses on health policy and policy analysis. Ira Moscovice received his PhD in operations research from Yale University.

Doran Schrantz
DORAN SCHRANTZ PARTNER, INTERDISCIPLINARY RESEARCH LEADERS, EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR, ISAIAH

Doran Schrantz is the Executive Director of ISAIAH, a faith-based community organization of faith communities across Minnesota. She has been at the center of ISAIAH’s development into an organization considered one of the most powerful voices in the state around issues of racial and economic justice. In the past eight years, ISAIAH has explored the intersection of community organizing, movement-building, policy and research. ISAIAH has led three community-grounded Health Impact Assessments around school integration, housing and payday lending, as well as partnered with agencies at the local, regional and state level to tackle racial and economic equity—working on issues such as sentencing reform, transit investments, expanding access to paid leave and school disciplinary practices. Doran has also worked to launch Healthy Heartlands, a five-state collaborative working at the intersection of the social determinants of health and democracy building, staging strategic interventions that reduce health inequities.

Andriana Abariotes
ANDRIANA ABARIOTES PARTNER, INTERDISCIPLINARY RESEARCH LEADERS, EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR, TWIN CITIES LOCAL INITIATIVES SUPPORT CORPORATION (TC LISC)

Andriana Abariotes leads one of LISC’s most innovative and robust local offices, focused on supporting collaborative approaches across neighborhoods and sectors, including transportation, health, education and arts/culture; growing diverse leadership; and strengthening regional community economic development capacity. TC LISC annually invests $8-10 million in local development partners and strategies, which leverages nearly $150 million in redevelopment each year. Andriana serves as an advisor on several boards and task forces, including Family Housing Fund and Twin Cities Community Land Bank Boards of Directors, the St. Paul Promise Neighborhood Advisory Board, and the Community Resource Board for Allina’s Backyard Initiative. With over 25 years of experience in the field, she holds a B.A. from Macalester College and M.A. from the University of Minnesota, and was selected as a 2014 Bush Foundation Fellow.

Bonnie Austin Cluxton
BONNIE AUSTIN CLUXTON PARTNER, INTERDISCIPLINARY RESEARCH LEADERS, VICE PRESIDENT, STRATEGIC PLANNING AND BUSINESS DEVELOPMENT, ACADEMYHEALTH

Bonnie Austin Cluxton is Vice President, Strategic Planning and Business Development at AcademyHealth, where she also serves as Deputy Director of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation’s Changes in Health Care Financing and Organization (HCFO) program. Ms. Cluxton’s HCFO work includes evaluating and administering grants, developing and managing conferences on health care financing issues and authoring monographs, newsletter articles and briefing papers. Her responsibilities also include developing, implementing and refining strategic approaches to business development at AcademyHealth. Ms. Cluxton serves as Assistant Secretary to AcademyHealth’s Board of Directors. Prior to joining AcademyHealth, Ms. Cluxton worked for 10 years as a litigator at Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom LLP. Her practice involved representing clients, including health care providers, in criminal investigations, civil suits and administrative proceedings. Ms. Cluxton received her MPH from The George Washington University, her JD from University of Notre Dame Law School and her BA from Dartmouth College.

Our partners are instrumental in developing and delivering curriculum, providing mentorship and coaching, and extending the network of fellows.

National advisory committee

Melissa Bradley
MELISSA BRADLEY
NATIONAL ADVISORY COMMITTEE, INTERDISCIPLINARY RESEARCH LEADERS
ASSOCIATE PROFESSOR, UNIVERSITY OF CALIFORNIA, DAVIS

Melissa Bradley is Executive in Residence at the Department of Management and the Director of the Center for Innovation at American University. Ms. Bradley is a tri-sector leader with more than 20 years of experience in entrepreneurship, investment, and leadership. Her private sector experience began at the Student Loan Marketing Association in Washington, DC. She has also spent significant time in the social sector, including the launch of several social enterprises – for profit and nonprofit. Ms. Bradley holds a Bachelor of Science in Finance from Georgetown University and Masters of Business Administration from American University.

Magdalena Cerda
MAGDALENA CERDA
NATIONAL ADVISORY COMMITTEE, INTERDISCIPLINARY RESEARCH LEADERS
ASSOCIATE PROFESSOR, UNIVERSITY OF CALIFORNIA, DAVIS

Magdalena Cerda is an Associate Professor in the Department of Emergency Medicine and the Vice Chancellor’s Chair in Violence Prevention at the University of California, Davis. Dr. Cerda’s research focuses on the neighborhood causes and mental health consequences of violence, life course influences on substance use trajectories, and the emergence of new drivers and forms of substance use. Dr. Cerda holds a Bachelor of Science from Cornell University, Master of Public Health from Yale University, and Doctorate in Public Health from Harvard University.

MayKao Hang
MAYKAO HANG
NATIONAL ADVISORY COMMITTEE CHAIR, INTERDISCIPLINARY RESEARCH LEADERS
PRESIDENT & CEO, AMHERST H. WILDER FOUNDATION

MayKao Hang is the President & CEO of the Amherst H. Wilder Foundation, a nonprofit organization dedicated to improving lives in the greater St. Paul, Minnesota community and beyond through direct services, research, and community building. She has extensive experience in the public and nonprofit sectors, serving low-income and disadvantaged populations. Dr. Hang is committed to achieving an equitable society where everyone can prosper and believes that harnessing and building social and civic capital can transform the world. Dr. Hang holds a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology from Brown University, a Master of Arts in Social Policy and Distributive Justice from the University of Minnesota, and a Doctorate in Public Administration from Hamline University.

Anthony Iton
ANTHONY ITON
NATIONAL ADVISORY COMMITTEE, INTERDISCIPLINARY RESEARCH LEADERS
SENIOR VICE PRESIDENT OF HEALTH COMMUNITIES, THE CALIFORNIA ENDOWMENT

Anthony Iton is the Senior Vice President of Health Communities at The California Endowment. His primary focus includes the health of disadvantaged populations and the contributions of race, class, wealth, education, geography, and employment to health status. Dr. Iton oversees the organization’s 10-year, multi-million-dollar statewide commitment to advance policies and forge partnerships to build healthy communities and a healthy California. Dr. Iton holds a Bachelor of Science in Neurophysiology from McGill University, Juris Doctor from the University of California, Berkeley, and Medical Degree from Johns Hopkins University.

Spero Manson
SPERO MANSON
NATIONAL ADVISORY COMMITTEE, INTERDISCIPLINARY RESEARCH LEADERS
DISTINGUISHED PROFESSOR OF PUBLIC HEALTH AND PSYCHIATRY, UNIVERSITY OF COLORADO, DENVER

Spero Manson is a Distinguished Professor of Public Health and Psychiatry, directs the Centers for American Indian and Alaska Native Health, and serves as the Associate Dean of Research at the School of Public Health at the University of Colorado, Denver. His research focuses on the assessment, epidemiology, treatment, and prevention of physical, alcohol, drug, as well as mental health problems over the developmental lifespan of Native people. Dr. Manson is widely acknowledged as one of the nation’s leading authorities in regards to Indian and Native health. Dr. Manson holds a Bachelor of Arts in Anthropology from the University of Washington and a Master of Arts and Doctorate in Anthropology from the University of Minnesota.

Amelie Ramirez
AMELIE RAMIREZ
NATIONAL ADVISORY COMMITTEE, INTERDISCIPLINARY RESEARCH LEADERS
DIRECTOR, SALUD AMERICA!

Amelie Ramirez is the Director at Salud America! and the Institute for Health Promotion Research at the University of Texas, San Antonio. She is an internationally recognized cancer health disparities researcher. Dr. Ramirez has spent 30 years directing research on human and organizational communication to reduce chronic disease and cancer health disparities affecting Latinos, including cancer risk factors, clinical trial recruitment, tobacco prevention, obesity prevention and health lifestyles. Dr. Ramirez holds a Bachelor of Science in Psychology from the University of Houston, a Master of Public Health in Health Services Administration from the University of Texas, Houston, and Doctorate in Health Promotion from the University of Texas, Houston.

Victor Rubin
VICTOR RUBIN
NATIONAL ADVISORY COMMITTEE, INTERDISCIPLINARY RESEARCH LEADERS
VICE PRESIDENT FOR RESEARCH, POLICYLINK

Victor Rubin is the Vice President for Research at PolicyLink, a national nonprofit institute for policy change. He leads, designs, and conducts knowledge-building activities to create a strong research base for PolicyLink. Dr. Rubin is an urban planner with broad experience in community development, education, and social policy and has guided PolicyLink analyses on the issues that include infrastructure, economic growth, healthy communities, and youth development. Dr. Rubin holds a Bachelor of Arts from the University of Chicago and a Master of City Planning and a Doctorate in Planning from the University of California, Berkeley.

Brian Saelens
BRIAN SAELENS
NATIONAL ADVISORY COMMITTEE, INTERDISCIPLINARY RESEARCH LEADERS
HEALTH PSYCHOLOGIST AND PROFESSOR OF PEDIATRICS, SEATTLE CHILDREN’S HOSPITAL AND UNIVERSITY OF WASHINGTON SCHOOL OF MEDICINE

Brian Saelens is a Health Psychologist and Professor of Pediatrics and Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences at Seattle Children’s Hospital and the University of Washington School of Medicine. He conducts research in environmental influences on physical activity and eating behaviors and on the psychosocial factors that influence individual choice for weight-related behaviors, which includes examining how the neighborhood environment impacts weight status, physical activity and dietary behaviors across the lifespan. Dr. Saelens holds a Bachelor of Arts from Cornell University and Doctorate in Clinical/Health Psychology from State University of New York at Buffalo.

Shoshanna Sofaer
SHOSHANNA SOFAER
NATIONAL ADVISORY COMMITTEE, INTERDISCIPLINARY RESEARCH LEADERS
SENIOR ADVISOR, AMERICAN INSTITUTES FOR RESEARCH

Shoshanna Sofaer is the Director of Strategic Planning for Health Policy Research at the American Institutes for Research. Her research interests include developing tools for patients and families to engage productively in their health and healthcare, policymaker attitudes about using medical evidence and cost-effectiveness analysis to allocate societal resources, and developing state and local coalitions to pursue community health and health care improvement objectives. Dr. Sofaer is a nationally recognized authority on patient and family engagement with extensive expertise in using qualitative and quantitative research methods and translating and disseminating health services and communication research findings. Dr. Sofaer holds a Bachelor of Arts in Political Science and Government from Barnard College, a Master of Public Health and a Doctorate in Public Health from the University of California, Berkeley.