(In alphabetical order)

Tyra Dark, Ph.D., Research Faculty
Florida State University, College of Medicine

Dr. Dark, a chronic disease epidemiologist, is Research Faculty in the Department of Behavioral Sciences and Social Medicine at the Florida State University College of Medicine in Tallahassee, Florida. Dr. Dark is specifically interested in the comorbidity of mental illness and cardiometabolic syndrome, identifying the unique health care needs of this population, and the role of race/ethnicity on delivery of care. Her current research focuses on identifying how care is delivered to this population to uncover potential contributors of racial/ethnic disparities that can inform future policy or other health care delivery interventions to improve outcomes and reduce observed disparities.  She has conducted several studies focused on examining emergency department visits for anxiety disorders, including an epidemiologic assessment of the content of care during those visits. This research has resulted in the submission and publication of scientific articles highlighting these study findings.  Additionally, she received the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation New Connections award allowing her to continue research in the area of cardiometabolic syndrome and comorbid anxiety disorder.  Dr. Dark will apply this knowledge and insight to health services research to examine influences on the delivery of health care.

Chris Delcher, Ph.D.
Adjunct Research Assistant Professor, Department of Health Outcomes and Policy

Chris Delcher is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Health Outcomes and Policy at the University of Florida. His current projects include evaluating prescription drug monitoring programs and the role in reducing prescription drug abuse, identifying and characterizing Medicaid superutilizers and the prescription drug related outcomes associated with multiple provider episodes, and implementing and evaluating surveillance systems in high and low resource environments.

Samantha Goldfarb, DrPH
Research Faculty, Florida State University, College of Medicine

Dr. Goldfarb joined the FSU College of Medicine in 2015 as Research Faculty in the Department after graduating from University of Alabama at Birmingham School of Public Health with a Doctorate of Public Health (DrPH) in the Department of Health Care Organization and Policy. Dr. Goldfarb’s degree holds a concentration in Maternal and Child Health Policy, and her research is focused on these issues, particularly as they relate to the life course perspective which holds that there are a complex set of risk (e.g., stress, perceived discrimination) and protective (e.g., education, mental health counseling) factors that impact individuals’ health throughout their life span which must be addressed for optimal prevention of poor health outcomes. She is particularly interested in understanding the impact of state health and drug policies on maternal and perinatal populations. She has assisted in teaching master’s level public health courses related to conducting research, community-based needs assessments, and program evaluations. She has also been involved in several state and federal contracts in both Florida and Alabama aimed at improving population health through surveillance and assessment.

Matthew J. Gurka, Ph.D.
Associate Director, Institute for Child Health Policy

Dr. Gurka is a Professor in the Department of Health Outcomes and Policy at the University of Florida. Hired as part of the University’s Preeminence Initiative, Dr. Gurka is also Associate Director of the Institute for Child Health Policy. Prior to his recent appointment at UF, Dr. Gurka was the Founding Chair of the Department of Biostatistics in the School of Public Health at West Virginia University, where he also led the Clinical Research Design, Epidemiology, and Biostatistics Program of the West Virginia Clinical and Translational Science Institute (WVCTSI). Before his stay at WVU, Dr. Gurka was an Assistant Professor in the Department of Public Health Sciences and Department of Pediatrics in the School of Medicine at the University of Virginia.

Dr. Gurka received a Ph.D. in biostatistics with an emphasis in epidemiology at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. He has experience in a wide range of applications of biostatistics to medical research, from the design and analysis of observational studies to the coordination and analysis of multi center longitudinal studies. His research areas in statistics include longitudinal data analyses, mixed models and other multivariate modeling techniques, model selection, power analysis, and internal pilot studies. He has published articles in renowned statistical journals regarding complexities associated with the use of linear mixed models, and he recently served on the Editorial Panel of the Journal of the Royal Statistical Society, Series A.

Dr. Gurka has extensive collaborative and independent research experience in pediatrics. He has obtained funding from the NICHD to study the impact of chronic illnesses such as asthma on development and behavior in children and adolescents. Recently he has focused on childhood and adult obesity, specifically studying the metabolic syndrome. He has obtained NIH funding (NIDDK R21 and a current NHLBI R01) to develop and validate tools to measure metabolic syndrome severity that takes into account sex and racial/ethnic differences observed in this condition. He recently served a term on the Executive Editorial Board of the journal Pediatrics. 

Jeffrey Harman, Ph.D.
Professor, Florida State University, College of Medicine

Dr. Harman, a health economist, is a Professor in the Department of Behavioral Sciences and Social Medicine at the Florida State University College of Medicine in Tallahassee, Florida. After working for several years as a mental health counselor, he received his Ph.D. in Health Services Research, Policy and Administration from the University of Minnesota. His research explores utilization and expenditures of health services, with an emphasis on the impact of health policies on services for vulnerable populations, such as Medicaid beneficiaries and individuals suffering from mental illness. In the past five years, Harman’s research examining these issues have been funded by such agencies as the National Institute of Mental Health, National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, Florida’s Agency for Health Care Administration, and private industry. Dr. Harman’s research has resulted in over 85 peer-reviewed scientific articles. He has been a grant reviewer for such organizations as the National Institutes for Health and the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, and serves as a reviewer for over 20 journals, having been designated an Exceptional Reviewer on multiple occasions.


Karen Harris, M.D.
North Florida Women’s Physicians

Dr. Harris has been with NFWP since 1989. A Florida native, she graduated from Vassar College, attended medical school at the University of Florida and completed her residency training in OB-GYN at the Johns Hopkins Hospital.

Dr. Harris is married to a Gainesville native, and they have a son and daughter. A devoted Girl Scout leader, she teaches young girls how to become tomorrow’s leaders. Dr. Harris was the first female president of the Florida OB-GYN Society and continues to work with the state legislature to promote women’s health issues. She’s also an avid gardener and enjoys working in her yard.

Dr. Harris retired from obstetrics in 2009, but continues to practice gynecology. Her specialties include evaluation and treatment of pelvic pain, adolescent gynecology, treatment of abnormal Pap smears, and minimally invasive surgery using the da Vinci robot.

Heidi S. Kinsell, Ph.D.
Research Faculty, Florida State University, College of Medicine

Dr. Kinsell is a Research Faculty member in the Department of Behavioral Sciences and Social Medicine at the Florida State University College of Medicine in Tallahassee, Florida.  Dr. Kinsell received her Ph.D. in health services research and a Master of Health Administration from the University of Florida.  Dr. Kinsell was one of the lead investigators evaluating Florida’s Low Income Pool as part of the Medicaid Reform Evaluation Demonstration Section 1115 waiver.  Her current research includes the study of health services and healthcare delivery systems for vulnerable patients and the impact on health outcomes at both the individual and population level.  Dr. Kinsell is currently the lead investigator for the Low Income Pool (LIP) project and an investigator on the FSU research team evaluating Florida’s Statewide Medicaid Managed Care Program.  She is also a faculty member in the FSU Center for Behavioral Health Integration.  Dr. Kinsell was previously a healthcare consultant for a large firm and has extensive experience conducting revenue cycle and business process evaluations as well as aiding in the implementation of operational improvements for healthcare systems nationwide.

Herman Knopf, Ph.D.
Research Scientist, Anita Zucker Center for Excellence in Early Childhood Studies at the University of Florida

Dr. Knopf’s research interests include child care accessibility, parent selection of child care, early childhood workforce professional development and use of administrative data. He is collaborating with policymakers in both South Carolina and Florida to develop a Child Care Access Index that measures the extent to which vulnerable children and families have reasonable access to high quality early education and care. He is engaged in several community-based initiatives that work to bridge the research-to-practice divide by implementing evidence-based practices in local early care and learning settings.

Dr. Knopf has a three-fold mission to strengthen several systems in his research projects for the U.S. Administration for Children and Families, Office of Planning Research and Evaluation and the South Carolina Department of Social Services. He is 1) providing professional development to childcare providers; 2) measuring and supporting child and family access to quality childcare services and; 3) coordinating efforts to leverage existing resources to ensure children with and without special needs receive care that supports early development and learning.

As a result of his work, he collaborated with the South Carolina Department of Social Services, to found the Child Care Policy Research team, which uses state administrative data to answer research questions related to early childhood policy and practices to support positive outcomes.

Lisa Langley, Ph.D..
Chief of Staff at Lastinger Center

Dr. Lisa Langley, Senior Project and Initiatives Manager, oversees multiple grants and projects for the Lastinger Center. She has been in the field of education for over 20 years and holds a doctorate in Curriculum and Instruction from the University of Florida.  Lisa is passionate in making a difference in the lives of children..

Jeffrey Roth, Ph.D.
Research Professor of Pediatrics at the University of Florida

Dr. Roth has over 20 years of experience securing large population based databases for research, program evaluation, and dissemination.  He directs teams that provide data management, reporting, and data sharing, and presents study results at national meetings of scientific investigators.  Dr. Roth supervises database acquisitions, statistical analyses, interpretation of findings, and the writing of final reports.  He builds consensus around projects that culminate in manuscript submissions to peer reviewed publications.  View Dr. Roth’s publications.

Betsy Shenkman
Professor and Department Chair, Health Outcomes and Policy

Dr. Elizabeth Shenkman is Chair of Health Outcomes and Policy and Director of the Institute for Child Health Policy. In addition, she is a health outcomes researcher working to achieve two goals: (1) determine which combinations of health care delivery, community, and patient factors influence quality and outcomes of care; and (2) the development of corresponding evidence-based health care delivery system and patient-centric interventions to improve outcomes of care. A substantial portion of Dr. Shenkman’s work in these two areas focuses on reducing cancer-related health disparities for adults and children through the implementation of evidence-based best practices for risk detection and treatment in a range of health care settings.Dr. Shenkman is the Principal Investigator of the OneFlorida Cancer Control Alliance funded through Florida’s James and Esther King Biomedical Research Program. This statewide network is a partnership among UFHealth, Florida State University and the University of Miami. Dr. Shenkman is also the Principal Investigator of a Centers for Medicare- and Medicaid-funded five-year pragmatic randomized trial. The trial tests the effectiveness of a personal navigator and a flexible wellness account on cardiovascular risk reduction among disabled individuals with co-occurring physical and mental health conditions, including those who have cancer. The project is one of ten in the U.S., funded as part of CMS’s Medicaid Incentives for the Prevention of Chronic Conditions portfolio. The personal navigators are embedded within three Medicaid Managed Care Plans to ensure that the study is implemented in a sustainable and real world context. Outcome measures include: patient reported outcomes, LDL-C screening and control, tobacco cessation, control of high blood pressure, and BMI. A key patient-centric innovation lies in having every participant define his/her own individual health goals with support of his/her health navigator.

Dr. Shenkman also leads two major state Medicaid and Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) evaluations: the Texas Medicaid Evaluation Project, which began in 2002, and the Florida KidCare and Healthy Kids evaluations, which began in 1997. These projects address the quality and outcomes of health and dental care for adults and children in Medicaid and CHIP. As part of this work, Dr. Shenkman oversees a 20-member Data Analytics Team, which manages 30 terabytes of data. This team has more than 15 years of experience in using health care claims and encounter and medical record data to calculate a wide range of performance measures across the spectrum from the individual to the health plan. The Data Analytics team integrates health record data with claims/encounter data and patient-reported outcomes to obtain a comprehensive picture of health care quality for preventive and chronic condition care. Dr. Shenkman also led the development of an interactive web portal (The Texas HealthCare Learning Collaborative; used by more than 1,500 health care plans, physicians, and policy analysts. Quality of care results and evidence-based best practices are shared through the portal.

Dr. Shenkman also serves as Co-Director of the Implementation Science Program within UF’s NIH-funded Clinical and Translational Science Institute (CTSI). In this role, Dr. Shenkman collaborates with faculty and staff to provide technical assistance in developing implementation science and patient-centered outcomes studies.

Dr. Shenkman’s research has been funded by the Agency for Health Care Research and Quality, the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, the Texas Health and Human Services Commission, and the Florida Agency for Health Care Administration. Her work is published in journals such as Pediatrics, Health Services Research, Clinical Epidemiology, Pediatric Blood and Cancer, and the American Journal of Public Health. Dr. Shenkman is an elected member of the Society for Pediatric Research and the American Pediatric Society.

Lindsey Thompson, M.D., M.S.
Assistant Professor

Dr. Lindsay A. Thompson is an Assistant Professor of Pediatrics and Health Policy at the University of Florida in Gainesville, Florida. She trained at Columbia University and Dartmouth Medical School, and currently directs the General Pediatrics’ Continuity Clinic at the Children’s Medical Services location, delivers patient care, both directly and through resident mentoring, to children with a variety of medical and social challenges in outpatient pediatric clinic; and builds research skills and infrastructure of the Division of General Pediatrics through didactic teaching and mentored research.

Abby Thorman, Ph.D.
Manager, Early Learning Innovations

Dr. Abby Thorman has worked in the early learning field for over two decades and implemented early childhood programs for the Department of Defense, ran a non-profit, served as a Governor’s policy advisor, oversaw a foundation’s education investments, and consulted in more than 20 states. She is passionate about providing transformative opportunities for vulnerable young children.

Diana Montoya-Williams
UF-Health Outcomes & Policy

Racial and ethnic disparities in neonatal health outcomes have been well-documented and are pervasive. Diana Montoya-Williams, M.D., is a pediatrician and neonatologist-in-training devoted to the understanding of the interrelated factors leading to higher rates of prematurity, low birth weight and overall infant mortality seen in minority populations in the United States. She is interested in exploring how biologic and epigenetic etiologic pathways contribute to social determinants of health to create adverse perinatal outcomes for certain segments of a population. Her research focuses on the mediating effect of stress, experienced either acutely during pregnancy or through a life-course of exposure, on racially and ethnically disparate neonatal outcomes.

Dr. Montoya-Williams is also passionate about pediatric global health and and has traveled through Latin America and Africa conducting research and advocacy work. She is beginning to transition her advocacy work to the pediatric immigrant population in the United States through her collaborative work with both local and national organizations.