Philadelphia University + Thomas Jefferson University

Research Team

Our project team includes the members of our Patient Advocate and Key Stakeholders Advisory Board (PAKSAB) as well as researchers from multiple departments at Thomas Jefferson University Hospital. The PAKSAB members are experienced patient advocates as well as key representatives from the research, medical and legal fields.  Members of the PAKSAB have been involved with the project since its start and meet regularly with the research team to provide input. Some PAKSAB members are also serving as active members of the research team and are helping to conduct either the interviewers or the concept mapping sessions. The PAKSAB and research team work closely together as equal members of the team to conduct this study.

If you would like to contact someone about the VOICe study, please email Alexzandra Gentsch.

Patient Advocate & Key Stakeholders Advisory Board

Gail Weingarten
Gail Weingarten

PAKSAB Chair

I am a patient representative on this project.  My teenage son suffered a traumatic brain injury (TBI) six years ago, which has caused me to make countless visits to hospital emergency rooms with him.  I have developed a passion for improving medical care and research for TBI patients.  I am active with medical research to obtain this goal.  My career years were spent with IBM in technical marketing and management positions and as a VP of Voice and Data Communications with Continental Insurance. I have a BA in Mathematics from SUNY Albany and an MA in Counseling and Student Personnel Administration from the University of Maryland at College Park.


Larry Loebell, MA, MFA
Larry Loebell, MA, MFA

I am a writer and recently retired adjunct full professor at Philadelphia’s University of the Arts where I taught creative writing, film history, and script writing.  I received my MA from Colorado State University and my BA and MFA from Temple University.  Career highlights include a “Best New Play” Barrymore Award nomination, four Pennsylvania Council on the Arts Fellowships, and grants from the EST/Sloan Science Foundation and the National Council for Jewish Culture.  For the past decade I have written "Living News" a continually updated theatrical exploration of topical Constitutional issues shown four times daily during the school year at the National Constitution Center.  I am the author of a new collection of short stories, The Abundance League.


Fran Barg, PhD, MEd
Fran Barg, PhD, MEd

I am a medical anthropologist and an associate professor in the Department of Family Medicine and Community Health, a senior fellow in the Center for Public Health Initiatives at the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine and an associate professor in the Department of Anthropology at the University of Pennsylvania School of Arts and Sciences. I am a collaborator for mixed methods and qualitative research with interdisciplinary research teams across six schools at the University of Pennsylvania. I am also the co-director for the Mixed Methods Research Lab in the Department of Family Medicine and Community Health. Additionally, I teach undergraduate and graduate courses in medical anthropology and qualitative and mixed methods research and implementation science in the School of Medicine and the School of Arts and Sciences at Penn.


Rob Pearlstein, MD
Rob Pearlstein, MD

I am a Geriatric Specialist who has practiced in Norristown since 1993, after completing a geriatric fellowship at the Philadelphia Geriatric Center.  I enjoy participating in all aspects of geriatric care, including, homecare, hospice, teaching and research.  Additionally, I am an active board member with the Alzheimers Association, and work closely with other senior community organizations.


Nicole Thomas, MBA
Nicole Thomas, MBA

I am a lifelong resident of West and Southwest Philadelphia who believes strongly in collaboration to achieve sustainable community level change. After working in banking, workforce development and launching a million dollar family-owned novelty legwear company with my brothers, I began my academic career at the Perelman School of Medicine of the University of Pennsylvania in 2004 and currently work as Director of Special Projects at Jefferson College of Nursing. My key areas of interest are in the development and sustainability of community-academic partnerships to address the multifaceted issues related to health, education and social disparities for members of underserved communities. Through my career and as a consultant, I have worked to plan and implement service, education and research projects from design and implementation to dissemination and translation. Capacity building, health promotion, and collaboration building activities have been at the heart of my work in areas such as: youth violence prevention, access to care, leadership development, obesity reduction, healthy food access and physical environments. My ultimate goal is to bridge the gap between communities and academia by institutionalizing mutually beneficial, community and patient-focused research, education and training agendas that will ultimately enhance the health of underserved communities.


Charlene White
Charlene White

I am a patient representative on the PAKSAB.  I am involved in many other volunteer groups: for example, I serve as a mentor in the Jefferson Health Mentors Program. As a mentor, I help Jefferson students understand what it is like to live with a chronic health condition. I am also a member of Thomas Jefferson University’s Patient and Family Advisory Council and on an advisory board for Philadelphia FIGHT. Additionally, I am currently taking classes to become a certified diabetes educator. I like to say that “health is all I do!”


Neva White, DNP, CRNP, CDE
Neva White, DNP, CRNP, CDE

I am the senior health educator, nurse practitioner and certified diabetes educator at Thomas Jefferson Hospital’s Center for Urban Health. I am the lead instructor for the Jefferson community based diabetes self-management education and support program.  As a certified diabetes educator I am the lead facilitator for the Department of Family and Community Medicine at Jefferson University‘s shared medical visit, Diabetes Information and Support for your Health (DISH). My interest is in supporting learning in people with diabetes. I am the leader of the Philadelphia chapter of Divabetic, a national diabetes support group. In 2015, I was awarded Distinguished Certified Diabetes Educator at the American Diabetes Association’s 75th Anniversary Gala.

The VOICe Research Team

Kristin Rising, MD, MS

Kristin Rising, MD, MS 
Principle Investigator

I am a clinician investigator with a primary research interest in how we can improve the quality and capacity of the US acute care delivery system to best serve individual patient needs. I completed medical school at the University of California San Francisco (2008), emergency medicine residency training at Boston Medical Center (2012), and received a Masters of Science in Health Policy Research at the University of Pennsylvania (2014). I am currently an Assistant Professor and the Director of Acute Care Transitions at Thomas Jefferson University. My work over the past few years has focused on exploring factors associated with Emergency Department revisits in an effort to identify systemic factors contributing to patient struggles in managing their health in the outpatient setting.


LaNoue

Marianna LaNoue, PhD
Co-Principle Investigator

I am a research methodologist with specific interests in design and analysis of longitudinal trials, and the psychometrics of patient centeredness. I completed PhD training in quantitative psychology at the University of New Mexico (2006) and post-doc training at the University of New Mexico School of Medicine, Department of Family and Community Medicine (2011).  Since 2011 I have been on the faculty at the Sidney Kimmel Medical College at Thomas Jefferson University in the Department of Family and Community Medicine. In that role I am the director of the Greenfield Research Center, where I consult with faculty, fellows, staff and students across the institution on measurement, study design, and analysis. I also teach research methods and statistics as well as mentor research learners across the spectrum of training.  My current primary research interests are in patient centered outcomes research, specifically in fostering and measuring engagement in research, and in the use of novel intervention techniques to increase engagement of patients and research participants. 


Hollander

Judd Hollander, MD
Co-Investigator

I am the Associate Dean for Strategic Health Initiatives at Sidney Kimmel Medical College at Thomas Jefferson University and Professor & Vice Chair of Finance and Healthcare Enterprises in Emergency Medicine, where my responsibilities include the JeffConnect® Telemedicine Program and Jefferson Urgent Care. My clinical and academic interests focus on efficient health care delivery including rapid diagnostic testing and risk stratification of patients with acute care conditions.  I have published over 400 peer-reviewed articles, chapters, and editorials, I am the past President of the Society for Academic Emergency Medicine, and Deputy Editor for the Annals of Emergency Medicine. I was the awarded the ACEP Award for Outstanding Research in 2001, the Hal Jayne SAEM Academic Excellence Award in 2003 and the SAEM Leadership Award in 2011.


Carr

Brendan Carr, MD, MA, MS
Co-Investigator

I am an Associate Professor of Emergency Medicine, and an Associate Dean at Sidney Kimmel Medical College of Thomas Jefferson University. My research focus has been on understanding emergency care system design. I have concentrated my work in the domains of trauma, stroke, and cardiac arrest and most recently have initiated efforts to understand the role of telemedicine to advance the care of these time-sensitive conditions. I am a PI or Multiple PI on grants focused on trauma system outcomes, pediatric trauma system outcomes, trauma system design, and stroke system design and I have run or served on a number of national efforts focused on understanding how to develop and measure regional emergency care systems.


Mills

Geoffrey Mills, MD, PhD
Co-Investigator

I am a primary care physician, educator and researcher in the Department of Family and Community Medicine and the Department of Physiology at the Sidney Kimmel Medical College at Thomas Jefferson University. My research is focused on patient-centered cardiovascular risk assessment and communication and implementation science within primary care. I am an active researcher in the Department of Family and Community Medicine with experience using both concept mapping and patient focus groups to inform research and quality improvement efforts.  In addition, I have been recognized as an upcoming leader in primary care research locally and nationally, recently award the Marjorie A. Bowman, MD ’76, Early Career Investigator Award for Primary Care.


Cunningham

Amy Cunningham
Project Manager

I am a postdoctoral fellow in Thomas Jefferson University’s Department of Family and Community Medicine since 2014. My primary area of research interest is chronic illness prevention and management in underserved populations. As the VOICe Project Manager, I have responsibility for developing the project timeline, study procedures, grant progress reports, and other materials. I have a bachelor’s degree in anthropology from Bryn Mawr College and a master of public health degree from Temple University, and a PhD in population health from Thomas Jefferson University’s College of Population Health.


Gentsch

Alexzandra Gentsch
Project Coordinator

I am a research coordinator at Thomas Jefferson University. I have worked on various studies related to public health and my research interests include social disparities and access to medical care. As the VOICe project coordinator, I work with the Project Investigators to oversee patient enrollment into this study, data collection, and analysis of the data. I have a bachelor’s degree in psychology from Loyola Marymount University and a master of social work degree from the University of Pennsylvania.    


Doty

Amanda Doty
Research Assistant

I am the research assistant on the VOICe project.  My broader research interests include understanding the role of health and healthcare for communities. My academic background includes a Bachelor of Science in Immunology and Infectious Disease as well as a Bachelor of Science in Toxicology from the Pennsylvania State University, and a Masters of Science degree in Clinical Research and Translational Medicine from Temple University's College of Public Health. My master’s thesis project sought to define approaches that health systems can take to improve trust in the community that they serve.