Members

Academy for Veteran and Military Health

Member Biosketches


Willie Mae Abel, PhD, RN, ACNS-BC

School of Nursing

Assistant Professor

PhD Nursing Science, University of North Carolina at Greensboro

Dr. Abel has received funding for her research from the National Institute on Minority Health and Health Disparities. Her research focuses on reducing cardiovascular disease risk factors in African Americans and improving medication adherence in African American women with hypertension. She is also works with the Southern Nursing Research Society and the American Heart Association.

Ahmed Arif, PhD

Department of Public Health Sciences

Associate Professor

PhD Epidemiology, University of Texas at Houston

Dr. Arif’s research interest is in the epidemiology of asthma and occupational asthma epidemiology. He has an interest in occupational risk factors of returning veterans.

Susan Arthur, PhD

Department of Kinesiology

Assistant Professor

PhD Applied Physiology, University of Toledo

Dr. Arthur’s research interest…laboratory/ systems physiology, cell biology, musculoskeletal aging. Dr. Arthur is family support coordinator for the US Air Force 118th Air Support Operations Squadron.

Chris Blanchette

College of Health and Human Services

Associate Research Professor

PhD Pharmacoepidemiology, University of Maryland

Dr. Blanchette  is developing a grant funded research program in health services research

Allison Burfield, PhD, RN

School of Nursing

PhD (where?)

Dr, Burfield’s research focuses on…

Christine Elnitsky, PhD, CHNS, RN

School of Nursing

Associate Professor

PhD Urban Services-Health Services Research, Old Dominion University

Dr. Elnitsky is a Nurse Scientist with over 20 years of nursing experience and Health Services and Nursing research expertise. She completed a Post-doctoral Fellowship in patient preferences- utility measures with the Department of Veterans Affairs. Following the Fellowship, Dr. Elnitsky joined the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) Headquarters, in Washington D.C., Office of Research and Development where she developed national portfolios of research focusing on health services research for military-affiliated populations (Veterans, Service members, and their families) as an Assistant Director of Health Services Research and Development. She was recruited to the Office of the Assistant Secretary for Policy and Planning where she directed national studies of military-affiliated populations examining access and outcomes from VA health and benefits systems in support of policy development. In her roles with the Office of Policy and Planning Dr. Elnitsky supported policy analysis and development for both the Presidential Task Force for Returning Global War on Terror Heroes and the 2005 White House Conference on Aging.  Prior to her appointment at UNC Charlotte, Dr. Elnitsky extended her research on military-affiliated populations at the Health Services Research and Development/Rehabilitation Research and Development Center of Excellence in Rehabilitation Outcomes, and now the Center of Innovation on Disability and Rehabilitation Research in Tampa FL.  She has served as principal investigator of co-investigator on several NIH, VA, or university-funded grants, and conducted multi-site and national military and veteran population cohort studies. Dr. Elnitsky continues her collaborative community research roles as a Research Health Science Specialist for the W.G. Hefner VA Medical Center in Salisbury, NC and with the Center of Innovation on Disability and Rehabilitation Research in Tampa FL. Her program of research focuses on factors influencing military-affiliated populations (service members, veterans and their families) at risk for community reintegration difficulties, particularly related to behavioral and functional health issues, and developing and implementing systems to support reintegration to the community. 

Andrew Harver, PhD

Department of Public Health Sciences

Professor

Research interest in asthma and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease in the elderly- this would include veterans.

Ruben Howden, PhD

Department of Kinesiology

Assistant Professor

Dr. Howden’s research program focuses on cardiovascular regulation in both human and mouse models

Shanti Kulkarni, PhD, LCSW

Department of Social Work

Associate Professor

PhD Social Work, University of Texas at Austin

Dr. Kulkarni has received multi-year funding from the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services for her research. Her research focuses on interpersonal violence and teen dating violence prevention. She was the co-author of an article cited as One of the 100 Most Influential Publications in the Social Work Discourse in the Past Decade.

Othelia Lee, PhD

Department of Social Work

Associate Professor

PhD, Columbia University

Dr. Lee's work covers gerontology, health promotion, and cultural diversity.

Susan J. Marchetti, MSW. LCSW

School of Social Work

MSW, The University of New York at Albany

Ms. Marchetti’s area of expertise includes behavioral healthcare, strategic planning, program & policy development, and gerontology. Sue was the recipient of the College of Health and Human Services Faculty Excellence Award for Community Engagement in the 2013-2014 academic year and has a passion for engaging the campus community and Mecklenburg Region in this initiative.  Her goal is to support the successful transition of veterans to the civilian community and further develop culturally sensitive services in healthcare and community research partnerships.  Ms. Marchetti’s previous diversity project “Boots to Books,” focused on the successful transition of veterans from the military to UNC Charlotte and the community, by increasing the competence of veteran students’ support services regarding military veterans’ culture.

Joe Marino, PhD

Department of Kinesiology

Assistant Professor

Dr. Marino’s research interest is in cellular metabolic function and obesity metabolic disease.

Sonyia Richardson

Department of Social Work

Lecturer

Sonyia Richardson’s area of interest in outreach activities with veterans.

Dave Sperry

Department of Kinesiology

Lecturer

Meredith Troutman-Jordan, PhD, RN

School of Nursing

Associate Professor

PhD where?

Dr. Troutman Jordan…

Michael J. Turner, PhD, RCEP

Department of Kinesiology

Associate Professor

Dr. Turner’s research interest is in cardiovascular function, physical activity and aging. Specifically, my laboratory is working to understand the mechanisms influenced by regular physical activity that impact the functioning of our aging hearts. The mechanisms that influence the age-related decline in physical activity is also a large area of study for my laboratory. Lastly, my laboratory is investigating the influence of orthopedic factors (i.e., chronic ankle instability) that reduce lifelong physical activity levels causing the development of cardiac dysfuction and other hypokinetic disease characteristics.

Jan Warren-Findlow, PhD

Department of Public Health Sciences

Associate Professor

PhD Community Health Sciences, University of Illinois at Chicago

Dr. Warren-Findlow is a gerontologist with a particular interest in chronic disease self-care among veterans. She is on the editorial boards of the Journal of Gerontology: Social Sciences and the Health Behavior and Policy Review.

Erik Wikstrom, PhD, ATC, FACSM

Department of Kinesiology

Associate Professor

PhD Health and Human Performance, University of Florida

Dr. Wikstrom’s research focus is on the interactions between musculoskeletal biomechanics and sensorimotor function of the ankle following injury with particular emphasis on the coordination of dynamic balance. He and his team apply biomechanical and neurophysiologic principles to better understand the pathophysiology of ankle injuries, elucidate the mechanisms that lead to chronic ankle instability (CAI), and develop effective interventions for ankle joint pathologies. As a result, Dr. Wikstrom’s research crosses multiple disciplines, including biomechanics, motor control, and rehabilitation sciences, but have the common goal of identifying sensorimotor dysfunction and developing effective interventions to restore sensorimotor function.

 

Cara Blevins, Doctoral Student

UNC Charlotte, Department of Health Psychology PhD program

My research seeks to investigate theory and clinical practice related to trauma, resilience, and growth. Specifically, I am working to identify factors which cause and perpetuate experiences of suicide, posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD), and chronic stress reactivity in vulnerable populations (i.e., members of the US military, emergency personnel, individuals from low socioeconomic backgrounds). Additionally, my research seeks to examine how experiences of posttraumatic growth (PTG) may attenuate biopsychosocial sequelae and correspond with outcomes of resiliency and well-being following trauma.

Elizabeth Metzger,  Graduate Student

UNC Charlotte, Public Health Graduate program​

Katherine H.Taber, PhD

WG Hefner VA Medical Center, Salisbury, NC

Chloe Bomberger, MD 

WG Hefner VA Medical Center, Salisbury, NC

Magin Day, Doctoral student

Health Psychology PhD Program

Tabitha Alverio, Doctoral student

Health Psychology PhD Program

Olivia Riffle, Doctoral student

Health Psychology PhD Program​

Jerry Dahlberg, Doctoral Student

Mechanical Engineering PhD Program