My primary responsibilities include developing and managing the science and research direction of the Division of Epidemiology and Biostatistics, pursuing individual and collaborative research in opioid misuse, cancer disparities and sexually transmitted disease epidemiology, and providing education and mentoring to students and staff.
My route to academia is somewhat unconventional. I graduated with a double major in chemistry and biology in 1991 and entered the laboratory workforce at Washington University School of Medicine. This was soon followed by 13 years in the Illinois Department of Public Health laboratories. There I began as an environmental chemist and eventually become both state laboratory bioterrorism coordinator and laboratory operations manager. During this time I also received a CDC scholarship for graduate studies at Tulane University. From 1999-2002 I completed coursework towards a MPH. I then began doctoral studies at the University of Illinois at Chicago, and received my PhD in 2007. This coincided with my joining the SIU Department of Family and Community Medicine as Research Director. My specific research interests (comprising the bulk of my publications) are in the areas of STD epidemiology and cancer disparities. STD research has examined, among other things, the integration of screening interventions in clinical settings, and large scale intervention evaluation at the university campus and regional scale. Cancer disparities explore rural/urban differences in risk, how they might be mitigated, and the influence of STDs (specifically chlamydia and HPV) in oral cancers. More recent work examines disease transmission among injection drug users in rural communities. In 2017, I became a fellow in the America College of Epidemiology.