Meet the Team

Tetyana Shippee, PhD

Principle Investigator 

Tetyana is an Associate Professor in the Division of Health Policy Management, University of Minnesota.

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Dr. Shippee is a social gerontologist whose work focuses on improving quality of life and quality of care for older adults. As part of her research, she spent two years living in a long-term care facility. Dr. Shippee’s work focuses on advancing equity and quality in long-term services and supports. Dr. Shippee has over 50 peer-reviewed publications in top journals in the field of aging, book chapters and reports and also serves in leadership positions for national organizations.

Tricia Skarphol, MA

Project Manager 

Tricia, MA, is a research coordinator who has worked in the School of Public Health at the University of Minnesota for the past 18 years in the divisions of Health Policy and Management and Epidemiology and Community Health.

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She has worked in a number of research roles on various projects at the U of MN, including 18 years on a long-term, multi-center trial evaluating the effects on weight loss in individuals with type 2 diabetes working as an interventionist, intervention coordinator and program coordinator.  

In 2016, she joined the EQUALs team and has managed a variety of projects addressing health disparities in long-term services and supports.  Her work on these projects focuses on qualitative data gathering and data management, dissemination support and regulatory and grant support.  Tricia has enjoyed working in health services research, particularly the direct interactions with nursing home residents and staff, community members and other individuals working to improve care and services for older adults.

Odichinma Akosionu, MPH

Research Assistants 

Odichinma (Odi) is a PhD student in the Health Economics track of the Health Service Research, Policy and Administration program at the University of Minnesota, School of Public Health.

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She received her master’s degree in Public Health from the University of Minnesota, School of Public Health (2014). As a part of her dissertation, Odi is interested in exploring nursing home ownership and the impact on quality of care and quality of life, with a focus on how ownership changes may impact racial inequities in health, quality of care and quality of life outcomes for long stay residents. 

Odi has been on the EQuaLS team since 2017. She works on the R01 study where she has conducted resident and staff interviews, and presented preliminary findings at the 2019 ARM and GSA conferences. She is currently working on the Minnesota Assisted Living report card development project which has produced two reports so far: (1) Literature Review and Environmental Scan: Identifying Quality Measures in Assisted Living and (2) Stakeholder Feedback on Identifying Quality Measures for a Minnesota Assisted Living Report Card. Odi also supports the EQuaLS team’s partnership and work with the Minnesota Diverse Elders Coalition (MNDEC), including a community forum for diverse elders to learn about experiences of communities of color in accessing and utilizing long term services and supports, as well as co-presented with MNDEC at the CTSI’s Power of Partnership event in February, 2020.

Yinfei Duan, MSN, PhD

I am a Postdoctoral Fellow at the University of Alberta Faculty of Nursing, Edmonton, AB, Canada. I have been working with EQuaLS team since 2016, when I was a PhD student in Nursing at the University of Minnesota. I continue to collaborate with EQuaLS team as a Post-Doctoral Fellow.

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My research focuses on quality of care and the delivery of person-centered care to older adults who need long-term care. The overall goal of my research is to improve quality of life for older adults living in both the community and nursing homes, and to help them achieve positive and successful aging. Particularly in the EQUALs, I participate in two projects that focus on racial disparities in quality of life and care for both nursing home residents and community-dwelling adults receiving home-and-community-based services.

Mark Woodhouse, B.A.

Data Manager

Mark is a database designer and data analyst who has worked in the School of Public Health at the University of Minnesota for the past 17 years, principally supporting research in the Division of Health Policy and Management’s Center on Aging.

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Most of the research he has been a part of has been in the areas of long-term care policy, with special focus on nursing home quality of care and quality of life measures. His particular area of expertise is in the use of nursing facility reporting data such as the CMS Minimum Data Set to monitor and measure facility performance. He serves as a subject matter expert and maintains research databases for a variety of projects.

Taylor Bucy, MPH

I am a PhD student in the Division of Health Policy & Management in the School of Public Health.

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My research interests center around the financing and delivery of long-term care/long-term services and supports, as well as the regulatory and policy landscape that contributes to barriers in equitable access of such services. I am particularly interested in the provision of end-of-life care as it relates to both aging in place and state-level assisted living regulations. While completing my MPH, I worked on a national assisted living policy project to examine the potential impacts of state assisted living regulatory environments on the health outcomes of residents with ADRD. As part of the EQuaLS projects team, I am working on a study to examine racial/ethnic disparities in quality of life and quality of care for residents with ADRD and serious mental illness, ultimately designed to improve care and further inform policy.

John Mulcahy

PhD student in Health Services Research, Policy and Administration Program

Hawking Ren, MS

Hawking is a PhD student in the Health Services Research, Policy and Administration program.

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Hawking’s research interests center on social determinants of health and disparities in the historically disadvantaged population under a multinational context. He is especially interested in investigating how Alzheimer’s disease and related dementia impact patients and their family’s socioeconomic status. Hawking’s long-term goal is to become an independent researcher to inform policymakers about improving the financial well-being and health outcomes for vulnerable populations. Currently, he is serving on the 2021-2022 AcademyHealth Disparity Interest Group advisory committee as a student member. Hawking received his master’s degree in Healthcare Decision Analysis from the University of Southern California.

Shekinah Fashaw-Walters, PhD

Shekinah is an Assistant Professor in the Division of Health Policy and Management.  She is a faculty collaborator for the EQuaLS team.

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Providing quality care for all means dismantling structural inequities and providing equitable high-quality care for the most marginalized. As a health services researcher, Dr. Fashaw-Walters’ program of research focuses on understanding the inequities in aging while elucidating and explicitly naming racism as a fundamental determinant of health inequities within long-term care.  She conducts research focused on both nursing homes and home- and community-based services and her work is inspired and guided by her commitment to anti-racist work that moves beyond the classroom.

Dr. Fashaw-Walters is a health equity and aging tenure-track Assistant Professor in the Division of Health Policy & Management at the University of Minnesota’s School of Public Health. She received her PhD in health services research from Brown University, and her MSPH in Health Policy and Management from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Gillings School of Global Public Health. She is also a proud graduate of the University of Central Florida and alumna of the McNair Scholars TRIO Program. Dr. Fashaw-Walters envisions a society where the strength, autonomy, dignity, and independence of all older adults are enhanced by LTSS policies and practices that promote healthy and equitable aging. And to get there, as she says, “there is much work to be done.

Zachary G. Baker

Zachary Baker, PhD

Zach is a Robert L. Kane Post-Doctoral Fellow in the Division of Health Policy and Management.

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How we might live our best lives was the central question I worked to answer while earning my Ph.D. in social psychology at the University of Houston. Nearly all my research trying to understand how we live our best lives is seen through the lens of Self-Determination Theory, and I have found the domains of personality and relationships to be particularly interesting places to explore these questions. Through external grant funding and publications, I have employed several methodological (e.g., event momentary assessment, interventions, dyadic data collection) and statistical (e.g., machine learning, multilevel modeling, structural equation modeling) techniques to answer my research questions.

Manka Nkimbeng

Manka Nkimbeng, PhD, MPH, RN

Manaka is an Assistant Professor, Division of Health Policy and Management.  She is a faculty collaborator for the EQuaLS team.

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My research interests center around understanding the causes of health inequities in minorities and improving health outcomes for older adults. Encompassing my research and policy expertise, I work to develop and test interventions that can be translated into health policies and clinical practice to improve health and eliminate health inequities for older adults.

CeRon Ford

CeRon Ford, MPH, B.S.

CeRon Ford is a doctoral student in the Health Services Research, Policy & Administration program with developing expertise in health policy.

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Generally, CeRon’s research examines the potential health impacts of U.S. health policies for historically disadvantaged populations. More specifically, he is interested in examining inequities that link structural racism and covert discrimination to health and U.S. health policies. With aspirations of becoming a tenured professor and health policy consultant to policymakers, CeRon plans to further develop the understanding of health inequities and racial inequities for historically disadvantaged populations. CeRon earned his Master of Public Health degree from Morehouse School of Medicine in Atlanta, Georgia and his Bachelor of Science in Public Health degree from Baylor University in Waco, Texas.

Romil Parikh

Romil Parikh

I am a PhD candidate in the division of Epidemiology and Community Health at UMN School of Public Health. I am interested in research that informs equitable improvement in quality of life and value based care for older adults. I am working with the team as a Health Equity & Aging Research Fellow.

Umesh Ghimire

Umesh Ghimire

I am a graduate student in the Division of Health Policy & Management in the School of Public Health.
My research interest focus on severe mental health illnesses among older adults living in nursing homes and long-term care settings. I am currently involved in data analysis of the Minnesota Assisted Living Report Card project.

Dionne Bailey

Dionne Bailey

Dionne is a PhD student in the Health Services Research, Policy and Administration program.

Dionne has research interests in health and racial equity, access to affordable healthcare, and gentrification. Dionne would like to focus her research on Black older adults.

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