Scholars

Bjorn Berg, PhD
Cohort 2

Dr. Bjorn Berg is an Assistant Professor in the Division of Health Policy and Management at the University of Minnesota. His research is focused on applying operations research and systems engineering methods to problems in health care delivery settings. Dr. Berg’s current work is centered on designing family medicine residency schedules. Balancing inpatient, outpatient, and specialty rotations with continuity of outpatient clinic care represents a complex challenge for residency programs and is central to patient and resident clinic experiences. His time as an MN-LHS scholar will be spent in embedded collaboration with the Department of Family Medicine and Community Health at the University of Minnesota to study balanced residency schedules. Dr. Berg received his PhD in Industrial Engineering from North Carolina State University. Prior to joining the University of Minnesota, Bjorn worked at Mayo Clinic focusing on patient access to outpatient care.

Carolyn Bramante, MD, MPH
Cohort 2

Dr. Carolyn Bramante is an Assistant Professor at the University of Minnesota. She received her medical degree from the University of Minnesota and completed combined residency training in Internal Medicine and Pediatrics (“Med-Peds”) at Johns Hopkins Hospital. Dr. Bramante stayed at Johns Hopkins for a General Internal Medicine Clinical Research Fellowship, during which she completed training in Obesity Medicine, which includes experience with pharmacotherapy and other interventions for obesity treatment. She is board-certified in Internal Medicine, Pediatrics, and Obesity Medicine. Her clinical and research interests center around obesity treatment and prevention for children and adults. She researches ways to assist daily behavior change at home to achieve weight loss, as well as other weight management interventions. Dr. Bramante sees patients in the Comprehensive Weight Management Center and the Pediatric Weight Management Center at M Health Fairview. She received her MD and MPH from the University of Minnesota.

Debbie Pestka, PharmD, PhD
Cohort 2

Dr. Pestka is a pharmacist and health services researcher at the University of Minnesota College of Pharmacy. As a practicing pharmacist, she has witnessed many of the gaps in care, inefficiencies in the health care system, and challenges that patients and providers face. These experiences have driven her desire to undertake research that improves patient care by incorporating pharmacists into primary care teams. She has extensive experience working across numerous health care settings with a variety of stakeholders to improve care delivery and patient outcomes. For her MN-LHS project, Dr. Pestka will evaluate the implementation and outcomes of comprehensive medication management services in Fairview Health Services’ population health primary care transformation. She received her PharmD and PhD from the University of Minnesota and continues to work as a pharmacist in the community setting.

Sarah McCarthy, PhD, MPH, LP
Cohort 2

Dr. McCarthy is a pediatric psychologist and researcher at Mayo Clinic. Her current work focuses on developing and evaluating care delivery models that consider, target, and act upon the diverse psychological and social needs of children with complex chronic diseases and their families. Her prior research has examined the role of children and adolescents in health care communication and decision making. Dr. McCarthy received her doctorate from Emory University and her Masters of Public Health from Harvard University. She completed her postdoctoral fellowship at Dana-Farber Cancer Institute/Boston Children’s Hospital and was a staff psychologist at Dana-Farber Cancer Institute/Boston Children’s Hospital for 6 years. Dr. McCarthy is currently an Assistant Professor of Psychology at Mayo Medical School and provides clinical services to medically ill children and their families through the Pediatric Psychology Consultation Liaison Service and Pediatric Palliative Care Service.

Christopher Tignanelli, MD
Cohort 2

Dr. Tignanelli is a trauma and critical care surgeon at the University of Minnesota Medical Center and North Memorial Health Hospital. His current work focuses on reducing variability in the delivery of evidence-based practice for patients with rib fractures and other complex traumatic injuries. He attended medical school at the New Jersey Medical School, general surgery residency at the University of North Carolina, and surgical critical care fellowship at the University of Michigan. He is currently an Assistant Professor of Surgery in the University of Minnesota Medical School and enrolled in the University of Minnesota School of Public Health’s M.S. in Clinical Research Program

Elisheva Danan

Elisheva Danan, MD, MPH
Cohort 1

Dr. Danan is a primary care physician and health services researcher at the Minneapolis VA Center for Care Delivery and Outcomes Research (CCDOR). Her current work focuses on developing and implementing trauma-sensitive, patient-centered primary and preventive healthcare practices for women who have experienced sexual assault. Prior research addressed expanding access to evidence-based smoking cessation treatments and overcoming barriers to quitting for women and low socioeconomic status smokers. She attended medical school at the University of California, Davis, completed a Master of Public Health in Community Health Sciences at the University of California, Los Angeles, and served as an internal medicine resident and chief resident at Harbor-UCLA Medical Center. She then completed an Advanced Fellowship in Health Services Research at the Minneapolis VA. Dr. Danan is currently an Assistant Professor of Medicine in the University of Minnesota Medical School.

Cory Schaffhausen

Cory Schaffhausen, PhD, MS
Cohort 1

Dr. Schaffhausen completed a Master’s degree from the Stanford Joint Program in Design and has over 6 years of industry experience developing healthcare technology. In 2015, he completed a PhD in engineering from the University of Minnesota and created new methods to identify unmet stakeholder needs, including within healthcare environments. His current research position at Hennepin Healthcare Research Institute focuses on providing organ transplant candidates with patient friendly resources to make informed treatment decisions. His work follows an interdisciplinary approach to applying design thinking processes in healthcare research. His research interests are to improve efficiency and outcomes in health systems through data-driven patient and provider decisions, and Dr. Schaffhausen will spend time as an MN-LHS scholar creating tools to help liver transplant candidates prepare for an organ offer decision.

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