The mPOWEr Team
Meet the Leadership, Patient Advisor, Investigators, and Staff engaged with mPOWEr. Our multidisciplinary team engages faculty, graduate students, former patients, and staff at the University of Washington, each contributing their experience as clinicians, informaticians, user-centered design experts, developers, business developers and patients.
Contact Drs Evans or Lober at firstname.lastname@example.org
Heather Evans, MD, MS, FACS
Associate Professor, Surgery
Heather is an academic trauma surgeon with a keen interest in investigating the novel application of health information technology to improve early detection and treatment of healthcare associated infections.
She received her MD from the University of Rochester School of Medicine and Dentistry, Rochester, NY and a Master of Health Evaluation Sciences from University of Virginia, Charlottesville, VA, where she completed her general surgery training and a 3-y research fellowship in surgical infectious disease. In 2008, after a yearlong clinical fellowship in surgical critical care at the University of Washington, she joined the University of Washington faculty in the Division of Trauma, Critical Care and Burn at Harborview Medical Center, the only level I trauma center for the Washington, Alaska, Montana and Idaho region. She is currently Associate Professor of Surgery and Director of Surgical Infectious Disease.
Heather traces the origins of mPOWEr back to a critical summer 2013 meeting with Dr. Patrick Sanger, as he sought mentorship for an informatics-enabled infection control project for his Masters thesis in Biomedical Health Informatics. With seed money from an AHRQ Comparative Effectiveness Research K12 career development award and additional support from the UW Department of Surgery Research Reinvestment Fund, Heather assembled a multidisciplinary team to bring a vision of post-discharge surgical site infection surveillance with mobile technology to reality. The project has also benefitted from research funds from UW ITHS, a commercialization development award from UW CoMotion, the 2014-16 Surgical Infection Society Foundation Junior Faculty Fellowship, an award from the UW Patient Safety Innovation Program and recently from the CMMI UW Medicine Practice Transformation Network to work towards enterprise-wide integration within the electronic medical record.
When she is not updating the mPOWEr website, revising manuscripts or operating, Heather enjoys cycling with her family in the beautiful Pacific Northwest and looking for excuses to sing disco.
Bill Lober, MD, MS
Professor, Health Informatics & Global Health
Bill enjoys applying his clinical and technology backgrounds to address information management problems in clinical care, public health, and global health. And, he likes building systems that are used both within academics, to understand and evaluate new approaches and methods, and outside of academics, to deliver real world value.
He received his MD from the University of California, San Francisco, a Master of Health Sciences from the University of California, Berkeley, and a BSEE in Electrical Engineering from Tufts University. He completed a residency in Emergency Medicine at the University of Arizona, and the Royal Brisbane Hospital, Queensland, Australia, after which he joined the faculty in the Emergency Medicine at University of Washington. While at UW, he was awarded a F38 “mid-career” fellowship from the National Institutes of Health to support his career transition to basic sciences research, in Applied Medical Informatics. Currently he is a Professor in Health Informatics and Global Health, jointly appointed in UW’s Schools of Nursing, Medicine, and Public Health, and directs the UW Clinical Informatics Research Group.
Clinical Informatics Research Group: http://cirg.washington.edu
UW School of Nursing Bio: https://nursing.uw.edu/person/bill-lober/
Joie Whitney, PhD, CWCN, FAAN
Professor, Biobehavioral Nursing and Health Systems
Joie has a passion for the clinical care of patients who experience acute and chronic wounds and the support of that care through research.
She received her BSN from Duke University Durham, NC, her MS from the University of Michigan and her PhD from the University of California, San Francisco where she trained in the Wound Healing Research Laboratory of Dr. Thomas K. Hunt. She joined the faculty at the University of Washington, School of Nursing in 1991 and is currently the Associate Dean for Research. Her program of funded research focuses on clinical interventions designed to influence tissue oxygen, perfusion and temperature and test their effects on molecular, biochemical and clinical wound healing outcomes. Current research efforts are focused on the study of clinical interventions to reduce surgical site infection and the study of pressure ulcer prevention in high risk populations. Additional research interests include studies focusing on clinical practice issues and evidence based practice initiatives. She is the UW School of Nursing faculty liaison for two hybrid wound care training programs offered through UW SoN Continuing Nursing Education, the Wound Management Education Program and Fundamentals of Wound Management.
Shuai Huang, PhD, B.S.
Assistant Professor, Industrial Engineering
Shuai is a Statistician and also a System Engineer. He enjoys working with healthcare professionals for formulating complex healthcare problems analytically and pursuing data-driven solutions for effective management of these problems. With theoretical training in his undergraduate study for Mathematics & Statistics from the School of Gifted Young at the University of Science and Technology of China and Ph.D. training in the Industrial Engineering program at the Arizona State University, his academic training prepares him well for developing holistic methodologies for real-world problems by seamless combination of theory, computation, and practice. He develops methodologies for modeling, monitoring, diagnosis, and prognosis of complex networked systems where the stochasticity of the system entities are interdependent, such as the brain connectivity networks, social networks, manufacturing processes, and disease progression process of Type 1 diabetes and other progressive diseases that have multiple stages and pathways. He also develops novel statistical and data mining models to integrate the massive heterogeneous datasets such as neuroimaging, genomics, proteomics, laboratory tests, demographics, and clinical variables, for facilitating scientific discoveries in biomedical research and better decision-making in clinical practices. More information can be found in https://sites.google.com/site/shuaihuang28/. His research has been founded by the National Science Foundation, Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation, and several biomedical research institutes.
Sarah enjoys learning ways to apply information technology to support patients, to understand best use of patient reported outcomes, and to enhance patient/healthcare professional communication to improve health outcomes and optimize healthcare systems.
After completing her post-doctoral training at Columbia University Medical Center, Sarah joined the Department of Biobehavioral Nursing and Health Informatics as assistant professor. Prior to this, she received her PhD in nursing and global health from the University of Utah in Salt Lake City. She has 10 years of experience as a critical care nurse providing direct patient care, including to post-surgical patients and individuals with surgical site wounds and infections. Her research focuses on development of interventions, suitable for the emerging economies of the world that facilitate self-management of health and prevent disease. Current research efforts are focused on converting an interactive texting based intervention into a mobile app based intervention with added functionalities, such as, direct adherence monitoring using drug metabolite testing and images captured by mobile phone, to support individuals with active tuberculosis. Sarah hopes to gain insight into maximizing mHealth interventions to better support individuals or families and strengthen healthcare systems to address complex problems in the US and abroad. She recognizes and appreciates the importance of interdisciplinary collaborations to foster effective solutions.
Brian got involved with the mPOWEr after being introduced to the project while recovering from abdominal surgery at UW Medical Center. Due to a motor vehicle accident as a child, Brian has journeyed through much of the healthcare system with multiple operations and treatments. Brian’s mental and physical struggles following surgeries was what pulled him to mPOWEr and its concentration on developing better rapport between post-operative patients and medical providers.
Currently an undergraduate at the University of Washington, Brian has particular interests in prosthetics, minimum evasive care and sustainable healthcare access in needed areas. Since attending the University of Washington, Brian has been part of the student-led organization called Vietnam Health Clinic (VHC), which goes on medical missions to Vietnam every summer. In addition, Brian also has done research with the Human Center Design and Engineering Department. Brian hopes to utilize his extensive experience as a patient and a multidisciplinary background to sustain mPOWEr’s patient-friendly design philosophy.
Outside of academia, Brian loves traveling, exploring technology, checking out the latest in the gaming and soccer worlds and working with the Vietnamese youth community.
Project Manager, Surgery Outcomes Research Center
Julie joins mPOWEr and the UW Department of Surgery after a combined 8 years working in project management and public health at UW Medicine in Pediatrics and Psychiatry. Prior to working at UW Medicine, Julie worked on a long-term Robert Wood Johnson Foundation effort – the Urban Health Initiative – housed at the Evans School of Public Policy. After graduating from Mount Holyoke College, Julie spent a few years working in New York City for both state and nonprofit agencies before attending graduate school at the UW Evans School where she received her MPA. In addition to her work on mPOWEr, Julie also manages several other studies at the Surgical Outcomes Research Center (SORCE). Outside of work, Julie loves to travel, a passion influenced by having spent her first 16 years in Asia and being part of a family that has long had the travel bug. She also enjoys spending time exploring the Pacific Northwest, and as an ordained wedding officiant, spends many a summer weekend getting to do just that at weddings throughout the region.
Technical Program Manager, UW Clinical Informatics Research Group
Justin serves as technical project manager and software engineer for the Clinical Informatics Research Group. He’s spent the past seven years managing, developing, and administering computing systems for data-driven medical projects, for research and usual care in clinic. Projects include disease-evaluation systems for clinician use, systems for patient reported outcomes, and large scale data integrations for both HIV and syndromic surveillance of influenza. He also has six years experience in the private sector as a software engineer working on software products and services.
Kristin Helps, RN, BSN, MSNc
Kristin recently completed a Master’s degree in Clinical Informatics and Patient Centered Technologies at the University of Washington (UW). Her Master’s thesis documented the clinical use of mPOWEr by providers to inform future product development. Previously, she received BS at UW of in Neurobiology and later a post-bac in Nursing. Presently, she practices as a Registered Nurse in the Post-Anesthesia Care Unit (PACU) at the University of Washington Medical Center (UWMC) with previous specialties in Neuro Critical Care and Trauma Surgical Critical Care. Prior to nursing, she spent 10 years in private industry working in finance and business operations. Kristin’s unique set of skills — clinical expertise, business background and penchant for technology — made for a truly meaningful contribution to the team during the project implementation, and we were grateful for the time she spent with us.
Kristin grew-up in a small, rural area of Montana so she would rather be outside hiking, exploring or playing soccer. Indoor interests include: playing nerdy strategy board games, brewing the perfect cup of coffee and going to eat at the newest gastropub.
Gail Dykstra, MLIS
Gail Dykstra works with digital media, databases, and software materials created by UW researchers. She manages the intellectual property rights, creates appropriate dissemination strategies and business models, and develops business opportunities for commercialization of the assets. Gail earned a master’s degree in library and information science at the University of Washington and brings to her work experience in publishing, software and competitive intelligence, and product development in the information industry, software, and public-interest sectors.
Ross Lordon, HBS
Ross’ main research interests pertain to clinical informatics and mHealth patient-centered technology to improve the quality of care patients receive during their time both inside and outside of the hospital. He is originally from Salt Lake City and earned an honors B.S. in Information Systems with an emphasis on security from the University of Utah. Prior to beginning the PhD program in Biomedical Health Informatics at UW, he worked as a Network and Systems Administrator. Ross’ main job role was to ensure the company’s information technology infrastructure was operating efficiently and securely. In addition to these job roles, he would regularly conduct user requirement analyses concerning existing work processes in order to identify opportunities for improvement with new software. Ross would consistently implement these improvements seamlessly by rigorously evaluating the new methods in both test and production environments before distributing the improvements throughout the company. Outside of school and work Ross is an avid outdoorsman. His passions include skiing, hiking, rock climbing, and fly-fishing.
Cole Lundell is an undergraduate senior at the University of washing ton in the Human Centered Design and Engineering program, specializing in Human Computer Interaction. Cole began working with mPOWEr in the summer of 2016 and currently works as the primary UI/UX designer as well as the front end developer for mPOWEr. Cole is interested in creating designs that promote accessibility and help break down barriers.
When Cole isn’t coding or creating graphics, she can often be found on a hiking trail, playing flag football or rooting for her favorite sports teams.
Aven is a PhD student in the Department of Industrial and Systems Engineering at University of Washington under supervision of Professor Shuai Huang. Her primary research interests are in the areas of machine learning and data fusion with a focus on dictionary learning; computer vision and social signal processing, with a focus on applications of these methods to healthcare such as Alzheimers disease, depression and surgical side infection. She is exploring a generic framework to personalize the model based on individual’s characteristics implicitly embedded in multivariate longitudinal measurements, and big data in health-care. More specifically, Aven is working on a framework that exploits the monotonic progression patterns of the target degenerative disease conditions such as the Alzheimer’s disease (AD) and articulate these patterns with a systematic optimization formulation. She is also experienced in using multiple biomarker modalities (audio, video, and text) for emotion severity assessment.
Aven enjoys working with medical professionals to translate and formulate healthcare problems. She is hoping to build effective monitoring algorithms to monitor degenerative patient conditions which is crucial for many clinical decision-making problems.
Cameron Gaskill, MD
Cameron is a surgical resident completing a two year health systems research fellowship at the Surgical Outcomes Research Center in the Department of Surgery at the University of Washington. His research interests include health system assessments to improve patient’s access to surgical care, surgical clinical outcomes, and global health. His contributions to mPOWEr will focus on improving implementation strategies and measuring clinical outcomes.
Cameron received a BS in physiology for the University of Washington Honors College before entering the University of Washington School of Medicine and earning an MD with honors. He then matched into the General Surgery residency at the University of Washington, completing the first three years of surgical training prior to entering his current Schilling Research Fellowship. In addition to research, Cameron is currently pursuing a Master’s in Public Heath from the University of Washington Department of Global Health.
Andrea Hartzler, PhD
Associate Professor, Biomedical and Health Informatics
Andrea’s passionate about helping people manage their health through innovative, patient-centered technology. She works as a new investigator at Group Health Research Intitute, and was most recently a research scientist at the University of Washington. where she received received both her Bachelor of Science and PhD in Biomedical Informatics. She is also involved in work at Microsoft Research as a usability researcher (via Collabera). There she provides health informatics expertise for research projects spanning personal genomics, online health communities, patient-reported outcomes, personal health information management, and patient-clinician collaboration.
Supported by grants from the National Institutes of Health (NIH), the National Science Foundation (NSF), the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ), and Life Sciences Discovery Fund (LSDF), her research covers a number of critical areas ranging from social technologies to help patients connect with peer mentors, decision support technologies for pharmacogenomics, and mobile tools, sensing technologies, and dashboards to support patient-clinician collaboration.
A consistent thread in her research approach is developing a solid understanding of users’ needs through human-centered methodologies, and using that understanding to drive the development of innovative technology that can truly help by meeting those needs.
Logan is an undergraduate senior in the Interaction Design Program at the University of Washington. He joined the mPOWEr team as an interaction and graphic designer and spends the majority of his time working on systems and documentation seen by both patients and their healthcare providers. Having never designed for the healthcare industry, Logan is eager to learn about the challenges faced by its participants and looks forward to exploring new and unique solutions with the mPOWEr team. He hopes to be able to apply his skills in data visualization and user experience design to a project that benefits both the medical community and the general public and he is excited and grateful to be part of the project’s evolution into additional environments. Outside of the office, Logan works as a design consultant at the UW Design Help Desk, offering advice and critique on presentations, publications, and other visual materials. In his free time, Logan enjoys climbing on artificial rocks and making music with a variety of instruments.
Kailey Sparks, RN, BSN
Kailey is an RN in the cardiothoracic ICU at the UW Medical Center and an aspiring medical student. A Portland native, she came to Seattle in 2012 to work at UWMC after graduating with her BSN from the University of Portland. After working in the ICU for a number of years, Kailey came to realize she desired a different role in patient care and thus decided to pursue a second career in medicine. She in presently completing medical school prerequisites at the University of Washington, and is particularly interested in surgery and global health. Kailey is actively involved with a global health organization working to establish surgical, anesthesia, and ICUE nurse training programs in Uganda. Her keen interest in surgery, gained from shadowing and assisting in surgical procedures and from caring for surgical patients in the ICU, drove her to become involved with mPOWEr. She uses those nursing skills to assist the team with project implementation.
Kailey is very excited about this opportunity to work with professionals who are forging innovative new paths towards caring for patients with surgical site infection. She has high hopes that telemedicine and eHealth projects such as mPOWEr will further benefit patients in low resource settings who may not have in-person access to a physician. When not in the library or at the hospital, Kailey can be found in the yoga studio, hiking through the Washington wilderness, or immersed in a book by Dr. Paul Farmer on some fascinating global health topic.
Natalie Lew is an undergraduate junior in the Honors Program at the University of Washington, studying both Interaction Design and Philosophy. In summer 2015, she worked as an intern on the mPOWEr team as an Interaction Designer, combining her passions for aesthetic understanding and information architecture. Natalie joined the team as a CoMotion Mary Gates Scholar in the hopes of designing creative solutions for healthcare-related problems. Passionate about entrepreneurship and interdisciplinary innovation, she is excited to work for a rising startup built on the premise of helping people.
Outside of mPOWEr, during the school year, Natalie works on graphic design for TEDxUofW and is an on campus tour guide, and on ASUW’s Arts and Entertainment board as outreach coordinator and designer. In her free time, Natalie loves hiking, making berry pies, and reading Oliver Sacks books.
Sarah Whitehead, ARNP, MN
Sarah earned her master’s degree in nursing from the University of Washington. Prior to earning her ARNP license, she was a triage and clinic nurse for the UWMC’s Surgical Specialties Clinic. It was here that she started utilizing patient directed wound photos to assist with telephone triage. She soon discovered that both patients and staff benefited from this process. Patients were saving time, money, travel expenses, sick leave, and unnecessary clinic/emergency room visits by emailing photos to the triage nurses. The nurses felt more confident in their assessments and surgeons were able to remain in the operating room without having to perform unexpected wound checks in the clinic. Having grown up in a small, rural community, Sarah understands the importance of tele-medicine and access. She is excited to be a part of something that benefits patients, providers, and communities. Sarah has received the UWMC Golden Eddy Award for providing Outstanding Patient & Family Education in both 2011 & 2012.
Sarah served as mPOWEr’s first patient advisor from 2013-2014. A recent graduate of the University of Washington, she encountered mPOWEr while exploring a career as a physician, interested in opportunities to volunteer on a research project to gain research experience. However, after talking with Dr. Evans, Sarah became interested in offering a patient perspective to mPOWEr, due to her previous experience with a surgical site infection after her own surgery two years ago. She began collaborating with the mPOWEr team in the Spring of 2013 and was involved with design of the mPOWEr application and writing additional funding applications.
When she first began working with the mPOWEr team, Sarah says that she did not immediately recognize the importance of what she had to offer to the team of highly trained and experienced researchers. But, she says, she quickly learned, “my value is my patient experience! My mere presence focuses the team with a more patient-centered approach and helps to design a tool that patients will actually use. As an advisor, I provide the patient voice and ensure that the issues most important to patients are continually represented.”
Sarah believes that patient involvement in research is extremely important. She says, “after getting involved as a Patient Advisor on mPOWEr, it occurred to me that as a patient, our stake in research isn’t in the professional capacity, but it affects us in a very personal way. Patients intimately feel the consequences of disease and illness, and research influences treatment. We can help address gaps in the healthcare system and inform the most useful interventions, yet we are a vastly underutilized resource. I truly believe that patients should not only be on the receiving end of healthcare, but also be contributors to medical research, policy-making, and practice.”
Cheryl Armstrong, RN, MPH
Cheryl was mPOWEr’s first project manager from 2013-2015, when we sadly lost her to her home Canada. She earned a Bachelor of Nursing Science Degree from Lakehead University; a Certificate in Cardiovascular Perfusion from The Michener Institute of Applied Health and Technology; and a Master of Public Health from Walden University. After graduating from Nursing, she spent 4 years in the Canadian Armed Forces and was voluntarily discharged with the rank of Captain. Until July 2015, she was a Research Project Manager at the University of Washington in the Surgical Outcomes Research Center, where in addition to overseeing the work of mPOWEr, she managed several comparative effectiveness research studies. Cheryl has since relocated back to Canada, now a Health Service Research Project Officer for the University of Victoria. Outside of work, she enjoys spending time with her family; watching her boys, ages 10 and 11 play ice hockey; and hiking on beautiful Vancouver Island where they now make their home.
Mark Stewart, MS
Mark has more than ten years experience designing and building web applications. He served as user experience lead for all projects for the Clinical Informatics Research Group at the University of Washington, and was our first User Experience Designer for mPOWEr, responsible for the look and feel of the app. With a Master’s degree in Human-Centered Design and Engineering, he combines a rigorous academic approach to user research and usability testing with applied work building web tools ranging from open-source medical records systems used around the world to online magazines. His interests include designing for mobile devices, data visualization and making serious tools delightful. Mark left the mPOWEr team in 2016 to pursue new opportunities at a local healthcare startup in Seattle, 98Point6, Inc.
Patrick Sanger, PhD
Patrick is currently pursuing an MD at the University of Washington School of Medicine. In 2015 he received a PhD in Biomedical & Health Informatics at the UW, completing a dissertation on functional and design elements of mPOWEr. Patrick received special training in translational research as a TL1 fellow and was a 2014-2015 Magnuson Scholar. Previously, Patrick received a BA in Architecture from Yale University.
His active research interests are in designing/developing patient-centered interventions that improve care coordination and outcomes relevant to both patients and clinicians. He is especially interested in areas of mobile health, patient safety, quality improvement and healthcare-associated infections. Currently, he spends most of his free time wrangling his 2 young daughters.