Who We Are2024-03-15T09:57:50-04:00

Leadership – Campus Liaisons – Staff – Advisory Board


Sarah Wiehe, MD, MPH

Sarah is a pediatrician and public health researcher in Children’s Health Services Research at Indiana University School of Medicine, an Affiliated Scientist at the Regenstrief Institute for Health Care, and Adjunct Associate Professor of Geography and Public Health. Her research focuses on how poverty, associated social determinants of health and context influence adolescent and young adult health-risk behaviors and outcomes. She partners with local and community agencies and a team of researchers to investigate health care access and quality of care relating to STI/HIV testing and care for individuals after arrest or incarceration and the HIV care continuum during this same time period. In her own community, Sarah strives to be an advocate for social and environmental justice. She serves on the board of Family Development Services (Head Start) and Eskenazi Health Center. She is invested in local community development efforts, particularly those focused on gardening and sustainability.

Dennis Savaiano, PhD
Associate Director

Dennis is the Virginia C. Meredith Professor of Nutrition Policy in the Department of Nutrition Science at Purdue University. In fall 2014, he became Director of the North Central Nutrition Education Center of Excellence, a USDA NIFA-funded center. In this capacity, he oversees the north central research portfolio of projects aimed at improving the effectiveness of Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program Education (SNAP-Ed). Professor Savaiano continues to work to evaluate the effectiveness of Indiana SNAP Ed programs and develop more effective assessment tools. His goal as Associate Director for CHeP, is to build community research partnerships utilizing the extensive intellectual resource base of Indiana University and Purdue University. Savaiano has worked with CHeP for the past four years to increase its network’s membership and assist with building community-engaged research approaches with Purdue Extension. He has published on school community interventions focused on improving diets of youth (particularly young women).

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Campus Liaisons

Donna Vandergraff, MS, RD, CD
Purdue University Campus Liaison

Heidi Beidinger-Burnett, PhD
University of Notre Dame Campus Liaison

Priscilla Barnes, PhD
Indiana University Bloomington Campus Liaison

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Advisory Board

The CHEP Advisory Board assists the Indiana CTSI and CHEP in fulfilling its mission of increasing the number of research studies that directly and more quickly impact the health of Indiana citizens. The Advisory Board will provide a link for complementary perspectives, skills and resources of a variety of people and organizations to forge partnerships that have the capacity to plan and execute comprehensive tasks that coordinate services, strategies, programs and systems.

Angie Abbott, MS, RD, CD
Associate Director and Program Leader for Purdue Extension College of Health and Human Sciences

Angie Abbott is the Associate Director and Program Leader for Purdue Extension College of Health and Human Sciences. Angie is a registered dietitian and Extension Specialist in the area of nutrition education programs that target limited resource audiences. She received a Bachelor of Science degree in dietetics from Ball State University. She also completed a Master’s degree and a post-graduate dietetic internship through Ball State University. Angie is currently pursuing a Doctoral degree from Creighton University in Educational Leadership. Angie has gained professional experience in the areas of education, research, community and clinical practice. At Purdue, she has directed the SNAP-Education program, the Expanded Food and Nutrition Education Program and outreach efforts in the Nutrition Science Department. Angie is active in several professional organizations, including the American and Indiana Dietetic Associations, the Indiana Nutrition Council, and Action for Healthy Kids team. Angie was the recipient of the “Member Media Award” from the Indiana Dietetic Association and the Emerging Professional Award of Merit given on behalf of the Ball State University Alumni Association.

Ann Alley
Director of the Chronic Disease, Primary Care and Rural Health Division of the Indiana State Department of Health

Ann Alley is the Director of the Chronic Disease, Primary Care and Rural Health Division of the Indiana State Department of Health (ISDH). Previously, Ann directed the Division of Primary Care and Rural Health for 6 years. Earlier, Ann worked for the Office of Medicaid Policy and Planning for 7 years as Director of the Children’s Health Insurance Program, and the Director of Provider Relations, Communication and Policy. Her work history also includes program design, management and evaluation in the areas of community, economic, and housing development for state, municipal, foundation, academic and private enterprises. Ann has served on a variety of statewide committees—most recently those studying/funding the chronic care model, mental health/primary care integration, health professional workforce development, and supported housing with health services attached.

Eric Beers
Coalition Director, Indiana Healthy Weight Initiative

Eric has helped the Indiana Healthy Weight Initiative (IHWI) leadership craft a new vision and structure for the six-year old state-wide initiative. With a strong focus on listening to communities and supporting existing community efforts, Eric works to position the IHWI to support, connect, and advocate for existing policy, systems and environment change in Indiana. Through his work at the IHWI, Eric hopes to help develop local leaders and organizations so that they can positively affect change in their communities. The IHWI is developing a more robust public policy presence by working on the state’s first comprehensive obesity, physical activity and nutrition data document to better tell the story of obesity in Indiana.

Jessica Brookshire, MSA, CHES
Associate Director for Public Affairs, University of Notre Dame

As Associate Director for Public Affairs at the University of Notre Dame, Jessica focuses on building partnerships with local nonprofits and community groups while working with faculty, staff and students to promote engagement within our community. In the Office of Public Affairs, Jessica directs many projects including the annual Economic Impact Report, the United Way Campaign and the partnership with the Nonprofit Executive Programs in the Mendoza College of Business on the annual Nonprofit Breakfast Series offered to community colleagues. Jessica received a Bachelor of Science in Public Health from Indiana University, Masters in Nonprofit Administration from the University of Notre Dame and holds the Certified Health Education Specialist (CHES) Credentialing.

Deena Dodd, Advisory Board Chair
Network Development Officer for the Indiana Rural Health Association

Deena Dodd is with the Network Development Officer for the Indiana Rural Health Association (IRHA). In that role she carries the responsibility of the Indiana Statewide Rural Health Network (InSRHN) Director. Deena has been with IRHA for the past four years, in which time she has grown the network to a membership of 30 hospitals, increased member savings through various contract negotiations, and instituted affordable Community Health Needs Assessments for the Network. She is a passionate advocate for rural health providers, facilities and constituents. Deena also serves as the Director of Business Development for the Indiana Rural Health Services Corp. Business Partners Network. Deena serves on the National Board of Directors for the National Cooperative of Health Care Networks (NCHN) and is spearheading a process of sharing healthcare information and developments with local economic development organizations statewide. Deena also serves on the Operating Council for Greenspire Leadership Center. Prior to her time with the IRHA, Deena spent ten years working in Indiana Critical Access and Rural PPS hospitals as a surgical technologist. After a few too many late nights in the OR, she moved on to provide nationwide recruitment services of nurse, physician, and C-suite personnel. Deena has a Bachelor of Science in Business Management from Western Governor’s University; and an Associate of Science in Surgical Technology from Ivy Tech Community College.

Carol Friesen, PhD, RDN
Professor of Nutrition and Dietetics, Graduate Program Director, Department of Nutrition and Health Science at Ball State University

Previously, Carol Friesen was an Epidemiologist with the Indiana State Department of Health and Coordinator of Nutrition Services for Marion County Health Department. She recently has been awarded the Ball State University Diversity Research Award and the Indiana Honored Dietitian from Indiana Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. Carol received her Master’s in Food Science and Human Nutrition from the University of Wisconsin-Stout, and her PhD in Human Nutrition from Michigan State University.

Tony Gillespie
Vice President of Public Policy & Engagement, Indiana Minority Health Coalition, Inc.

Tony Gillespie is a practitioner and public health advocate with over 20 years of experience working with both state government and communities to address HIV/AIDS and chronic diseases that significantly impact minority populations and contribute to ongoing disparities.

Khalid Khan, DrPH, MEM
Assistant Professor, Indiana University School of Public Health

Dr. Khalid Khan is an Assistant Professor of the School of Public Health of Indiana University, Bloomington. He has a doctoral degree (Dr.PH) in environmental health from Columbia University New York and a master degree in environmental management (MEM) from Griffith University, Australia. His research specializes in developing and evaluating community-based intervention to reduce exposures to environmental and occupational hazards among rural people. Dr. Khan is also involved in a number of public health capacity building and workforce development projects. As an environmental epidemiologist, he examines the relationships between environmental toxicants and nervous system outcomes both in the US and developing countries.

Adam Mueller, JD
Director of Advocacy for Indiana Legal Services

As advocacy director, Adam Mueller’s role is to explore new areas of work and partnerships for Indiana Legal Services. He also guides advocates in priority setting and legal advocacy. He has developed several Medical-Legal Partnerships with health care providers in the Indianapolis area to address people’s health and legal problems, and has been instrumental in assisting a variety of firms and organizations with developing their own MLPs. Adam received his Bachelor’s in Political Science from Wabash College and his J.D. from Indiana University, Maurer School of Law.

Sue Rawl, PhD
Professor, Science of Nursing Care at Indiana University School of Nursing in Indianapolis

Susan M. Rawl, PhD, RN, FAAN is a Professor in the Science of Nursing Care Department at Indiana University School of Nursing in Indianapolis, Director of the PhD in Nursing Science Program, Director of an NINR-funded T32 Training Program in Behavioral Nursing Research, and a member of the Cancer Prevention and Control Program at Indiana University Simon Cancer Center. For the past 17 years, her program of research has focused on development and testing of tailored interventions to promote cancer screening, prevention, early detection. She also conducts intervention research to promote psychosocial and physical adjustment after a cancer diagnosis. Rawl has authored or co-authored more than 75 peer-reviewed publications and over 160 research presentations. She served as scientific peer reviewer for the National Cancer Institute, the National Institute of Nursing Research, the American Cancer Society, the Department of Defense, and the Oncology Nursing Society. Her research has been recognized through awards from the Midwest Nursing Research Society, Sigma Theta Tau International, Indiana University Purdue University at Indianapolis and the Walther Cancer Institute. She is a Fellow in the American Academy of Nursing and Chair of the Board of Directors for the American Cancer Society’s Lakeshore Division (Indiana, Michigan and Illinois).

Wan-Ju (Jennifer) Yen, PhD, RD
Associate professor in Department of Applied Health Sciences, Food and Nutrition, Indiana State University

Prior to her work at Indiana State University, Jennifer was an Assistant Professor in the Department of Family and Consumer Sciences, Nutrition and Dietetics at Western Kentucky University. She received her Master’s in Nutrition from State University of New York (SUNY) and her PhD in Nutrition from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln.

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