Project Team

Whitney Allen, MPH
Kentucky Primary Care Association
Whitney is the Coordinator of Community Development and Outreach for the Kentucky Primary Care Association. She develops, implements, and coordinates the KPCA’s Community Development and Outreach programs. These programs are designed to: 1) strengthen, increase, and expand access to affordable, quality health care to all populations throughout Kentucky; 2) support outreach and enrollment (O&E) programs and workers; and 2) support and raise awareness of KPCA members and KPCA services. Whitney also helps coordinate federal and state Advocacy efforts. She earned her Master’s in Public Health degree from Eastern Kentucky University and her Bachelor’s degree in Business Administration and Health Science from Georgetown College.

William “Mace” Baker
KY Homeplace
Mace is the Director of the Kentucky Homeplace Program at the University of Kentucky Center of Excellence in Rural Health in Hazard, KY.  He obtained an ADN in Nursing from Hazard Community College and a Bachelor’s degree from the University of Kentucky.  Mace worked as a nurse, nurse manager and patient advocate for many years in an inpatient psychiatric facility which served 21 counties in Eastern Kentucky.  In his current position with UK Center of Excellence in Rural Health he directs the Kentucky Homeplace program which consists of 23 community health workers covering 30 counties in the Appalachian region of Eastern Kentucky. He provides CHW training, Chronic Disease Self-Management and Diabetes Self-Management Master trainer  and Mental Health First Instructor. He also serves as a member of the UK Center of Excellence in Rural Health research team working to improve health disparities in Appalachia.

Chris Evans
Community Alignment Specialist
Chris joined CHSR in June 2018 as a Community Alignment Specialist. Prior to joining the Center, he worked for the Kentucky Office of Education and Training in Frankfort as a Federal and Military Unemployment Claims Specialist. He is currently attending Bluegrass Technical College seeking a degree in Biotechnology.

Fran Feltner, DNP, MSN, RN
KY Homeplace
Dr. Feltner serves as the Director of UK Center for Excellence in Rural Health. She has worked for more than 40 years in rural health care, from serving as a nurse in clinical and hospital settings, working with family practice residency and providing community education to her current role as director. One of her most important roles has been working with the community health worker (CHW) program. Dr. Feltner’s work focuses on empowering the communities she serves to directly address the health disparities that affect them so seriously. Her current research interests are health disparities in Appalachian, effectiveness of CHWs on patient health outcomes, and finding solutions to the problems and barriers of the health and social system.

Amanda Fryman
Appalachian Regional Healthcare
Amanda is the Grants Administrator for Appalachian Regional Healthcare, Inc., and has been with the not-for-profit healthcare system for 18 years. As Grants Administrator, she is responsible for managing the rural healthcare system’s overall grant strategy, including grant identification, development, and program management. Part of ARH’s Corporate Strategy Department, she is also responsible for the system’s community health needs assessment process and system-wide volunteer engagement. With a background in Journalism and Media Communications, Amanda is a lifelong Kentucky resident with a passion for rural health issues.

Richard Herndon, MA
Project Manager
Richard joined the CHSR team in June 2018 as a project manager on the Kentucky Consortium for Accountable Health Communities project. Prior to employment at CHSR, he worked as a principle investigator and project manager for large-scale federally funded cultural resource research projects in Kentucky and throughout the Midwest. He received his BA in Anthropology from the University of South Carolina and his MA in Anthropology from the University of Southern Mississippi.

Jing Li, MD, MS
Co-Principal Investigator
Jing is the Associate Director of the Center for Health Services Research and the Director of the Office for Value & Innovation in HealthCare Delivery. She is also an Assistant Professor in the Department of Internal Medicine at the University of Kentucky. She graduated from Tianjin Medical University and completed residency training in anesthesiology at the Tianjin Medical University General Hospital and subsequent clinical research training. In 2002, she completed a Master degree in Computer & Information Sciences from University of Alabama at Birmingham. Dr. Li has 13 years of experience and expertise in research methodologies, quality improvement, and program implementation & evaluation. She has directed multiple projects and collaboratives to develop community coalitions, promote team-based care, improve care coordination, and enhance in-setting & cross-setting teamwork. Previously, she worked at the Alabama Quality Improvement Organization (QIO) for 6 years and focused on improving health care through process improvement, performance measurement and health information technology. 

Roger McCann
Community Action Kentucky
Roger is the Executive Director of Community Action Kentucky, Inc., a Non-Profit corporation, established in 1968, that represents a network of 23 Community Action Agencies in the Commonwealth of Kentucky. These Community Action Agencies provide social services to low and moderate-income Kentuckians in all 120 counties of the Commonwealth to empower individuals and families to attain greater economic success. Community Action Kentucky acts as a statewide voice for local community action agencies and low-income individuals, addressing policy issues of importance to them.

Roger has worked for Community Action Kentucky since 2006 holding various positions related to both leadership and Information Technology. Prior to becoming Executive Director, he served as the Deputy Executive Director beginning in June of 2010. From 2007 to 2010, he served as the Chief Information Officer identifying and translating the business needs of Community Action Agencies into new software products and features. Roger earned his Bachelor’s degree in Business Administration from Eastern Kentucky University.

Donna Meyers
Data Management
Donna joined the center for Health Services Research in June, 2018 to begin working on the Kentucky Consortium for Accountable Health Communities (KC-AHC) project. Prior to working for Kentucky Clinic, she worked as a Cash Application Associate for Kentucky Medical Services Foundation, and as a Health Care Insurance Associate for Humana. Donna earned her Bachelor of Arts and Sciences degree from Rhode Island College.

Katlyn Miller
Community Action Kentucky
Katlyn Miller joined Community Action Kentucky, Inc., in May 2017 as a Technical Assistance Provider.  
Katlyn earned her Master’s in Leadership Dynamics degree from Western Kentucky University and her Bachelor’s degree in Organizational Leadership and Political Science from Northern Kentucky University.

Kayla Rose, MA
Kentucky Primary Care Association
Kayla began her role as the Director of Practice Improvement Programs for the Kentucky Primary Care Association in 2015.  Kayla’s role supports a Quality Improvement Program to support practice transformation with the overall goal of controlling costs, improving health outcomes and enhancing revenue.  She also promotes the expansion of comprehensive integrated and high quality primary care serves through policy advocacy, collaborative partnerships, and systems change. Prior to coming to the KPCA, she was a Senior Consultant/Project Manager with a consulting firm and her role supported states on operational aspects of the Electronic Health Records (EHR) and Human Services programs as well as the Urban Institute and Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) to deliver training and technical assistance to state Medicaid EHR programs. She has previous higher education teaching experience, and has completed her Master Degree in Adult and Higher Education and has coursework toward her Ph.D. in Educational Leadership.

Amanda Savarese
Project Coordinator
Amanda joined the Center in August 2017 after working in the research field for nearly 10 years. Prior to joining the CHSR, she worked at the Virginia Tech Carilion Research Institute and the University of Missouri, conducting MRI studies that looked at the human brain and how it functions. She graduated from the University of Missouri with a BA in Psychology in 2009.

Joe Smith, CEO
Kentucky Primary Care Association
Joseph Smith has served as the leader of the Kentucky Primary Care Association since its inception in 1976. Mr. Smith’s long tenure at the KPCA combines with his background in state government and non-profit management to create a valuable resource for knowledge-based and collaborative endeavors. Prior to joining the KCPA he held various leadership posts in what is now the Cabinet for Health and Family Services, including positions of Deputy Commissioner for Health and Deputy Secretary of the Cabinet. Mr. Smith was recognized by the Kentucky Rural Health Association with the Dan Martin award for life time achievements in healthcare.  Joe Smith has acted as a guide and conscience for the Commonwealth in developing services for the most vulnerable populations in the neediest rural areas of the state. He is  the  consummate policy advisor/advocate in community based primary care. 

Hilary Surratt, PhD
Co-Investigator
Hilary is an Associate Professor in the Center for Health Services Research and the Department of Internal Medicine at the University of Kentucky.  Dr. Surratt has expertise in the areas of illicit and prescription drug abuse, prescription drug diversion, and drug-related HIV infection. She has served as PI or Co-Investigator on more than 10 NIH-funded studies, and has substantial experience with cross-cultural research, having previously served as a senior investigator on several HIV prevention/intervention initiatives in Brazil and the U.S. Virgin Islands. Her current research focuses on the examination of syringe exchange programs in Kentucky and the development of targeted interventions to link prescription opioid injectors to substance abuse treatment. She obtained her BS in Psychology from the University of Florida, an MA in Sociology/Latin American Studies from the University of Florida, and a Doctorate in Psychology from the Graduate School & University Center, City University of New York.

Aiko Weverka, MS
Data Analyst
Aiko joined the CHSR as a Data Research Analyst in August 2017. Prior to joining the center, she worked supporting public health and environmental research at San Francisco State University, with a particular emphasis on analysis of spatial data. Aiko completed her bachelor's degree in Biology from Middlebury College and a master's degree in Natural Resources from the University of Vermont.

Annie Williams
Appalachain Regional Healthcare
Annie is a Systems Ambulatory Specialist with Appalachian Regional Healthcare.  Annie worked as the Administrator of a large primary care clinic for 26 years and just recently moved to ARH to work with their Division of Clinics, working with practice transformation and quality reporting.  She is very involved with her community, serving on multiple non-profit boards and organizations.  She loves Eastern Kentucky and working with others to find the best ways to support initiatives that improve the lives of those in her community.

Mark V. Williams, MD
Principal Investigator
Mark is the Director of the Center for Health Services Research. He also serves as Professor and Vice-Chair of the Department of Internal Medicine, and Chief of the Division of Hospital Medicine at the University of Kentucky. After graduating from Emory University School of Medicine, he completed a residency in internal medicine at Massachusetts General Hospital. Dr. Williams established the first hospitalist program at a public hospital in 1998, and built two of the largest academic hospitalist programs in the U.S. at Emory (1998-2007) and Northwestern (2007-2013) Universities. With previous funding from The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, The John A. Hartford Foundation, Aetna Foundation, California Health Care Foundation, NIND, HHS, AHRQ, BlueCross BlueShield of Illinois, and PCORI and more than 100 peer-reviewed publications including in journals such as JAMA, New England Journal of Medicine, and Annals of Internal Medicine, Dr. Williams focuses on quality improvement, care transitions, teamwork and the role of health literacy in the delivery of health care.
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