Faculty and Staff

Division of Population Medicine

Roberto Cardarelli, DO, MHA, MPH, FAAFP serves as Chair of Family & Community Medicine and Professor and Chief of Population Medicine. Since joining the University of Kentucky in 2013 he has built an academic division focused on population medicine education and research across a spectrum of learners and serves as Director of the Kentucky Ambulatory Practice-Based Research Network (KAN). He received his Doctor of Osteopathy and Master of Public Health Degrees from University of North Texas Health Science Center at Ft. Worth and his Master in Health Administration from the University of Cincinnati. Dr. Cardarelli completed a residency in Family Medicine and a fellowship in Faculty Development at Baylor College of Medicine, Houston. He is board certified by the American Board of Family Medicine and a fellow of the American Academy of Family Physicians. Dr. Cardarelli is an active researcher in implementation science and clinic transformation research in chronic pain management, lung cancer screening, tobacco cessation, care transitions, and cardiovascular health. He has been funded by NIH and other federal and nonfederal organizations throughout his career. He continues to educate medical students during their Family Medicine clerkship and the UK Family Medicine residents in both outpatient and inpatient settings.

Cassandra Gipson-Reichardt, PhD is an Associate Professor in the Department of Family & Community Medicine, with her research focusing on identifying novel neurobiological and behavioral mechanisms to guide the treatment of addiction. Her lab focuses on glutamatergic, dopaminergic, neuroimmune, and ovarian hormone mechanisms underlying addiction to various drugs of abuse during young adulthood and during the female reproductive transition of menopause. Dr. Gipson-Reichardt's projects focus on nicotine, heroin, and oxycodone/cocaine co-use, utilizing both in vivo and in vitro methodologies to study rapid alterations in synaptic plasticity (measured as changes in dendritic spines or AMPA/NMDA current ratios using whole cell patch clamp electrophysiology) during or immediately following behavior (specifically, during reinstatement of drug seeking in a preclinical rodent model of relapse). To date, her work has revealed novel neurobiological mechanisms of nicotine addiction, and has the potential to contribute to the development of novel therapeutic options aimed at reversing nicotine-induced alterations and thus improve smoking cessation outcomes. This work has resulted in translational collaborations to examine clinical efficacy of pharmacotherapeutics in promoting smoking cessation.

Carol Hustedde, PhD is Associate Professor and Director of Population Medicine Education where she teaches medical students and Family Medicine residents about Community Medicine and Population Health. She has had a career-long focus on the health inequities of underserved populations and has served as Principal Investigator and Co-Investigator on four HRSA training grants that aimed to increase the number of physicians who practice in rural areas of Kentucky and, currently, to train medical students about caring for complex patients with an inter-professional team of providers. Dr. Hustedde has developed curricula that include community engagement principles and content that defines the health care needs of underserved individuals in Kentucky and beyond. She serves as leader of the department's Population Medicine Innovation Team (PMIT) to guide improvements in patient care, especially for underserved populations. Dr. Hustedde collaborates with Dr. Roberto Cardarelli to serve as an academic advisor for the UK College of Medicine MD/MPH dual degree program, and is seeking funding to study innovative care models that will demonstrate improved health outcomes for high risk patients.

Brent Kaplan, PhD is an Assistant Research Professor in the Department of Family and Community Medicine and member of the Healthier Futures Lab. His training and expertise are in applying behavioral economic and behavior analytic principles to substance use and everyday maladaptive decision making. He received his PhD in Behavioral Psychology from the University of Kansas and recently completed a Postdoctoral Fellowship at the Fralin Biomedical Research Institute at Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University. His current research interests include examining the abuse liability of reduced-nicotine cigarettes, continency management approaches to reducing alcohol use, and the underlying behavioral process contributing to nicotine and alcohol co-use. Dr. Kaplan currently serves on the editorial board of Perspectives on Behavior Science and The Journal of the Experimental Analysis of Behavior and is a member of the Association for Behavior Analysis International, Society of the Quantitative Analysis of Behavior, American Psychology Association Divisions 25 and 28, and Research Society on Alcoholism.

James Keck, MD, MPH is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Family and Community Medicine. He holds a medical degree from the University of Minnesota and a Master of Public Health from Johns Hopkins University, and is a graduate of the Epidemic Intelligence Service program from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. He is dually board certified in Family Medicine and General Preventive Medicine. Dr. Keck's current scholarly focus in on diabetes prevention. His approaches incorporate implementation science, lifestyle interventions, health disparities, and population health. He is currently NIH-funded and previously was funded by the CDC. Previous research has explored health services evaluation in Africa and infectious disease epidemiology in Alaska, for which he received the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Innovation Award for contributions to influenza surveillance. Additional research interests include climate and health, quality of care in low resource settings, and deprescribing.

Dr. Mikhail Koffarnus, PhD is an Associate Professor in the Department of Family & Community Medicine with training in experimental psychology, behavioral economics, behavioral pharmacology, and neuroscience. Dr. Koffarnus’ research focuses on addiction mechanisms and treatment with a focus on using mobile technology to facilitate remotely delivered treatment. He is funded by NIH with grants from the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism and the National Institute on Drug Abuse. Ongoing projects include the evaluation of the abuse liability of reduced-nicotine cigarettes and the development and implementation of a remote alcohol monitoring and incentive-based treatment platform. He is evaluating this treatment platform both in an underserved community population and in a relapse prevention model following inpatient alcohol detoxification. He serves on the editorial board of two academic journals, has served on multiple NIH review panels, and is an active committee member for scientific organizations such as the American Psychology Association Division 28, College on Problems of Drug Dependence, and Society for Research on Nicotine and Tobacco.

Lars Peterson, MD, PhD is an Associate Professor in the Department of Family & Community Medicine at the University of Kentucky and also serves as Vice President of Research for the American Board of Family Medicine (ABFM). He received his medical and graduate degrees from Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland, Ohio and completed residency at the Trident/Medical University of South Carolina family medicine residency program. At the ABFM, Dr. Peterson leads a research team focused on elucidating the outcomes of Family Medicine Certification, in particular the impact that certification activities have on the quality of care delivered by family physicians. Additionally, Dr. Peterson's research seeks to understand the ecology of family medicine over time–what physicians do in practice and their contribution to high quality health care. His other research interests include investigating associations between area level measures of health care and socioeconomics with both health and access to health care, rural health, primary care, and comprehensiveness of primary care.

Karen L. Roper, PhD is an Assistant Professor in the University of Kentucky College of Medicine, Department of Family & Community Medicine, and serves as the Director of Research for the Division of Population Medicine. She earned her graduate degree in Experimental Psychology from the University of Kentucky and holds a certificate in practice-based research. Her research interests span areas of basic science; specifically the science of learning, comparative psychology and choice behavior, as well as applied translational investigations of health behaviors. She has been the recipient of both federal and foundation funding, as well as receiving private industry support for clinical trials. Her current work investigates functional goals and non-pharmacological treatments for chronic pain, and she is a collaborator on projects with several of her departmental colleagues to evaluate patient behaviors regarding prediabetes care, lung cancer screening, and opioid use.

Mary Sheppard, MD is an Assistant Professor in the University of Kentucky College of Medicine, Department of Family & Community Medicine, Department of Surgery, Department of Physiology, and Saha Cardiovascular Research Center. She received her medical degree from the University of Kentucky College of Medicine and completed a residency in Family Medicine at the University of Virginia in Charlottesville, Virginia. Dr. Sheppard's research investigates pharmacologic management of genetically-triggered and acquired aortic aneurysms. She currently has NIH funding to identify treatments for Marfan syndrome, a connective tissue disorder that primarily affects the aorta, eyes, and skeletal system. In addition to her basic science projects, Dr. Sheppard is committed to improve aortic aneurysm screening and treatment in the state of Kentucky. To achieve these goals, she has founded an Aortic Clinic at the University of Kentucky and works as a Master Educator in the College of Medicine.

Brittany L. Smalls, PhD, MHSA is an Assistant Professor in the Division of Population Medicine within the Department of Family & Community Medicine (DFCM) at the University of Kentucky. Before her faculty appointment to DFCM, she was an Assistant Professor in the Center for Health Services Research and Internal Medicine at the University of Kentucky. Prior to her work at the University of Kentucky, she served as Senior Project Manager at Bringham Womens' Hospital's Center for Surgery and Public Health and a member of faculty at Massachusetts College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences. Dr. Smalls' research interestes include health disparities, global health, and social determinants of health within the confines of complex chronic illnesses. Her work has included the assessment of social determinants of health on type 2 diabetes health outcomes, specifically community and neighborhood characteristics. Currently, Dr. Smalls is focusing her research on the burden of complex chronic illness in older adults living in rural areas, the impact of social determinants, and the development of patient-centered and community-based interventions to mitigate identified social environmental burdens to chronic disease self-management. At present, she serves as co-investigator on NIH grants and has been awarded an NIDDK K01 Career Development Award.

Elisa Crill
Research Coordinator, Healthier Futures Lab

Kim Haney, MLS
Research Analyst, KAN Coordinator