Who We Are

LJ Fagnan, MD

Lyle J. (LJ) Fagnan, MD, Network Director and Investigator

Dr. Fagnan received his medical degree from the University of Oregon Medical School and following a rotating internship in Hartford, Connecticut, he joined the United States Public Health, Indian Health Service and practiced in Bethel, Alaska, for three years. He completed his family medicine residency training in Boise, Idaho, at the University of Washington Family Medicine Residency of Southwest Idaho. In 1977, LJ founded a medical clinic, Dunes Family Health Care, in Reedsport, Oregon, which was funded as one of thirteen model rural practices with the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation's Rural Practice Project. He joined the Department of Family Medicine at Oregon Health & Science University in 1993. In 2002, LJ became the director of the Oregon Rural Practice-based Research Network (ORPRN). LJ maintains an active family medicine practice and was named as the "Family Doctor of the Year" by the Oregon Academy of Family Physicians in 2005. LJ's research portfolio includes studies and publications related to population-based health, dissemination and implementation of evidence-based medicine into practice, quality improvement, and rural health care systems.
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LeAnn Michaels

LeAnn Michaels, Network Manager

LeAnn became the ORPRN Manager in 2008. She holds a Bachelor's degree in nutrition, and worked as the Clinical Research Manager of the Clinical Outcomes Research Initiative (CORI) at OHSU prior to coming to ORPRN. Previously she coordinated clinical trials and received certification as a Certified Clinical Research Coordinator with the ACRP. While working for CORI, LeAnn worked as the project manager for the Colonoscopy in Rural Oregon Practice (CROP) study, a joint project between CORI and ORPRN. As ORPRN Manager, she works with researchers to complete grant proposals, manages the ORPRN team and oversees Network operations. She received her degree from North Dakota State University. Back to top

David Buckley, MD, MPH

David Buckley, MD, MPH, Investigator

Dr. Buckley received his medical degree from the University of New Mexico School of Medicine in Albuquerque in 1993 and did his residency in the school's Department of Family and Community Medicine. From 1996 to 1998 he served as an attending physician at the Dartmouth-Hitchcock Clinic in Keene, New Hampshire. In 1999 he joined Kaiser Permanente as an attending physician until 2001, when he joined the faculty of the Oregon Health & Science University as an Assistant Professor in Family Medicine. Dr. Buckley completed an NIH NRSA post-doctoral fellowship in primary care research, which included work on an MPH degree in epidemiology and biostatistics. He has been a research investigator with ORPRN since 2003 and serves as Vice Chairman of the Scientific Review Committee. Dr. Buckley is Co-PI of the ORPRN Preventive Services study in 2004 and is preparing to serve as PI on an ORPRN study examining the provision of preventive services to rural residents receiving chronic opioid therapy. He is also working with OHSU's Alzheimer's Research Center on a study of dementia screening in rural primary care practices.
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Melinda Davis, PhD, CCRP

Melinda Davis, PhD, CCRP, Community-engaged Research Director

Dr. Davis spent four years in La Grande, OR, as a Practice Enhancement Research Coordinator (PERC) for ORPRN prior to accepting a position in Portland following the completion of her PhD in Social-Developmental Psychology from the University of Vermont in May 2010. Melinda uses participatory research approaches and mixed method study designs to explore health service delivery in community and primary care settings. Her work focuses on rural populations; interventions to facilitate healthy/optimal aging across the lifespan, addressing topics such as childhood obesity, mental health care, unmet dental needs, and management strategies for multiple chronic conditions; and evaluating effective strategies for supporting practice change. Melinda grew up in the beautiful rural Columbia River Gorge (Stevenson, WA), and she enjoys rock climbing, mountain biking, trail running, and practicing yoga in her spare time.
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Elizabeth Waddell, PhD

Elizabeth Needham Waddell, PhD, Senior Study Director

Dr. Waddell joined ORPRN in 2014 after serving 9 years as a Research Scientist and Unit Director at the New York City Department of Health & Mental Hygiene. At ORPRN, Dr. Waddell leads multiple projects that focus on practice transformation and integration of primary and behavioral health care.  She received a PhD in Sociomedical Sciences at Columbia University and then completed a postdoctoral fellowship in NIDA's Behavioral Sciences Training Program in Drug Abuse Research.  Dr. Waddell served as principal investigator on the NYC Health and Nutrition Examination Survey and the Manhattan Lupus Surveillance Project, and has directed multiple research and programmatic collaborations between government and academic partners.  At OHSU, Dr. Waddell is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Public Health & Preventive medicine and is committed to mentoring students on projects that bridge public health research and practice.
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Sankirtana Danner, MFT

Sankirtana Danner, MA, Research Associate

Sankirtana holds a Bachelor’s degree in Psychology from the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign and a Master’s degree in Marital and Family Therapy from the University of San Diego. Prior to joining ORPRN, she worked in Seattle, Washington managing NIH funded research trials studying the dissemination of evidence based treatments to behavioral health clinicians. Sankirtana has a particular interest in the integration of mental and behavioral health treatment into primary care settings. In her role with ORPRN, she manages the execution of projects to ensure timely completion and standardized implementation. In her personal time, she volunteers with a community service organization to promote health care accessibility to rural and urban populations in southern India.
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Sonya Howk, MPA

Sonya Howk, MPA:HA, Research Associate

Sonya is a research associate with ORPRN. She manages study logistics and data collection, assists with qualitative data analysis, and supports the PERCs in their work with clinics. She has a Bachelor's in Political Science from University of Oregon, and Masters in Public Administration with an emphasis in Healthcare Administration from Portland State University. She is interested in program assessment and evaluation, and quality improvement in primary care settings. Sonya has work at the Oregon Office of Rural Health as an Information Coordinator, and as the Fellowship Program Coordinator for OHSU's Department of OB/Gyn.
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Practice Enhancement Research Coordinators (PERCs)

Molly DeSordi

Molly Hamlin, Cascades East Practice Enhancement Research Coordinator (PERC)

Molly is a Practice Enhancement Research Coordinator serving the Cascades East region. Molly is a Crook County High School graduate who will work to build a community of clinical practices and community resources in Central and Southern Oregon. She graduated from the University of Oregon with a degree in both human physiology and psychology. While at U of O, she worked as a research assistant in the Social Cognition Laboratory, where she conducted research projects for dissertation research of doctoral students.
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Mark Remiker, MA

Mark Remiker, MA, Oregon Pacific Practice Enhancement Research Coordinator (PERC)

Mark started with ORPRN in October 2012. Before joining ORPRN, Mark worked as a research coordinator for the Wisconsin Research and Education Network (WREN), a PBRN based at University of Wisconsin-Madison. His past research experience focused on implementing evidence-based guidelines for chronic kidney disease in primary care settings and validating EHR selection criteria for asthma and diabetes. Mark holds a BA in psychology from University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire and a MA in biological anthropology from Washington State University. He is originally from Milwaukee, Wisconsin.
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Ann Romer

Ann Romer, MS, Comprehensive Primary Care (CPC) Initiative Practice Enhancement Research Coordinator (PERC)

Ann is a PERC serving the Comprehensive Primary Care (CPC) practices throughout the State of Oregon. She holds a Master’s in Conflict Resolution from Portland State University, and a Bachelor’s in Biochemistry and Ecology from the University of Arizona. Her previous work experience includes several years in biomedical research at Providence, focusing largely on the therapeutic potential of adult bone marrow-derived stem cells, as well as a brief stint as an Office Manager at PSU. Ann has lived in Oklahoma, Ohio, Arizona, Germany, and the Philippines, but now calls Portland home. She enjoys raising her daughter, advocating for social justice, and learning new things with her husband.
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Beth Sommers

Beth Sommers, MPH, CPHQ, Portland Metro Practice Enhancement Research Coordinator (PERC)

Beth is a Practice Enhancement Research Coordinator serving the Portland-Metro area. She received her Masters of Public Health from Portland State University and her Bachelors of Science in Physical Anthropology from Oregon State University. Her previous experience with primary care transformation research includes development and evaluation of communication best practices of the Multnomah County Health Department’s patient-centered medical home model, Building Better Care, and evaluation of two OHSU primary care improvement demonstration projects centered around the care of patients with chronic health conditions.
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Kelsey Branca

Kelsey Branca, MPH, Research Assistant/Practice Enhancement Research Coordinator (PERC)

Kelsey Branca joined ORPRN in 2014 with the dual role of Research Assistant and Practice Enhancement Research Coordinator serving the Willamette Valley region. She earned a Master's degree in Public Health from the University of Pittsburgh and a Bachelor's degree in Health Education from San Francisco State University. Prior to joining ORPRN, she coordinated research studies with older adults at the University of Pittsburgh and spent several years working with LGBT communities in behavioral health and social services settings. Kelsey was born and raised in Humboldt county, which is located on northern California's Redwood Coast.
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Chou Xiong

Chou Xiong, Eastern Oregon Practice Enhancement Research Coordinator (PERC)

Chou is the Practice Enhancement Research Coordinator serving the eastern Oregon region. Prior to joining ORPRN, Chou worked as a Community Engagement Representative with the Clinical and Translational Research Institute at UCSD, where she worked to educate community members to increase their health research literacy. Chou also spent several years working with a community-based health organization in Merced, California to eliminate the disproportionate health disparities in the local Hmong community. Chou is passionate about preserving cultural arts and practices. She also enjoys sewing and discovering new things.
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