You are here

About Us

GPC Leadership


Principal Investigator (PI):Russ Waitman, PhD
Institution: University of Missouri- School of Medicine

Since arriving at the University of Kansas Medical Center in 2010, Russ Waitman has worked with colleagues across the schools and campuses to establish a strategy for clinical and translational research informatics for Frontiers, the Kansas and Kansas City NIH Clinical and Translational Science Award. A key component was working with the University of Kansas Physicians and the University of Kansas Hospital to establish a master data sharing agreement and oversight process so they could jointly create an integrated data repository, HERON, based on the NIH funded i2b2 platform. This led to KUMC serving as the leading institution for the PCORnet Greater Plains Collaborative Clinical Data Research Network where Dr. Waitman serves as Principal Investigator. His research interests are clinical decision support, knowledge discovery, and creating information environments to support personal health, research and patient safety.


GPC Dual-PI: James McClay, MD
InstitutionUniversity of Missouri- School of Medicine

Dr. McClay is a Chief Research Informatics Officer for the School of Medicine, with academic home in HMI, alongside a concurrent appointment with the Department of Emergency Medicine. Dr. McClay joined from the University of Nebraska Medical Center (UNMC) where served as Professor, with research/professional interests in Clinical Informatics, Information Standards in Emergency Medicine, and Comparative Effectiveness Research. Dr. McClay serves as co-chair of the HLT Emergency Care Work Group (ECWG), which led the ECWG in the creation of the EDIS-Functional Profile, the DEEDS specification, and the EC DAM informative ballot.  He has o worked closely with the emergency medicine specialty society to continue to expand the portfolio of Emergency Care related standards, support the FHIR clinical initiatives, and represent the emergency care community in HL7 projects.

Lead Patient Advisor: Cheryl Jernigan, CPA, FACHE
InstitutionUniversity of Kansas Medical Center

Cheryl Jernigan, CPA, FACHE is a 19-year breast cancer "thriver" and a "co-survivor" with her husband, who is a survivor of metastatic prostate cancer and HPV tonsil cancer. She is the Lead Advocate for the Greater Plains Collaborative's grant to develop a Clinical Data Research Network (CDRN) as part of The National Patient-Centered Clinical Research Network (PCORnet). In her research advocacy work, Cheryl is a member of Susan G. Komen's (national) Scientific Advisory Board, which oversees Komen's breast cancer research program; and a member of the steering committee for Komen's Advocates in Science program. She also serves as a member of the National Cancer Institute's Central Institutional Review Board for Adult Late Phase Clinical Trials; The V Foundation's Scientific Grant Panel; the Clinical Trials Transformation Initiative's Steering Committee; and the Multi-Regional Clinical Trials Center's Working Group on Returning Clinical Trial Results to Participants.


Site PI: Elizabeth Chrischilles, PhD
Institution: University of Iowa

Dr. Chrischilles, professor in the Department of Epidemiology and Director of its Health Effectiveness Research Center, holds the Pomerantz Chair in Public Health in the University of Iowa College of Public Health. Dr. Chrischilles is Associate Director for Population Sciences in the University's Holden Comprehensive Cancer Center. Her research involves using electronic healthcare databases, engaging patients, and collecting patient-reported outcomes to address comparative effectiveness questions, particularly for older adults and patients with multiple chronic conditions. She is Co-Director of Biostatistics, Epidemiology and Research Design for the University of Iowa Institute for Clinical and Translational Sciences. Dr. Chrischilles is currently leading a breast cancer outcomes research agenda in the Greater Plains Collaborative.


Site PI: Lindsay Cowell, PhD
Institution: University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center

Dr. Cowell has built a research program focused on the development of bioinformatics and computational biology methods for studying the immune system and infections diseases. In particular, her work has focused on the somatic diversification of antigen receptor-encoding genes and the development of computable representations of qualitative biological and clinical information. Within each of these areas, she has developed projects that emphasize methodologic developments as well as projects focused on answering specific biological questions.


Site PI: Jeffrey VanWormer, PhD 
Institution: Marshfield Clinic Research Institute

Dr. VanWormer is a behavioral epidemiologist with research interests in the primary prevention of chronic diseases, with a particular focus on community-level surveillance and lifestyle interventions. For the past 12 years, he has worked at the Marshfield Clinic Research Institute as a Research Scientist in the Center for Clinical Epidemiology & Population Health. He has led and assisted with many health promotion and disparities projects focused on obesity, medication use, and vaccinations, among others. Dr. VanWormer is also an investigator member of the national Health Care Systems Research Network and the University of Wisconsin’s Institute for Clinical and Translational Research. Prior to his work in Marshfield, Dr. VanWormer was the Director of the Heart of New Ulm Project, a successful initiative led by Allina Health and the Minneapolis Heart Institute Foundation to prevent cardiovascular disease in rural Minnesota.

Site PI: Bradley Taylor
Institution: Medical College of Wisconsin

Bradley Taylor is the Chief Research Informatics Officer at the Medical College of Wisconsin, where he leads Biomedical Informatics for the Clinical and Translational Science Institute of Southeast Wisconsin. He and his team integrate information technology systems, electronic health records, clinical databases, and tissue repositories throughout CTSI's partner institutions to support clinical and translational research. Brad is actively involved in the collaborative sharing of resources and expertise with multiple CTSAs nationally where close attention is paid to the tools and systems developed by each entity to avoid duplication of efforts. His goal is to positively impact the lives of people in our community and beyond by providing efficient, innovative technology solutions for both patient care and translational research.

Site PI: Meredith Zozus, PhD
Institution: University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio

Dr. Meredith Zozus recently joined the University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio (UTHSCSA) Long School of Medicine as the Director for Clinical Research Informatics and the Clinical Informatics Research Division Chief. Prior to joining UTHSCSA, Zozus was associate professor of Biomedical Informatics at the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences (UAMS). At UAMS she led a very active research program in Clinical Research Informatics focusing on methods to improve the design, conduct, and reporting of clinical studies, primarily in the areas of data quality in healthcare and health-related research and secondary use of EHR data. Zozus joined UAMS in 2016 after an 18-year career at Duke University where she served as the director for the data center at the Duke Clinical Research Institute and the associate director for Clinical Research Informatics in the Duke Translational Medicine Institute. In addition to multiple published articles, she has led the development of eight national/international data standards, serves as the Chief Editor for the Good Clinical Data Management Practices international practice standard for clinical research data management and recently published The Data Book, covering fundamental principles behind the collection and management of research data.

Site PI: Abu Saleh Mohammad Mosa, MS, PhD
Institution: University of Missouri- School of Medicine

Abu Saleh Mohammad Mosa, PhD is the Sr. Director of Informatics Technology at the NextGen Biomedical Informatics (NextGen BMI) Center at the University of Missouri School of Medicine. He is an Associate Professor of Biomedical Informatics, an Adjunct Associate Professor of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science, a member of the Core Faculty of the Institute for Data Science and Informatics. Previously, Dr. Mosa served as the Director of Research Informatics for the School of Medicine and the Institute for Clinical and Translational Science since 2013. Dr. Mosa obtained his Bachelor’s degree in Computer Science and Engineering from the Bangladesh University of Engineering and Technology, followed by a Master’s degree in Computer Science from the University College Dublin, and a Doctoral degree in Health Informatics from the University of Missouri. Dr. Mosa received the NIH Data Science Rotations for Advancing Discovery (RoAD-Trip) Fellowship in 2018 and received the honor of 2020 inductee of the Fellow of American Medical Informatics Association (FAMIA). Dr. Mosa served as the principal investigator (PI) and co-investigator for numerous extramural research grants funded by PCORI, NIH, AHRQ, State of Missouri, and industry partners. He also serves as the site-PI for MU’s participation in the Greater Plains Collaborative (GPC) PCORNet Clinical Research Network, which is a national healthcare data infrastructure grant funded by PCORI. His research interests fall within the subdiscipline of biomedical informatics for supporting the mission of biomedical and clinical research, which include: (a) the application of data science techniques for real-world data management, warehousing and mining for developing, implementing and disseminating the 21st century data-driven research infrastructure, and (b) the innovative uses of EHR to support clinical and translational research and the learning health system, with the goal of healthcare innovation, patient-centered outcomes improvement and precision medicine application. He has extensive research expertise in large scale healthcare data management, warehousing, and mining. These ranges from the development of clinical research data warehouse for institutional electronic health record data to the establishment of data coordinating center for prospective electronic data collection in clinical studies.

Site PI: Rachel Hess, MD, MS
Institution: University of Utah

Rachel Hess is a Professor of Population Health Sciences and Internal Medicine the founding Chief of the Division of Health System Innovation and Research (HSIR) at the University of Utah. As a clinician and Health Services Researcher, Rachel brings a unique perspective of translating research into clinical and policy practice. Rachel's research aims to improve patient-centered outcomes in clinical care. In service of this mission, she seeks to understand determinants of quality of life, including sexual function, and how health-related quality of life affects health and cost outcomes. She has conducted cohort studies in midlife women to examine the impact of menopause on health-related quality of life, including sexual functioning. She is currently following a cohort of adults over 50 to characterize the roles of intrapersonal resources, interpersonal relationships, and individual lifestyle in shaping quality of life across transitions, and the health and healthcare-cost outcomes of quality of life. Rachel's implementation work uses health information technology to engage patients in their care. She has examined the impact of providing patients with guideline-based feedback regarding their health behaviors and health-related quality of life on patient activation and behavior change. Rachel has oerseen the development and successful implementation of multiple technology-based programs in primary care, including the University of Utah's and UPMC's efforts in the electronic collection of patient-reported information as part of routine clinical care throughout the health system.

Site PI: Vino Raj, MD
Institution: Allina Health

Dr. Raj is Allina Health's Director of Clinical Research Informatics and Analytics, with direct responsibility for the team who supports the PCORnet Common Data Model (CDM) and research infrastructure, and provides researchers across the organization with data extracts and coordination for clinical trials, observational studies, and outcomes research. His medical background includes serving as a physician in East African medical establishments and medical missions program working collaboratively with a variety of organizations such as AMREF, Government of Tanzania, Selilan Medical Center, and UNICEF. Additionally he acquired a broad background in the clinical sciences, with specific training and expertise in ethnographic, data analysis and survey research. Dr. Raj also consulted with Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services on their Transforming Clinical Practice Initiative and assisted in data aggregation, cost sharing analysis, and training for CME and MOC programs for depression screening, medication adherence and responsible opioid prescribing. His research interests are in infectious diseases, innovative medical informatics, and medical collaborations for patient-centered population health improvements.

Site PI: Kirk Knowlton, MD
Institution: Intermountain Healthcare

Dr. Kirk Knowlton went to Intermountain Heart Institute in January 2016 from the University of California, San Diego, where he served as the Chief of Cardiology and Vice-Chair of Medicine for Laboratory Research. Throughout his career, he has had a strong interest in understanding how and why patients develop heart failure. This includes abnormalities in DNA, infections of the heart like viral myocarditis, and the role of immune function in heart cells that affect cardiac performance. Dr. Knowlton has also made important discoveries related to how heart cells communicate with each other to establish normal conduction. Dr. Knowlton has published his research in journals such as Nature Medicine, Science, Circulation, and the Journal of Clinical Investigation. He has served on numerous research committees with the American Heart Association, the Sarnoff Foundation, and recently fulfilled two years as President of the American Heart Association, Western States Affiliate. Dr. Knowlton also maintains an active clinical practice as a general cardiologist with a focus on heart failure and pulmonary hypertension.


Site PI: Carol Geary
InstitutionUniversity of Nebraska Medical Center

Dr. Geary is an assistant professor in the Department of Pathology & Microbiology at the University of Nebraska Medical Center. Her work has two methodological foci: creation and use of de-identified electronic health record data for research purposes and patient and stakeholder engagement in research. She has worked to develop the relationship networks and expertise to support researchers with interest in patient engagement in their research. She led the UNMC research team through completion of their initial Eugene Washington Award through PCORI. She has also served on the Migratory and Seasonal Agricultural Workers Engagement Project, National Advisory Council and is currently Co-investigator for the Nebraska Public Health Lab COVID Expansion and holds co-leadership responsibility for UNMC’s Clinical Research Data Warehouse Environment (CRANE).


Development mailing list

Technical notes and milestones

Governance Council, by site:

  • KUMC: Russ Waitman
  • Iowa: Betsy Chrischilles
  • MCRI: Jeffrey VanWormer
  • MCW: Brad Taylor
  • UNMC: James McClay
  • UTHSCSA: Meredith Zozus
  • UT-Southwestern: Lindsay Cowell
  • University of Missouri: Abu Mosa
  • Utah: Rachel Hess
  • Allina: Vino Raj
  • Intermountain: Kirk Knowlton 

IRB Representatives, by site:

  • KUMC: Kathy Jurius
  • Iowa: Michele Countryman
  • MCRI: Linda Jaros
  • MCW: Elizabeth McDonough
  • UNMC: Gail Paulsen
  • UTHSCSA: Kim Summers, Meyad Baghezza
  • UT-Southwestern: Rhonda Oilepo
  • MU: Michele Kennet
  • IU: Ryan Ballard
  • Utah: Sarah Mumford
  • Allina: Gayle Kusch
  • Intermountain: Shelby Moench

Project Managers, by site: 

  • KUMC: Hillary Sandoval
  • Iowa: Brian Gryzlak
  • MCRI: Laurel Verhagen
  • MCW: Kris Osinski
  • UNMC: Carol Geary
  • UTHSCSA: Olivia Ellsmore 
  • UTSW: Shiby Antony
  • MU: Vasanthi Mandhadi
  • Utah: Ainsley Huffman
  • Allina: Cassandra Rodgers
  • Intermountain: Gary Bishop

DROC Members, by site:

  • KUMC: Chris Wittkopp, Karen Blackwell, Maren Wennberg, Russ Waitman, Sravani Chandaka
  • Iowa: Brian Gryzlak, Ashlee Wilson
  • MCRI: Robert Greenlee
  • MCW: Bradley Taylor, Kris Osinski
  • UNMC: Gail Paulsen, Jim McClay
  • UTHSCSA: Eric Moffett, Laura Manuel, Olivia Ellsmore
  • UTSW: Duwayne Willett, Melody Bell. Shiby Antony, Teresa Bosler
  • MU: Vasanthi Mandhadi, Abu Mosa
  • Utah: Rachel Hess, Ainsley Huffman, Molly Conroy, Reid Holbrook
  • Allina: Narayana Mazumder
  • Intermountain: Susan Rea

To cite/acknowledge the GPC, please use the following citation:

  • Suggested acknowledgement: “The dataset(s) used for the analyses described were obtained from the Greater Plains Collaborative, which is supported by the Patient Centered Outcomes Research Institute (CDRN-1306-04631) and institutional funding from its member organizations.”
  • Citation: Waitman LR, Aaronson LS, Nadkarni PM, Connolly DW, Campbell JR. The Greater Plains Collaborative: a PCORnet Clinical Research Data Network. J Am Med Inform Assoc. 2014 Jul-Aug;21(4):637-41. doi: 10.1136/amiajnl-2014-002756. Epub 2014 Apr 28. PMID: 24778202; PMCID: PMC4078294.