Who We Are


Cavanuagh_Kerri.jpgKerri Cavanaugh, MD, MHS

Associate Professor of Medicine 
Director, Center for Effective Health Communication 
Associate Director, Effective Health Communication Core
Division of Nephrology 

VUMC Department of Medicine Faculty Page

Kerri Cavanaugh M.D., M.H.S. received her bachelor´s degree in Chemistry and Psychology from Dartmouth College in 1995. She received her M.D. from Yale in 1999. After this, Dr. Cavanaugh completed an Internal Medicine Residency and fellowship in Nephrology in 2005. During this time she also served as Chief Resident of Internal Medicine at Johns Hopkins Hospital. In 2006, she graduated from the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg  School of Public Health with a Masters in Health Science (M.H.S.) degree with a focus in clinical epidemiology. In 2006, she joined the faculty at Vanderbilt in Internal Medicine Division of Nephrology and the Vanderbilt Center for Health Services Research. Dr. Cavanaugh´s current research focuses on exploring the role of patient awareness and education regarding chronic disease self-management. This includes elucidating the role of health literacy and numeracy in the communication between patients and providers as well as potential barriers to effective self-management in patients with diabetes, hypertension and kidney disease. She has been funded by the NIH and the National Kidney Foundation.

Core Director



Sunil Kripalani, MD, MSc, SFHM

Professor of Medicine
Director, Center for Clinical Quality and Implementation Research (CCQIR)
Director, Center for Health Services Research


VUMC Department of Medicine Faculty Page 


Dr. Kripalani is a Professor of Medicine, Director of the Center for Clinical Quality and Implementation Research, and Director of the Center for Health Services Research. He has developed, implemented, and evaluated numerous interventions to improve the quality, safety, value, and patient-centeredness of health care delivery, with a focus on health communication, social determinants of health, medication management, and transitions of care. He has experience in the development of evidence-based toolkits, mentored implementation programs, mixed-methods evaluation of interventions in clinical practice, and de-implementation of wasteful practices. He graduated from Rice University, received his MD from Baylor College of Medicine, and trained in Internal Medicine at Emory University, where he also completed a Hospital Medicine Fellowship and a Master of Science in Clinical Research. Dr. Kripalani’s research is funded by the National Institutes of Health, Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, and Patient Centered Outcomes Research Institute. He is Principal Investigator of the Vanderbilt Scholars in T4 Translational Research (V-STTaR) K12 career development program, serves as a Co-Investigator for the Vanderbilt CTSA Learning Health System platform, and leads the Implementation Core of the Precision Medicine and Health Disparities Collaborative. He is Chair of the AHRQ Healthcare Effectiveness and Outcomes Research (HEOR) study section and serves on the Editorial Board of the Journal of Hospital Medicine. He previously founded and served as Chief of the Section of Hospital Medicine at Vanderbilt.


William Heerman, MD, MPH

Assistant Professor of Internal Medicine and Pediatrics 
Chief, Section of Internal Medicine and Pediatrics 
Fellowship Director, General Academic Pediatrics 
Co-Director of Epidemiology Track, MPH Program

VUMC Department of Medicine Faculty Page

Dr. Heerman is an Assistant Professor of Internal Medicine and Pediatrics. He is the Fellowship Director for Academic General Pediatrics and the Director of General Pediatrics Divisional Research. He also co-leads the Epidemiology Track of Vanderbilt's Master in Public Health Program. Dr. Heerman's research focuses on improving maternal-child health outcomes related to obesity in communities through the development and implementation of behavioral interventions to support healthy childhood growth. He has a particular focus on low-income and minority populations and is committed to creating multi-generational solutions to health disparities. His work relies heavily on the theories of health behavior change and the theories of implementation science to guide a pragmatic approach to community-based intervention development.


Gretchen Jackson, MD, PhD

Associate Professor, Pediatric Surgery, and Biomedical Informatics


VUMC Division of Surgical Sciences Faculty Page

Dr. Jackson is the Vice President and Chief Science Officer at IBM Watson Health and an Associate Professor of Surgery, Pediatrics, and  Biomedical Informatics at the Vanderbilt University Medical Center. She is an internationally recognized informatician and accomplished clinical  surgeon with over 25 years of contributions to informatics research, innovations in health information technologies, and surgical science. She is a member of the Board of Directors for the American Medical Informatics Association (AMIA) and an elected fellow of the American College of Medical Informatics (ACMI).

Mcnaughton-CandaceCandace McNaughton, MD, PhD, MPH

Assistant Professor of Emergency Medicine


Vanderbilt Translational  and Clinical Cardiovascular Research Faculty Page

Dr. McNaughton attended Brigham Young University, followed by Washington University in St. Louis for medical school. Following residency  training in emergency medicine at Vanderbilt, she obtained a Masters of Public Health from Vanderbilt, completed the two year VA Quality Scholars fellowship, and a doctoral degree in epidemiology. In addition to a focus on hypertension among patients who seek emergency care, her research interests include health determinants for patients with diabetes and heart failure, health communication, and resistant hypertension. Dr. McNaughton’s research interests include determinants of hypertension control such as numeracy, health literacy, and medication adherence, with an emphasis on patients who seek care in the emergency department.


Shelagh Mulvaney, PhD 

Associate Professor of Nursing, Biomedical Informatics & Pediatrics

Vanderbilt School of Nursing Faculty Page

Dr. Mulvaney received her doctorate in Clinical Psychology from the University of Arizona in  2002. There she specialized in pediatric psychology, research design, and program evaluation. In 2002, she completed her Clinical Internship in Pediatric Psychology at Fletcher Allen Hospital of the University of Vermont. Dr. Mulvaney completed a post-doctoral position as a Research Associate in the Center for Evaluation and Program Improvement at  Peabody College, Vanderbilt University. Dr. Mulvaney's current research includes development and testing of technology-assisted (Internet, mobile, informatics) patient and family health-related behavior change systems; improvement of self-management and related skills in pediatric diabetes, obesity, and other chronic illnesses; development of systems to support diabetes self-management problem solving skills; utilization of social learning mechanisms to support diabetes self-management; and design and testing of mobile behavioral assessment systems.


Russell Rothman, MD, MPP

Professor, Internal Medicine, Pediatrics, & Health Policy
Ingram Chair in Integrative and Population Health
Senior Vice President, Population and Public Health
Director, Institute for Medicine and Public Health

VUMC Department of Medicine Faculty Page


Dr. Rothman is a Professor of Internal Medicine, Pediatrics, and Health Policy. He serves as Senior Vice President for Population Health Research at Vanderbilt University Medical Center, and he is Chief of the Internal Medicine and Pediatrics Section in the Department of Medicine. As Director of the Institute for Medicine and Public Health, Dr. Rothman oversees an Institute that engages more than 292 faculty members involved in health services research, implementation science, behavioral research, health disparities research, quality improvement research and other areas aimed at improving health outcomes. He currently serves as the Principal Investigator of the PCORI funded STAR Clinical Research Network, which engages Vanderbilt University Medical Center, the Vanderbilt Health Affiliated Network, Meharry Medical College, Duke, UNC, Wake Forest, Health Sciences of South Carolina and Mayo. The network includes electronic health record data on over 12 million patients and supports pragmatic clinical research and real world evidence research. Dr. Rothman also led the CMS funded Mid-South Practice Transformation Network, which engaged over 4,000 clinicians in quality improvement in the Mid-South region. Dr. Rothman received his bachelor's, medical, and public policy degrees from Duke University, where he also completed a combined Internal Medicine and Pediatrics residency. His current research focuses on preventing, managing, and improving care for adult and pediatric patients with chronic diseases, with particular focus on health literacy and numeracy in patients with diabetes and obesity.

Weinger-Matthew Matthew Weinger, MD

 Norman Ty Smith Chair in Patient Safety & Medical Simulation 
 Professor of Anesthesiology, Biomedical Informatics, and Medical Education 
 Vice Chair for Academic Affairs, Department of Anesthesiology 
 Senior Physician Scientist, Geriatrics Research Education & Clinical Center 
 Tennessee Valley VA Healthcare System 
 Director, Center for Research and Innovation in Systems Safety (CRISS) 

VUMC Department of Anesthesiology Faculty Page

Dr. Weinger holds the Norman Ty Smith Chair in Patient Safety and Medical Simulation and is a Professor of Anesthesiology, Biomedical  Informatics, and Medical Education at Vanderbilt. He is the Director of the Center for Research and Innovation in Systems Safety (CRISS) that specializes in human factors, informatics, simulation, and quality improvement research and implementation. He holds a Bachelor's degree in electrical engineering and a Master's degree in Biology from Stanford University. He completed his MD degree at the University of California–San Diego and did his anesthesiology residency training at the University of California–San Francisco.  Dr. Weinger has been teaching and conducting research in patient safety, human factors, health services research, biomedical informatics, healthcare simulation, technology development/evaluation, and clinical decision making for a quarter century. Other active projects address issues of teamwork and communication, the effects of interruptions of care, and the analysis of patient safety events. Dr. Weinger has received nearly $7 million in direct research support from federal agencies and major non-profit foundations. He has mentored dozens of junior faculty (two currently on foundation grants), as well as 12 post-doctoral fellows, 3 PhD students, and almost 100 pre-doctoral, medical, and undergraduate students.


Consuelo Wilkins, MD, MSCI

Senior Vice President and Senior Associate Dean,
for Health Equity and Inclusive Excellence
Associate Director, Vanderbilt Institute for Clinical and Translational Science
Professor of Medicine, Division of Geriatric Medicine
Geriatric Medicine Fellowship Program Faculty
Engagement Core Director, All of Us Research Program

VUMC Department of Medicine Faculty Page

Dr. Wilkins is currently a Principal Investigator of three NIH-funded centers: 1) the Vanderbilt-Miami-Meharry Center of Excellence in Precision  Medicine and Population Health, which focuses on decreasing disparities among African Americans and Latinos using precision medicine, 2) the Vanderbilt Recruitment Innovation Center, a national center dedicated to enhancing recruitment and retention in clinical trials, and 3) and the Vanderbilt Institute for Clinical and Translational Research, Vanderbilt’s virtual home for clinical and translational research. She is widely recognized for her work in stakeholder and community engagement and has pioneered methods of stakeholder engagement that involve community members and patients in research across the translational spectrum. One approach is the Community Engagement Studio — a model of engagement that can be used to elicit project-specific input from patients and communities at any stage of clinical or translational research.

Ebele Umeukeje

Ebele M. Umeukeje, MD, PhD

Assistant Professor of Medicine
Division of Nephrology


VUMC Department of Medicine Faculty Page


Dr. Umeukeje is an Assistant Professor of Medicine in the Division of Nephrology and Hypertension at Vanderbilt University Medical Center. She completed Internal Medicine training, including a year as Chief Resident, at Meharry Medical College, and completed Nephrology training at Vanderbilt University Medical Center. She advanced her training in patient-oriented research through the Masters of Public Health Program at Vanderbilt University, in part supported by an NIDDK Ruth L. Kirschstein National Research Service Awards (NRSA) individual post-doctoral fellowship award. Dr. Umeukeje’s research aims to reduce the high morbidity and mortality associated with kidney disease by improving self-care in vulnerable populations, addressing psychosocial determinants. Her research promotes health equity for patients of racial, ethnic and gender minorities as well as those with limited health literacy and lower socioeconomic resources. With previous funding support through a BIRCWH K12 award, and currently, an NIDDK K23 award, Dr. Umeukeje is examining novel patient and provider-specific psychosocial determinants of dialysis treatment adherence in African American patients with end-stage kidney disease.

William MartinezWilliam Martinez, MD, MS

Assistant Professor of Medicine
Division of Internal Medicine and Public Health


VUMC Department of Medicine Faculty Page

Dr. Martinez received his bachelor´s degree in Biology from Dartmouth College in 1999. He received his M.S. from the UC Berkeley School of Public Health in 2005 and his M.D. from UCSF in 2007. After graduating, Dr. Martinez completed an Internal Medicine Residency at Brigham & Women’s Hospital and served as Chief Medial Resident from 2010-2011. He remained at Brigham & Women’s Hospital and completed a health services research fellowship at Harvard Medical School before joining the Vanderbilt faculty in 2013. He conducts NIH and foundation funded research focused on communication issues that impact the quality and safety of patient care including speaking up about safety concerns and communicating health data and self-management information to patients with chronic disease, including patients with limited health literacy. Currently, his research focuses on developing and testing novel patient portal innovations to improve patients’ understanding of their diabetes health data (e.g., A1C, LDL, and blood pressure), promote patient engagement, and improve disease self-management.

Nelson_Lyndsay Lyndsay Nelson, PhD

Research Assistant Professor
Division of Internal Medicine and Public Health


VUMC Department of Medicine Faculty Page

Dr. Nelson is a social psychologist with expertise in experimental and translational health psychology. Dr. Nelson received her MA in Experimental Psychology from Appalachian State University and her PhD in Social/Experimental Psychology from East Tennessee State University. Her research is grounded in self-care promotion for type 2 diabetes and technology- and community-based health interventions for underserved populations. Dr. Nelson has examined user engagement, usability, and effectiveness of several technology-delivered health interventions for diabetes, but is particularly passionate about researching and optimizing technologies which are shared across socioeconomic status and racial/ethnic groups, namely text messaging, to reduce disparities. Her recent work is focused on examining more critically how users engage with text message-delivered interventions, in order to design and implement interventions that help sustain engagement, and therefore potentiate impact. Dr. Nelson is a former postdoctoral fellow in the Department of Medicine at Vanderbilt and is affiliated with the Center for Health Behavior and Health Education.

Barocas_Dan Daniel A. Barocas, MD, MPH, FACS

Associate Professor, Department of Urology
Executive Vice Chair, Department of Urology
Division of Urologic Oncology 

VUMC Department of Urology Faculty Page


Dr. Barocas is an Associate Professor and Vice Chair of Urology at the Vanderbilt University Medical Center, and the Vanderbilt Ingraham Cancer Center.  He has clinical and research interests in urologic cancers, and the measurement of patient outcomes and quality of care. His work has focused on patient satisfaction, patient outcomes, and developing risk prediction measures to assist in counseling patients. Dr. Barocas is currently PI of the CEASAR study (Comparative Effectiveness Assessment of Surgery And Radiation), funded by NCI to study oncologic and patient-reported outcomes in a large prospective, population-based cohort study. He is also involved with national organizations, including the American Urological Association and Commission on Cancer, and in development of quality measures for urologic cancer care. 

mayberryLindsay Mayberry, MS, PhD

​Associate Professor of Medicine
Co-Director, Center for Health Behavior and Health Education​​​​​​

Associate Professor of Biomedical Informatics

VUMC Department of Medicine Faculty Page

Dr. Mayberry received her bachelor’s degree in Psychology from Vanderbilt University in 2006. In 2008, she received her master’s degree in Community Counseling, with an emphasis on couples and families from the University of North Carolina, Greensboro. She completed her Ph.D. in an interdisciplinary program called Community Research and Action in the department of Human and Organizational Development at  Peabody College, Vanderbilt University in 2012, and began a postdoctoral fellowship in Health Services Research at the Vanderbilt University Medical Center. Her research focuses on families’ experiences with the health and mental health care systems, and interactions between family members and health care providers in the context of chronic illness. Her current work focuses on the role of family member support in diabetes self-management behaviors among adults to inform the development of family-based interventions..


Erin Bergner, PhD, MPH

Erin is a Staff Scientist and works on various operational and research initiatives across the Center for Effective Health Communication and Effective Health Communication Core. In her role, she develops health literacy- and numeracy-appropriate patient-facing materials, and also has experience disseminating health information to diverse populations. Erin received her bachelor’s in sociology and psychology from Tulane University, a MPH from Emory University, and a PhD in sociology from Vanderbilt University.

Beverly Fetterman, BS

Beverly has been working at Vanderbilt University Medical Center for the better part of three years. She started out as an Administrative Assistant for the Division of Internal Medicine and Public Health as well as Health Services Research. Recently she has taken on the roll of Associate Program Manager for HSR working closely with CEHC, CCQIR, and other HSR affiliated programs. Beverly graduated from Middle Tennessee State University in 2017 with a bachelor's degree in Family and Consumer Science. 

Fellows and Students


McMahon-EllenEllen McMahon, MD

Academic General Pediatrics Fellow
Instructor in Clinical Pediatrics 
Division of General Pediatrics




Dr. McMahon is a current Academic General Pediatrics Fellow and Master of Public Health student at Vanderbilt. She received her bachelor’s degree in Biology from Boston College in 2012 and her medical degree from the University of Southern California in 2018. Dr. McMahon completed her residency in Pediatric and Adolescent Medicine at Mayo Clinic in 2021 prior to starting fellowship at Vanderbilt. Her research focuses on health behavior interventions and improving patient-provider communication. She has a special interest in improving the patient-provider relationship and pediatric developmental outcomes in underserved patient populations.