Current Fellows

Daryll C. Dykes, MD, JD, PhD

Daryll Dykes is president and chief executive officer of Medical and Surgical Spine Consultants of Minnesota, where he specializes in complex reconstructive surgery for adult and pediatric spinal conditions. He is also an independent health law and policy scholar with broad interests in health care organization and finance, quality measurement and reporting, regulatory compliance, medical liability, expert witness advocacy, and health disparities.

Dykes has authored or co-authored over two dozen scientific, medical, and legal articles and book chapters. He completed the Leadership Fellows Program of the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons. He has served on the Minnesota Department of Health Provider Peer Grouping Advisory Board and as director of the Orthopaedic Education and Research Foundation, the U.S. Bone and Joint Initiative, and the J. Robert Gladden Orthopaedic Society. Dykes also has served on the Board and Quality Audit Committee of MN Community Measurement.

Dykes earned his BS in biology at Syracuse University and completed the dual-degree MD-PhD program at State University of New York, Upstate Medical University. He completed his residency in orthopaedic surgery at the University of Minnesota and remained in Minneapolis to complete fellowships in spine surgery, trauma surgery, and health services research. Dykes received his medical school’s 2015 Distinguished Young Alumnus Award for his many academic, professional, and philanthropic accomplishments, including completion of a JD magna cum laude at William Mitchell College of Law. He is certified by the American Board of Orthopaedic Surgery and is a fellow of the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons and the American College of Legal Medicine.

Elena B. Elkin, PhD, MPA

Elena Elkin is an Associate Outcomes Research Scientist at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center and an Associate Professor of Healthcare Policy and Research at Weill Cornell Medical College. She conducts investigator-initiated and collaborative research in health services and health outcomes and teaches medical students, graduate students, and fellows. She was the recipient of National Cancer Institute K07 Career Development Award from 2007 to 2012.

Elkin’s research explores the determinants of cancer screening, treatment, and outcomes using population-based observational data analysis, decision analysis, and patient surveys. Her recent funded work involves development and evaluation of web-based decision aids for women in their 40s considering screening mammography and current and former smokers eligible for lung cancer screening. Her other research interests include the economic impact of cancer treatment on patients, their families, and the health care system, as well as understanding and improving clinical decision-making processes from both patient and provider perspectives. She conducts cost-effectiveness analyses of clinical and behavioral interventions and advises numerous trainees in studies of cancer treatment patterns, complications, survival, and cost using the population-based Surveillance, Epidemiology, and End Results (SEER)-Medicare dataset.

Elkin received a BS from Cornell University, an MPA from New York University, and a PhD in health policy from Harvard University.

Christopher Friese, PhD, RN

Christopher Friese is a professor at the University of Michigan School of Nursing, where he focuses on measuring and improving the quality of cancer care delivery. He is also a faculty investigator at the university’s Institute for Healthcare Policy and Innovation, a faculty member of the Cancer Surveillance, Outcomes and Research Team, and a core member of the Comprehensive Cancer Center. He has practiced as a staff nurse at leading cancer centers, including the University of Pennsylvania, Johns Hopkins Hospital, and the University of Michigan Health System. Friese is a national expert in the analyses of claims data to study care quality and has executed large surveys of ambulatory oncology nurses. The author of 54 peer-reviewed publications, his research findings were among the first to establish a significant relationship between favorable nurse practice environments and lower surgical mortality.

As the first nurse scientist to complete a K99/R00 Pathway to Independence award from the National Institute of Nursing Research, Friese leads an interdisciplinary research program to study the quality of care delivered in understudied ambulatory oncology settings from the perspectives of patients and clinicians. He has also led pivotal studies to develop a valid and reliable measure of ambulatory nursing work environments. His recent work looks for patterns and correlates of hazardous drug exposure in oncology nurses. Friese directs the DEFENS (Drug Exposure Feedback and Education for Nurses’ Safety) Study on nurses’ use of personal protective equipment when handling chemotherapy and leads a National Cancer Institute–funded study on individualized decision making and treatment for breast cancer in an era of precision medicine.

Friese received a BSN-PhD from the University of Pennsylvania School of Nursing and completed a 3-year postdoctoral fellowship in Cancer Control and Outcomes at Harvard University/Dana-Farber Cancer Institute. He is a member of the American Academy of Nursing and received the University of Michigan’s Henry Russel Award for Outstanding Junior Faculty.

Christine Gleason, MD

Christine Gleason is a neonatologist, professor of pediatrics, and adjunct professor of global health at the University of Washington and Seattle Children’s Hospital. She previously served as academic director of the division of neonatology, which is dedicated to improving the outcomes of pregnancy through research, education, and clinical care for critically ill newborns. Her research focuses on the effects of drugs such as alcohol and narcotics on the developing brain.

Gleason is currently participating in a new multidisciplinary International Neonatal Consortium, which is dedicated to the development and labeling of medications for neonates. In addition to research, teaching, and clinical practice in the neonatal intensive care unit, she has served as neonatal consultant to the March of Dimes Foundation, Secretary-Treasurer of the American Pediatric Society, member and chair of the neonatology sub-board of the American Board of Pediatrics, and co-editor of the neonatology textbook Avery’s Diseases of the Newborn. She writes and lectures extensively and is the author of a memoir, Almost Home: Stories of Hope and the Human Spirit in the Neonatal ICU.

Gleason received a BS from Brown University and an MD from the University of Rochester. She completed pediatric residency training at Rainbow Babies and Children’s Hospital, Case Western Reserve University, and neonatal fellowship training at the University of California, San Francisco/Mt. Zion Hospital. Prior to her faculty appointment at the University of Washington, she was a member of the faculty at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine and served as director of the division of neonatology at the Johns Hopkins Children’s Center in Baltimore.

Susie Nanney, PhD, MPH, RD

Susie Nanney is an associate professor at University of Minnesota, where she serves as director of the population health division. She is the founding director of the Health Equity in Policy Initiative for the Program in Health Disparities Research, which aims to bridge persistent communication gaps among researchers, communities, and policy makers. She also cofounded and codirects the Department’s HEAL (Healthy Eating and Activity across the Lifespan) Program, integrating research, clinical practice, community resources, and policy.

Nanney’s research focuses on obesity prevention interventions, nutrition policy research, hunger relief, and health disparities. She has over 15 years of experience conducting studies in partnership with community-based organizations in a variety of settings. Her recent funded research includes evaluating food and physical activity policies and practices in preschools, secondary schools, and community colleges and the health behaviors and weight of youth in attendance; creating a healthier, more accessible school breakfast program in rural high schools; improving and measuring the quality of foods available in the emergency food system; and working with stakeholders to connect underserved communities with decision makers on safe routes to school and active transportation planning.

In 2015, Nanney was appointed by the Minnesota Commissioner of Health to serve as a research member representative to the Cultural and Ethnic Community Leadership Council for the Department of Human Services. She has a MS in community nutrition from Eastern Kentucky University, an MPH and PhD from Saint Louis University School of Public Health in behavioral science and community health, and is a registered dietitian.

Josephine Nguyen, MD

Josephine Nguyen is an assistant professor of dermatology at Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences. Most recently, she served as the Department Head of Dermatology at Naval Hospital Bremerton (NHB), Chair of the Health Ethics Committee, and initiated the Teledermatology Program to increase access to dermatologic care to military members in the Pacific Northwest. Nguyen’s special interests include leadership development, teaching, humanitarian aid, health care legislation, mentoring of college and medical students, and increasing female physician recruitment and retention in the military through mentoring.

Nguyen serves as the Navy’s Young Physician Representative to the American Medical Association (AMA), is a Navy Action Officer on the Tri-Service Committee for Female Physician Recruitment and Retention, and recently served two terms as chair to the governing council of the Women Physician Section of the AMA. She also has served on the Regulatory Policy Committee for the American Academy of Dermatology, where she helped coordinate responses to regulatory policy on dermatologic medication. Previously, Nguyen served as assistant program director of dermatology at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center and directed the contact dermatitis clinic and phototherapy unit. She was selected to serve as director of Medical Student Accessions and completed a 2-year tenure as Board President of the Navy Scholarships for medical school.

Nguyen received her undergraduate degree from the United States Naval Academy and received an MD from Stanford School of Medicine. She completed a transitional internship at National Naval Medical Center, went on to flight surgery training, and performed a flight surgery tour in Atsugi, Japan. Nguyen completed a dermatology residency at the University of Pennsylvania and in pursuing a master’s degree in the science of healthcare delivery from Dartmouth College. Nguyen is a board-certified dermatologist and a member of the American Academy of Dermatology. Her personal decorations include four Navy and Marine Corps Commendation medals.

Daniel Ochylski, DNP, MS, RN

Daniel Ochylski is founder and chief executive officer of Independent Nursing Services Inc., a large private-duty home care and staffing firm based in Michigan. Ochylski has substantial experience working with vulnerable populations in marginalized communities, connecting low-income older adults and persons with disabilities to resources and services to promote safe, person-centered supports and services funded through state and federal health policies. Ochylski is particularly interested in the translation of evidence-based knowledge to improve health, education, and the healthcare workforce.

Most recently, Ochylski served as a technical expert panel committee member for the Program of All-Inclusive Care for the Elderly, which is responsible for the development, implementation, and maintenance of programmatic quality measures for the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services. Ochylski also served as a Project Director/Consultant for the Michigan Office of Services for the Aging, where he provided leadership to numerous teams in rural and urban areas to develop, implement, and evaluate the Michigan Personal Home Care Aide State Training demonstration project.

Ochylski earned a DNP with a focus on health systems, populations, and leadership and an MS in nursing business and health systems/policy from the University of Michigan. Ochylski received his diploma in nursing from Henry Ford Hospital School of Nursing in Detroit, where he worked as a trauma nurse while completing his BSN from Oakland University in Rochester Hills, Michigan. Ochylski is a Jonas Nurse Leader Scholar and an inducted member of both Phi Kappa Phi national honor society and Sigma Theta Tau International honor society.

Punam Ohri-Vachaspati, PhD, RD

Punam Ohri-Vachaspati is an associate professor of nutrition at the School of Nutrition and Health Promotion (SNHP) at Arizona State University, where she teaches graduate-level courses focused on survey research and obesity prevention. As a public health nutrition expert, Ohri-Vachaspati mentors students interested in exploring public health approaches for improving healthy food access, eating behaviors, and health outcomes. At SNHP, she created a new multidisciplinary master’s degree in obesity prevention and management and led an online course on health and wellness that attracted over 16,000 students from 185 countries.

Ohri-Vachaspati’s research examines the impact of policy and environmental change approaches on food access and physical activity opportunities in low-income, minority communities. For the past 10 years, her work has been funded by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the National Institutes of Health (NIH), the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF), and the U.S. Department of Agriculture, among others. Currently, she is a dual Principal Investigator on an NIH/RWJF-funded 5-year longitudinal study in 4 low-income, high-minority cites in New Jersey. This study is tracking a cohort of more than 1,000 children over time to examine if changes in their environment result in changes in weight status and associated behaviors. In addition, Ohri-Vachaspati’s work examines policies and programs in schools and community settings. She has extensive experience in designing and implementing community-based nutrition interventions.

Ohri-Vachaspati has served on the editorial boards for the Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics and Public Health Nutrition. She is also a registered dietitian and received her PhD and master’s degrees from Tufts University School of Nutrition in Food Policy and Applied Nutrition. She completed her undergraduate education at University of Delhi, India.

Key Information

2017 Call for Applications Now Open until Nov. 15

The 2017-2018 Call for Applications for the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Health Policy Fellows program is open until 3:00pm ET on November 15. Apply now!