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Vanderbilt News

Medical / Psychology Experts

Vanderbilt has a campus broadcast facility with a dedicated fiber optic line for live TV interviews and a radio ISDN line. The News Service number ((615) 322-2706) has 24/7 on call information. Visit our website to view this information online and to view other experts-at-a-glance. Visit our news website where you can also access our online searchable database of experts. (Last updated May 2010)

Infectious diseases, vaccines, cold and flu, hand washing, H1N1, food safety

William Schaffner, M.D., chair, Department of Preventive Medicine, Vanderbilt University Medical Center

Schaffner is one of the country’s leading experts on infectious diseases, with more than 30 years public health experience. He is often used as the preferred source on a wide array of topics including cold and flu, mumps, bird flu and H1N1. Also a leading expert on vaccinations, Schaffner is a member of the CDC’s Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices and is the current president of the National Foundation for Infectious Diseases. He is a consultant with the Tennessee Department of Health on issues of public health and can also discuss how biological agents could be used as weapons.

  • Phone: (615) 322-4747

Kathryn Edwards, M.D., professor of Pediatrics; director, Division of Pediatric Clinical Research

Edwards’ work focuses on the evaluation of vaccines for the prevention of infectious diseases in adults and children. She has conducted large efficacy trials of influenza vaccine and has coordinated multicenter trials of H. influenza type b, B. pertussis, Streptococcus pneumoniae and vaccina vaccines. She also conducts active population based surveillance to monitor the impact of new
vaccines on disease burden. Edwards was the principal investigator for the H1N1 vaccine trial at Vanderbilt.

  • Phone: (615) 322-4747

Tom Talbot, M.D., assistant professor of Medicine and Preventive Medicine

Talbot can discuss seasonal illnesses, including flu, and their corresponding vaccinations. He is also considered an expert on West Nile Virus and hospital-acquired infectious such as staphylococcus and pneumococcal diseases. He was the principal investigator of two smallpox vaccine studies. Talbot is chief hospital epidemiologist and hospital infection control officer at Vanderbilt University Hospital.

  • Phone: (615) 322-4747

Medical Ethics · Law and Genetics · Health Legal Issues

Ellen Wright Clayton, professor of pediatrics; professor of law; Rosalind E. Franklin Professor of Genetics and Health Policy; director, Genetics Health Policy Center

As a physician and attorney, Clayton provides a unique perspective to medical ethics issues. Her primary research interest is in the ethical, legal and social implications of recent developments in genetics. She also specializes in medical ethics and legal issues affecting children and families. She has been an active participant in policy debates, advising the National Human Genome Research Institute as well as numerous bodies concerned with the ethical conduct of research involving human subjects.

Teen Depression · Children of Depressed Parents · Family Stress

Judy Garber, professor of psychology; assistant professor of psychiatry; Vanderbilt Kennedy Center investigator

Garber is an expert on teen depression and on options for helping safely handle and treat depression. Garber is leading a national, multi-site National Institutes of Mental Health study, Teens Achieving Mastery Over Stress (TEAMS), which helps teens master stress and reduce or avoid depression without or as a supplement to medication. Garber is also conducting federally funded studies on the impact on children of depressed parents, and has completed a six-year study on the role of family, stress and coping in the development of depression during adolescence. Garber is director of an NIMH-funded training program in Developmental Psychopathology and Prevention Science at Vanderbilt.

Videos and Young Children

Georgene Troseth, assistant professor of psychology

Troseth studies toddlers’ and infants’ use of video, and can tell parents what they need to know about exposing their young children to videos. Troseth provided input to Sesame Workshop on the infant DVD series. Her articles on this subject include “Young Children’s Use of Video as a Source of Socially Relevant Information,” published in May 2006; “TV Guide: 2-year-olds Learn to Use Video as a Source of Information” and “Getting a Clearer Picture: Young Children’s Understanding of a Televised Image.”

Gambling · Anxiety · Emotions

David Zald, assistant professor of psychology; Vanderbilt Kennedy Center for Research on Human Development investigator

Zald studies the foundations within the human brain for a variety of normal and abnormal emotions including susceptibility to gambling addiction, reactions to disturbing or erotic images and differences between the sexes in being affected by drugs such as amphetamines. Zald also uses brain imaging to understand the biological underpinnings for why individuals respond differently emotionally to similar stimuli. Zald’s training lies in clinical psychology, neuropsychology and neuroimaging.


Maury Nation, assistant professor of human and organizational development

Nation’s clinical research focuses on understanding and preventing violence and bullying among school-aged children. He can discuss the characteristics of bullies and victims and the short- and long-term consequences of peer harassment. The Centers for Disease Control is currently using principles that Nation developed to evaluate all grants related to intimate partner and sexual violence. He has written or co-authored numerous articles on adolescent behavior touching on topics such as empowering victims of bullies, the community’s role in preventing adolescent drug abuse, predictors of adolescent substance abuse, and gun ownership among middle school students.

Race and Mental Health · Racial/Ethnic Disparities in Health · Racial and Ethnic Relations · Athletes and Race

Tony Brown, associate professor of sociology

Brown’s research interests include racial and ethnic disparities in health, communication patterns during pediatric medical encounters, the race socialization process within black families and changes in the manifestation of whites’ racial prejudice. He has looked at the virtually unexplored link between racism and mental health problems, and the perceptions and experiences of racial discrimination. One study explores how racial antagonism creates novel mental health problems typically ignored in psychiatric settings. His study, “There’s No Race on the Playing Field: Perceptions of Racial Discrimination among White and Black Athletes,” explores white and black college athletes’ perceptions that racial and ethnic discrimination is no longer a problem. The study’s findings buck more than 70 years of social science trends relating to perceptions of racial discrimination – whites and blacks have never agreed regarding perceptions of racial and discrimination since researchers first began tracking social science survey data in the 1930s.

General heart health topics, cardiac imaging

Keith Churchwell, M.D., associate professor of Medicine and Radiology and Radiological Sciences, executive medical director and chief medical officer, Vanderbilt Heart and Vascular Institute, Vanderbilt University Medical Center

Churchwell is used by national media as a source on a wide array of heart health topics. His patient care emphasis is in cardiovascular imaging and he is the Vanderbilt expert on Echo, TEE, and nuclear stressing. He can speak to national media on any general heart topics including dark chocolate and heart disease, pain of the heart and how stressful situations such as death in the family affect heart disease. He has been used by national media on several occasions to discuss heart issues concerning former Vice President Dick Cheney, former President Bill Clinton and pop superstar Michael Jackson.

  • Phone: (615) 322-4747

MRSA — methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus

Buddy Creech, M.D., M.P.H., assistant professor of Pediatric Infectious Diseases, Department of Pediatrics, Vanderbilt University Medical Center and Monroe Carell Jr. Children’s Hospital at Vanderbilt

An infectious disease specialist, Creech has worked on the growing epidemic of methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) in the laboratory and at the bedside and was awarded the 2007 IDSA Young Investigator Award in MRSA Research. He is also an investigator in the NIH-funded Vanderbilt Vaccine and Treatment Evaluation Unit where he has worked on clinical vaccine studies involving influenza, pertussis (whooping cough), and malaria.

  • Phone: (615) 322-4747

Addiction psychiatry, hostages, psychiatry issues in the military, PTSD, suicide, spree shootings

Paul Ragan, M.D., associate professor of Psychiatry, Vanderbilt University School of Medicine

With first-hand experience counseling troops after Desert Storm, Ragan is used by national media as an expert source on topics including multiple deployments, PTSD, hostages and suicide in the military. Ragan completed his internship and residency in psychiatry at the National Naval Medical Center with training in psychodynamic psychiatry. He serves as Vanderbilt’s program director for the Faculty and Physician Wellness Program, VUMC’s director of the Consultation and Liaison Psychiatry Service and as director for the Substance Abuse Treatment Program at the VA Hospital in Nashville. He was used frequently as a national source for the shootings at both Ft. Hood and Virginia Tech.

  • Phone: (615) 322-4747

Mental health, psychiatry, child & adolescent psychiatry, disaster psychiatry, research, policy, anxiety, depression

Harsh Trivedi, M.D., executive medical director and chief of staff, Vanderbilt Psychiatric Hospital; associate professor of Psychiatry

He is double board-certified (Psychiatry, Child & Adolescent Psychiatry) and can speak about most mental health related topics. Trivedi is consulting editor of the Child and Adolescent Psychiatric Clinics of North America and co-author of the recently published groundbreaking text “Practical Child and Adolescent Psychiatry for Pediatrics and Primary Care.” He is well versed in the latest research and can translate complex research findings into practical terms. He is a former Congressional Health Policy Fellow in the U.S. Senate and can discuss issues relating to the intersection of public policy and mental health. He was used most recently as a source on issues related to divorce for a Tennessean story about the divorce of Tipper and Al Gore and in print and TV coverage related to coping with the recent floods in Nashville.

  • Phone: (615) 322-4747

Foodborne illness, tuberculosis, bloodborne viruses

Ban Mishu Allos, M.D., assistant professor of Medicine and Preventive Medicine, Vanderbilt University School of Medicine

Allos specializes in Infectious Diseases with a special interest in food-borne illnesses. She has written and lectured most about Campylobacter infections. Allos was also a member of the CDC’s Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) and served as that committee’s chair of the Influenza Working Group. She has published and spoken about transmission of bloodborne viruses (e.g., HIV, hepatitis) in the health setting and may also be called upon to discuss tuberculosis.

  • Phone: (615) 322-4747

Pediatric and adolescent ear issues, music-induced hearing loss

Roland (Ron) Eavey, M.D., director, Bill Wilkerson Center for Otolaryngology and Communication Sciences

Eavey is one of the country’s leading experts on topics relating to pediatric and adolescent ear issues. He has more than 30 years experience as an ear surgeon, is a board-certified pediatrician and has conducted surveys on ear health in conjunction with He has also worked with global media regarding an effort to “grow an ear” by tissue engineering techniques, also known as “the mouse with the ear on its back”. He is the American consultant for ear issues to the World Health Organization, among other groups.

  • Phone: (615) 322-4747

HIV prevention, emerging infections, adolescent health, global/international health, HPV/cervix cancer

Sten Vermund, M.D., Ph.D., director, Vanderbilt University Institute for Global Health; professor of Pediatrics, Medicine, Preventive Medicine, Obstetrics and Gynecology, Vanderbilt University Medical Center

An infectious disease epidemiologist and pediatrician with special experience in adolescent and women’s health, Vermund has worked most intensively in sexually transmitted viral infections, including HIV and HPV (human papillomavirus). His NIH-funded research projects involve the AIDS epidemic in Africa, India and China. The Institute for Global Health addresses concerns from AIDS to flu pandemics, SARS and any infectious disease that creates global concern.

  • Phone: (615) 322-4747

Substance abuse, addiction, addiction medicine, health benefits of coffee

Peter Martin, M.D., professor of Psychiatry and Pharmacology, Vanderbilt University School of Medicine, director, Division of Addiction Medicine, Addiction Psychiatry Training Program, Vanderbilt Addiction Center, and Institute for Coffee Studies

Martin is used by national media as an expert on all aspects of substance abuse and recovery. His research and scholarly interests include the molecular basis, diagnosis, and treatment of drug use disorders with an emphasis on substance-induced mental disorders. He is a firm believer in the health benefits of black coffee and his latest research is studying Alcoholics Anonymous groups in Nashville to examine whether changes in coffee and cigarette use are predictive of recovery from alcoholism. Martin is the author of Healing Addiction: An Integrated Pharmacopsychosocial Approach to Treatment (John Wiley and Sons, 2006).

  • Phone: (615) 322-4747

Pediatric infectious diseases, vaccines for infant respiratory viruses, pneumonia in babies

James Crowe Jr., M.D., professor of Pediatrics; director, Vanderbilt Alliance for Nanomedicine; director, Vanderbilt Program in Vaccine Sciences; Ingram Professor of Cancer Research

Crowe, a leading pediatric infectious disease expert, is the 2006 Mead-Johnson Award for Research in Pediatrics recipient. Specializing in infants’ responses to respiratory viruses and development of vaccines against respiratory viruses, Crowe can speak on everything from common infections like RSV, to H1N1 and bird flu. He reported on human metapneumovirus (MPV), a virus that is a leading cause of pneumonia in babies, in a New England Journal of Medicine study. Crowe has also done extensive research on persons who were exposed to the 1918 influenza virus.

  • Phone: (615) 322-4747

Children’s colds, flu, parenting issues, general pediatric issues

Joseph Gigante, M.D., associate professor of General Pediatrics, Monroe Carell Jr. Children’s Hospital at Vanderbilt

As a general pediatrician who sees both inpatients and outpatients, Gigante can speak on a wide variety of topics, including common infections such as colds, ear infections and immunizations. He is also able to discuss common parenting concerns about child behavior.

  • Phone: (615) 322-4747

Childhood obesity, body mass index, safety, violence prevention

Shari Barkin, M.D., chief of the Division of General Pediatrics at the Monroe Carell Jr. Children’s Hospital at Vanderbilt, Vanderbilt University Medical Center

Barkin is an advocate for children, especially those who are challenged by cultural, ethnic or socioeconomic disparities. An expert on all pediatric topics, Barkin is especially well-versed on childhood obesity and ways to help parents and society slow the epidemic growth of childhood obesity. She is also a Spanish speaker who works with Latino children and families to improve indicators of overall health.

Greg Plemmons, M.D., assistant professor of Pediatrics; director, Pediatric Weight Management Clinic at the Monroe Carell Jr. Children’s Hospital at Vanderbilt

Plemmons, who was an overweight child, opened a clinic in December 2004 to help families tackle the problem of childhood obesity. Since that time the clinic has been featured in various local and national print and television stories.

  • Phone: (615) 322-4747

Pediatric hospitalizations, infections in children, quality, safety and over-crowding issues

Paul Hain, M.D.,associate chief-of-staff, Monroe Carell Jr. Chidren’s Hospital at Vanderbilt

Hain is trained as an engineer and a physician. He is a pediatric hospitalist who specializes in the care of children admitted to the hospital. He can speak on a variety of pediatric topics including influenza, respiratory infections in children, bacterial infections in children, and other causes of childhood hospitalization. Hain also has expertise in quality and safety issues and throughput/over-crowding issues.

  • Phone: (615) 322-4747

Pediatric epilepsy, autism, seizures, childproofing your home

Juliann Paolicchi, M.D., director, Pediatric Neurology; director, Pediatric Epilepsy and EEG; associate professor of Neurology and Pediatrics at the Monroe Carell Jr. Children’s Hospital at Vanderbilt

Paolicchi’s clinical expertise is in the areas of pediatric epilepsy, seizures, intractable epilepsy and surgical treatment of epilepsy. Her research interests include innovations in the treatment of children with intractable epilepsy, including surgical and pharmacologic treatment; neuropsychological effects of pediatric epilepsy, non-epileptic events in children and co-morbid conditions in children with epilepsy. She has been used by national media as a source on autism, fetal memory, child-proofing your home as well as the accidental strangulation death of Mike Tyson’s daughter.

  • Phone: (615) 322-4747

Steroids, sports injuries in children, AED use in high schools

Andrew Gregory, M.D., assistant professor of Orthopaedics and Rehabilitation, Sports Medicine Division, Department of Orthopaedics; director, Primary Care Sports Medicine Fellowship, Vanderbilt University Medical Center; assistant professor of Pediatrics, Monroe Carell Jr. Children’s Hospital at Vanderbilt

Gregory serves as team physician for Hillwood High School, Vanderbilt University, Belmont University, the Nashville Sounds and USA Men’s Volleyball. He has served as a physician at the Olympic Training Center in Chula Vista, Calif., and traveled with the USA Men’s National Team to Asia and Europe. He is currently participating in research regarding skin infections in athletes, AED use in high schools, corticosteroid injections in knee arthritis, anti-inflammatory use for ankle sprains, and treatment of distal radius fractures in children. Gregory also has a special interest in treating injuries in child athletes.

  • Phone: (615) 322-4747

Nurse practitioners in healthcare delivery, chronic disease management, nursing stereotypes

Colleen Conway-Welch, Ph.D., R.N., dean, Vanderbilt University School of Nursing

Conway-Welch has championed the role of advanced practice nurses as a solution for high quality, affordable and more accessible care during her 26 years as dean. She is known for innovative approaches to nursing education that provide an intense curriculum in an expedited timeframe and believes advanced practice nurses (registered nurses with a master’s education) are the solution for the primary care physician shortage anticipated due to health care reform. She is an advocate against negative stereotypes of nurses in the media. She is an expert in the continuum of care approach to chronic disease management (for diabetes, hypertension, etc.) and is a national expert in the health care perspective of emergency response.

  • Phone: (615) 322-4747

Nurse staffing and shortages

Peter Buerhaus, Ph.D., R.N., Valere Potter Professor of Nursing; senior associate dean of Research, Vanderbilt University School of Nursing

Buerhaus is a nationally known economist and researcher whose groundbreaking 2000 study in JAMA, first quantified the severity of the U.S. nursing shortage. He maintains an active research program that studies employment and earnings of nursing personnel, implications of an aging RN workforce, nurse staffing, quality of patient care, and public and professional opinion research on issues affecting the delivery of health care. Buerhaus also advises policy makers and legislators on nursing and health policy issues.

  • Phone: (615) 322-4747

Allergy, asthma, respiratory-related issues, chronic sinusitis and allergic rhinitis, food allergies

David Hagaman, M.D., assistant professor of Medicine; medical director, Vanderbilt Asthma, Sinus and Allergy Program

Hagaman was a research fellow at the National Institutes of Health, National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Disease in the Laboratory of Allergic Disease. He studied the role of mast cells in the production of IL-1 and other inflammatory mediators under the mentorship of Dean Metcalfe. During that time he also served as a staff clinician for the Warren Grant Magnuson Clinical Center, National Institutes of Health, Bethesda, MD. Hagaman has been active in basic and clinical research for pharmaceutical companies including Smith-Kline, Glaxo, Merck, Pfizer, and Aventis.

  • Phone: (615) 322-4747

Humanitarian efforts, immigrant health care and immigrant social issues

Carol Etherington, M.S.N, R.N., assistant professor of Nursing, Vanderbilt University School of Nursing

Etherington can speak to the latest humanitarian issues as well as health care and social issues for immigrants in the U.S. Her work has taken her to Bosnia, Angola, Sierra Leone, Kosovo, Tajikistan, Honduras, and Poland during times of war or natural disasters. She has also traveled to Cambodia with the International Medical Corps, and the International Red Cross to
negotiate with government and health officials to integrate mental health systems, and provide acute medical care to victims of war. She has also worked on several U.S. missions, including the aftermath of Sept. 11, 2001, in New York City, the 1994 earthquake in Los Angeles, and Hurricane Andrew in Florida.

  • Phone: (615) 322-4747

Adult cardiac surgery, therapeutic cardiac interventions

John Byrne, M.D., chairman, Department of Cardiac Surgery, Vanderbilt University Medical Center

Byrne is an expert on cardiac surgery and cardiovascular disease and specializes in minimally invasive valve surgery and heart failure procedures, as well as procedures that require a more integrated relationship between cardiology and cardiac surgery. Byrne plans for the creation of an academic enterprise on patient outcomes research, with the goal of peer-review publications in major journals. This will require establishing a Web-based, point-of-service patient registry, which would also serve as an electronic medical record.

  • Phone: (615) 322-4747

Sleep, autism, epilepsy, and neurological disorders

Beth Malow, M.D., associate professor of Neurology; director, Vanderbilt Sleep Disorders Center; investigator, Vanderbilt Kennedy Center for Research on Human Development

Malow’s research interests are in the interface of sleep and neurological disorders, including epilepsy and autism. She serves as principal investigator on a NIH/NINDS Multi-center Pilot Clinical Trial examining the effects of treating obstructive sleep apnea on seizure frequency, daytime sleepiness, and health-related quality of life in adults with epilepsy.

  • Phone: (615) 322-4747

HPV (human papilloma virus), cervical cancer

Howard Jones III, M.D., professor and chair of Obstetrics and Gynecology; director, Gynecologic Oncology, Vanderbilt University Medical Center

As a gynecologic cancer expert with a special interest in cervical cancer and precancerous conditions of the cervix (cervical dysplasia, cervical intraepithelial neoplasia), Jones has been involved with the development of various techniques for cervical cancer screening – Pap smears, liquid based cytology, HPV testing, colonoscopy and HPV vaccines. He is a member of many national and international societies including the Cancer Committee for FIGO (International Federation of Gynecology and Obstetrics).

  • Phone: (615) 322-4747

Nutrition issues including adult obesity, healthy eating and fat intake

Jamie Pope, M.S., registered dietician and lecturer, Vanderbilt University School of Medicine

Pope is widely recognized as author of “The T-Factor Fat Gram Counter” and four subsequent nutrition books that have helped millions adopt healthier eating habits. She has served as a consultant to grocery store chains and various food companies including Great Foods of America. She can speak about adult obesity, fat intake, and meal plans for health eating.

  • Phone: (615) 322-4747

Emergency medicine issues; tasers

Corey Slovis, M.D., professor of Emergency Medicine and Medicine, chair, Department of Emergency Medicine, Vanderbilt University Medical Center

Slovis serves as chief of Vanderbilt Emergency Services and as medical director for the Metro Nashville Fire Department and Nashville International Airport. He developed guidelines for the taser use by the Metro-Nashville Police Department. He has authored two books, A Little Book of Emergency Medicine Rules and DRUGology, and is also on the editorial board for Journal Emergency Medical Services. He has spoken frequently on issues associated with delivering emergency medical care and also overcrowding in the nation’s ERs.

  • Phone: (615) 322-4747

Human genetics and genomics

Jonathan Haines, Ph.D., director, Vanderbilt Center for Human Genetics Research, chief, Division of Human Genomics, professor, Molecular Physiology and Biophysics, Vanderbilt University School of Medicine

Haines is an internationally recognized expert in human genetics, with over 20 years of experience working on a wide variety of human genetic disorders. His research focuses on family and population-based approaches to determine the genetic causes of such common diseases as multiple sclerosis, Alzheimer disease, age-related macular degeneration, and autism.

  • Phone: (615) 322-4747

Consumer health issues, use of Internet to deliver health care, preventive health

Jim Jirjis, M.D., professor of Biomedical Informatics and Medicine, director, Adult Primary Care Center, assistant chief medical officer for electronic medical records, Vanderbilt University Medical Center

Jirjis specializes in general internal medicine, with a specific interest in vaccines and preventive health. He is also a leader in health information technology and developing systems to improve disease management and prevention. At Vanderbilt, Jirjis led development of electronic medical record applications StarPanel and StarTracker, as well as the patient website, MyHealthatVanderbilt. He can speak to consumer health topics, as an expert on doctor/patient interaction and using the Internet to deliver health care. Individual topics of interest are numerous and include restless leg syndrome, sleep apnea, depression, anxiety, and drug risks.

  • Phone: (615) 322-4747

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