Meet our Research Team! Find out more about who we are and the many organizations we represent.
The diverse T-SCORE Research Team consists of individuals from the University of Kansas Medical Center (Kansas City, KS) and the University of Kansas (Lawrence) – read more about our team below:
Co-Principal Investigator, Health Disparities Research
Megha Ramaswamy, PhD, MPH, serves as Associate Professor of Preventive Medicine and Public Health at the University of Kansas Medical Center and former Associate Director of the University of Kansas Master of Public Health (MPH) program in Kansas City. Dr. Ramaswamy has been committed to teaching minority students for her entire professional career. Reaching over 100 undergraduate community health education students over four years, most of whom were first-generation college students and about 75% of whom were Black and Latino. As the Principal Investigator, Dr. Ramaswamy is in charge of implementing all aims of this project, including curriculum development and implementation, faculty/staff training, participant recruitment efforts, and coordinates Human Subject Committee approval. She also mentors students and teachers as they engage in the different health disparities programs and leads student dissemination efforts. Dr. Ramaswamy ultimately oversees ongoing evaluation and dissemination plans in collaboration with co-investigators, the research team and the Educational Advisory Board.
Co-Principal Investigator, Evaluation
Karin Chang, PhD, is the Director of Evaluation at the Center for Educational Opportunity Programs at Achievement and Assessment Institute, University of Kansas. Dr. Chang has extensive experience in K-12 professional development implementation and evaluation. As PI of Kansas Project LAUNCH, she oversaw the development, pilot testing and dissemination of the state’s developmental screening and trauma-informed care training modules for early childhood professionals. As a Co-PI of T-SCORE, Dr. Chang works closely with Dr. Ramaswamy and Dr. Alonso Luaces in the development of our inquiry-based curriculum for teachers to integrate health disparities into their Health Science curriculum. She also oversees the implementation and assessment of the T-SCORE program.
Original Principal Investigator
Ana Paula Cupertino, PhD, is the Founder of JUNTOS Center for Advancing Latino Health within the Department of Preventive Medicine and Public Health at the University of Kansas School of Medicine. Dr. Cupertino’s goal has been to initiate a new line of health disparities research in the Latino community in Kansas tied to bi-national initiatives in Mexico and Brazil. Over the past five years, she has developed a career focused on health disparities through various diverse NIH funded projects. As a social behavioral scientist, Dr. Cupertino’s tobacco control research has focused on smoking cessation and access to cessation treatments among underserved and understudied populations with a primary focus on Latinos. She also has experience in the development and implementation of research projects incorporating cultural factors and principles of community-based participatory research. Dr. Cupertino was the original T-SCORE Principal Investigator.
Maria Alonso Luaces
Co-Investigator, Professional Development Leader
Maria Alonso Luaces, PhD, is the Education Assistant Professor with the Office of Diversity and Inclusion at KUMC. In the past, Dr. Alonso Luaces has managed and coached first and second year teachers, designed professional development opportunities, analyzed data to determine key trends for increasing student achievement, and developed action plans and managed teachers in execution. As the Professional Development Lead with T-SCORE, Dr. Alonso Luaces coordinates the Summer Institute and fellowship activities for T-SCORE teachers. Every year, Dr. Alonso Luaces will facilitate T-SCORE professional development activities, support T-SCORE teachers in classroom unit implementation, and present outcomes to T-SCORE partners with a report on the progress of each program objective.
Crystal Y. Lumpkins
Co-Investigator, Website Development
Crystal Y. Lumpkins, PhD, is an Assistant Professor of Family Medicine and Assistant Professor at the School of Journalism at the University of Kansas. Dr. Lumpkins has advised several undergraduate students and has also dedicated her time to mentoring minority students from multiple disciplines including sociology, psychology and journalism. Dr. Lumpkins’s current research, with a five-year NCI Mentored Scientist Award (K-01), allows her to test a social marketing model among African American faith-based populations concerning colorectal cancer screening. Overall, Dr. Lumpkins’s is committed to reducing health disparities among underserved and minority populations. For T-SCORE, Dr. Lumpkins will assist the research team with the development, management and execution of communication and website development activities as well as mentor students and teachers in these activities.
K. Allen Greiner
Co-Investigator, Health Disparities Researchers
K. Allen Greiner, MD, MPH is currently Professor and Vice Chair of the Department of Family Medicine at the University of Kansas Medical Center (KUMC).Dr. Greiner is a practicing family physician and is the Medical Officer for the Kansas City, Kansas, Wyandotte County Unified Government Health Department. Since 2002 he has been one of two primary faculty advisors to the Jaydoc Free Clinic, a medical student run clinic for the uninsured in Kansas City, and directs the Rural Primary Care Practice and Research Program and linked Kansas Physicians Engaged in Prevention Research (KPEPR) Network. His research interests include health information technology, health disparities, chronic disease management, health literacy, and patient health risk behavior in rural and underserved community settings. With T-SCORE, Dr. Greiner will help recruit and engage health disparities researchers throughout KUMC to support T-SCORE program implementation.
Maggie Cearley, received a bachelor’s in Neuroscience from the University of Virginia in 2012. As a Teach For America – Kansas City 2012 Corp Member, she taught high school science in the Kansas City, MO public schools for three years. Ms. Cearley has a passion for learning and working in an interdisciplinary environment that combines science, education, and health to support underserved populations. As the SEPA Project Coordinator, Ms. Cearley organizes the implementation of the T-SCORE program goals and manages the different research teams to help facilitate T-SCORE including the Educational Advisory Committee, Evaluation Team, Professional Development Team, and Website Development Team.
Graduate Research Assistant
MacKenzie Koester, received a bachelor of science in education in community health from the University of Kansas in 2016. She is also a Certified Health Education Specialist (CHES). Ms. Koester has a background working in rural health and with underserved populations. Currently, Ms. Koester serves as a Graduate Research Assistant for T-SCORE while completing her Master of Public Health at The University of Kansas Medical Center. Her duties with T-SCORE involve assisting with the implementation of the program through evaluation and observation processes. She also assists in the general facilitation of the T-SCORE program.
Jen Boden, MA, is a Research Project Manager for the Kansas City Area Education Research Consortium and lecturer for the University of Kansas. Ms. Boden is highly skilled in working with complex datasets and conducting quantitative research. She has extensive experience in applied econometrics and statistics. Ms. Boden will be supporting all T-SCORE evaluation efforts.
Stephanie Horton, graduated the UMKC Health Science program. Stephanie has past experience working with Latino health through a group called Alianzas through UMKC, working in the Bi-National Health week and creating mini classes for the children who attend the fair. Stephanie is responsible for assisting in the development of materials and resources for SEPA grant activities, including the Summer Institute professional development. She is also assisting in starting a HOSA chapter at USD #500. Stephanie works on other projects through Juntos as well.
Taynara Formagini, MS, is a Research Assistant for JUNTOS Advancing Latino Health within the Department of Preventive Medicine at KUMC. Ms. Formagini has experience with public health, health promotion, healthcare networks, tobacco cessation interventions and mHealth research. Ms. Formagini supports T-SCORE facilitating the implementation of T-SCORE programs, activities and evaluation.
This project was supported by the National Institutes of Health Science Education Partnership Award (SEPA) under Award Number R25OD020214.
The content is solely the responsibility of the authors and does not necessarily represent the official views of the National Institutes of Health.
For more information, go to the SEPA T-SCORE Project Page.