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Advisory Board

B.R.I.D.G.E.S Project:  Building Relationships to Influence program Development to Generate Enduring physical activity Support

A Patient Centered Outcome Research Institute (PCORI) funded project.

B.R.I.D.G.E.S. Advisory Board Three Teams Overview

B.R.I.D.G.E.S. Leadership team:

Anne Thackeray, Principal Investigator

Dr. Anne Thackeray loves to explore the great outdoors with her partner and 2 dogs. She survived a childhood as the only girl in a brood of 6 boys teaching her resilience and a love for adventure.  Anne received her degree in Physical Therapy and a PhD in Rehabilitation Science from the University of Utah and is now a Research Assistant Professor in the Department of Physical Therapy and Athletic Training.  Anne is a clinician-researcher with a curiosity for what motivates people to stay active as they age despite nagging health conditions. She is inspired by her grandmother – independent in her two-story house until the end of her life at 98 years.

Ruth Christensen, Patient-Researcher

Dr. Ruth Christensen is a patient-researcher for BRIDGES, a PCORI health initiative that explores methods for sustaining physical activity in older adults with chronic MSK conditions.  Dr. Christensen retired after 37 years as an educator, serving as a teacher for 18 years, a state department of education consultant for 6 years and a high school administrator for 13 years.  Born in Salt Lake City, she graduated from the University of Utah with a B.A. in English and Theater and a MEd in Secondary Education. She received her Doctorate in Educational Leadership and Organizational Change from the University of New Mexico.

Jesse Reifsnyder, Internal Communications Manager

Jesse Reifsnyder graduated from the University of Utah with a Bachelor of Science in Kinesiology in 2017 and is currently continuing his education in the University of Utah’s Doctorate of Physical Therapy program.  Jesse’s previous research experience includes working for the University of Utah’s School of Medicine and conducting exhaustive literature reviews for the American College of Occupational and Environmental Medicine’s (ACOEM) evidence-based guidelines. In his spare time, Jesse is an avid traveler and has visited twenty-seven countries.

Karah Pino, External Communiations Manager

Karah Pino completed a BA in Interdisciplinary Visual Art from the University of Washington and a clinical master’s degree in East Asian Medicine practices and principles from the Oregon College of Oriental Medicine.  Karah engages in a collaborative model to develop graphics, content and curriculum for workshops, webinars, websites and social media.   Karah is also a trained facilitator in collaborative solutions processes, which aim to create win-win strategies and buy-in for community groups and professional teams.

B.R.I.D.G.E.S. Advisory Board:

Celsa Bowman

Celsa Bowman is a Health Program Specialist III at the Utah Arthritis Program with the Utah Department of Health.  Celsa completed a Master of Science (MS) degree from the University of Utah in Exercise Physiology. She also completed an Associate of Applied Science (AAS) degree from the Salt Lake Community College in Visual Art and Design, with an emphasis in Graphic Design.  She has over twenty-five years of experience in health promotion and diabetes prevention.

Marianne Christensen

Marianne Christensen is the Health Promotion Manager for Salt Lake County Aging & Adult Services, Active Aging Program. She graduated from Brigham Young University in Community Health Education with a minor in gerontology. She has worked in many different capacities promoting health and exercise among older adults in the community; most recently she was the Healthy Lifestyles Manager for Highland Cove Retirement Center and the Senior Center Manager at the Magna-Kennecott Senior Center. Currently she oversees the implementation of evidence-based programming and other health promotion at the 16 Salt Lake County Senior Centers.

Molly Conroy

Molly Conroy MD, MPH is a Primary Care Provider and General Internist at the Madsen Internal Medicine Clinic. As a General Internist, her clinical interests include physical activity and lifestyle counseling, weight management, cardiovascular disease prevention, hypertension management, and women’s health.

Dr. Conroy received her undergraduate degree from Stanford University and her MD from the University of Pennsylvania. She completed an Internal Medicine residency in the Primary Care Track at the University of California, San Francisco and a General Internal Medicine Fellowship at Harvard Medical School/Massachusetts General Hospital. She is Board Certified by the American Board of Internal Medicine and recognized as a Fellow of both the American College of Sports Medicine and the American Heart Association.

Pat Dunham

Pat has personal experience with joint injury, surgery, and physical therapy.  She appreciates the Age Well program that has helped her manage her arthritis. A native of Buffalo, New York, Pat graduated with a BSN from D'Youville College in 1968.  During the eight years she served in the United States Navy, she experienced duties in internal medicine, labor and delivery, nursery, orthopedics and supervision at Portsmouth Naval Hospital.  She was also stationed in the Marine Corps Air Station Iwakuni Japan and the Naval Hospital San Diego.

Pat moved to Salt Lake in 1977 and enjoys a continued interest in medicine, meeting people from all walks of life, listening and lending a helping hand if appropriate.  She has cared for a premature infant and assisted aging parents over the years.

Tonua Hamilton

Tonua Hamilton has been a physical therapist working within a healthcare team for nearly 30 years.  Her first 17 years were spent at the U of U in rehabilitation working with people who sustained a brain injury, stroke, spinal cord injury or other life altering injury or illness. Tonua worked throughout the continuum while there from neuro-intensive care to outpatient home and community. She also spent many years working as an outpatient PT at the VA Hospital. While at the VA, she worked with chronic orthopedic injuries, traumatic brain injury management, balance disorders and fall risk reduction for aging Veterans.

Rachel Hess

Dr. Rachel Hess is a Professor of Population Health Sciences and Internal Medicine and the founding Chief of the Division of Health System Innovation and Research (HSIR) program at the University of Utah Schools of the Health Sciences. As a General Internist and Health Services Researcher, Dr. Hess brings a unique perspective of translating research into clinical and policy practice. She is the co-principal investigator of one of the original 11 PCORnet Clinical Data Research Networks, PaTH, and serves as the co-Director of the Utah CCTS.

Dr. Hess completed her undergraduate work in mathematics at Washington University, received her medical degree from the University of New Mexico, completed her residency training at Temple University, and completed her general internal medicine and women’s health fellowships at the University of Pittsburgh.

Stuart L.  Loosli

Stuart L. Loosli was farm raised without additives or excessive supervision near and in Ashton, Idaho.  Playgrounds and instruction sites for Stuart included elementary and secondary schools in Ashton and Idaho Falls, Idaho as well as Hamilton, New Zealand.  He attended BYU, U of U, and USU for his B.A. and Harvard Graduate School of Design for his MLA. Stuart worked and lived in Boston, San Francisco and Salt Lake City as a Landscape Architect and Land Planner.  He has served as a guest lecturer at Department of LAEP, USU and College of Architecture U of U., and he has always remained active in community service. Stuart’s current hobbies include constructing 1:20.3 scale model railroads, fly fishing and reading.  He has been intimately involved with caregiving for both parents and a spouse.

Deanna McLaughlin

Deanna McLaughlin is an American Council on Exercise certified Personal Trainer and Life and Health Coach.  She specializes in functional training for special populations, particularly seniors. As this is a second career, it is her passion for health and education and accessibility for everyone that motivates her.  As an endurance athlete herself and a woman over 60 years of age, as well as someone with hip arthritis who competes in up to 100 mile foot races, she demonstrates the illusion of limits, especially the limit of age on activity.

Whitney Meier

Whitney Meier graduated from the University of North Dakota with a Master’s Degree in Physical Therapy in 1994. She has been an Orthopaedic Board Certified Specialist since 2001.  Whitney completed her clinical doctorate degree (DPT) from the University of Utah in 2007. In 2011, she became a Certified Orthopaedic Manual Therapist through the Maitland-Australian Physiotherapy Seminars.  Whitney is currently an adjunct faculty at the University of Utah Physical Therapy Department and faculty/mentor for the University of Utah Orthopaedic Physical Therapy Residency. She has been at the University Orthopaedic Center since 2004.

Alison Schlisman

Dr. Alison Schlisman is board certified in Internal Medicine and Geriatrics, and offers a full spectrum of care to older patients, including those with complex medical conditions. She received her medical degree from MCP Hahnemann University in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. She completed her residency in Internal Medicine at Temple University Hospital in Philadelphia. She then completed a fellowship in Geriatric Medicine at the University of Utah in Salt Lake City.

Dr. Schlisman leads an innovative primary care clinical program for older patients. The Geriatric Patient-Centered Medical Home is a patient-centered primary care clinic with an inter-professional team – geriatric nurse practitioners, nurses, pharmacist and social worker – dedicated to provide accessible, comprehensive, high-quality, coordinated care to promote older adult health and wellness.

Kathleen Smart

Kathleen moved from Wyoming to  Utah 1992 and obtained her Social Work Degree from the U of U.  She is a LCSW and has worked with individuals, families and groups in various agencies and locations throughout Utah.  Currently Kathleen works PRN for the University of UT Neuro-psychiatric Institute (UNI), on the Child and Adolescent In-patient units.  She also does assessments for Medicaid's Employment Personal Assistance Services Program (EPAS) helping individuals with disabilities to maintain employment.

Kathleen values physical activity and has been involved with various programs and physical therapies in a personal level.  As she became older and sustained some injuries, she is especially interested in how she can make more physical activities routine in my life.

William Sorensen

William Sorensen works in strategic communications at University of Utah Health.  Prior to that, he was National Director of Media Communications for JDRF, the global foundation committed to discovering a cure for Type 1 diabetes. He also worked as Executive Producer for dLife, a syndicated television program about living with diabetes. Before his move to health care communications, Sorensen was a journalist at CBS News and NBC News. He has written articles published in the New York Times and the New Yorker magazine. Born in Salt Lake City, he graduated cum laude in English and American Literature and Language at Harvard College.

Clay Watson

Clay Watson, MPT is a Physical Therapist and owner of a home health staffing service. He serves on many boards and committees, including the Therapy Chair for the Utah Association for Home Care, the Utah Legislative Falls Alliance, the Utah Commission on Aging, the Salt Lake Climbers Alliance Policy Committee and national committees for several sections of the APTA. Clay and his wife have 4 children.

Kari Weiss

Kari Weiss is a master’s student within the Health Promotion and Education department. Her project focuses on educating inpatient hospital patients who have experienced a stroke to exercise more and work on resiliency skills to progress through the diagnosis. Kari is also a personal trainer for Mountain Land Physical Therapy, teaches stand up paddle board yoga at the University of Utah, and works for Intermountain Medical Center in general surgery and inpatient neurological rehabilitation physical therapy.