Mary C. Politi, PhD

Center Director

Dr. Politi is Director of the Center for Collaborative Care Decisions as well as a health psychologist and behavioral scientist. Her primary research interests include health communication and shared decision-making. Her work helps patients and the public understand health information, explore what is important to them when making health decisions, and collaborate to make evidence-informed decisions that meet their needs. Dr. Politi also trains clinicians in shared decision making and patient engagement through a semester-long class on health literacy and shared decision-making.

Ashley J. Housten, OTD, MSCI, OTR/L

Center Co-Director

In addition to serving as Co-Director of the Center for Collaborative Care Decisions, Dr. Housten specializes in occupational therapist training. Dr. Housten’s research focuses on the dissemination and implementation of decision support tools to improve health behaviors and outcomes, particularly among populations that experience health-related inequity. With a focus on how people use health information, her research identifies opportunities to strengthen patient-provider engagement in health related decision-making.

Krista Cooksey, BA

Center Coordinator

Krista Cooksey is a Center coordinator. She first learned the importance of community engagement, consensus building, and collaboration in her undergraduate area of concentration in Minority Health and Policy in Underserved Communities.

Growing up on Chicago’s South Side, Krista witnessed firsthand how low income and/or minority communities are disproportionately impacted by disparities, poor access to resources, and systemic barriers navigating the healthcare system. This has fueled her passion to be part of impactful work that promotes health equity.

Viktoria Schmitz, BS

Center Coordinator

Viktoria Schmitz is a public health research coordinator who has worked in the lab since 2022 and in clinical research since 2020. She first started her work in clinical research recruiting for projects on fetal care development in the Department of OB/GYN. She has expertise in qualitative data collection and analysis and recruitment across multiple projects

Stakeholder Engagement

Stakeholder engagement is a core principle of our work.  Including end users (e.g., patients, clinicians, informatics experts, hospital leaders, policy makers when relevant) when designing, testing, implementing and disseminating our work ensures that our tools and resources meet the needs of all involved.  We include broad representation and diversity across stakeholders, and compensate stakeholders for their time and engagement in way that is fair, equitable, and consistent across people.

Our center has a Community Advisory Board advising the work that we do, reviewing our measures, projects, and decision aids.  We also work with clinical teams and hospital leaders as advisors.  Please let us know if you would like to include members of our advisory boards in your project, or we can connect you to others in your project’s population of interest.

Clinical and Research Advisors

Carrie C. Coughlin, MD, MPHS

Dr. Coughlin is a board-certified dermatologist with a passion for integrating shared decision-making and decision support tools with her patients and their guardians at St. Louis Children’s Hospital. Her research and clinical practice is driven by the goal of improving care for immunosuppressed children and children with cancer and skin tumors. She serves as an assistant professor of dermatology in the Departments of Medicine and Pediatrics.

Bettina F. Drake, PhD, MPH

As associate director of community outreach and engagement at Siteman Cancer Center, Dr. Drake works to promote cancer disparities research that impacts Siteman patients and the larger community. A professor of surgery in the Division of Public Health Sciences, Dr. Drake’s research focuses on identifying preventive strategies to reduce cancer disparities using epidemiologic and community-based strategies.

Randi Foraker, PhD, MA, FAHA, FAMIA

Dr. Foraker serves as the director of the Center for Population Health Informatics and professor of medicine within the Division of General Medical Sciences at Washington University School of Medicine. She specializes in the design of population-based studies and integrating electronic public health data with socioeconomic indicators. She also aims to amplify public health knowledge through data sharing, strategic partnerships with the community, and the training of future public health leaders.

Bruce Hall, MD, PhD

As Vice President and Chief Medical Officer for BJC HealthCare, Dr. Hall oversees clinical advisory services focusing on identifying high impact issues related to clinical quality, coordination, integration, and research management, and efforts to address such issues relevant to priority populations. Dr. Hall is dually appointed as a professor of surgical oncology in the Department of Surgery and professor of healthcare management in the Olin Business School.

Benjamin D. Kozower, MD, MPH

Dr. Kozower is a board-certified thoracic surgeon who treats lung and esophageal cancers, chest wall deformities, swallowing disorders and other metastatic conditions in the chest. In addition to his clinical practice, he serves as Vice Chair for Patient Safety and Quality Improvement. His research interests include patient-reported outcomes before and after thoracic surgery, and management and predictive model development for lung cancer.

Lindsay M. Kuroki, MD, MSCI

Dr. Kuroki is a board-certified gynecologic oncologist with expertise in treating uterine, ovarian, fallopian tube, peritoneal, cervical, vulvar, and vaginal cancers. An associate professor in the Division of Gynecologic Oncology, she is committed to improving the quality, effectiveness and efficiency of care provided to her patients with cancer.

Community Advisory Board (CAB)

Anthony Adamgbo, PhD, MHA, MA, RODC

Dr. Anthony Adamgbo is an Organization Development Scholar-Practitioner, Patient Safety Advocate, Educator, and Process Consultant. Anthony is the Execution Consultant at Excedia Associates.

Denise Brunson-Harris, MHA

Inspired by the belief that equitable healthcare is an essential human right, Ms. Brunson-Harris uses her knowledge and skills in the business of healthcare delivery and abilities to help achieve this effort in her community. She completed baccalaureate and graduate studies in psychology and health administration and planning respectfully at Washington University in St. Louis and earned a Master of Health Administration from Webster University.

Jennifer Irvin, MHSA, CHW-C

A dedicated team member of BJC Healthcare for over 26 years, Ms. Irvin serves as a school-community education partner for BJC School-Outreach and Youth Development, an interactive health education program to help equip K-12 students with health knowledge and skills needed to make informed decisions around health behaviors and academic success. In addition to this work, Ms. Irvin authored the BJC Healthcare Core Policy RM14P1 that serves as the basis for forging positive school partnerships and allows high school students to participate in internships and other career activities.

Erica Strong

A St. Louis native who grew up in a close-knit historical North St. Louis neighborhood, Ms. Strong was raised with a solid, enriched understanding of service and community. Ms. Strong has decades’ worth of experience in the areas of youth development, health and cultural education, as well as property management. She finds true joy and expression through expanding her outreach and service, sharing her natural gifts and abilities, and evolving and deepening her ability to bring forth healing, humanity and progressive change to her communities.

Kimberly Whitaker

Ms. Whitaker is the owner and Chief Executive Officer of Midwest Express Home Care, a provider of personalized in-home care services for seniors and adults with disabilities who live in their own homes. A St. Louis native who has a passion for serving her community and their neighboring regions, Ms. Whitaker was inspired to start her business after providing care for her own family members who faced challenges while living independently at home.