Who We Are

The BASE Lab work requires breadth of knowledge and methodological expertise. Thus, The BASE Lab includes faculty and staff who are experts in:

  • Qualitative interviews and focus group discussions
  • Survey methodologies
  • Mixed-methods research
  • Qualitative and statistical analyses
  • Intervention research using experimental designs
  • Research ethics and regulations


Director, The BASE Lab

Dr. Corneli, is an Associate Professor in the Department of Population Health Sciences. She is also a faculty associate of the Trent Center for Bioethics, Humanities, and History of Medicine; a faculty associate of the Duke Initiative for Science & Society; and a faculty member of the Duke Clinical Research Institute. She oversees the qualitative research core within the Department’s Center for Health Measurement. A social scientist by training, Dr. Corneli has over two decades of experience conducting qualitative studies in health, primarily HIV prevention, and bioethics in multiple countries worldwide. A significant portion of her research portfolio has focused on engaging patients/prospective research participants and their communities in qualitative research to inform the development, implementation, and interpretation of clinical research. Dr. Corneli received her PhD in Health Behavior from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and her MPH in international health from Emory University.

Chris Simon, PhD
Associate Professor in Population Health Sciences
Dr. Simon is a bioethicist and medical anthropologist who joined Duke University in September 2017. He works to improve the responsible conduct of research (RCR) and the protection of human participants in research. Dr. Simon has been PI and co-Investigator on many federally- and locally-funded grants devoted to ethics topics. He has written on the ethics of research recruitment and informed consent in cancer trials, researcher identity, community health services research, and genomics research. In all these efforts, Dr. Simon tries to situate how research is and ought to be conducted within the context of regulations, policy, and the culture of everyday research. He is interested in how people’s values, constraints, and lived experiences—those of scientists, research participants, and members of the public—color the moral and ethical fiber of research. Dr. Simon uses focus groups, surveys, and ethnographic observation to collect empirical data and shed light on RCR issues and challenges. He has been funded by the National Human Genome Research Institute to conduct a national trial comparing interactive multimedia consent to a traditional face-to-face consent process. His work is published in leading medical, social science and bioethics journals, he has directed a university-wide research ethics consultation service, and served as the ethics officer for the University of Iowa Institute of Clinical and Translational Science. Dr. Simon serves frequently as an NIH grants reviewer, consultant, and collaborator on research ethics studies or study components. He has conducted independent empirical research in the United States, Uganda, and South Africa.
Co-Director, The BASE Lab

Dr. Weinfurt is Professor and Vice Chair for Research in the Department of Population Health Sciences in the Duke University School of Medicine. He is also Professor of Psychiatry and Behavioral Science at Duke University Medical Center and a faculty member of the Duke Clinical Research Institute; Professor of Psychology and Neuroscience; and a Faculty Associate of the Trent Center for the Study of Medical Humanities and Bioethics.

Dr. Weinfurt was a principal investigator in the NIH PROMIS Network, where he led the development of the SexFS to measure male and female sexual function and satisfaction. Currently, he serves as the President of the PROMIS Health Organization and serves on the Board of Directors of the International Society for Quality of Life Research. He is co-chair of the coordinating center for the NIH Health Systems Research Collaboratory and co-chair of NIDDK’s Symptoms of Lower Urinary Tract Dysfunction Research Network, for which he also leads the Self-Reported Measures workgroup. Dr. Weinfurt has served on advisory panels for the FDA and has taught patient-reported outcomes in educational programs at both the FDA and NIH. Dr. Weinfurt also co-directs Duke’s masters-level Clinical Research Training Program and has taught graduate courses in patient-reported outcomes research and multivariate statistics, along with undergraduate courses in introductory psychology, judgment and decision making, and the psychology of medical decision making.

Dr. Weinfurt’s research has been featured on NPR Marketplace, Business Week, ABC News, and US News & World Report. Dr. Weinfurt received his PhD in Psychology at Georgetown University and did graduate work in the history of science and philosophy of mind at Linacre College, Oxford. 


Carrie Dombeck
Research Program Leader

Ms. Dombeck is a Research Program Leader in the Department of Population Health Sciences. She has over fifteen years’ experience in project management and qualitative data collection and analysis, primarily in empirical bioethics and clinical trial implementation. Ms. Dombeck has experience with a variety of qualitative and quantitative data collection and analysis methodologies, including survey development and Delphi analysis. She also has experience in contributing to all phases of item writing, testing, and validation for self-reported health outcomes measures.

Ms. Dombeck has a master’s degree in cognitive psychology from Wake Forest University.

Emily Hanlen
Clinical Research Coordinator

Ms. Hanlen-Rosado is a Clinical Research Coordinator in the Department of Population Health Sciences. She currently works on a variety of projects around social determinants of health which include a study related to the liver listing transplant process, HIV vaccine clinical trials with cis and transgender adolescentsl, as well as quality of life for people living with psoriasis and osteoporosis and talking to parents and caregivers of children with medical complexities. Previous to her position at Duke, she worked at the Mount Sinai School of Medicine in Population Health Science and Policy on projects concerning social determinants of health, mHealth, and diabetes prevention. She also served as a lead education consultant for Connected Health Solutions, Inc., a company that works with adolescents and service providers to develop social marketing campaigns around sexual and reproductive health issues using new media and behavioral science. She also spent a number of years as a middle school teacher in East Harlem, NYC.

Ms. Hanlen-Rosado received her MPH from New York University focusing in global health leadership and her M.Ed. from Lehman College with a focus in classroom teaching.

Kevin McKenna
Research Program Leader

Mr. McKenna is a Research Program Leader in the Department of Population Health Sciences. He has over 10 years of experience coordinating qualitative research, with a focus on developing qualitative protocols and question guides, interviewing diverse study populations, managing study data, recruiting study participants, and analyzing and reporting qualitative data. Mr. McKenna also specializes in conducting concept elicitation interviews for developing patient reported outcomes, and in using a range of qualitative methodologies, such as cognitive and dyadic interviews, break-out discussions, deliberative dialogue, and ethnodrama. Most of his recent research focuses on empirical bioethics, although he has previously worked on studies related to HIV prevention, men’s health issues, and reproductive health technologies, both domestically and globally.

Mr. McKenna received his MPH from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill with a focus in health behavior.

Clinical Research Specialist

Ms. Nsonwu supports QualCore as a Clinical Research Specialist where she reviews interview transcriptions, conducts literature reviews, and assists in the coding and analysis of qualitative transcripts. She recently graduated and is excited to develop her research experience in collecting and analyzing qualitative data. For her undergraduate independent research, she worked with Raleigh’s female Muslim population, implementing ethnographic methods including in-depth interviews, photographic and artifact elicitation, and qualitative data analysis.

Ms. Nsonwu received her bachelor’s degrees in English (LWR) and Anthropology from N.C. State University.

Brian Perry
Manager, The BASE Lab

Mr. Perry is a Senior Research Program Leader in the Department of Population Health Sciences. He also manages the social science team for the Clinical Trials Transformation Initiative. Over the past 15 years, Mr. Perry has served as the study coordinator and lead analyst on over a dozen qualitative and mixed methods studies across the globe, with a focus on developing research concepts, protocol, and data collection instruments; training research staff; conducting and managing qualitative data collection, including participant observation, in-depth interviews, focus group discussions, surveys, pile sorting, and Photovoice; and leading qualitative data analysis and write up. He has recently contributed to and facilitated studies investigating the cultural and social contexts surrounding clinical trials, and how these contexts impact patient behaviors and trial outcomes. Mr. Perry also has a portfolio of current and previous studies related to HIV prevention, and has led or contributed to research on reproductive health, agribusiness and economic strengthening, and social identity formation.

Mr. Perry received his MPH in community health education from the University of North Carolina at Greensboro.

Dr. Summer Starling
Service Leader, The BASE Lab

Dr. Starling is a Senior Research Program Leader in the Department of Population Health Sciences. A social scientist by training, she has conducted qualitative and mixed methods research primarily in adolescent reproductive and sexual health and health systems research in the U.S. The science behind how we judge health information and make decisions about health has been a significant focus in her research career. Her portfolio includes studies related to sexuality education and STI prevention, mHealth adoption, and provider bias. Dr. Starling offers methodological emphasis and expertise in digital and online adaptations of traditional social science methods; communications theory; cognitive interviewing; grounded theory; impact evaluation; and user experience.

In tandem with her research experience, Dr. Starling has been an industry consultant since 2010 for over 35 companies and organizations committed to public health, including Fortune 100 healthcare companies and major foundations. As an industry consultant, she has driven strategy and organizational change measures, led client-centered research programs, and provided strategic communications consulting.

Dr. Starling received her DrPH in public health from the University of California Berkeley and her MPH in sociomedical sciences from Columbia University.

Terry Sweezey
Clinical Trials Project Leader

Dr. Swezey is a Clinical Trials Project Leader in the Department of Population Health Sciences. She has fourteen years of experience conducting qualitative research, with specific expertise in developing qualitative question guides, interviewing diverse study populations, conducting concept elicitation interviews for developing patient reported outcomes, conducting focus group discussions, and analyzing and reporting qualitative data. Dr. Swezey also specializes in providing mentorship and training in qualitative interviewing. Recently, she has contributed to research on how best to engage patients in clinical trials and stakeholders’ perceptions of the use of mobile technology in clinical trials. Previously, she served as a clinical research coordinator for many years. She was also part of a team studying healthy volunteers' perceptions of the risks and benefits of participating in Phase I trials and their decision-making processes surrounding enrollment in those studies over time.

Dr. Swezey has a PhD in sociology and an MA in anthropology from Michigan State University.