INTERACT Team

Leadership

Dr. Leah Zullig
Associate Professor and Director

Dr. Zullig is a health services researcher and implementation scientist. She is an Associate Professor in the Department of Population Health Sciences, a member of the Duke Cancer Institute, and an investigator with the Center of Innovation to Accelerate Discovery and Practice Transformation (ADAPT) at the Durham Veterans Affairs Health Care System where she leads an implementation core focused on expanding evidence-based practices across the national VA health care system. Dr. Zullig’s research interests comprise three overarching domains to; 1) improve cancer care delivery and quality; 2) promote cancer survivorship and chronic disease management; and 3) support chronic disease self-management and adherence. She has significant experience leading and collaborating on projects using a range of research methods to implement, adapt, and spread evidence-based interventions and practices.

Dr. Zullig is the Director for the Population Health Sciences PhD program and deputy director of the VA post-doctoral program. She received her PhD in Health Policy and Management at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and postdoctoral training in implementation science from Washington University in St. Louis.

Dr. Heather King
Assistant Professor and Leader, Education and Outreach

Dr. King is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Population Health Sciences (also part of the Center for Health Measurement) and the Division of General Internal Medicine. In addition, she is an investigator with the Center of Innovation to Accelerate Discovery and Practice Transformation (ADAPT) at the Durham Veterans Affairs Health Care System and part of the Center’s Implementation and Improvement Science Lab (Assistant Director, faculty leader of the Rapid Response Review), Qualitative Core, Biostatistics Core, and Pragmatic Trials Lab. She is a health services researcher and methodologist with a research focus on (1) qualitative and mixed methods and measurement; (2) dissemination and implementation science; and (3) health within individuals, couples, and families.

She received her PhD in Human Development and Family Studies from the Pennsylvania State University where her areas of concentration were developmental research methodology and adult development. She then completed a postdoctoral fellowship in health services research at the ADAPT Center of Innovation at the Durham VA Health Care System. 

Devon Check, PhD
Assistant Professor and Leader, Clinical Initiatives

Dr. Check is a health services and implementation researcher. She is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Population Health Sciences and a member of the Duke Cancer Institute. Her primary research interests are quality of care and implementation of evidence-based practices in oncology. She is particularly interested in symptom management and other aspects of supportive cancer care. Dr. Check’s work combines quantitative and qualitative methods to understand and address barriers to the delivery of high-quality care during and after cancer treatment.

Dr. Check received her PhD in Health Policy and Management from the Gillings School of Global Public Health at UNC-Chapel Hill. Prior to joining the Department of Population Health Sciences at Duke, she completed a postdoctoral fellowship in Delivery Science at Kaiser Permanente Northern California.

Megan Oakes
Senior Research Program Leader

Ms. Oakes is a Senior Research Program Leader with ten years of project management experience in developing protocols, providing financial management and support, and leading recruitment and primary data collection efforts across a variety of therapeutic areas including neuropsychology, infectious diseases, prostate cancer, and cardiovascular disease. Prior to working at Duke, Ms. Oakes was a coordinator in UNC’s Department of Neurology where she conducted neurocognitive testing and trained others on various batteries for HIV-neurocognitive protocols. 

Ms. Oakes currently manages the daily operations of the Implementation Science Research Collaborative (INTERACT), which is comprised of research staff who coordinate clinical research studies in health services and implementation science research. She also works to advance the group’s research agenda and extramural grant portfolio by working closely with faculty and collaborators with grant preparation and submissions.

Ms. Oakes received her MS in Mental Health Counseling from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

Team

Mersedes Brown
Clinical Research Coordinator

Ms. Brown is a Clinical Research Coordinator in the Department of Population Health Sciences, where she provides qualitative research support for a variety of projects. Before joining the department, she worked at the UNC Institute for Global Health and Infectious Diseases on projects at the intersection of criminal justice and health, including studies focused on understanding HIV care in jails and prisons. Ms. Brown has years of experience in participant recruitment, data collection, and analysis.

Ms. Brown received her MPH from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill with a focus in health behavior.

Sarah Gonzales
Clinical Research Coordinator

Ms. Gonzales is a Clinical Research Coordinator. She has ten years of experience working on clinical research studies, primarily in the areas of medication adherence and chronic disease management at Duke and the Durham VA Medical Center. She has experience conducting patient and staff qualitative interviews and focus groups in the infectious disease population, including those with HIV and bloodstream related infections.

Her recent work includes management of day to day operations for a VA-sponsored digital medicine clinical trial that evaluates adherence and patient-provider engagement in patients with severe mental illness and a Duke Learning Health Unit project that will evaluate the implementation of an evidence-based clinical program for improvement of care integration for children with special healthcare and complex medical needs.

Ms. Gonzales received her bachelor’s degree in Sociology from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

Kiran Grover, MPH
Research Program Leader

Ms. Grover is a Senior Clinical Research Coordinator. For over three years, she has been a project manager for research studies that incorporate quantitative, qualitative, and mixed methods. Ms. Grover has been involved in subject recruitment and retention, cognitive interviewing, protocol development, survey development, IRB submissions, and literature reviews. Her portfolio includes studies in bloodstream infections, substance abuse, pain management, cancer, HIV and other sexually transmitted infections.

She currently manages the day-to-day operations of a NHLBI-sponsored multi-site clinical trial that is evaluating a nurse-led intervention to improve cardiovascular disease management in HIV patients. She also conducts project management activities for various industry-sponsored patient preference studies that are a part of the DCRI’s PrefER Group, focused on benefit-risk evaluations of new treatments and medical devices.

Ms. Grover received her MPH from Columbia University, focusing on Epidemiology and Health Policy.

Clinical Research Coordinator

Mrs. Jackson is a Clinical Research Coordinator in the Department of Population Health Sciences. She is a public health professional with 10 years of experience in program management and project implementation aimed at addressing health concerns among vulnerable populations. She has experience with evidence-based program implementation, developing partnerships with diverse stakeholders, community-based recruitment and engagement, and overseeing data management activities. Currently, Mrs. Jackson coordinates the day-to-day operations of an NHLBI-funded clinical trial that is assessing how different financial incentives and text messages affect clinically significant weight loss among adults with obesity.

Mrs. Jackson received her Master of Public Health in Health Education at the University of South Florida, and her Bachelor’s in Sociology at UNC Greensboro.

Shauna Malone
Senior Clinical Research Specialist

Ms. Malone is a Senior Clinical Research Specialist with over 20 years of experience working in health care, and the last 5 in clinical research. She has a background in participant enrollment and retention activities, data collection, and biospecimens collection and processing. Ms. Malone is currently working on a variety of projects including: Log2Lose, a NHLBI-sponsored weight loss/management clinical trial and a VA-sponsored digital medicine trial assessing medication adherence. Ms. Malone is also serving as a coach for a kidney stone prevention study that involves personalized tele-coaching to increase hydration intake.

Ms. Malone received her certification as a Nursing Assistant and in Phlebotomy at Durham Technical Community College.

Julie Miller
Clinical Research Coordinator

Ms. Miller is a Clinical Research Coordinator with eight years of experience working on clinical research projects. She has worked in number of therapeutic areas including cardiovascular disease, mental health, infectious diseases, and oncology. Ms. Miller has expertise in conducting qualitative research such as interviewing diverse patient populations, analyzing and reporting qualitative data, and assisting with focus groups. In addition to her qualitative research experience, Ms. Miller is responsible for project coordination, leading both recruitment and retention efforts, and IRB/regulatory activities for a number of projects.

Ms. Miller’s current portfolio includes the management and qualitative analysis for a federally-funded study to develop a physical activity toolkit for older adults diagnosed with heart failure and interviewing and conducting qualitative analysis for quality of life projects under the Antibacterial Resistance Leadership Group’s portfolio.

Ms. Miller received her bachelor’s degree in psychology from the University of North Carolina, Greensboro.