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Research at Craig Hospital

The Craig Hospital Research Department currently has a staff of 26 with an annual budget of $5.5 million in federal, state, foundation and industry-sponsored grants devoted to conducting a wide variety of applied spinal cord injury (SCI) and traumatic brain injury (TBI) rehabilitation research. In addition, funds raised from the annual PUSH Gala support both basic and applied research.

The Research Department was established in 1974 when Craig was first awarded a Spinal Cord Injury Model System grant from the US Department of Education National Institute on Disability, Independent Living, and Rehabilitation Research (NIDILRR). In 1998, Craig's brain injury program received a similar designation when it was first named a TBI Model System. Each Model System grant consists of a three-pronged research effort: contributing to a national longitudinal database, conducting local research projects that are of interest and importance to Craig, and collaborating with other Model Systems in research of common interest.


In 2006, Craig was named the TBI Model Systems National Data and Statistical Center, managing the TBI National Database and coordinating research among all TBI Model Systems. Perhaps the greatest benefit of the Model Systems programs is the research climate they have spawned here at Craig Hospital, giving us the expertise and confidence to successfully compete for and obtain funding from other sources as well. Craig currently receives research funding not only from NIDILRR, but also from the Congressionally Directed Medical Research Program (CDMRP) which is part of the Department of Defense, MINDSOURCE (formally the Colorado TBI Trust Fund), the Craig H. Neilsen Foundation, the Craig Hospital Foundation, other foundations, other researchers via subcontracts, and pharmaceutical and medical equipment companies. As research has become more important to the mission and reputation of Craig, the Research Department has increased collaboration with other institutions by leading and participating in multi-center research and becoming a national research coordinating center.

Craig Hospital Research
Conflicts of Interest Policy

Meet Our Research Team

  • Candy Tefertiller Executive Director of Research and Evaluation


    Candy Tefertiller, PT, DPT, PhD, NCS, is the Executive Director of Research and Evaluation and former Director of Physical Therapy. Candy received a B.S in Biology from Mount Olive College in 1997 and a Master's in Physical Therapy from East Carolina University in 2000. Candy has been working in the field of neurological rehabilitation since 2000 and received an assistive technology practitioner (ATP) certification in 2005 and became a certified neurological clinical specialist (NCS) in 2007. Candy then received a Doctorate of Physical Therapy degree from Rocky Mountain Health Care University in 2008. She has been involved in numerous research projects and has focused much of her career on interventions and program development promoting recovery after neurologic injury or disease. Candy is a member of the American Physical Therapy Association and the Neurologic Section.

  • Dave C. Mellick Director of Research Operations


    Dave C. Mellick, PhD, has graduate training in Health Psychology and relevant experience in the area of database design and management, and data analysis, including the creation of data-driven risk models and web-based applications. Mr. Mellick has been with Craig Research since 1995. Mr. Mellick is the Director of the Quality Support and Technology Cores for the Traumatic Brain Injury Model Systems National Data and Statistical Center located at Craig Hospital.

  • Donna Wolff Executive Assistant to the Executive Director of Research & Evaluation


    Donna Wolff, BS, received her Bachelor’s degree in Finance from Colorado State University and joined the Research Department in December of 2014. She has worked as an Executive Assistant, Controller, Marketing Assistant, and Project Manager in the neuro-monitoring, behavioral health, health insurance, and oil & gas industries. Currently, Donna supports the Executive Director and Research staff in various administrative roles and serves as the Administrative Manager of the Traumatic Brain Injury Model Systems (TBIMS) National Data and Statistical Center.

  • Suzanne Dircksen Research Grants & Contracts Manager


    Suzanne Dircksen, MBA has over 20 years of experience in the healthcare sector, entering the field of human subjects research in 2008. Her research background comprises study coordination, research compliance, program management, and grants management. At Craig, she is responsible for financial and contractual oversight of the organization’s research portfolio.

    Suzanne earned her bachelor’s degree at the University of California Santa Barbara and her Master’s in Business Administration at the University of Colorado Denver.

  • ​Gale Whiteneck Research Scientist III


    Gale Whiteneck, PhD, FACRM, directed the Craig Hospital Research program from October 1982 until February 2013 and has conducted research focusing on the full range of life-time outcomes following disability. He has advocated for full participation in society and quality of life as the primary outcomes appropriate for disability and rehabilitation research. He contributed to the World Health Organizations revised model of disability-the International Classification of Functioning, Disability, and Health (ICF)-and he continues to suggest conceptual improvements in the ICF. Dr. Whiteneck and his research team have developed two widely used tools to assess participation in society by people with disability-the Craig Handicap Assessment and Reporting Technique (CHART)-and to assess environmental barriers that restrict full participation-the Craig Hospital Inventory of Environmental Factors. In addition to overall responsibility for research projects, Dr. Whiteneck is the Principal Investigator of the NIDRR-funded SCI Collaborative study " Measuring Rehabilitation Outcomes" . In 2009 Dr. Whiteneck received the Gold Key Award of Merit, the American Congress of Rehabilitation Medicine's highest honor.

  • ​Susan Charlifue Research Scientist III


    Susan (Susie) Charlifue, PhD, FISCoS, FASIA, FACRM, started her career at Craig Hospital in 1976, and completed her doctorate in Health and Behavioral Science at the University of Colorado, Denver in 2004. She is Co-Principal Investigator SCI Model System at Craig Hospital in addition to coordinating several SCI research clinical trials. She is the Principal Investigator for both NIDRR and Department of Defense SCI grants.

  • ​Cindy Harrison-Felix Research Scientist III


    Cindy Harrison-Felix, PhD, FACRM, has graduate training in Clinical Sciences and Community Medicine, and is an Assistant Clinical Professor in the Department of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation Medicine at the University of Colorado Denver. She has almost 40 years of experience working in disability and rehabilitation research with an emphasis in TBI and SCI. She serves as the Project Director for the TBI Model Systems National Data and Statistical Center located at Craig Hospital, and is Co-Project Director for the Rocky Mountain Regional Brain Injury System (RMRBIS), the TBI Model System at Craig Hospital.

  • Katherine Froehlich-Grobe Research Scientist III


    Katherine Froehlich-Grobe, PhD, received her graduate training in Behavioral Psychology from the University of Kansas. Before joining Craig Hospital as a Research Scientist in April of 2021, Dr. Froehlich-Grobe spent 5½ years at Baylor Institute for Rehabilitation as Associate Director of Rehabilitation Research (4½ years) and then as Director (1 year). Prior to conducting research within rehabilitation settings, she spent 16 years in academic settings as a faculty member at the University of Kansas Medical Center (OT Department), the University of Kansas Lifespan Institute, and the University of Texas School of Public Health (Health Promotion and Behavioral Sciences).

    Dr. Froehlich-Grobe brings 20 years of research experience designing and conducting theory-based interventions that target health behavior change for individuals with physical disabilities, including spinal cord injury (SCI). She has received over $4.5 million dollars in funding from NIH, CDC, and NIDILRR, as well as the Christopher and Dana Reeve Foundation and the Craig H. Nelson Foundation. Her research program focuses on designing interventions that formally address unique barriers which confront people with disabilities as they initiate new behaviors around exercise and weight loss. She has delivered these health behavior interventions using a mix of in-person and phone-based sessions, and more recently is using an online platform to reach those with SCI.

    Dr. Froehlich-Grobe's currently funded research program includes a study to understand modifiable factors that affect dietary intake and physical activity in the first year following SCI, scaling up a web-based intervention to promote exercise among a SCI sample, and examining the effectiveness of targeted components to promote weight loss among people with SCI.

  • Jennifer Coker Research Scientist I


    Dr. Coker has worked in the field of traumatic SCI since 1997. She obtained a Master of Public Health (MPH) from the Rollins School of Public Health at Emory University in May 2001, where she won the James W. Alley Award for Outstanding Service to Disadvantaged Populations, and a PhD in Clinical Science from the University of Colorado-Anschutz Medical Campus in 2020. Dr. Coker has won several awards for research presentations and publications, most recently being awarded the American Spinal Injury Association MJ Mulcahey Award for rehabilitation outcomes measurement. She has been at Craig Hospital since April 2012 and is the Co-Project Director of the SCI Model Systems and PI for several other projects. Dr. Coker also currently serves as Chair of the Board of the Colorado TBI Trust Fund.

  • Stephanie Agtarap Research Scientist I


    Stephanie Agtarap, PhD, received her MS/PhD in Experimental Psychology/Behavioral Science from University of North Texas in 2017. She has been involved in clinical rehabilitation research since 2013, primarily implementing longitudinal outcome studies of trauma ICU patients and their caregivers in the year following injury. Stephanie then completed a postdoctoral fellow at University of California San Diego working on the TRACK-TBI study, and most recently worked with the Defense and Veterans Brain Injury Center at Naval Medical Center San Diego assessing how co-occurring post-concussive and psychological symptoms affect recovery over time following mild TBI. She has won several awards for this work from APA Division 22 Rehabilitation Psychology, Anxiety and Depression Association of America, and National Neurotrauma Society. Stephanie is interested in conducting interdisciplinary research that utilizes her psychological, clinical, and quantitative skills to improve the recovery and psychological well-being of patients and their loved ones affected by head injury.

  • Andrew Park, MD Physician; Research Scientist I


    Andrew Park, MD, joined the CNS Physicians Group in 2021 and shares his time serving as one of the SCI physicians and research scientists.

    Dr. Park received his medical degree from Rush Medical College in Chicago, IL. He completed his residency in Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation at the University of Colorado, and a fellowship in spinal cord medicine at Craig Hospital.

    He is board certified in Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation and Spinal Cord Injury Medicine. His clinical and research interests are in early detection and prevention of secondary complications after SCI, spasticity management, and translational biomarker sciences.

    In his personal time, you'll find Dr. Park with his family enjoying all that Colorado has to offer, including hiking and camping in the summers and skiing in the winters.

  • Jessica McKinney Ketchum Biostatistician III


    Jessica McKinney Ketchum, PhD, received a BS in Mathematics from New Mexico State University in 2001 and a PhD in Biostatistics from Virginia Commonwealth University in 2006. She has over a decade of experience working as a biostatistician in rehabilitation research, primarily utilizing the TBI and SCI Model Systems national databases. Prior to joining Craig, Dr. Ketchum was an Assistant Professor at Virginia Commonwealth University and Augusta University (formerly Georgia Regents University). She currently serves as the Lead Biostatistician for Craig Hospital and the Director of the Statistical Core for the TBI Model Systems National Data and Statistical Center. Her statistical research interests are focused on developing and applying methods for modeling longitudinal and other types of correlated data.

  • Mitch Sevigny Biostatistician II


    Mitch Sevigny, MS, received a Bachelor of Science degree in Zoology from Michigan State University in 2015 and a Master of Science degree in Biostatistics from the University of Michigan in 2017. Prior to working at Craig, he was a research assistant at the University of Michigan performing spatial research on the Zika virus in Brazil. He began working at Craig Hospital as a Biostatistician in March of 2018. He performs statistical analysis on projects for the TBI and SCI Model Systems.

  • Emily Almeida Biostatistician II


    Emily J. Almeida, MS, received her undergraduate degrees in Mathematics and Biology with an emphasis in Pre-Medicine from Missouri Valley College before attaining her Master of Science Degree in Biostatistics from Duke University School of Medicine in 2018. Her thesis work utilized longitudinal and survival analysis methods to assess the relation between both multiple weight loss measures and incentivizing distinct behavioral changes positively associated with weight management of patients on a variable-ratio schedule over a 24-week period. Within the same study conducted at Duke University Medical Center, she captured the validity of new data collection equipment with concordance analyses. In February 2019, Almeida joined the Craig Hospital Research Department as a biostatistician. She currently acts as a statistical programmer for projects within the TBI Model Systems National Data and Statistical Center.

  • ​Clare E. Morey Research Associate III


    Clare E. Morey, MA CCC-SLP, has been at Craig Hospital since 1996 working first as a Speech-Language Pathologist for five years before transitioning into a position in the research department. Clare received her BA in Psychology from College of the Holy Cross in 1984 and her MA in Communication Disorders from University of Colorado in 1995. In her role as Research Associate III, Clare uses her clinical and research expertise to contribute as a co-investigator, study coordinator, and IRB coordinator to numerous TBI and SCI research projects, ranging from industry sponsored clinical trials to federally funded local and multi-site studies.

  • ​Jody Newman Research Associate III


    Jody Newman, MA, CCC-SLP is a speech-language pathologist who has been working in the field of brain injury rehabilitation since 1977. She also has experience working with individuals with spinal cord injury. She has at worked at Craig Hospital since 1998, initially in the Speech-Language Department, and for the past 19 years in the Research Department. Currently, Ms. Newman provides study coordination for various TBI and SCI studies. In addition, she co-leads GIST social competence groups for outpatients. She is the co-author of Group Interactive Structured Treatment–GIST, an evidence-based social competence treatment for individuals with brain injury. She is responsible for participant enrollment in the TBI Model Systems at Craig and serves as the Cultural Competence Coordinator for the TBI Model Systems National Data and Statistical Center. Since 2015, she has been a member of the Editorial Board of The Journal of Head Trauma Rehabilitation.

  • CB Eagye Research Associate III


    CB Eagye, MS, has been a Research Associate and Data Analyst in the Craig Hospital Research Department since 2015. She has seventeen years of quantitative experience in the areas of data analytics, mathematical modeling and analysis, and data visualization. Currently, Ms. Eagye serves as a data analyst for the Traumatic Brain Injury Model Systems (TBIMS) National Data and Statistical Center, performing data processing and analysis for the 16 TBIMS and 5 U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs Polytrauma Rehabilitation Centers (VA PRC). She also serves as the Project Manager for the VA PRC contract. Ms. Eagye’s other research, which focuses on TBI prevalence, is supported by the Administration for Community Living/National Institute on Disability, Independent Living and Rehabilitation Research (ACL/NIDILRR) under the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. Ms. Eagye received her BA in Mathematics from Wellesley College and her MS in Operations Research from The College of William and Mary.

  • Bria Macintyre Research Associate III


    Bria MacIntyre, MS, received her undergraduate degree in Psychology in 2012 and her Master’s degree in Research Psychology from the University of Texas at San Antonio in 2015 with a focus on research design and quantitative methods. Before joining the Research Department at Craig Hospital in July 2018, Bria worked as a research assistant for STRONG STAR Research Consortium which focuses on evidence-based treatments for service members diagnosed with service-related PTSD. Currently, Bria acts as the Data Manager for the Rocky Mountain Regional Spinal Injury System (RMRSIS) at Craig Hospital. In this role, she manages the enrollment of new RMRSIS participants, collects baseline and follow-up data for the RMRSIS and its collaborative modules, and is the study coordinator for the RMRSIS site-specific study of statin use following SCI.

  • Marissa Lundstern Research Associate II


    Marissa Lundstern, MPH has worked as a researcher and evaluator for nonprofit organizations, local and state governments, and healthcare systems for nearly a decade. Ms. Lundstern previously served as the study coordinator for the Traumatic Brain Injury Model Systems Polytrauma Rehabilitation Center at Veterans Affairs Palo Alto Health Care System before relocating to Colorado. She is currently a Research Associate working on both brain injury and spinal cord injury research.

    Ms. Lundstern received her Bachelor of Arts from the University of Colorado at Boulder in 2009 and her Master of Public Health from The George Washington University in 2013.

  • Kendy Noble Research Associate I


    Kendy Noble, BS, received her degree in Sociology at the University of Colorado in Boulder. She has been an employee of Craig Hospital since 1993, joining the research staff in 1998. Ms. Noble has worked in health care for 30 years, and in addition to Research Interviewing has experience in Health Information Management. She has been responsible for data collection on several traumatic brain injury and spinal cord injury studies, and was the Project Coordinator for the RMRBIS module "The Natural History of Headaches After TBI". She currently serves as a Quality Support Liaison for the Traumatic Brain Injury Models Systems (TBIMS) National Data and Statistical Center, providing training, and consultation for 16 TBIMS and 5 U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs Polytrauma Rehabilitation centers.

  • Abby Welch Research Associate I


    Abby Welch, BS, BA, received Bachelor's degrees in Psychology and Gender, Sexuality and Women's Studies from Virginia Commonwealth University in 2015. Prior to joining Craig's Research Department in May 2018, Abby collected data for VCU's Traumatic Brain Injury Model System and conducted studies centered on racial and gender discrimination in the healthcare field. Currently, Abby collects follow-up data for the Rocky Mountain Regional Spinal Injury System (RMRSIS) and its collaborative modules. Abby can be reached at 303-789-8039.

  • Will Williams Technical Project Coordinator


    Will Williams has a MS in Electrical Engineering from the University of Colorado and 20 years of experience in the areas of developing scientific applications, data driven resource management systems, database design and management and has implemented multiple data analytics driven solutions, products and applications. Mr. Williams joined the Craig Research Department in 2016.

  • Wendy Beukelman Database Application Support Administrator


    Wendy Beukelman, BS, joined the Craig Research Department in September 2019 and currently serves as the Database Application Support Administrator for the IT team to administer the technical aspects of Research Department databases for the Traumatic Brain Injury Module Systems National Data and Statistical Center. Ms. Beukelman received her bachelor’s degree in Business Management from Western Governors University in May, 2017, and is currently a MS student at the University of Denver in the Information and Communications Technology program, with a concentration in Database Design and Administration.

  • Renee Carey Technical Support Specialist


    Renee Carey has 28 years as an IT System Administrator, 20 of those years at Craig Hospital. Renee joined the Research department in January, 2018 to assist the technical team with their work on the Traumatic Brain Injury National Data and Statistical Center website and be the point person for any other Research IT projects.

  • Mackenzie Peckham Research Assistant III


    Mackenzie Peckham, BS, received her bachelor's degree in Psychology from the University of Colorado in Denver in May 2020. Mackenzie joined the Craig Research Department in October 2020, and she currently collects data for the Rocky Mountain Region Traumatic Brain Injury Model System.