Colorado Patient Navigator Training Team
Betsy Risendal, PhD – Director/Principal Investigator
Betsy Risendal, PhD is the Director and Principal Investigator of the Colorado Patient Navigator Training Program and an Assistant Professor in the Department of Preventive Medicine and Biometrics. She is also an affiliate of the University of Colorado Comprehensive Cancer Center with a robust research portfolio in cancer survivorship and health disparities. Her many other current projects include service as Principal Investigator for a cancer rehabilitation project funded by the Lance Armstrong Foundation; a service/outreach project for underserved Latinas funded by Avon; co-director of the Cancer Center's Lance Armstrong Center of Excellence; and a co-investigator for a study of psychosocial outcomes in Latina breast cancer survivors.
Elizabeth Whitley, PhD, RN– Principal Investigator
Elizabeth Whitley, PhD is Principal Investigator for the Colorado Patient Navigator Training Program. She provides expertise and guidance for all aspects of the program. As a curriculum designer, instructor and evaluator she has assumed a national role in patient navigator training for the National Cancer Institute, the American Cancer Society, and the Centers for Medicaid and Medicare Services. She is currently the Director of Denver Health Community Voices (DHCV) and Co-Principal Investigator for the National Cancer Institute-funded Patient Navigation Research Program (PNRP). She has extensive experience in research and collaborative community-based programs in the areas of community outreach, case management and patient navigation. The outreach models she has created are used throughout Colorado and the nation.
Patricia Valverde, MPH – Associate Director
Patricia Valverde is the program’s Associate Director. She is a Senior Professional Research Assistant and a doctoral student in Clinical Sciences, Health Services Research with extensive experience in community outreach, patient navigation, and patient navigator supervision. She currently manages two other patient navigation research and service projects: the Denver Patient Navigator Research Program and Project SOL (Survivor Outreach to Latinas with Breast Cancer). Patricia is also an instructor and curriculum developer for several patient navigator projects including the Colorado Patient Navigator Training Program, the National ACS/PNRP training program, and the Community College of Denver Community Health Worker Training program.
Yvonne Kellar-Guenther, PhD - Program Evaluator
Dr. Yvonne Kellar-Guenther is the Program Evaluator for Colorado Patient Navigator Training Program and Assistant Professor in the Department of Psychiatry at the University of Colorado Denver. In addition to work in this program, Yvonne is the Lead Evaluator at Colorado WIN Partners. She serves as a literacy consultant for various groups and communication consultant for the Colorado Multiple Institutional Review Board. She also designs courses for professionals who are part of the research process.
Lisa O’Reilly, MA – Instructional Designer
Lisa O’Reilly is an elearning instructional designer, web developer, and educational consultant for the Colorado Patient Navigator Training Program. In addition to designing and developing the program's online courses, tutorials, website and web-based tools, she is a doctoral student conducting dissertation research in online learning. She is also an instructional designer and faculty consultant for the Center for Faculty Development at the University of Colorado Denver. Contact Lisa with technical issues with the website, online courses, listserv mailing lists, or the Patient Navigator Wiki.
Evelinn Borrayo, PhD – Instructor
Evelinn Borrayo is an Associate Professor in the Department of Psychology at the University of Colorado Denver (UCD). She is Clinical Health Psychologist by training and has over 10 years of experience teaching undergraduate and graduate courses related to women’s health, psychological interventions, and health disparities. She is a Colorado Patient Navigator Program instructor and consultant, assuring the cultural competency of our training curriculum. She is an expert addressing psychosocial aspects of disease and the factors that contribute to health disparities among medically underserved populations. Evelinn is also currently an Adjunct Associate Professor with the School of Medicine at UCD.
Alice Bradley, MA - Instructor
Alice Bradley brings to the team over 15 years experience in health communications. As the former Director of the National Cancer Institute’s Cancer Information Service (Rocky Mountain Region) she is expert in locating and evaluating chronic disease resources and educational materials. She specializes in converting complex medical information into understandable, culturally relevant language and in providing health information and resources to diverse, underserved communities. Alice recently retired from five years of service as the Chairperson of the Health Disparities Task Force of the Colorado Cancer Coalition. Currently, Alice is a private consultant and the Pipeline Training Coordinator for the Colorado Latino Community Network Program for the University of Colorado Denver.
Allison Costenaro, MA, LPC - Instructor
Allison is a licensed professional counselor and brings 13 years of clinical experience to her role as a Colorado Patient Navigator Training Program instructor. She has worked in clinics with a variety of populations including individuals with chronic medical and mental illness and their families. Allison is currently a Professional Research Assistant in the Department of Psychology and has served as a research counselor and project manager on a number of research projects focused on adjustment to cancer diagnosis and treatment, cancer survivorship and caregiving. She currently serves as Project Manager for a head and neck cancer survivorship study, and a navigation intervention study of breast cancer survivorship funded by the Avon Foundation.
Kathie Garrett, MA, NCC, MINT – Instructor
Kathie Garrett instructs and develops curriculum related to the psychosocial aspects of chronic disease. She has 17 years experience in behavioral science and is the Director of the Telephone Counseling Research Program at the University of Colorado Cancer Center. She has served as co-investigator on seven telephone counseling studies of interventions for cancer patients, survivors, and family members. In addition to her research, Kathy also conducts professional skills workshops in cancer prevention, diabetes management, maternal health, community health, and psychiatry.
Jeanice Hansen, MSW, LCSW – Instructor
Jeanice is an Oncology Social Worker and Cancer Guide with nearly 18 years of experience in hospital, clinic and other community health care services. She established a patient navigator program in Poudre Valley and has extensive expertise in psychosocial impact of disease, basic navigation skills, motivational interviewing, and professional helping relationships.
Lynn Malkinson, MSW – Instructor
Lynn Malkinson is a Colorado Patient Navigator Training Program instructor and advisor for end-of-life issues. After teaching high school in Kenya as a Peace Corps volunteer and raising her children, she earned a master’s in social work and began her career as a hospice social worker. She has over 20 years experience in hospice care. After retiring from HospiceCare of Boulder and Broomfield Counties, she worked as a research assistant interviewing breast cancer survivors for studies on prevention and survivorship. Currently Lynn works part time for Family Hospice in Boulder and serves on the editorial board of Care Connections, a Boulder County publication designed to support caregivers.
Sandra Vannice, MS, RN – Instructor
Sandi Vannice is a registered nurse with 25 years of experience in various nursing roles within the specialty of oncology. She is currently the Oncology Clinical Nurse Specialist at Denver Health where she provides leadership to the staff of the out-patient infusion center, oncology clinical trials program and the cancer resource center. She also provides education and consultation to the in-patient nursing staff related to care of the oncology patient.