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TARGIT Investigators

Karen C. Johnson, M.D., M.P.H.
Karen C. Johnson, M.D., M.P.H.

Karen C. Johnson, M.D., M.P.H.
Principal Investigator
Professor and Vice Chair
Department of Preventive Medicine
University of Tennessee Health Science Center

Karen C. Johnson, M.D., M.P.H., Professor and Vice Chair, is an Internist and Preventive Medicine specialist. Dr. Johnson received her M.D. degree from the University of Tennessee Health Science Center where she completed an Internal Medicine residency. She received her Master's of Public Health degree from Johns Hopkins University where she completed a Preventive Medicine residency program. Dr. Johnson's primary interest has been promoting health through healthy living and she has been working in the areas of smoking cessation and obesity prevention for over 18 years. She is the principal investigator (PI) for the TARGIT study, which is exploring ways to help people stop smoking without gaining weight. She is also the principal investigator for the Women's Health Initiative, which is exploring the major causes of disease and the promotion of health in postmenopausal women. Dr. Johnson is the principal investigator for the Look AHEAD study in persons with Type II Diabetes, which is exploring whether weight loss can prevent heart attacks and stroke disease. Dr. Johnson is a member of the Board of Trustee's of the University of Tennessee.

Mathilda C. Coday, Ph.D., M.S., B.A.
Mathilda C. Coday, Ph.D., M.S., B.A.

Mathilda C. Coday, Ph.D., M.S., B.A.
Co-investigator
Associate Professor
Department of Preventive Medicine
University of Tennessee Health Science Center

Mace Coday, Ph.D., Associate Professor of Preventive Medicine and Psychiatry, is a Clinical Psychologist specializing in behavioral health promotion and mental health treatments. Her research is focused on applications of social cognitive theory (SCT) to treatments, interventions, and retention techniques targeting behavior change in the areas of physical activity, nutrition, and smoking cessation with particular emphasis in delivery to disadvantaged populations. Her passion is exploring how psychological, social, environmental, and spiritual factors influence health-related quality of life, adherence to health behaviors, health, and mental health outcomes. She teaches two clinical investigation courses, one of which is online. She also sees patients at 7945 Wolf River Blvd.

Robert C. Klesges, Ph.D.
Robert C. Klesges, Ph.D.

Robert C. Klesges, Ph.D.
Co-investigator
Professor
Department of Preventive Medicine
University of Tennessee Health Science Center

Robert C. Klesges is a Professor in the Department of Preventive Medicine at the University of Tennessee Health Science Center (UTHSC) and is a Member in the Department of Epidemiology and Cancer Control at St. Jude Children's Research Hospital (SJCRH). He splits his time between the two institutions. At UTHSC, his focus is on cancer prevention and control in adults, particularly the underserved. In recent years, Dr. Klesges has focused on dissemination of cancer prevention programs, primarily in the area of smoking cessation. His current research at UTHSC includes a smoking cessation dissemination trial in the U.S. military, evaluating the efficacy of a step care approach for smoking cessation, and evaluating the efficacy of weight gain prevention program for hypertensives who quit smoking.

At SJCRH, Dr. Klesges has focused on primary prevention of obesity in high risk children, smoking cessation methods for childhood cancer survivors, and more recently, smoking cessation approaches for family members of cancer patients. He also serves as a collaborator of several projects that require behavioral science intervention expertise.

Phyllis Richey, Ph.D., M.S., B.S.Ed.
Phyllis Richey, Ph.D., M.S., B.S.Ed.

Phyllis Richey, Ph.D., M.S., B.S.Ed.
Co-investigator
Associate Professor
Department of Preventive Medicine
University of Tennessee Health Science Center

Dr. Richey is an Associate Professor in the Departments of Preventive Medicine and Pediatrics at the University of Tennessee Health Science Center (UTHSC). As an exercise physiologist specializing in cardiovascular physiology and the prevention and treatment of obesity, Dr. Richey has specific expertise in the application of community health interventions. Her primary research activities since joining the Department have been physical activity interventions focusing on community health and the prevention and treatment of obesity in minority populations. During this time, Dr. Richey's work with community agencies and school systems in the Memphis area has been instrumental in the institutionalization of nationally recognized, health-related, physical activity programs throughout Shelby County. Additionally, Dr. Richey has developed a clinical and community research informatics system (CCRIS) for the Department which is now being utilized by researchers throughout UTHSC and collaborating investigators at Universities and agencies throughout the country. She has designed this system to utilize innovative technologies, including traditional, optical, mobile and electronic connectivity, to interface with relational digital structures that provide investigators with advanced data modeling support for a wide variety of research and community health interventions.

Fridtjof Thomas, Ph.D.
Fridtjof Thomas, Ph.D.

Fridtjof Thomas, Ph.D.
Co-investigator
Assistant Professor
Department of Preventive Medicine
University of Tennessee Health Science Center

Dr. Thomas received his doctorate in statistics from the University of Stockholm, Sweden, in 2001. Prior to joining the Department of Preventive Medicine at the University of Tennessee Health Science Center in Memphis in 2007 he directed the Traffic Safety Unit at the Swedish National Road and Transport Research Institute and focused on traffic accidents as a major source for loss of health. From that work Dr. Thomas has experience in evaluating behavioral changes caused by novel technical platforms. He is currently the biostatistician and co-investigator in studies ranging from developing computer-based methods to identify and quantify diabetic retinopathy in retinal images to genetic predisposition of weight gain following renal transplantation and the efficacy of behavioral interventions for smoking cessation. His methodological focus is on longitudinal data analysis, hierarchical models including Bayesian models, and computationally intensive statistical methods. Dr. Thomas is Associate Editor of the Journal of Statistical Computation and Simulation.

Frances Tylavsky, D.P.H., M.S., B.S.
Frances Tylavsky, D.P.H., M.S., B.S.

Frances Tylavsky, D.P.H., M.S., B.S.
Co-investigator
Professor
Department of Preventive Medicine
University of Tennessee Health Science Center

Dr. Tylavsky has 36 years experience in the field of nutrition. She obtained her Dr.P.H. in Nutrition from the University of North Carolina Chapel Hill. As a nutritional epidemiology professor in the Department of Preventive Medicine at UTHSC, her primary focus as a nutritional epidemiologist is on the assessment of diet and body composition assessments in children and women and their relationship with chronic diseases. She is a co-investigator of the Women's Health Initiative and the Health and Aging Body Composition Study. Along with her documented expertise in nutrition and body composition assessment, Dr. Tylavsky is a Fellow in the American College of Nutrition and received the title of a Certified Nutrition Specialist.