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Our Team



Michael Dulin, MD, PhD | UNC Charlotte

Founding Director

Michael F. Dulin, MD, PhD founded and serves as the co-director of the Mecklenburg Area Partnership for Primary Care Research (MAPPR), and was a cofounder of the North Carolina Network Collaborative (NCNC). His research interests include: enhancing primary care access for vulnerable populations; use of community-based participatory research; geographic information systems; and practice-based research networks. His primary goal is to improve the health of the Charlotte community by improving access to and the quality of primary care services. 

Hazel Tapp, PhD | Atrium Health

Dr. Tapp's main research interest is to study healthcare delivery to underserved populations in Charlotte, NC. As the co-director of MAPPR, she develops research projects with a group of primary care practices devoted principally to the primary care of patients, but also with a mission to investigate questions related to community-based practice and how to improve the quality of primary care by enhancing the translation of research findings back into practice. The primary goal of this network is to address disparities in healthcare access by developing and implementing interventions that increase the efficacy of healthcare delivery for underserved populations.

Maren Coffman, PhD | UNC - Charlotte

Dr. Maren J. Coffman is an Associate Professor of Nursing at UNC Charlotte. She has worked with MAPPR since 2009. Her research interests are focused on improving access to health care service and promoting health in Latina women. Dr. Coffman lived in Venezuela for 18 months, enjoys speaking Spanish, and has taken students to study in Cuba, Mexico, and Costa Rica.

Owen Furuseth, PhD | UNC - Charlotte - Professor Emeritus

Dr. Owen J. Furuseth is retired Associate Provost for Metropolitan Studies and Extended Academic Programs at UNC Charlotte.  He is a member of the MAPPR Research Team.  Owen's research interests are focused upon community development, with particular attention on the spatial dimensions of community structure and change. 

Through his longstanding work with the Charlotte Neighborhood Quality of Life Study, he has worked extensively with localized community data and understanding of Charlotte and Mecklenburg County's burgeoning Hispanic population. 

Brisa Hernandez, PhD student | MAPPR

Brisa Hernandez serves as Program Manager in the Research Division at the Department of Family Medicine, Carolinas Healthcare System. Her main research interests include decreasing health disparities, development of community based health interventions and the use of qualitative research methods in working with underserved populations in Charlotte, NC. Ms. Hernandez is also one of the research team members of MAPPR, The Mecklenburg Area Partnership for Primary Care Research. She develops research projects with a group of primary care practices, community organizations, and academic partners with a mission to investigate questions related to community-based practice and how to improve the quality of primary care by enhancing the translation of research findings back into practice. One of our primary methods involves a model of research known as Community Based Participatory Research (CBPR). It involves using key stake holders, including medical professionals, community advocates, community members and patients as research partners.

Lindsay E. Kuhn, MHS, PA-C | Dept. of Family Medicine Research

Lindsay Kuhn attended the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and received her undergraduate degree in Exercise and Sport Science with a minor in Chemistry. In 2006 she graduated from the Duke University Physician Assistant Program with a Master of Health Sciences degree. She has practiced in Family Medicine in Charlotte, NC ever since and enjoys cultivating relationships with her patients. Her special interests include pediatrics and women’s health as well as preventative health care. Lindsay is also the Director of Clinical Trials and Quality within Carolinas Medical Center’s Department Family Medicine Research division. Current projects focus on chronic disease management, improving participants’ outcomes, and using participatory methods including shared decision making. In her spare time, she enjoys running, playing tennis, practicing yoga, making jewelry, and most of all watching Carolina basketball.

Heather Smith, PhD | UNC - Charlotte

Heather A. Smith, PhD, is Professor of Geography at the University of North Carolina at Charlotte and serves as a Faculty Research Associate with the UNC Charlotte Urban Institute. She is a MAPPR co-founder and has served as an executive board member since 2005. Dr. Smith has a longstanding research program focusing on the dynamics of immigrant settlement and adjustment, Latino migration to the "New South" and neighborhood based restructuring. Hallmarks of her research are the integration of qualitative and quantitative methodologies and the design and implementation of community based participatory research. With her MAPPR colleagues, Dr. Smith has been a lead member of research teams exploring the efficiency of primary care services provided to the uninsured Hispanic population of Charlotte; the perceived and real barriers facing Hispanic newcomers as they seek primary care access; the challenges and opportunities experienced by health care providers as they strive to meet the needs of their Hispanic and immigrant patients; and the social determinants of healthy neighborhoods and communities.

Janni Sorensen, PhD | UNC - Charlotte

Dr. Janni Sorensen is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Geography and Earth Sciences at UNC Charlotte. She teaches courses in neighborhood planning and revitalization, social inequality in planning, and planning theory. Her research is about neighborhood planning processes in low-income, minority neighborhoods, and much of her work experience centers on university-community partnerships. In particular, she worked for 10 years in the East St. Louis, IL community through the East St. Louis Action Research Project at the University of Illinois before joining the faculty at UNC Charlotte in the fall of 2008.  Her Ph.D. is in Urban and Regional Planning from the University of Illinois (2007). She also holds a Masters of Urban Planning from Aalborg University, Denmark

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