Janet Thomas, MD
Janet Thomas, M.D. has been on the faculty of the University of Colorado School of Medicine since 1996 and devotes her time to caring for individuals of all ages with inborn errors of metabolism in the Rocky Mountain region. She has a particular interest in lysosomal storage disorders, phenylketonuria, newborn screening, and regional care. She also sees patients in the Neurocutaneous clinic. Janet is a faculty member of the UCDHSC Human Medical Genetics Program and a member of the State of Colorado Newborn Screening Program Stakeholders Committee. She is the Co-Program Director for the Mountain States Regional Genetics Network, an organization focused on regional and national delivery of genetic services including underserved populations, telegenetics, consumer advocacy and resources, and health care policy. Past positions have included Interim Section Head of the Section of Clinical Genetics and Metabolism, the Director of the Inherited Metabolic Diseases Clinic at Children’s Hospital Colorado, and Director of the University of Colorado Medical Genetics Residency Program. Teaching medical students, pediatric and genetic residents, and graduate genetic counseling students is also a part of her duties. She has been actively involved in therapeutic research for PKU, lysosomal storage disorders, urea cycle disorders, and homocystinuria.
Kathryn Hassell, MD
Kathryn Hassell, M.D., Professor of Medicine at the University of Colorado School of Medicine, became the MSGRC Associate Project Director, December 1, 2011. Kathy hails from Minnesota originally but has been in Colorado since 1989. She has played a major role in the development of systems of care for individuals with sickle cell disease in Colorado, and she has been very active in newborn screening for hemoglobinopathies for over a decade. Kathy has supervised the Colorado hemoglobinopathy newborn screening follow-up program since 2000, and she has been Director of the Colorado Sickle Cell Treatment and Research Center since 2003.
Ankit Sanghavi, BDS, MPH
Project Administrator (THI)
Ankit currently serves as the Executive Director of Texas Health Institute. Previously, he was Director of Texas Health Institute’s Community and Oral Health Program Ankit provides leadership and direction on all Texas Health Institute initiatives and develops collaborative efforts with Texas Health Institute’s local, state, and national partners, while continuing to lead the oral health program.. Before joining Texas Health Institute, Ankit worked at Williamson County and Cities Health District, where he conceptualized, developed and managed the Public Health Practice Review process to measure impact of current efforts and guide agency strategic decisions based on research and data. Ankit earned a Master of Public Health from Texas A&M University in 2014 and Bachelor of Dental Surgery from Maharashtra University of Health Sciences India in 2011. His professional interests are research, innovation, and data in health care.
Kristi Wees, MS
Kristi comes to MSRGN as a parent advocate who served as part of the 2012 Consumer Task Force for Baby’s First Test. She brings previous experience working in a laboratory and research setting as a chemist as well as scientific sales and marketing experience after completing her master’s degree in chemistry from UCLA. Kristi has utilized social media in the last 8 years as she had focused on outreach to mothers, especially mothers of children with special health care needs. Kristi’s daughter was suspected of a genetic condition that was not diagnosed at birth. She helps other families navigate the medical system through her patient advocacy work at www.EmpoweredAdvocacy.com .
State Teams Coordinator
Jamie comes to the State Teams Coordinator Position with prior experience as a MSRGN Colorado State team member since 2018, a former Colorado state team co-lead and as the current Colorado Genetic Navigator. Jamie is a Physical Therapist, ABM NeuroMovement Practitioner, and a mother of two children with the rare genetic condition. She also serves on the Special Education Advisory Committee (SEAC) for her local school district and has hosted multiple MSRGN Genetic Pop-Ups, free NeuroMovement clinics, and other special needs events. Jamie and her family have lived in Colorado since 2017. Prior to moving to Colorado, she has navigated genetics in five other states, providing her with vast experience navigating the medical system, insurance system, special needs services, and medically complex and genetics worlds as a professional and parent.
Mekayla Longoria, MPH
Mekayla is returning to MSRGN after serving as the MSRGN/THI Intern through her graduate program at Sam Houston State University (SHSU) in Huntsville, TX. She completed her master’s degree in Public Health in August 2021. Mekayla hopes to advance her career in the realm of genetic education. Mekayla’s prior work experience includes her role as a Marketing and Events Coordinator for the Office of the Vice President for Student Affairs at SHSU
Liza Creel, PhD, MPH
Liza M. Creel is currently an Assistant Professor in the Department of Health Management and Systems Sciences at the University of Louisville School of Public Health and Information Sciences. She serves as the MSRGN Evaluator. Liza’s research is in the areas of delivery system transformation, maternal and child health, organizational collaboration within the health care system, and policy evaluation as it relates to children with special health care needs. Liza is Co-Director of the Commonwealth Institute of Kentucky and serves as PI and Co-PI on several studies, including several on newborn hearing screening and follow-up. She has an Associate Appointment in the Department of Pediatrics at the University of Louisville School of Medicine and is a member of the Child and Adolescent Health Research Design and Support Unit within the department. Liza received her PhD in Health Services Research from the Texas A&M Health Science Center, School of Public Health; MPH in Health Policy from the University of Michigan, School of Public Health; and BS in Health Services Administration from the University of Texas, Southwestern School of Allied Health Sciences.
Chief Operating Officer (THI)
Sherry joined Texas Health Institute in 1996 and currently serves as Chief Operating Officer. Sherry is responsible for the organization’s operating activities, logistics, purchases, equipment, maintenance, personnel, contract management and human resources. Prior to joining Texas Health Institute, Sherry worked for Texas Hospital Association as Assistant to the Medicaid Director. She spent 20 years serving as staff to several Texas State Senators and two Lieutenant Governors. Sherry also worked as a legal assistant for four years prior to her work at the legislature.
Director of Convenings and Education (THI)
Stephanie is the Director of Convenings and Education at Texas Health Institute and has been a part of its team since 2010. Stephanie leads several internal and external convenings including the Southern Obesity Summit, Texas Primary Care Consortium Annual Summit, Communities Joined in Action National Conference and the Mountain States Regional Genetics Network Annual Summit. Stephanie’s prior experience includes Sales and Event Coordination for the Texas State Aquarium; Sales, Event and Pre-Opening management roles at hotel properties including Marriott and Starwood brands. Stephanie graduated from Texas State University with a bachelor’s degree in Mass Communications with a focus in Public Relations and minor in Psychology.