Meet our faculty experts.  Their work directly supports MSU’s Strategic Plan: Choosing Promise, Intentional Focus 2: Improve Lives and Society Through Research, Creativity, and Scholarship.  Please click on a profile for details.

Dr. Sandra Benavides-Vaello

Sandra Benavides Vaello

Dr. Benavides-Vaello’s research interests are oriented towards ethnic minorities (Latinas of low socioeconomic status) and issues related to self-care of chronic health conditions (food practices, health status monitoring, cultural values and norms, behavioral health concerns). 

Dr. Lindsay Benes

Dr. Lindsay Benes

Dr. Benes' research strives to enhance the biopsychosocial approach to healthcare for two vulnerable populations: those with complex chronic pain and individuals dealing with houselessness.


Dr. Peter Buerhaus

Peter Buerhaus

Dr. Buerhaus focuses his research on the nursing and physician workforces in the US.  His studies analyze trends in employment, earnings, hours worked, quality of care, costs of care, determining public opinions of nurses, assessing the quality and costs of care provided by nurse practitioners, and projecting the future supply of nurses and doctors.  He is also leading a 2-year study of the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic’s impact on the nursing workforce.


Dr. Yoshiko Colclough

Yoshiko Colclough

Dr. Colclough’s research centers on generational and cultural differences in end-of-life decision making and care, especially the psychological aspect within minority populations, in particular Japanese Americans and American Indians.


Dr. Margaret Hammersla

Margaret Hammersla

Dr. Hammersla’s research interest focus on the improving quality of life for elderly individuals living in rural areas through innovative health care delivery.


Dr. Tracy Hellem

Tracy Hellem

Dr. Hellem’s research interests focus on the utilization of complementary health techniques to improve mood. She specifically focuses on the use of modalities that include both a mind and body component to offer holistic and comprehensive treatment options.



Dr. Wade Hill

Wade Hill

Dr. Hill is a public health clinician and researcher who investigates ecological determinants of human environmental exposures.


Dr. Elizabeth Johnson

Dr. Elizabeth Johnson

Dr. Johnson explores the use of wearable technologies for patient safety in clinical trials, expanding the research nurse role in clinical trials, and methods of creating awareness of clinical trial patients when seeking care in their communities through provider partnerships. 


Dr. Angela Jukkala

Angela Jukkala

Dr. Jukkala’s research interests focus on health disparities and patient activation in at-risk populations. She specifically focuses on the impact of social determinants of health, shared healthcare decision making, and patient activation on healthcare outcomes. 

Dr. Laura Larsson

Laura Larsson

Dr. Larsson is interested in community-based risk communication research with vulnerable groups. Dr. Larsson utilizes techniques such as digital signage technology and motivational interviewing in novel settings to expand the reach of traditional public health communication approaches to settings with limited access. 


Dr. Susan Luparell

Dr. Susan Luparell

Dr. Luparell writes and speaks about how to cultivate civility in nursing education and nursing practice settings.  As an outgrowth of this work, she also is also working with others to develop the concept of professional identity formation in nursing. 


Dr. Dorothy “Dale” Mayer

Dorthy "Dale" Mayer

Dr. Mayer’s current research is focused on palliative care, specifically improving the care of people living with serious and life-limiting illnesses in rural settings.  Additional research interests include the universal human experiences associated with grief, loss and bereavement. 



Dr. Sally Moyce

Sally Moyce


Dr. Moyce’s research interest focus on the health of the Latino immigrant population, centered mostly around occupational health. She also works with the local Spanish-speaking community to improve their access to health services in Gallatin County.

Dr. Julie Ruff

Julie Ruff
Dr. Ruff’s scholarly identity is centered on issues of nursing education, the nursing care of children and their families, transcultural nursing, vulnerable populations, trauma informed care in the pediatric population and children with special health care needs.


Dr. Alice Running

Alice Running


Dr. Running’s research centers on exploring the efficacy of integrative therapies to address stress responses across the lifespan.

Dr. Molly Secor

Dr. Molly Secor
Dr. Secor's research centers around using mixed methods approaches to understanding how social context impacts adolescent health, especially adolescent sexual health and access to adolescent friendly services.


Dr. Stacy Stellflug

Stacy Stellflug

 Dr. Stellflug’s program of research focuses on education and training of rural healthcare providers.