SCORE Updates

September 2022

The Surgical/Subspecialists Clinical Outcomes Research (SCORE) Fellowship proudly announces our new Program Director, Jacinda Nicklas, MD, MPH, MA, who took over the role from Stacie Daugherty, MD, MSPH effective July 1, 2022. Dr. Daugherty transferred to the Kaiser Institute for Health Research as a Senior Clinical Investigator in February of this year, though she retains her role as a Professor of Medicine in the Division of Cardiology at the University, and we are grateful she remains a Co-Director on SCORE for the current fiscal year. 


The SCORE Fellowship’s new Program Director, Dr. Nicklas, is an Associate Professor at the University in the School of Medicine. She received her MD from Harvard Medical School and completed her residency in internal medicine and primary care at Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston, Massachusetts. She received her MPH from the Harvard School of Public Health and completed her clinical research fellowship in Integrative Medicine and General Medicine at Harvard Medical School. Dr. Nicklas completed the NIH-funded Building Interdisciplinary Research Careers in Women’s Health (BIRCWH) K12 award, and completed a K23 career development award funded by the NIH National Heart Lung and Blood Institute. She has served as a co-PI and site-PI on several multi-site clinical trials. She practices both primary care and obesity medicine, and her research focuses on lifestyle interventions for patients at elevated cardiometabolic risk using websites, apps, and lifestyle interventions. Prior to taking on the Directorship for SCORE, Dr. Nicklas was a Co-Director for the fellowship for three years; given her experience and participation in SCORE, we know the fellowship is in good hands with her at the helm. 


Also in July, James A. Feinstein, MD, MPH joined the SCORE Fellowship as a Co-Director. Dr. Feinstein is an Associate Professor in the Department of Pediatrics and a Principal Investigator at ACCORDS.  He practices in the Children’s Hospital Colorado Special Care Clinic and is the Pediatric Director of a nationally recognized Epidermolysis Bullosa Multidisciplinary Program for children with genetic skin blistering disorders. As a fellowship-trained health services researcher with over 15 years of experience, Dr. Feinstein has successfully led multiple epidemiological and health services research studies focused on children with medical complexity, neurologic impairment, and pediatric polypharmacy. He is currently the PI for a National Institute of Child Health and Human Development K23 Patient-Centered Career Development award to study the longitudinal measurement of symptoms in children exposed to polypharmacy. He is also Chair of the Colorado Medicaid Pharmacy and Therapeutics Committee, Co-Chair of the Children’s Hospital Association Pharmacoepidemiology & Drug Safety Workgroup, and Member of the NIH’s Best Pharmaceuticals for Children Act (BPCA) Pharmacoepidemiology Workgroup. The SCORE Fellowship’s faculty and staff is grateful to have him as a part of our team. 


SCORE is off to a great start this year, with seven new fellows starting the program in July, joining five second year fellows (Drs. Erin Bredenberg, Jessica Solomon Sanders, Cristina Sarmiento, Camille Stewart, and Jeniann Yi) who will graduate next June. Please see below for a brief introduction to each of the fabulous fellows in our new cohort and their research interests: 


Anna Abrams, MD is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Pediatric Emergency Medicine. Her long-term research goal is to become an independent clinical investigator focused on reducing racial health disparities to improve pediatric health outcomes, specifically through the development and implementation of novel interventions that promote effective and equitable care for acutely ill and injured children in pre-hospital and emergency settings. 


Aubrey Armento, MD is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Orthopedics. As a clinician scientist, she ultimately plans to develop an innovative and successful independent research program with a focus on relative energy deficiency in sport (RED-S), eating disorders, and bone health among adolescent athletes. 


Rachel Cafferty, MD is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Pediatric Emergency Medicine.  Her research interests have evolved to the prioritization of mental health access and care for youth, with a specific focus on improving suicide screening and prevention efforts for young patients in the Emergency Department. 


Krista Eschbach, MD is an Assistant Professor of Pediatrics in the Division of Child Neurology and the Medical Director of the Children’s Hospital Colorado Neurodiagnostic Technology Certificate Program. Her research centers on the long-term neurocognitive and quality of life outcomes associated with new-onset refractory status epilepticus (NORSE) and febrile infection-related epilepsy syndrome (FIRES). 


Kweku Hazel, MD is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Surgery. His research aspirations involve using community-based participatory research and dissemination and implementation research methods to advance socially responsible surgery in order to increase equitable access to bariatric surgical care, while integrating social determinants of health into surgical education, practice and research. 


Ryan Kammeyer, MD, MSE is an Assistant Professor of Pediatrics in the Division of Child Neurology. As a neuroimmunologist, he plans to build a comprehensive research program focused on the identification of biochemical and immunologic markers of organic, inflammatory brain disease in neuropsychiatric syndromes and the assessment of immunotherapy regimens on patient-focused outcome measures, including quality of life, cognitive and psychologic dysfunction, and educational/employment attainment. 


Kristina Malik, MD is an Assistant Professor in Pediatrics in the Division of General Academic Pediatrics and the Medical Director of KidStreet at Children’s Hospital Colorado. Her primary research goal is to develop an integrated preventive oral health framework tailored to the unique needs of children with medical complexity (CMC) through the exploration of which interventions best improve clinical outcomes and implementation research to ensure patient-centered systemic uptake. 


Please join us in congratulating Drs. Abrams, Armento, Cafferty, Eschbach, Hazel, Kammeyer and Malik!  We’re honored they chose our program to further hone their health services research skills.  


For more information on the SCORE Fellowship, please visit our website at: 



January 2022

The SCORE Fellowship (Surgical/Subspecialist Clinical Outcomes Research Fellowship; Program Director: Stacie Daugherty, MD, MSPH) is currently recruiting for the July 1, 2022 cohort. This fellowship is designed for junior and mid-career faculty looking to obtain training in clinical outcomes research. The two-year program consists of didactic work, mentoring of research projects, and an intensive grant writing course for second-year fellows with the goal of a completed grant (e.g., K award) for submission.  Additional components of the program include full biostatistical and analytical support for projects, a career development curriculum, and access to additional ACCORDS resources. The fellowship requires a commitment of at least 50% protected time, support from the applicant’s Division/Department, and availability on Monday afternoons for didactic lectures and work-in-progress (WIP) sessions.  

Since the SCORE Fellowship’s inception in 2014, we have graduated 21 faculty scholars. Our 21 graduates have published more than 665 peer-reviewed manuscripts in top general medical and specialty journals, and have obtained over $19.2 million in grant funding from federal, foundation, industry, and institutional sources. To date, nine have received individual career development awards.

The application deadline for the new cohort beginning in July 2022 is March 15, 2022. If you know of anyone who may be interested and a good fit, please help us spread the word. For additional questions regarding logistics, cost, how to apply, or details about current and previous fellows, please contact the Program Manager, Rebecca Speer, MA, at

September 2021

The Surgical/Subspecialists Clinical Outcomes Research (SCORE) Fellowship is off to a great start again this year.  Five new fellows started the program in July of 2021, joining six second year fellows who will graduate next June. In this edition, the Fellowship Co-Directors are pleased to announce our latest cohort of impressive scholars: Drs. Erin Bredenberg, Jessica Solomon Sanders, Cristina Sarmiento, Camille Stewart and Jeniann Yi.  Please see below for a brief introduction to each trainee and what they plan to accomplish in their two years in the SCORE Fellowship:

Erin Bredenberg, MD, MPH is an academic hospitalist who is passionate about care for underserved populations.  Her research interests are in factors that affect the care of patients with substance use disorders and those experiencing housing insecurity. She joins the SCORE Fellowship with the goals of further focusing her research interests and gaining concrete skills in data analysis, epidemiologic methods, and qualitative research.

Jessica Solomon Sanders, MD recently became faculty at the University of Colorado upon completion of a 6-year residency program specializing in Neurodevelopmental Disabilities through Boston Children’s Hospital and the adult hospitals affiliated with Harvard Medical School. Her principal career goal is to enhance the lives of children and adults with neurodevelopmental disabilities (NDD) by improving and expanding age-appropriate, specialized healthcare opportunities and interventions.  More specifically, she hopes the SCORE Fellowship will advance her goal of developing, evaluating, and disseminating best practices and patient outcomes from a novel clinic for adults with NDD and conducting programmatic educational research to improve medical providers’ confidence to care for this adult population.

Cristina Sarmiento, MD completed her residency training in June 2021 in Pediatrics and Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation and has always been motivated by the goal of being an advocate for patients and for individuals of varying abilities at large. She joins the SCORE Fellowship with the following three objectives: to develop the skills, knowledge, and experience to launch a career as a clinician researcher; to conduct interventions that improve clinical care, health and functional outcomes for patients with disabilities; and to build bridges between her clinical work and research endeavors, that in turn strengthen both parts of her career. Cristina is particularly interested improving care at the time of transition from pediatric- to adult-based care for adolescents and young adults with disabilities.

Camille Stewart, MD is an Assistant Professor of Surgery in the Division of Surgical Oncology.  She loves teaching and conducting research, in addition to her clinical practice operating on patients diagnosed with cancer. Her research goals are to lead and perform prospective clinical research projects with basic science elements that have a positive impact on her patients’ treatment and outcomes. More specifically, she is interested in elucidating the potential roles of medical cannabis in the management of post-operative pain, and its relationship to postoperative outcomes, particularly for patients with cancer who may require multiple major operations.

Jeniann Yi, MD, MSCS is an academic vascular surgeon and informaticist. Her research combines clinical outcomes in treating complex aortic and cerebrovascular disease with advanced endovascular techniques with her background in informatics to define and implement high value surgical care. She is specifically interested in the cost of advanced endovascular technology on health systems, antithrombotic medication management following interventions, and vascular imaging regimens for surveillance. Her goals for the SCORE Fellowship include learning more about how to combine clinical outcomes with patient-reported outcomes and cost/efficiency metrics when designing studies, and how to successfully collect and/or extract these data points from large datasets, such as EMR.  She also hopes to gain practical skills in implementation science and qualitative research.

Please join us in congratulating Drs. Bredenberg, Sanders, Sarmiento, Stewart, and Yi!  We’re honored they chose our program to further hone their health services research skills. 

For more information on the SCORE Fellowship, please click HERE.

June 2021

The Surgical/Subspecialist Clinical Outcomes Research Fellowship (SCORE) Fellowship Co-Directors proudly announce the seven scholars who graduate from our program effective June 30, 2021: Drs. Shannon Acker, Leigh Anne Bakel, Jessica Bloom, Jillian Cotter, Ana Gleisner, Michelle Leppert, and Justin Lockwood.  Please read below for a brief introduction to each of our outstanding graduates and their research interests:

Shannon Acker, MD is an Assistant Professor of Surgery whose research is focused on clinical outcomes in pediatric surgical care. She has conducted multiple single and multi-center retrospective reviews assessing value and waste in pediatric surgical care, and is currently writing a grant proposal that centers on evaluating cost variation in the operating room through a mixed methods approach with the ultimate goal of designing and pilot testing an intervention that aims to deliver optimal surgical care at a reduced expense.  Her current additional research projects include: leading a multi-center prospective observational study of the use of contrast based protocols for the management of pediatric small bowel obstruction, characterizing pneumatosis intestinalis in pediatric patients, management of pediatric blunt solid organ injury, and overuse of preoperative type and screening in neonates undergoing general surgical procedures.

Leigh Anne Bakel, MD, MSc is an Assistant Professor of Pediatric Hospital Medicine at the University of Colorado School of Medicine and Medical Director of Clinical Effectiveness and Director of the Clinical Pathways program at Children’s Hospital Colorado. She was recently accepted into the national PEDSnet K12 program as an institutionally funded scholar. Her previous projects included a national survey on clinical pathway programs and development of a novel measure of variation of care through the Children’s Hospital Association. Her current research evaluates clinical pathway implementation using novel third party software to visualize and create actionable clinical pathways in our electronic health record, as well as measures clinical and patient factors influencing provider adherence. She also plans to incorporate perspectives of patients and families on knowledge of clinical pathways.

Jessica Bloom, MD come July will begin her new role as Assistant Professor of Pediatrics within the Rheumatology section with 75% protected time for research. She will also start a two-year fellowship in clinical investigation through the Vasculitis Clinical Research Consortium (VCRC)-Vasculitis Foundation (VF) during which she plans to expand the pediatric patient presence within the VCRC, VF, and Vasculitis Patient-Powered Research Network and assess the impact of age at disease-onset on clinical manifestations and outcomes. She recently completed her Master of Science in Clinical Science and received funding from the Childhood Arthritis and Rheumatology Research Alliance and Arthritis Foundation to characterize Eosinophilic Granulomatosis with Polyangiitis in children.

Jillian Cotter, MD, MSCS is an Assistant Professor in Pediatric Hospital Medicine at the University of Colorado School of Medicine. She is interested in high-value care, specifically related to diagnostic and antibiotic stewardship for common infections among hospitalized children. Her AHRQ K08 proposal aims to explore factors that influence antibiotic decision making for children hospitalized with community acquired pneumonia (CAP) with the goal of developing and pilot testing an intervention to improve guideline-adherent treatment and safely reduce unnecessary antibiotics.

Ana Gleisner, MD, PhD is surgical oncologist at the University of Colorado School of Medicine whose main interest is to promote the uptake of evidence-based practices and shared decision making to decrease variability in care and improve the outcomes of patients with cancer. With a unique perspective as a surgeon, she focuses on identifying low-value cancer-related surgical procedures that are still commonly performed and finding determinants for the de-implementation of these procedures.

Michelle Leppert, MD, MBA is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Neurology who is currently funded by an institutional KL2 award at the Colorado Clinical and Translation Science Institute. This institutional award, along with a K23 proposal she has written, will allow her to explore the risk factors of stroke in young adults using Colorado’s All Payer Claims Database and the American Heart Association’s Get with the Guidelines Stroke Registry. If funded, the K23 proposal she is drafting will further afford her first-hand experience applying study design and extending datasets by linking multiple heterogeneous sources, as well as satisfy the thesis requirement to complete the Master’s of Health Services Research degree.

Justin Lockwood, MD, MSCS is an Assistant Professor of Hospital Medicine in the Department of Pediatrics at University of Colorado School of Medicine and the Medical Director of Hospital Medicine for Children’s Hospital Colorado Anschutz Medical Campus. His research focuses on improving care for deteriorating children in the hospital by leveraging clinical data and implementation science principles to disseminate best practices, develop effective interventions, and perform pragmatic trials to test their implementation. He is currently writing an AHRQ R03 grant proposal aiming to define stakeholder-centered, consensus outcomes for future rapid response system research. 

For additional questions regarding logistics, how to apply, or details about current and previous fellows, please contact Becca Speer. You can also check out the SCORE Fellowship HERE.