Center for Health Outcomes and Population Research CoBRE

Researching Rural & Behavioral Health

The Center for Health Outcomes and Population Research fosters a collaborative and supportive environment to build capacity and work toward improving the health of patients and communities using unique data-driven techniques in rural areas of the Midwest.

How We’re Funded

The NIH National Institute of General Medical Sciences funds the Center for Health Outcomes and Population Research. The grant supports a Center of Biomedical Research Excellence (CoBRE) to facilitate the development of rural health in South Dakota. (NIGMS CoBRE P20GM121341)

What We Research

The level of health disparities in our region, coupled with the remote nature of our rural communities, calls for the development of a community and population health research center with a focus on rural populations. The center has expertise in:

  • Data science
  • Substance use and addiction
  • Community partnerships
  • American Indian (AI) Health
  • Mental Health
  • Healthcare services delivery
  • Behavioral science

How We Support the Scientific Community

The center supports and mentors junior investigators (project leaders) vested in issues specific to rural and AI health. This leads to greater stability, sustainability and growth of regional research infrastructure. The leadership team provides project leaders with an individualized mentorship plan to enhance their professional skills and further their research goals to become successful, independent investigators.

The center also supports three interdisciplinary cores:

  1. Research Design and Biostatistics Core
  2. Behavioral Economics Core
  3. Data Exchange Core

These research support cores provide center affiliates and regional scientists with key expertise and access to the most current approaches.

Our Publications

To learn more about the research center, see the published research under its CoBRE grant.

Real All Publications

Meet Our Team


Jill Weimer, Ph.D.
Principal Investigator

Clarence Weis
Program Manager

Tyler Sang
Core Director of the Biostatistics Core

Susan Hoover, MD, Ph.D.
Clinical Liaison

External Advisory Committee

Donald Nease Jr., M.D.
Professor, Family Medicine
University of Colorado, Denver

Andrew L. Sussman, PhD, MCRP
Associate Professor
Department of Family and Community Medicine
University of New Mexico

Sterling M. McPherson,  PhD
Associate Professor and Assistant Dean for Research
Director of Biostatistics and Clinical Trial Design and the Program of Excellence in Addictions Research
Elson Floyd College of Medicine at Washington State University

Elizabeth Calhoun, PhD, MEd
Professor, Public Health Policy and Management
Associate Director, Population Sciences Cancer Center
Executive Director, Center for Population Science and Discovery
Associate Vice President, Population Science and Discovery University of Arizona, Tucson, AZ

Project Leaders

Anna Strahm, PhD
Assistant Scientist in Behavioral Sciences at Sanford Research
Project: Maternal stress and blood sugar metabolization during pregnancy, and associations with adverse outcomes

Lisa McFadden, PhD

Assistant Professor of Basic Biomedical Sciences at the University of South Dakota
Project: Midwestern changes in substance use and treatment during the COVID-19 pandemic

Santiago Lopez, MD
Associate Scientist at Sanford Research

Project: Outcomes during pediatric lower respiratory tract infections in American Indian children



Pilot Grants and Supplemental Awards

Tyler Sang, PhD, MBA

A Geospatial Analysis of Traumatic Agricultural Injuries in the Upper Midwest
A major barrier to the prevention of agricultural injuries (AI) in the upper Midwest is a lack of knowledge about the frequency, magnitude and characteristics of AI. North Dakota and South Dakota do not participate in national injury surveillance surveys conducted by the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Most data about AI in the upper Midwest comes from media reports and self-report surveys sent to self-employed agricultural workers. Therefore, reliable, comprehensive information about AI in the upper Midwest is vital
to understanding the extent of AI in this region and to the development of education programs aimed at preventing AI. The purpose of this study is to characterize the incidence, injury characteristics, geospatial patterns and outcomes of patients with AI who presented to Sanford trauma centers in North Dakota, South Dakota, and Minnesota between 2010 and 2021. We will analyze AI data from Sanford trauma centers in the upper Midwest. AI will be identified through ICD-9 & ICD-10 codes. AI will include all traumatic injuries
occurring on farms, including, but not limited to, farm machinery injuries, falls, motor vehicle accidents, and animal related injuries. Patients of all ages will be included in the analysis.

Center Graduates and Pilot Awardees

Previous Pilot Awardees:

Benson Hsu, MD, MBA Influence of Behavioral Economics Techniques on Medical Decision Making

Lauren Schaefer, PhD Momentary Relationships between Stress and Weight Regulation Behaviors after Bariatric Surgery

Murat Sincan, MD Polygenic risk score phenome-wide association study to identify novel associations

Sabha Ganai, MD, PhD, MPH An Exploration of Rural-Urban Disparities in Colorectal Cancer Care in North Dakota and South Dakota

Center Graduates:

Arielle Deutsch, PhD Leverage Points for Equitable Systemic Change to Reduce Alcohol Exposed Pregnancy

Arielle Seyla, PhD Adolescent substance use and addiction

Emily Griese, Ph.D.  Heterogeneity in developmental trajectories from childhood to early adolescence

Arielle Deutsch, PhD Examining how complex systems foster positive or negative outcomes related to the development of alcohol use and romantic/sexual health over age

DenYelle Kenyon, PhD Using Social Network Analysis to Visualize Networks in American Indian Health Research

Jessica Hanson, PhD Public health interventions within Native American communities



September 14, 2023

This event is funded by the NIH, click to review the Research Conference NIH Safety Plan


Past Events:

Annual Health Care Delivery and Population Health Research Symposium
October 28, 2022

Annual Health Care Delivery and Population Health Research Symposium
May 26, 2021

Transdisciplinary Approaches to American Indian and Rural Population
Nov. 7, 2019

Sanford Population Health & Data Collaborative Symposium
Oct. 11, 2018

Population Heath Research Summit “Finding Your Narrative”
April 17-18, 2018

Sanford Health News

Classes & Events