Faculty

Arden M. Morris is a professor of surgery, vice chair of clinical research, and director of the Stanford-Surgery Policy, Improvement Research and Education Center (S-SPIRE). Her research focuses on improving quality and addressing disparities in the care of colorectal cancer patients. Her clinical work includes surgeries of the colon and rectum, and she uses mixed-methods to focus on disparities in surgical care. She also has launched a course on professional development for residents as they prepare for a career in academic surgery. Dr. Morris joined Stanford in 2016 from the University of Michigan where she was an associate professor and division chief of colorectal surgery. She earned her medical degree at Rush Medical College in Chicago followed by a general surgical residency at Oregon Health Sciences University and a colorectal fellowship at the University of Minnesota. She also earned a master’s of public health at the University of Washington while participating in the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Clinical Scholars Program. In addition to writing and speaking about disparities in quality of care, Dr. Morris deploys her expertise in service on policy panels such as National Quality Forum’s Consensus Standards and Approval Committee.


Alex Sox-Harris, PhD, MS is a leader in several domains of health services research, including quality measurement, pragmatic rigorous evaluation, predictive modeling, and improvement science (implementation and de-implementation). As a VA Research Career Scientist and now Associate Professor in the Stanford Department of Surgery, he has published over 150 scientific papers, has over a decade of continuous federal research funding, and has received numerous national awards for the innovation and impact of his research. In addition to his own work, Dr. Sox-Harris over 8 years of experience mentoring and supporting surgeons to produce publishable research and secure research funding.


Todd Wagner, PhD is an Associate Professor (Research) in the Stanford Surgery Policy Improvement Research and Education (S-SPIRE) Center.  Dr. Wagner is a health economist who is focused on improving the delivery of high-value care.  Over the past two decades, Dr. Wagner has examined the value of new technology and how health information affects the delivery of high-value care. Dr. Wagner is affiliated with the Palo Alto VA, where he directs the Health Economics Resource Center.  Dr. Wagner also co-directs the NCI/VA Big Data Fellowship. 


Mary T. Hawn, MD, MPH is the Stanford Medicine Professor of Surgery and Chair of the Department of Surgery at Stanford University. Dr. Hawn, a native of Michigan, received her education and general surgical training at the University of Michigan. She completed her minimally invasive surgical fellowship at Oregon Health and Sciences University. Her clinical area of specialty is minimally invasive foregut surgery. Dr. Hawn is a funded health services researcher and her projects focus on quality measurement and policy in surgical populations. She is a Director for the American Board of Surgery and serves on the editorial board of Annals of Surgery, Journal of the American College of Surgeons, Journal of Gastrointestinal Surgery and the American Journal of Surgery. Dr. Hawn has several additional leadership roles in American Surgery including Chair of the American College of Surgeons Scientific Forum Committee and as Treasurer and a Trustee for the Surgical Society of the Alimentary Tract. She is the co-Editor of the surgical textbook Operative Techniques in Surgery.


Sylvia Bereknyei Merrell, DrPH, MS is a Research Scholar of the S-SPIRE Center. She has over 13 years experience in high-level support of research projects at Stanford, including research design, implementation and dissemination, specifically, qualitative and mixed methods research. She has significant content expertise in the following research areas: patient-physician communication, intraoperative team communication, and language barriers. Dr. Merrell also works closely with educators to design and implement medical education curricula and research across the learning spectrum. Additional interests include capacity building in research methodology for medical students, residents, fellows, and faculty.


Amber Trickey, PhD, MS, CPH is Senior Biostatistician of the S-SPIRE Center. She supports multidisciplinary teams in research design, implementation, and analysis. In 14 years of health services research, with 7 years focused in surgery, Dr. Trickey has collaborated with diverse investigators, including attending physicians, residents, students, nurses, psychologists, and engineers. Dr. Trickey obtained degrees in epidemiology and biostatistics, and she has maintained a certification in public health since 2008. She evaluated data quality in trauma care and led data validation studies using a surgical registry (NSQIP) and administrative claims. Dr. Trickey has contributed to public and private grants on surgical safety, simulation-based training, team communication, error disclosure, and quality-of-care metrics.


Cindy Kin, MD, MS, FACS is a colorectal surgeon and assistant professor of surgery at Stanford University. She completed her general surgery residency at Stanford and her colorectal fellowship at the Cleveland Clinic in Ohio. After returning to Stanford to be on the faculty, she earned a Masters degree in Health Services Research. Her clinical interests include reoperative colorectal surgery, inflammatory bowel disease, and colorectal cancer.  Her research interests include health care utilization, surgical quality, and patient-reported outcomes.


Shipra Arya, MD has a masters of science degree in Epidemiology from Harvard University. She completed her categorical general surgery residency at Creighton University Medical Center followed by a Vascular Surgery Fellowship at University of Michigan. Most recently, Dr. Arya has worked as an Assistant Professor of Surgery and of Epidemiology at Emory University and Director of Vascular Lab and Endovascular Therapy at the Atlanta VA Medical Center.

Leah Backhus MD, MPH, FACS completed general surgery training at the University of Southern California and Cardiothoracic Surgery at the University of California Los Angeles. She practices at Stanford Hospital and is Chief of Thoracic Surgery at the VA Palo Alto. She heads the Thoracic Surgical Health Services Research group at Stanford. Her research centers on the broad concepts of cancer surveillance and survivorship care in evaluating needs, quality of life, adherence to national standards of care. She serves as a professional member of the Patient Centered Outcomes Research Institute (PCORI) Advisory Panel on Improving Healthcare Systems.


Kristan Staudenmayer, MD, MS, FACS joined Stanford in 2008. Her clinical focus is on trauma, emergency general surgery, and surgical critical care, and Dr. Staudenmayer’s research interests encompass trauma systems of care and vulnerable patient populations such as the elderly, culminating in her 2013 K08 grant from the National Institute on Aging. In 2016, Dr. Staudenmayer was honored by becoming the inaugural Gordon and Betty Moore Endowed Faculty Scholar.  Additional research accomplishments include being a co-principal investigator on an NIH CTSA award evaluating trauma systems, publishing over 50 articles and book chapters, and serving on the editorial review board of two academic journals.


Catherine Curtin, MD completed Yale Medical School and then plastic surgery residency at the University of Michigan.  She was a hand fellow at Stanford University and then joined the plastic surgery faculty. Clinically she specializes in hand and peripheral nerve injuries.  Her research career began as a Robert Wood Johnson Clinical Scholar and has continued at the Palo Alto VA.  She received a VA Career Development Award focusing on Veterans with Spinal Cord Injury.  Currently she has been working with VA data to assess surgical processes of care and performs clinical trials on interventions to improve outcomes in hand surgery.


Thomas G Weiser, MD, MPH is an Associate Professor, Trauma Surgeon, and Surgical Intensivist in the Department of Surgery at the Stanford University Medical Center. Dr. Weiser’s current research focuses on quality and cost effectiveness of care, and strategies for improving the safety and reliability of surgical delivery in resource poor settings. He is also a board member of Lifebox, a charity devoted to improving surgical safety worldwide, and is the lead investigator for its Clean Cut program, a multinational effort to improve surgical safety and prevent surgical infections.


Dan Eisenberg, MD, MS is Associate Professor of Surgery and Director of Bariatric Surgery at the Palo Alto VA.  Dr. Eisenberg’s research interests include the impact of obesity and outcomes of bariatric/metabolic surgery in the Veteran and other special populations.  He serves on the American Society for Metabolic and Bariatric Surgery’s VA Task Force and Clinical Issues Committee, and has co-authored several National Guidelines for bariatric surgery.  His current area of interest is in the obesity screening and management of Veterans with spinal cord injury.


Sherry M Wren MD, FACS, FCS(ECSA) is Professor of Surgery, Vice Chair of Professional Development and Diversity at Stanford as well as Director of Global Surgery for the Center for Innovation and Global Health.  She also serves as the Director of Clinical Surgery and Chief of General Surgery at the Palo Alto Veterans Health Care System. Dr. Wren’s research interests include gastrointestinal cancer and robotic surgery outcomes as well as care delivery and disparities in low income countries primarily in Sub-Saharan Africa.  She currently serves on the editorial boars of JAMA Surgery, Surgical Endoscopy, and the Journal of Laparoendoscopic and Advanced Surgical.


Dr Hernandez-Boussard is an Associate Professor in Surgery, Medicine (Biomedical Informatics), and Biomedical Data Science at the Stanford University School of Medicine. Dr. Hernandez-Boussard's background and expertise is in the field of computational biology, with concentration on accountability measures, population health, and health policy. A key focus of her research is the application of novel methods and tools to large clinical datasets for hypothesis generation, comparative effectiveness research, and the evaluation of quality healthcare delivery.