The number of OPHI staff expands and contracts depending on the size and need of current projects.  The staff housed in the OPHI office are listed below:


Dr. Dalen Duitsman

Dr. Duitsman received his doctorate in Health Education/Public Health and his M.S. from Indiana University located in Bloomington, Indiana. He received his duel undergraduate degrees in Health Education and Physical Education from William Paterson University in Wayne, New Jersey.  

Prior to his arrival at Missouri State University in the fall of 1996, he was a Health Studies faculty at Iowa State University.  During his tenure there he helped revise the Community Health Education curriculum and was instrumental in the growth of the program.  At Missouri State, he implemented and administered the M.S. in Health Promotion and Wellness Management graduate program and also developed, implemented and administered the Master of Public Health program. 

In February of 2001 Dr. Duitsman was appointed by the Board of Governor’s to serve as Director of the OPHI.  In this position he has served as the principle investigator of numerous contracts and grants that have focused on solving community public health issues in Missouri.  He has been successful in uniting university resources and community stakeholder resources to develop and implement targeted interventions to address community health related needs.  Dr. Duitsman’s expertise also extends to creation of partnerships and coalitions.  He is known in the state for his leadership on state-wide, regional, and local boards, committees and coalitions.  He currently serves as President of the Missouri Institute of Community Health, Immediate Past President of the Missouri Public Health Association and is on the steering committee for the Transforming the Future of Public Health in Missouri initiative.  

Project Coordinator

Delores Joyce

Delores Joyce has over 20 years of program management experience in the University and non-profit sector. Ms. Joyce received her Master of Public Administration with an emphasis in not for profit administration from the University of Missouri-Kansas City. She assumed her position as Project Coordinator at OPHI in 2001. Prior to that time, she was the Project Coordinator for the American Lung Association for seven years.

Her passion to improve the health of people in Missouri through advocacy is evidenced by the roles she has undertaken in the state. She has been an active member of the statewide tobacco coalition for the past 15 years and served as a Board member for Tobacco Free Missouri for seven years. She was a founding member of breathe easy Springfield/One Air Alliance and continues to serve on numerous coalitions and advisory boards dedicated to improving the health of people in Missouri. In her role as Project Coordinator, she collaborates with community members and organizations to write grants to provide evidence based programs to improve community health, implements grant funded initiatives and serves as the budget officer on several OPHI contracts and grants.

Graduate assistants

Srita Chundru

Srita Chundru is a graduate student in the Masters of Public Health program and a Graduate Assistant at the Ozarks Public Health Institute. Srita`s work experience includes: administrative duties, research, patient care, organizing health awareness camps, assisting in research projects and coalition building for healthier communities. Her interests are working in rural and community health education and women`s health programs She has Bachelor’s degree in Dental Surgery.

Abby Garton

Abby Garton is a graduate student in the Masters of Public Health Program and a Graduate Assistant at the Christian County Health Department working primarily with PHEP, Public Health Emergency Preparedness. She is working with the Emergency Planner to update the Christian County Health Department emergency plan according to Centers for Disease Control and Prevention capabilities. Also, she is a certified car seat technician. Abby has a Bachelor of Science degree from Missouri State University. She is interested in emergency planning and community health education and hopes to work for a local public health department after graduation.

Pinakin Patel

Pinakin is a graduate student in Master of Public Health Program at Missouri State University and a Graduate Assistant at Ozarks Public Health Institute.  Currently he is working on a grant funded project, Grow Healthy, to reduce childhood obesity.  He has a Bachelor's degree in Dentistry and experience organizing oral health awareness programs in rural communities and public schools. In addition, he has participated in fund raising programs to provide basic needs to people in emergency situations. 

Sara Wikoff

Sara Wikoff has a Bachelor of Science degree in Health Services from Missouri State University and is currently a graduate student in the Masters of Public Health program.  She is a Graduate Assistant at the Taney County Health Department in Branson where she is the project coordinator for a USDA grant, Growing the Grower. The project focuses on helping farmers improve their business skills for farmers’ markets. Her interests include rural health, women’s health, wellness promotion, and international health.