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

Dr. Dalen Duitsman

Dr. Dalen Duitsman, Director

Dr. Duitsman received his doctorate in Health Education/Public Health and his M.S. from Indiana University located in Bloomington, Indiana. He received his dual 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 Governors to serve as Director of the OPHI. In this position he has served as the principal 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 is the Immediate Past President of the Missouri Institute of Community Health, serves on the board of the Missouri Public Health Association, and is on the executive committee for the Transforming the Future of Public Health in Missouri initiative.



Jaci McReynolds, MHA, Associate Director-Communications and Public Health Transformation

McReynolds has worked in Missouri's public health system for more than two decades with a focus on public health system transformation, emergency preparedness and response, and improving communication and collaboration for collective impact. She was instrumental in developing Missouri's Foundational Public Health Services (MO FPHS) model and continues to support its operationalization across the state. McReynolds has a background in film and video production and television news producing. She holds a BA in Communications, a Masters in Health Administration, and is currently pursuing a doctorate in public health. She actively participates in regional, state, and national collaboratives, committees, and advisory groups. She enjoys teaching and training and serves as an adjunct instructor and guest lecturer.

Project Staff

Karen McKinnis

Karen McKinnis, BS, MT, Program Director,

Missouri Health Disparities Initiative


Dr. Joseph Hulgus

Dr. Joseph Hulgus, Deputy Program Director

Data Analysis, Project Evaluation and HRA Development

Dr. Hulgus is responsible for the design, implementation, evaluation, and reporting for the process and outcome evaluations of the SOARHigh project. He is also the lead in developing and evaluating a new Health Risk Assessment tool for use specifically with rural youth. This will include not only the initial development but validation of the instrument as the project proceeds. Lastly, Dr. Hulgus will be designing, developing, and deploying the mental health wellness modules and components for this project.

Dr. Joseph Hulgus is a licensed psychologist and received his Ph.D. in Counseling Psychology from Texas Woman’s University, Master of Public Health degree from Missouri State University (MSU) and Bachelor’s degree from Indiana State University – Evansville. He has worked with the MSU Ozarks Public Health Institute (OPHI) as research and program evaluator for the last 14 years. Dr. Hulgus is also a Professor of Counseling at Missouri State University with 30 plus years of experience working in a wide variety of contexts as a counseling psychologist, research psychologist and public health researcher.

Pam Dudley, MHA RN, Project Coordinator

Pam Dudley has worked in public health for over twenty-two years with a focus on maternal and child health, emergency response and public health accreditation.

Dudley holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Dietetics, a Master of Health Administration and is a registered nurse. 

Todd Daniel

Dr. Todd Daniel, Statistician

Dr. Todd Daniel is a statistician and academic researcher with a specialization in statistical methodology and research design. He holds a Ph.D. in Organizational Psychology and most recently served as the lead evaluator of the #HealthierMO Transforming the Future of Public Health initiative. He has worked with the Ozarks Public Health Institute on projects since 2015. He has done analyses for academic, medical, and business research, served on numerous doctoral dissertation committees, and directed a research institute before starting his own statistical consulting business. He has extensive experience designing academic research projects, collecting data, analyzing data, and interpreting the results. He has published multiple academic articles in peer-reviewed journals and hosts a popular YouTube channel Research By Design about statistics.



Research Fellows

Maxwell Barffour

Dr. Maxwell A Barffour

Dr. Barffour received his PhD in International Health from Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore, Maryland. He has MPH with a Epidemiology concentration from Missouri State University in Springfield, Missouri. His BS in Biochemistry and Nutrition was received from the University of Ghana.

After obtaining his PhD in International Health, and before arriving at Missouri State University, Dr. Barffour was at the University of California Davis in Davis, California for a Postdoctoral Research Fellowship. He has received many awards and honors including the 2015 Young Scientist Participant from Nobel Laureates Meeting, the DSM Doctoral Research Fellowship from Johns Hopkins University in 2014, the Federik Bang Immunology Research Award from Johns Hopkins University in 2012, and others.

At Missouri State, Dr. Barffour has taught courses such as Epidemiology, Clinical and Experimental Study Designs, Biostatistics in Health Science, Health Behavior, and Public Health Field Experience. His expertise as a global health epidemiologist is in maternal and child health research and programming. His research primarily involves community based clinical trials and programs designed to address the adverse effects of micronutrient deficiencies or overdose on infections, inflammation, anemia, and physical or neurocognitive growth and sleep outcomes. His research is implemented across several countries including Laos, Zambia, Ghana, India and the United States. Many of Dr. Barffour's studies and clinical trials have been published.

Graduate Assistants

Samantha Kollmeyer

Samantha Kollmeyer, Project Facilitator

Samantha Kollmeyer is a graduate student in the Clinical Psychology Program at Missouri State University and has a bachelor’s degree in Psychology from Mizzou. Samantha is currently a graduate assistant at the Ozarks Public Health Institute working as a project facilitator for the MO COVID-19 Health Disparities Grant. In her free time, she enjoys being outdoors, reading, and spending time with friends and family.

Meenakshi S. Namburi