I specialize in clinical health psychology with particular research interests in cardiovascular health psychology and the influence of religiousness/spirituality on health. I am also interested in how sense of meaning and purpose can be used to increase adherence to healthy behavior regiments, particularly physical activity and exercise.
I am an Assistant Professor in the Department of Health and Behavioral Sciences. As a health psychologist, my research addresses the ways in which psychological factors engender resilience and protect against health risks associated with disadvantaged social status (low socioeconomic standing, racial minority). This work utilizes multiple methodologies, including national longitudinal survey data and laboratory assessments of emotion regulation and physiological reactivity and recovery to stress.
Lab Member Emeritus
Dr. Stephanie Hooker just completed her clinical psychology internship at Rush University Medical Center in Chicago, IL and is now on a post-doctoral fellowship at the University of Minnesota. Stephanie earned her BAS in Psychology from the University of Minnesota Duluth in 2009, her MS in Clinical Psychology from Syracuse University in 2011, and her MPH in Applied Biostatistics from the Colorado School of Public Health at the Anschutz Medical Campus in 2015. Stephanie’s research interests include theories and techniques of health behavior change, with an emphasis on maintenance in healthy behavior. Specifically, she is interested in better understanding long-term maintenance of physical activity, and the relationship of existential/spiritual factors (i.e., meaning in life, connectedness) to health and quality of life. In her spare time, she enjoys spending time with her husband, family, and friends; walking her dog; hiking; biking (aka “marauding”); coffee; and quilting.
Kaile Ross is currently a 6th year doctoral student on her clinical psychology internship at AF Williams Family Medicine Center, an affiliate of University of Colorado Health in Denver, CO. Kaile received her Bachelor of Arts in Psychology from the University of Notre Dame in South Bend, IN and her Masters of Arts in Clinical Psychology from the University of Colorado Denver. Prior to starting graduate school, she worked at Massachusetts General Hospital in smoking cessation research and at the University of Washington in infectious disease research. Her current research interests include health behaviors, quality of life, and self-care in folks with chronic illness as well as health policy research related to integrated behavioral health and primary care. In her downtime, she enjoys the Colorado Great Outdoors via running, skiing, hiking, biking (aka maurading) as well as reading way too many sci-fi books.
Megan McGugan is a 6th year doctoral student currently on her clinical psychology internship at Kennedy Krieger Institute/Johns Hopkins University Medical Center in Baltimore, MD. Megan received her Bachelor of Arts in Psychology from Cedarville University, and her Masters of Arts in Clinical Psychology from the University of Colorado Denver. Her research interests include studying how religion/spirituality within close relationships may impact health. She recently proposed her dissertation “Prayer and Sleep’s Effects on Cardiovascular Reactivity and Self-Regulation Among Christians.” She is also interested in better understanding factors that are related to improved relationship quality and decreased stress, and studying how these impact health. Megan enjoys music, nature, chai tea, trying new foods, and cooking with her husband.
Lacey Clement is a 6th year doctoral student currently on her clinical psychology internship at the University of North Carolina Medical Center in Chapel Hill, NC. She received her Bachelor of Arts in Psychology from Stephen F. Austin State University in Nacogdoches, TX and her Master of Arts in Clinical Psychology from University of Colorado Denver. Her research interests include understanding factors that influence well-being for patients living with serious and complex illnesses, with a particular interest in older adults. She recently proposed her dissertation “Existential Factors Influencing End-of-Life Treatment Decision Making: The Role of Death Anxiety and Meaning in Life in Choosing to Receive Destination Therapy Left Ventricular Assist Device in Advanced Heart Failure Patients.” She is also interested in program/intervention development and evaluation for patients with life-threatening illnesses. In Lacey’s free time, she enjoys walking nature trails with her dog, exploring new coffee shops, photography, and really anything related to the performing arts.
Christianne Biggane is currently a 3rd year doctoral student. She graduated in 2015 with Bachelors’ degrees in Nutritional Sciences and Cognitive and Behavioral Neuroscience from the University of Florida. As an undergraduate, she worked with electroencephalography (EEG) and psychophysiology equipment to examine the fear response. She is interested in the intersections of nature, mindfulness and exercise with mental health. Her thesis examines the psychophysiological response to stress following nature exposure. She enjoys backpacking, yoga, lingering in coffee shops, cycling, and live music.
Christina Rush is a 2nd year doctoral student. Christina received her Bachelor of Arts in English and Spanish from Ohio State University in Columbus, OH, and her Master of Arts in psychology from American University in Washington DC. Her research interests include grace, unconditional love, mind-body medicine, and components of religion and spirituality that contribute to well-being in patients and healthy populations. Whenever possible she savors time with her husband and family, exploring Denver, coffee, exercise, and travel.
Katie Schneider is a 1st year doctoral student. She received her Bachelor of Arts in Psychology from Kalamazoo College, with a minor in Spanish. Prior to her graduate studies she worked on adult inpatient units at Pine Rest Christian Mental Health Services and on pediatric inpatient units at Helen DeVos Children’s Hospital, where she also assisted a pediatric clinical health psychologist in research. Her primary research interests include the relationship between health and existential aspects of human experience, specifically meaning, purpose, and spirituality. In her spare time Katie enjoys yoga, reading, traveling, hiking, and is excited to begin wedding planning with her fiancé.
Jennalee Wooldridge is currently a 5th year graduate student and is on her clinical psychology internship at the Palo Alto Veterans Administration Medical Center. Her main faculty advisor is Dr. Krista Ranby. Jennalee received her Bachelor’s degree in Psychology and Neuroscience and in Integrative Physiology from the University of Colorado, Boulder. She holds a Master’s degree in Psychology, with an emphasis in Mental and Physical Health Research from San Diego State University. She is interested in understanding the interaction between physical and psychological factors as they relate to health behaviors and outcomes in couples and in populations with chronic conditions. In her spare time Jennalee enjoys running, yoga, hiking and spending time with her cats Jack and Annasophia.
We frequently partner with these faculty and their labs: