Translational Research Fellows

Each year, the Translational Research Fellows program connects up to 10 faculty members from across VCU with state and local policymakers interested in learning more about the Fellow's research area.

Selected faculty receive one-on-one mentoring from OPPO staff as they develop an outreach plan for their specific area of research. The goal? To translate high-quality research into public policies for the commonwealth.

How it works

Fellows commit to the program for one calendar year and forge ongoing connections to policymakers and OPPO.

Each year, our office assists fellows with:

  • Preparing high-quality briefs and presentations
  • Learning how to present insights to Virginia legislators
  • Tracking public statements by lawmakers and initiating follow-up conversations
  • Scheduling face-to-face meetings with at least three policymakers in their area of expertise

How to apply

Applications must be received by March 1 to participate in the following year’s program. Selected applicants will be notified in late March.

To apply, please submit:

  • The completed application; click here to download: TRF 2020
  • A 250-word statement about the policy relevance of your research
  • A letter of nomination from your dean supporting participation in the program
  • A current copy of your CV

Fellows are selected according to the relevance of their research to current Virginia policy debates — and their ability to link the two.

Our Fellows

See the listing of Translational Research Fellows below.  

Blythe Bowman

Dr. Blythe Bowman Balestrieri

Associate professor of criminal justice, L. Douglas Wilder School of Government and Public Affairs

Raleigh Building, Room 2013 Phone: (804) 828-5708 Email: View more


  • Inmate litigation
  • Correctional law

Policy Brief: Healthcare in Jails

Dr. R. Wayne Barbee

Professor and Associate Director of Research, Department of Emergency Medicine, School of Medicine

800 East Leigh Street, Suite 3000 Phone: (804) 628-4598 Email: View more


  • circulatory shock and resuscitation
  • research involving animals

Policy Brief: Regulatory Oversight of Animal Research

Dr. Tegwyn Brickhouse

Interim Chair and Associate Professor in the Department of Oral Health Promotion and Community Outreach at the VCU School of Dentistry

1101 E. Leigh St. - Perkinson 3111 Phone: (804) 827-2699 Email: View more


  • Oral health disparities 
  • Utilization of dental services 

Policy Brief - Oral Health Impacts Educational Success

Dr. Melanie Buffington

Associate Professor of Art Education, VCUarts School

Email: View more


  • culturally responsive pedagogy,
  • public art

Policy Brief: Monuments-What is Art Teaching Us?

Dr. J. Brian Cassel

Palliative Care Research Director and assistant professor in the division of Hematology/Oncology and Palliative Care, School of Medicine

Sanger Hall Suite 6030 (1101 E. Marshall Street) Phone: 804-628-1926 Email: View more


  • Palliative care
  • health policy

Policy Brief: Opioids and Palliative Care

Hayley Cleary

Dr. Hayley Cleary

Assistant professor of criminal justice, L. Douglas Wilder School of Government and Public Affairs

Raleigh Building, Room 2009E Phone: (804) 827-0475 Email: View more


  • Adolescent development in legal contexts
  • Juvenile justice policy

Policy Brief: Juvenile Interrogations

Dr. Liz Coston

Faculty, Department of Sociology, College of Humanities and Sciences

Founders Hall, Rm. 225 Email: View more


  • Criminology
  • Gender and Sexuality
  • Race and Ethnicity

Policy Brief: Reducing Anti-LGBT Hate Crimes

A portrait of Dr. Mary Kay Goldschmidt

Dr. Mary Kay Goldschmidt

Clinical Assistant Professor, Department of Family and Community Health Nursing, School of Nursing

1100 East Leigh Street, Room 3057 Phone: (804) 828-5180 Email: View more

Dr. Nancy Jallo

Associate Professor, Department of Family and Community Health Nursing, School of Nursing

1100 East Leigh Street, Room 3035 Phone: (804) 628-3365 Email: View more


  • premature birth
  • maternal well-being
  • biobehavioral mechanisms 

Policy Brief: Pre-Term Births and Virginia Policy

Mr. Jim Keck

Assistant Professor, Homeland Security and Emergency Management, L. Douglas Wilder School of Government and Public Affairs

Scherer Hall, Room 215 Phone: (804) 827-3510 Email: View more


  • Emergency preparedness
  • Emergency operations planning
  • Continuity of operations planning

Dr. Suzanne Mazzeo

Director of the Counseling Psychology, Department of Psychology

800 W Franklin, Rm 204 Phone: (804) 827-1708 Email: View more


  • Eating disorders
  • Obesity
  • Role of culture on eating behaviors
Damian Pitt

Dr. Damian Pitt

Associate professor, Urban and Regional Planning, L. Douglas Wilder School of Government and Public Affairs

Raleigh Building, Room 3016B Phone: (804) 828-7397 Email: View more


  • Solar energy policy and planning
  • Climate action planning

Policy Brief: Distributed Solar Energy

Dr. Genevieve Seigel-Hawley

Associate professor, Educational Leadership, School of Education

Oliver Hall, Room 2098 Phone: (804) 828-8713 Email: View more


  • Race, stratification and inequality in American schools

Policy Brief: Regional Schools with a Focus on Equity, Diversity, Inclusion

Dr. Shelly Smith

Dr. Shelly Smith

Clinical Assistant Professor, Department of Adult Health and Nursing Systems, School of Nursing

1100 East Leigh Street, Room 3093 Phone: (804) 828-2011 Email: View more


  • Access to medical care
  • Training of Nurse Practitioners

Policy Brief: Nurse Practitioners' Scope of Practice

Dr. Gregory Triplett

Professor, Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering, School of Engineering

Engineering West Hall, Room 334 Email: View more


  • Nanotechnology
  • Electronic Materials
  • Computational Intelligence
  • Semiconductor Manufacturing
  • Infrared Imaging

Dr. Jasmin Vassileva

Associate Professor, Departments of Psychiatry and Psychology, Institute for Drug and Alcohol Studies Department of Psychiatry, School of Medicine

203 E. Cary Street, Suite 202 Email: View more


  • Drug and alcohol abuse prevention
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