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Core Faculty Partners


Joseph M. Currin, PhD

United States Air Force Academy

Broadly speaking, Dr. Currin researches sexuality, sexual partner seeking and the use of technology, and barriers to health care for rural LGBT individuals. He recently is focusing on the use of mobile technology for communicating sexual desires to one’s romantic partner and the impact that engaging in sexting can have on one’s relationship.  At the Academy, he looks  forward to pursuing research into the barriers for seeking mental and medical care for cadets and other members of the military.

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Christopher Owens, PhD

Texas A&M University

Dr. Owens is Assistant Professor of Health Behavior at Texas A&M University School of Public Health. His research focuses on HIV prevention and care continua in rural settings, as well as the health of sexual and gender minorities (SGM) living in rural settings. At Texas A&M, he looks forward to pursuing research and training on the intersection of rurality, HIV prevention, SGM adolescents, technology, and implementation science.

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Denna L. Wheeler, PhD

OSU Center for Health Sciences

Dr. Wheeler is Clinical Professor of Rural Health and Director of Rural Research & Evaluation within the Center for Rural Health. She is involved in numerous evaluation projects and provides methodological support to faculty within the lab. Currently Dr. Wheeler is Site-PI of two ongoing lab projects funded by NIH.


Cody Mullen, PhD

Purdue University

Dr. Cody Mullen is a Clinical Associate Professor of Public Health at Purdue University. Prior to joining Purdue, Dr. Mullen worked at the Indiana Rural Health Association (IRHA) as its Policy, Research, and Development Officer.  With IRHA he served as a project director and evaluator with projects focusing on infant mortality, chronic disease management, and telehealth. He leads and executes a strong research portfolio as an independent investigator specifically on vulnerable populations, including physically, mentally, or cognitively disabled individuals as well as individuals living in rural communities or other health provider shortage areas.  


Julie M. Croff, PhD, MPH

OSU Center for Health Sciences

Dr. Croff is a Professor in the Department of Rural Health. Previously, she served as the founding Director of the MPH program at Oklahoma State University. Dr. Croff’s research focuses on perinatal substance use and co-occurring exposures among diverse cohorts of women.

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Bridget M. Miller, PhD

University of South Carolina

Dr. Miller’s research focuses on physical activity and the exploration of the cognitive mediators of post-exercise affect.  In other words, why do people feel better after they exercise?  She is also interested in finding new, effective ways to encourage physical activity as a means of health promotion across various populations. 


Krista S. Schumacher, PhD

OSU Center for Health Sciences

Dr. Schumacher is Coordinator of Rural Research and Grant Development within the Center for Rural Health and adjunct faculty for the OSU MPH program and OSU School of Community Health Sciences, Counseling, and Counseling Psychology. In addition, she mentors OSU College of Osteopathic Medicine Rural Medical Track students and rural clinical faculty in health care quality improvement. Her research interests include women’s sexual health, particularly barriers to HPV vaccine uptake and cervical cancer prevention, social determinants of health, and public health messaging.

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Julian L. Gallegos, PhD, MBA, FNP-BC, CNL, FAUNA 

Purdue University

Dr. Gallegos is a board-certified Family Nurse Practitioner (FNP) and Clinical Nurse Leader (CNL) who has served in different nursing capacities over the past 21 years. He has clinical experience in medical-surgical nursing, labor and delivery, stroke care, diabetes management, nursing leadership/management, family practice, general urology, and men’s health. Currently, he serves as the Director of the DNP program and Clinical Associate Professor at Purdue University – West Lafayette. He also has established an area of clinical practice in Men’s Health within Purdue University’s North Central Nursing Clinics. His research area of focus is minority and rural men’s health.

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