Retail Marijuana Public Health Advisory Committee Members
Per 25-1.5-110 C.R.S., the department has appointed the following health care professionals as members of the Retail Marijuana Public Health Advisory Committee (RMPHAC). The RMPHAC established and follows a systematic review process to review the latest scientific literature on the health effects of marijuana use. They also review Colorado-specific marijuana-related data on health outcomes and use patterns. The statements, research gaps and recommendations presented on this report website are the products of the RMPHAC and CDPHE.
- Review each member’s Conflict of Interest statement.
- More information about the RMPHAC, including upcoming meetings.
Shireen Banerji, PharmD, DABAT
Dr. Banerji is the director of the Rocky Mountain Poison and Drug Safety (RMPDS). RMPDS, a division of Denver Health, serves as the poison center for four states. She holds faculty appointments in four schools of pharmacy, including University of Colorado School of Pharmacy. She is responsible for managing the clinical operations of RMPDS, which includes training, teaching, research, quality control, and continuing education for the poison center hotline staff. She has select administrative roles and also serves as clinical toxicologist and resource to staff. She works in conjunction with EPA, CDC and local and state health departments when toxicological emergencies with a potential threat to public health arise, to provide clinical management and real-time and historical surveillance. Areas of interest include pediatric toxicology, medication safety, and poison prevention.
Russell Bowler, MD, PhD
Dr. Bowler is Professor of Medicine at National Jewish Health in Denver and the University of Colorado in Aurora. He has multiple NIH and foundation grants to study the effects of tobacco and marijuana on lung health. His work places a strong emphasis on generation and integration of genetics, genomics, proteomics, and metabolomics data. Complementary animal and laboratory exposure models are used to demonstrate proof of concept using discoveries from human Omics work. He runs one of the country’s largest clinical databases and biobanks of smokers, with more than 3000 well-characterized subjects.
Ashley Brooks-Russell, PhD, MPH
Dr. Brooks-Russell is an assistant professor at the Colorado School of Public Health and co-director of the Program for Injury Prevention, Education and Research. She completed her doctoral training in Health Behavior at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and completed a postdoctoral fellowship at the Prevention Research Branch at the Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development. Her current research focuses on the areas of adolescent substance use and impaired driving.
A. Elyse Contreras, MPH
Elyse Contreras is an epidemiologist and manager of the Marijuana Health Monitoring Program and Marijuana Research Grants Program at the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment. Elyse has been involved with the Retail Marijuana Public Health Advisory Committee since its inception in 2014 and has worked continuously to distribute the committee’s findings, evidence statements and recommendations throughout Colorado and nationally. Elyse has over 10 years public health experience and holds a Master’s in Public Health degree from the University of Colorado.
Christopher Domen, PhD
Dr. Domen is a diplomate of the American Board of Professional Neuropsychology (ABCN) and staff neuropsychologist at the University of Colorado Hospital Neuropsychology Clinic, as well as an Assistant Professor in the University of Colorado School of Medicine Department of Neurosurgery. He earned a Ph.D. in Clinical Psychology from the University of Windsor and subsequently completed a Neuropsychology Internship at the Ann Arbor VA Healthcare System and Fellowship in Clinical Neuropsychology at the University of Colorado School of Medicine. His research interests include the effects of cannabis legalization on use by individuals with Multiple Sclerosis, Parkinson’s Disease and other neurological disorders, as well as the impact of cannabis use on cognition among neurological patient populations.
Rebecca Helfand, PhD
Dr. Helfand is the program director at the Western Interstate Commission for Higher Education’s Behavioral Health Unit. She completed her doctoral training at Baylor University and completed a postdoctoral fellowship at the Institute for Behavioral Genetics and the University of Colorado, Boulder. Dr. Helfand's current work focuses on consulting on mental health and substance abuse concerns for states across the Western part of the country.
Heather Krug, MS
Heather Krug is the State Marijuana Laboratory Sciences Program Manager for the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment. She oversees inspections of Colorado retail/medical marijuana laboratories for compliance and suitability for certification, and is responsible for the state Marijuana Reference Laboratory. Heather holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Biomedical Sciences and a Master of Science degree in Forensic Toxicology.
David J Kroll, PhD
Dr. David Kroll is Professor of Natural Products Pharmacology at the University of Colorado Skaggs School of Pharmacy & Pharmaceutical Sciences at the Anschutz Medical Campus in Aurora. Dr. Kroll is co-director of Cannabis Science & Medicine education programs at the CU Skaggs School of Pharmacy, including the Medical Cannabis Education for Health Care Providers program for physicians, advanced practice nurses, pharmacists, public health specialists, and other allied health professionals. Dr. Kroll is also director of the Cannabis Science & Medicine Graduate Certificate Program and Cannabis Science & Medicine specialty track of the Master of Science program in Pharmaceutical Sciences at the CU Skaggs School of Pharmacy. Named a CU President’s Teaching Scholar in 2000 for his scientific and public education work in herbal and non-botanical dietary supplements prior to a related career move to North Carolina for 18 years, Dr. Kroll returned to the CU Skaggs School of Pharmacy in 2019. Motivated by his decade of work in public science communication and professional medical writing that specialized in drugs from plants, Dr. Kroll views education on cannabis public health issues a logical extension of his lifelong fascination with biologically-active chemicals from nature.
Sharon Langendoerfer, MD
Dr. Langendoerfer is a retired pediatrician and neonatologist from Denver Health Medical Center. For many years, she has cared for high-risk infants and children, including those exposed before birth to alcohol and other drugs
Andrew Monte, MD, PhD
Dr. Monte is an emergency medicine physician and medical toxicologist at the University of Colorado and the Rocky Mountain Poison and Drug Center. Dr. Monte is an active researcher studying human exposures to a variety of poisons, toxins, and drugs. He has expertise in human genomics, metabolomics, and assay development. He coordinates research on the public health implications of substance abuse in large hospital databases.
Judith Shlay, MD, MSPH
Dr. Shlay is the associate director of Denver Public Health (DPH) and a Professor of Family Medicine at the University of Colorado, School of Medicine. She has been working on various programs at DPH for the past 30 years. Dr. Shlay has been the principal investigator for a number of projects focusing on health promotion and disease prevention, HIV-related metabolic and neurologic disorders, immunization delivery, reproductive health, sexually transmitted infections, substance abuse, teen pregnancy prevention, and tobacco prevention. In addition to her public health work, Dr. Shlay is a primary care provider through Denver Health’s Ambulatory Care Services Department
Scott A. Simpson MD MPH
Dr. Simpson is Medical Director of Psychiatric Emergency Services at Denver Health and an Associate Professor of Psychiatry at the University of Colorado School of Medicine Anschutz Medical Campus. Dr. Simpson and his team treat acute psychiatric, medical, and substance use disorders including through provision of medical detoxification services and buprenorphine as part of Denver Health’s continuum of emergency and addiction care. Dr. Simpson has a national reputation for developing novel science and clinical programs to improve the treatment of behavioral emergencies. His scholarship is reflected in dozens in of peer-reviewed publications, textbook chapters, grants, and a textbook on clinical interviewing. Dr. Simpson is board certified in general psychiatry, addiction medicine, and consultation-liaison psychiatry.
Elizabeth ‘Libby’ Stuyt, MD
Dr. Stuyt is a board-certified Addiction Psychiatrist and has worked in the addiction/behavioral health field since 1990. She was the Medical Director for the Circle Program, a 90-day inpatient treatment program, funded by the state of Colorado, for persons with co-occurring mental illness and substance abuse who have failed other levels of treatment from 1999 - 2020. She was instrumental in helping the Circle Program to become tobacco free in January 2000 and has been a strong advocate of the need to address all addictions at the same time, including tobacco, to improve outcomes. She works part-time as a consultant psychiatrist for the Pueblo Community Health Center and is on clinical faculty with the Department of Psychiatry, University of Colorado Health Sciences Center, Colorado Springs branch.
George Sam Wang, MD
Dr. Wang is board certified in general pediatrics, pediatric emergency medicine, and medical toxicology. He is an assistant professor of pediatrics, Department of Pediatrics, Section of Emergency Medicine and Medical Toxicology at University of Colorado Anschutz Medical Campus and Children’s Hospital Colorado, and a volunteer faculty member with the Rocky Mountain Poison and Drug Center. Dr. Wang’s focus or research is ingestions and exposures in the pediatric population. Major topics include preventing unintentional marijuana exposures among children and the use of cannabidiol in pediatric epilepsy.
Former Advisory Committee Members & Contributors
CDPHE and the current RMPHAC recognize and thank the following individuals for their past contributions to this committee’s work.
- Bernadette Albanese, MD, MPH
- Lisa Barker, MPH
- Laura Borgelt, PharmD
- Alvin C. Bronstein, MD
- Todd Carlson, MD
- Rowena Crow, MD
- Teresa Foo, Md, MPH
- Ken Gershman, MD, MPH
- Tista Ghosh, MD, MPH
- Katelyn E. Hall, MPH, PhD
- Heath Harmon, MPH
- Renee M. Johnson, PhD, MPH
- Bruce Mendelson, MPA
- Madeline Morris, MPH
- Kristina T. Phillips, PhD
- Allison Rosenthal, MPH
- Kim Siegel, MD, MPH
- Christian Thurstone, MD
- Mike Van Dyke, PhD, CIH
- Daniel I. Vigil, MD, MPH