Retail Marijuana Public Health Advisory Committee Members
Shireen Banerji, PharmD, DABAT
Poison Center Representative
Dr. Banerji is the clinical manager of the Rocky Mountain Poison Center (RMPC). RMPC, 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 RMPC, 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.
Laura Borgelt, PharmD
Pharmacologist/Clinical Pharmacy Specialist
Dr. Laura Borgelt is an associate dean and professor at the University of Colorado Anschutz Medical Campus in the Departments of Clinical Pharmacy and Family Medicine. Dr. Borgelt’s teaching, practice, and research focus on patient safety and women’s health. Her initial interest in educating providers and patients about medical marijuana started about seven years ago when she was asked clinical questions about its use in pregnant and lactating women. Since that time, she has investigated the potential effectiveness and risks of marijuana in a comprehensive manner and has provided evidence-based presentations to various organizations at the state and national level. She has served on seven different working groups regarding rulemaking in the state of Colorado involving consumer safety and social issues. Through her training, research, and experience, Dr. Borgelt has extensive knowledge of marijuana with regards to its pharmacology, pharmacokinetics, pharmacodynamics, therapeutic effectiveness, and potential risks.
Ashley Brooks-Russell, PhD, MPH
Colorado School of Public Health Representative
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.
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.
Rebecca Helfand, PhD
Substance Abuse and Mental Health Epidemiologist
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.
Sharon Langendoerfer, MD
Neonatology and Pregnancy
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
Surveillance Epidemiologist/Local Public Health Representative
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
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.