Retail Marijuana Public Health Advisory Committee Members
Per 25-1.5-110 C.R.S., the department has appointed the following 13-members to the Retail Marijuana Public Health Advisory Committee. This committee reviews the scientific literature on the health effects of marijuana and Colorado-specific health outcome and use pattern data. The information presented on this web site is the product of this committee. Click here for more information about the committee, including upcoming meetings.
image of Bernadette Albanese, MD, MPH

Bernadette Albanese, MD, MPH 
Local Public Health Representative

Dr. Albanese is a pediatric infectious disease and public health physician. She has served in roles as a physician epidemiologist and medical director at state and local health departments in New Mexico and Colorado. Dr. Albanese specializes in communicable diseases and outbreak investigations, and also studying diseases and health trends in the population. Currently Dr. Albanese is a physician epidemiologist at Tri-County Health Department in Greenwood Village, Colorado.




image of Shireen Banerji, PharmD, DABAT

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.

image of Laura Borgelt, PharmD

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. 

image of Ashley Brooks-Russell, PhD, MPH

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.



image of Russell Bowler, MD, PhD

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.



image of Tista Ghosh, MD, MPH

Tista Ghosh, MD, MPH
CDPHE, Alternate Member

Dr. Ghosh is a physician trained in both internal medicine and preventive medicine, with a master’s degree in public health from Yale University. She also has had specialized training in applied epidemiology and public health practice through the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s Epidemic Intelligence Service Program. Dr. Ghosh has experience in both communicable and non-communicable disease epidemiology and public health research, as well as over a decade of experience in public health at the local, state, federal and international levels. She serves as both the deputy chief medical officer of the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment and the director of Public Health Programs.


image of Rebecca Helfand, PhD

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.



image of Sharon Langendoerfer, MD

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.





image of Andrew Monte, MD, PhD

Andrew Monte, MD, PhD
Medical Toxicologist

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.



image of Kristina T. Phillips, PhD

Kristina T. Phillips, PhD

Dr. Phillips is a licensed clinical psychologist and professor in the School of Psychological Sciences at the University of Northern Colorado (UNC). She completed her doctoral work at Bowling Green State University and her post-doctoral training at the Center for Alcohol and Addiction Studies at Brown University. Her primary research interests focus on consequences associated with illicit substance use (e.g., academic problems related to marijuana use, health consequences of injection drug use), treatment development and efficacy, and ecological momentary assessment. Dr. Phillips has been the principal investigator or co-investigator on several NIH grants, including projects testing the efficacy of a brief intervention for people who inject drugs and a new study that examines academic outcomes associated with heavy marijuana use in college students.

image of Judith Shlay, MD, MSPH

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.


image of 	Christian Thurstone, MD

Christian Thurstone, MD
Addiction Psychiatrist

Dr. Thurstone is a child psychiatrist, general psychiatrist, and addiction psychiatrist. He is an associate professor of psychiatry at the University of Colorado and the medical director of Addiction Services at Denver Health. His research focuses on clinical studies related to adolescent substance use disorders.




image of Mike Van Dyke, PhD, CIH

Mike Van Dyke, PhD, CIH
CDPHE Marijuana Health Monitoring & Research Program Representative, Chairman

Dr. Van Dyke is the Chief of the Environmental Epidemiology, Occupational Health, and Toxicology Branch at the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment. Dr. Van Dyke is trained in the evaluation and control of occupational and environmental chemical exposures. He has spent the last 20 years working in public and occupational health focusing on chemical exposures, environmental and occupational epidemiology, and risk communication.



image of George Sam Wang, MD

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.