The staff of Utah’s Heart Disease and Stroke Prevention Program includes health educators, registered nurses, and social marketing professionals.

Nicole Bissonette, MPH, CHES, Program Director
Ms. Bissonette is the director for the Heart Disease and Stroke Prevention Program (HDSPP) at the Utah Department of Health. She has over 13 years of public health experience and is a Certified Health Education Specialist (CHES) who has worked in a variety of governmental, non-profit, clinic, and university health settings.

Karen Coats, BS, CHES, Program Coordinator
Ms. Coats is a Certified Health Education Specialist with a B.S. in Health Education from the University of Utah. She has been with the Utah Department of Health, Heart Disease and Stroke Prevention Program since 1992 and has extensive experience in all facets of the Program, including program planning, implementation, evaluation, and administration. Currently she coordinates health disparity efforts for the Heart Disease and Stroke Prevention Program. In 2009, Karen received the Award for Excellence in Prevention and Control of Chronic Disease from the national Association of Chronic Disease Directors.

MaryCatherine Jones, MPH, Epidemiologist and Evaluator
Ms. Jones joined the Heart Disease & Stroke Prevention Program in August 2008. She manages surveillance, data analysis, and reports for the program. She oversees the evaluation of Utah program activities under the CDC State Heart Disease and Stroke Prevention grant. She completed training in geographic information systems (GIS) at Duke University in 2010 under a grant from the CDC and the National Association for Chronic Disease Directors (NACDD). She chairs the Epidemiology and Evaluation Committee and serves on the Steering Committee for the NACDD’s Cardiovascular Health Council.

Tania J. Charette, MPH, CHES, Media Coordinator
Ms. Charette joined the HDSPP group in January 2008. She handles all public relations and marketing efforts and is in charge of coordinating program visibility and serving as a liaison between the media, the community, and the HDSPP. She has experience in both public and occupational health arenas. In her free time Ms. Charette likes to spend time with her daughter, shop, and learn new things.

Carolyn Lund, Office Technician
Carolyn Lund joined the Heart Disease and Stroke Prevention team in December 2009. Carolyn is primarily responsible for providing support to the HDSPP staff through scheduling, purchasing, taking minutes, and coordinating the logistics of workgroup meetings and program travel. Carolyn is proficient in Microsoft Office. In her free time Carolyn loves spending time with her animals, camping, fishing, and hanging out with friends and family.

Nancy Thacker, RN, BSN, Secondary Prevention Coordinator
Nancy Thacker joined the staff as the secondary prevention coordinator in November 2007. Nancy is an RN with experience in public health and with clinical programs. Ms. Thacker is a liaison to our partners in the community and works with Health Plans on quality improvement.

Sarah Davis, BS Community Health, Secondary Prevention Specialist
Ms. Davis was hired as the worksite specialist for the Heart Disease and Stroke Prevention Program in January 2008. Her primary focus is improving health programs in various companies throughout Utah. In her free time she enjoys outdoor activities, working out, and pursuing her artistic endeavors.

Chelsea Hussey, BS Behavioral Science and Health, Webmaster
Ms. Hussey has been with the Heart Disease and Stroke Prevention Program since November 2004. She maintains the HDSPP Web site and designs promotional material.

Michael Friedrichs, MS, Bureau Epidemiologist
Mr. Friedrichs has been the Bureau of Health Promotion Epidemiologist and Information Analyst since 1992. He provides consultation to the Program in epidemiology and evaluation. Mr. Friedrichs has experience analyzing health behavior data such as the Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System (BRFSS), writing reports, and developing and managing information systems.

Shelly Wagstaff, Bureau Information Analyst
Ms. Wagstaff is located in the Bureau of Chronic Disease and has extensive experience in analyzing data generated by the Program. Her experience includes analyzing data sets such as BRFSS, YRBS, mortality, hospital discharge data, other IBIS databases, and links to other Health Promotion data bases, e.g. Healthy Utah, tobacco, diabetes, cancer, etc.