Dr. Ochtera is a senior researcher at Spark Policy Institute, bringing over 15 years of experience in public health research, evaluation, and practice. Her work has primarily focused on the promotion of health and healthcare delivery across a variety of populations and settings.
Prior to joining the Spark team Rebecca worked for a national healthcare organization as manager of health promotion services for the Colorado region, including oversight of health education, health communication, and internal evaluation for population health initiatives. Rebecca has expertise in qualitative, quantitative,and mixed methods research, advanced training in survey design, and experience managing large scale, multi-site research and evaluation projects. Her prior research focused on supporting behavior change initiatives related to chronic and infectious disease, including promotion of secondary prevention and studying the impact of stigma on prevention behaviors for persons living with HIV as well as prison populations. Rebecca has additional experience utilizing community based participatory research methods in diverse populations, including persons experiencing homelessness and at-risk youth. Additionally, Rebecca has applied experience working in the fields of substance abuse, mental health, foster care and residential treatment for youth, and early childhood learning. Rebecca holds an MPH and a PhD in Public Health from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.
Outside of work, Rebecca loves spending time running Denver’s greenways, painting in her backyard studio, and hiking the Colorado mountains with her husband and their two dogs. She and her husband are currently helping build a sustainable gardening program for children in their community, and are licensed foster parents for unaccompanied refugee minors entering the U.S.