Primary Investigator

Marian (Emmy) Betz, MD, MPH

Marian (Emmy) Betz, MD, MPH

Marian (Emmy) Betz, MD, MPH

Dr. Emmy Betz is a board-certified emergency physician who works clinically at the University of Colorado Hospital Emergency Department (ED) and also conducts research in injury epidemiology and prevention. She is currently an Associate Professor of Emergency Medicine at the University of Colorado School of Medicine, and she received her medical degree and Masters in Public Health degree from Johns Hopkins. Dr. Betz's areas of research expertise are provider-patient communication about difficult topics in injury prevention, including "lethal means safety" (i.e., limiting access to guns and other lethal methods for those who are suicidal) and older driver safety. She also conducts work related to care of suicidal patients in EDs. She has worked with numerous organizations on issues of suicide prevention, including the Colorado Suicide Prevention Commission, the Suicide Prevention Resource Center, and the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention. She co-founded and leads the Colorado Firearm Safety Coalition, a collaborative effort between public health and medical professionals and firearm retailers to reduce firearm suicides.  Her research has received funding from the National Institutes of Health and numerous foundations. Her prior work has included publications and presentations related to ED provider attitudes towards lethal means restriction for suicide prevention, suicidality among older adults, public opinion about firearm safety discussions, and strategies for enhancing provider-patient communication about sensitive topics, and in 2015 she gave a TEDxMileHigh talk on firearm suicide.

Research Team


Lauren Meador, MPH
Research Program Manager

Lauren joined Dr. Betz’s team as a Research Program Manager in July 2019 after relocating to Colorado from Brooklyn, NY. Lauren previously served as the Assistant Director of the Translational Research Institute on Pain in Later Life in the Division of Geriatrics and Palliative Medicine at Weill Cornell Medicine. She holds a Master of Public Health degree with a focus on Policy and Management from the School of Public Health at SUNY Downstate Medical Center, as well as a Bachelor of Science in Development Sociology from Cornell University.


Evan Polzer, MA
Professional Research Assistant

Evan Polzer, MA, joined the Department of Emergency Medicine as a qualitative researcher in October 2018. He received his Master of Arts degree in cultural anthropology from Colorado State University, studying young adult mental health within various sociocultural settings. Working with Dr. Betz, he is currently developing research projects that aim to address issues of firearms access, suicide prevention, and dementia. His other research interests include global mental health, qualitative data methods/analysis, and the interactions between internet technologies and mental well-being. 


Bonnie Siry, MSS
Professional Research Assistant

Bonnie Siry is a Professional Research Assistant currently working on ED-AID trial enrollment in the ED alongside working on research on decision making in post-cardiac arrest care. She previously worked on the development of the Decision Aid for ED-AID. Bonnie has a Master of Social Science in Qualitative Research from the University of Colorado Denver and a Bachelor of Science in Sociology from the State University of New York College at Oneonta. Her research interests include mental health and gender disparities in health care.

Faris Omeragic
Student Research Assistant

Faris Omeragic is a senior at the University of Colorado- Denver, pursuing a Bachelor of Science in Psychology, with a minor in Chemistry. In addition to his work in research, he has been a Learning Assistant for Organic Chemistry and a Teaching Assistant for General Chemistry. He plans to pursue medical school after graduating in May 2019 and aspires to become a neurosurgeon. In addition to pursuing a neurosurgeon career, Faris has aspirations to open a health clinic in his home country of Bosnia and Herzegovina. He and his family came to the United States in 2001 as refugees with nothing to their names, nor any understanding of the American culture or the English language. Since his country was devastated by a war for independence, he feels obligated to give back to his country, especially after receiving this gift of being able to pursue the American dream and get an education. Faris plans to team up with volunteering organizations to help create a nationwide medical clinic system that can provide well needed assistance to many people in Bosnia.

William Dewispelaere 
Medical Student

Will Dewispelaere is a medical student at the University of Colorado. He is from Denver, CO and went to Washington University in St. Louis for his undergraduate degree. Will works with Dr. Betz to understand and improve emergency physician knowledge of firearms and health outcomes. He is interested in Emergency Medicine as a future career. Outside of school he enjoys biking, snowboarding, cooking, and podcasts.