Denna L. Wheeler

Denna L. Wheeler

Denna L.



Director of Rural Research and Evaluation
Oklahoma State University Center for Health Sciences, Center for Rural Health

Professional Bio

Dr. Denna Wheeler earned a B.S. in Mathematics from the University of Oklahoma, a M.Ed. in Counseling from the University of Arkansas, and a Ph.D. in Educational Psychology with emphasis in research and evaluation from Oklahoma State University.  Most of her career has been spent teaching mathematics and statistics to Community College and University students.  She is currently the Coordinator of Research and Evaluation at the Oklahoma State University Center for Health Sciences Center for Rural Health and is an Adjunct Assistant Professor for Educational Studies teaching courses in statistical methods. Dr. Wheeler’s published work is primarily applied psychometrics including factor structure analysis, reliability generalization, and measurement invariance. The focus of her work for the Center is rural health policy and physician workforce issues including recruitment and retention of physicians in rural areas.  Dr. Wheeler is currently working on a two-year project for the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation studying the efficacy of telemedicine in the provision of mental health services to rural families.

Project Description

Rural residents face considerable mental health challenges with prevalence rates at least as high as their urban counterparts and access to mental health services extremely limited with the majority of rural Americans living in a federally designated Mental Health Professional Shortage Area (HPSA). Telemedicine has been identified by prominent mental health agencies as a potential cost-effective way to deliver services to areas without access to mental health providers. The research on telemedicine applications is growing rapidly including efficacy studies on the use of telemedicine in the delivery of mental health care. The purpose of the current study is to produce a systematic review of the literature and, if applicable, a meta-analysis of results on the efficacy of the use of telemedicine in the delivery of mental health services to children, adolescents, and families.

Why I Applied to New Connections

Part of my job at the Center for Rural Health is to seek external funding for research projects that fit within the mission of the Center. This was the perfect sized project to develop my grant writing and research skills.

What New Connections Means for my Career

New Connections is much more than a funding opportunity, it is an investment in my personal and professional development through training, networking, and mentoring. I have received access to career development information and training that is not readily available at professional conferences or in most graduate programs.

Research Interests

My research interests include rural health policy and workforce issues, health literacy, and personal epistemological beliefs.


Rural health issues and rural medical education

Populations Served

The populations served by the study are children, adolescents, and families living in rural areas of the United States.

Honors and Awards

Oklahoma Association of Community Colleges G.I.F.T. (Great Ideas for Teaching) Award Winner, 2007

Connors State College 2004 Faculty Member of the Year

Delta Kappa Gamma Society International Scholarship Winner 2005

Who’s Who Among America’s Teachers, 2004-2005


Wheeler, D.L.,Vassar, M., & Hale, W.D. (in review) A Gender-based Measurement Invariance Study of the Sociocultural Attitudes Toward Appearance Questionnaire-3. Body Image.

Wheeler, D.L.& Barnes, L.L.B. (in review). The development and construct validation of the Epistemological Beliefs Survey for Mathematics. Educational Psychology.

Wheeler, D. L.,Vassar, M., Worley, J. A., & Barnes, L.L.B. (in press). A meta-analysis of coefficient alpha for the Maslach Burnout Inventory. Educational and Psychological Measurement.

Vassar, M., Wheeler, D.L., Davison, M., & Franklin, J. (2010). Program evaluation in medical education: An overview of the Utilization-focused approach. Journal of Educational Evaluation for Health Professions, 7(1).

Wheeler, D.L.,& Montgomery, D. (2009). Community college students’ views on learning mathematics in terms of their epistemological beliefs: A Q-method study. Educational Studies in Mathematics.

Vassar, M., Wheeler, D. L., & Worley, J. A. (2009). Score reliability in personality research. In L B. Palcroft, & M. V. Lopez (Eds.), Personality assessment: New research. Hauppauge, NY: Nova Science Publishers.

Worley, J.A., Vassar, M., Wheeler, D.L., & Barnes, L.L.B. (2008). Factor structure of scores from the Maslach Burnout Inventory: A review and meta-analysis of 45 exploratory factor- analytic studies. Educational and Psychological Measurement, 68, 797-823.

Other Personal Links

The Details
  • New Connections Status: Junior Investigator
  • Award Year: 2010
  • RWJF Team/Portfolio: Vulnerable Populations 
  • Project Name: The Efficacy of Telemedicine in the Provision of Mental Health Services to Children, Adolescents, and Families in Rural Areas.In order to answer the question, “What strategies for mental health problems have been effective for use with low-income families and children?” Dr. Wheeler will use systematic review and meta-analysis to analyze the body of research associated with the mental health of rural populations. Operating with the understanding that majority of rural Americans are living in Mental Health Professional Shortage Areas (HPSAs), Dr. Wheeler aims to identify cost-effective ways to deliver services to areas without access to mental health providers. At the conclusion of this study Dr. Wheeler will submit three manuscripts reflecting different strands of her work to peer-reviewed journals. 

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *