Reza Amini, Ph.D., MD, MPH
Dr. Amini has authored several book chapters and peer-reviewed journal articles in public health, disability, and aging. Prior to his PhD studies, Dr. Amini practiced as a general practitioner for more than fifteen years in Iran. He also co-founded a clinic to treat patients with substance abuse disorders. He held the position of director of research division in a medical research center in Iran for ten years.
Dr. Amini has been studying about health problems and health needs assessment, health insurance, health-related quality of life, health care utilization, aging, and disability for more than fifteen years. He identified missing factors required to apply the outcome of research projects to public health policies for people with some levels of disability, long-term health care services, and health care disparities. He has been engaged as the principal and co-principal investigator in several funded research projects. One of his fundamental questions is how to sustain or even enhance quality of life, particularly in later life.
Dr. Amini serves as a member of the editorial board and reviewer for several peer-reviewed prestigious journals.
Dr. Amini teaches graduate and undergraduate courses in public health administration, healthcare policy and administration, healthcare quality management, and healthcare system in the United States.
As the academic co-chair of Speak To Your Health project in Genesee County also collaborating with other universities, institutes, and community partners, Dr. Amini is conducting projects on healthcare outcomes and health-related quality of life.
Molly Brennan, M.P.H.
Ms. Brennan received her Master’s degree in Public Health from the University of Michigan in 1994. Ms. Brennan has a wide breadth of experience ranging from working in non-profits, state health departments, managed care organizations and universities.
Areas of Expertise
Ms. Brennan’s areas of expertise include tobacco prevention, cessation and advocacy; state and federal policy work; program management and evaluation and; facilitating and teaching. In her 20-year career of public health, she has worked for the American Lung Association, the American Heart Association, the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, the North Carolina Heart Disease and Stroke Prevention Branch, Mount Olive College and Blue Cross and Blue Shield.
Professional Associations and Service
Ms. Brennan served on the University of Michigan School of Public Health Alumni Board of Governor’s from 2003-2009 and has served on several national committees including the Center for Disease Control and Prevention’s National Cardiovascular Health Council Advocacy and Policy Committee, the National Cardiovascular Health Council Internal Organization Committee and the Expert Policy Panel for Heart Disease and Stroke Prevention. Ms. Brennan is also a current member of the Great Lakes SOPHE (Society of Public Health Educators) organization.
Since 2014, Ms. Brennan serves as an advisor for the Patient and Family Centered Care Center for the University of Michigan Hospital. In her work as an advisor, she is involved with sharing her experiences and perspectives in order to champion initiatives that help create more patient-centric programs, operations and research and improve safety and quality.
Ms. Brennan currently teaches Introduction to Health Education and Health Promotion, Affordable Care: The Role of Insurance and Personal Health. She has also taught other public health and health care administration courses over the past 15 years.
Robert Buckingham, Ph.D.
Dr. Robert W. Buckingham joined PHHS after having previously been appointed as the Jack W. Thompson, M.D. Distinguished Visiting Professor at the University of Michigan-Flint in 2013-14. A Yale graduate, Dr. Buckingham was appointed inaugural Executive Director/Dean of the School of Public Health with the University of Saskatchewan, in 2009. He has authored more than 12 books and many scientific referred papers, with the most recent being a textbook entitled, “A Primer on International Health” published by Allyn & Bacon, and five books on hospice care, including, “Care of the Dying Child” published by the Continuum Publishing Company, which was translated in seven languages.
Dr. Buckingham, helped pioneer the development of the first Hospice in the U.S. and is considered one of the “Founding Fathers” of hospice in North America. He was the first Director of Research of hospice in Connecticut in 1974, and subsequently founded another 81 hospice programs worldwide, including a hospice for children afflicted with HIV/AIDS in Thailand. Dr. Buckingham has developed new collaborative research and scholarly exchanged programs with Mahidol University in Thailand, Hawassa University in Ethiopia, as well as the Nelson Mandela Institute of Science and Technology in Arusha, Tanzania and locally, with the Heart and Stroke Foundation of Saskatchewan.
For his humanitarian work in the field of hospice care for children with AIDS, he was awarded the Ivanosky Prize in Humanitarian Medicine by the Russian Institute of Virology in 1992. In 2008, Dr. Buckingham helped develop La Clinica Esparanza in Honduras, which serves the public health needs of poor, disadvantaged and marginalized populations.
Shawn Fryzel, CRNA
Dr. Fryzel earned an Associate in Applied Science in Nursing degree in 1981 from Ferris State University, a BS in Biology from Saginaw Valley State University in 1988, and MS and DNAP degrees from University of Michigan-Flint in 1995 and 2013 respectively. She served as Anesthesia Program Educational Coordinator for 10 years before becoming Anesthesia Program Director in 2014.
Dr. Fryzel’s research interests include The effect of flumazenil on patient recovery and discharge following ambulatory surgery and more recently, factors that correlate with student success in the field of nurse anesthesiology. She has served as mentor to MS and DNAP students on research projects encompassing a variety of topics within the discipline.
Dr. Fryzel practices clinical anesthesia at Hurley Medical Center, a verified Level 1 Trauma Center and Pediatric Hospital in downtown Flint, Michigan where she also provides clinical instruction for Anesthesia Program students.
Dr. Fryzel has been committed to student success as a faculty member since 1995. She currently teaches Applied Chemistry and Physics for Anesthetists, Principles of Anesthesia and Pharmacology.
Dr. Fryzel facilitates student involvement in medical mission trips to medically underserved areas in Honduras and elsewhere annually. She also assists students in planning and implementing community involvement projects during the annual CRNA week. Activities have included a blood drive and water donations during the Flint water crisis. She serves on the Michigan Association of Nurse Anesthetists Nominations and Leadership Development Committee and several committees within the University of Michigan-Flint School of Health Professions and Studies, the National Board of Certification and Recertification of Nurse Anesthetists and Hurley Medical Center. She is also an accreditation reviewer for the Council on Accreditation of Nurse Anesthesia Educational Programs.
Nancy Gouin, M.P.H., MT(ASCP)
Nancy Gouin, MPH, MT(ASCP), is the Clinical Laboratory Science Program Director and course instructor in the CLS Program. She studied clinical laboratory science at the University of Wisconsin and public health at the University of Texas School of Public Health. As Clinical Laboratory Science Program Director, Ms. Gouin serves as a spokesperson for careers in science both within the University and in the Flint community. She is committed to promoting careers in clincial laboratory science and the communicating the value of health science-based majors for their pivotal roles health maintenance and disease management.
Case Study and Problem-Based Learning in CLS
Active learning and student engagement practices in CLS disciplines of hematology, immunohematology, hemostasis and clinical correlation of laboratory data.
CLS career-based presentations throughout Genesee County including middle-school and high schools groups. Demonstrations of simulated clinical laboratory practices to science-based groups (Girls in Science, Super Science and other science-related organizations). Serves as liaison to other Genesee County science-based educational programs and clinical laboratory programs within Michigan.
For High Visibility and Low-Cost Recruitment Talk to Students, Medical Laboratory Observer; Language and Labs, MT Today
Lenwood Hayman, Ph.D.
Dr. Hayman earned his Ph.D. from Wayne State University in Psychology with specializations in Social and Health Psychology, where he was funded as a National Institutes of Health – Initiative for Maximizing Student Diversity Graduate Research Fellow. He has received additional training in Health Disparities, Health Behavior, and Health Education as the Paul B. Cornely Postdoctoral Fellow in the Center for Research on Ethnicity, Culture, and Health (CRECH) in the School of Public Health at the University of Michigan.
Dr. Hayman was also trained in qualitative research methods as a postdoctoral fellow in the Center for Human Growth and Development (CHGD) at the University of Michigan, funded by the Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Development. In addition to research interests, Dr. Hayman greatly enjoys teaching and mentoring.
A key component of Dr. Hayman’s research agenda is to engage students in research that focuses on health issues situated in the communities from which they come. Via this methodology, Dr. Hayman works to inspire social-justice minded scholars to join him in addressing the social, psychological, structural, and environmental influences of emotional arousal in under-privileged populations. Stress reduction is at the center of Dr. Hayman’s scholarship platform, which is supported by three legs of research, individually focusing on the influence of stress on 1) the disparate rates of obesity in African American women and low-income families, 2) negative mental health outcomes in African American men, and 3) academic achievement in first generation and non-traditional college students. Dr. Hayman’s rationale is that by engaging various stress-reducing methodologies, this three-legged agenda will work to support positive mental and physical health outcomes.
Undergraduate Level: Public Health Statistics (introductory biostatistics)
Graduate Level: Social Determinants of Health, Psychosocial Aspects of Health, and Qualitative Research Design
Dr. Hayman is the Principal Investigator for the Flint Man Up Man Down focus group project in which he works with colleagues from Michigan State University’s College of Human Medicine in Flint to study how African American men discuss mental health with each other, and how they help each other to cope with stress and other mental health outcomes.
Dr. Hayman is also involved with the Flint Resiliency in Communities After Stress & Trauma (ReCAST) Program as a project evaluator. In this role, he works with the Flint ReCAST team to assess the efficacy of the various initiatives that operate under this umbrella in reducing the effects of the stress and trauma resulting from the various threats to the public health of the Flint community.
Lastly, Dr. Hayman has conducted workshops on the efficacy of mindfulness practices in team building for the Crim Fitness Foundation and McLaren-Flint Hospital.
Laurel Hilliker, Ph.D.
Dr. Hilliker received her PhD in Sociology with a concentration in Health and Well-Being and a specialization in grief and bereavement studies from Michigan State University in 2011. She also holds a Paralegal Certification by the American Bar Association. In her first career, Dr. Hilliker worked under the supervision of lawyers in Probate, Wills and Estates, which was a catalyst for her studies in grief and bereavement. Her role in Public Health is Program Director for the MPH and Lecturer III.
Areas of Expertise
Dr. Hilliker’s areas of expertise include death, grief, loss, trauma and resiliency; aging and the life
course; self-care for professionals in the helping professions and support groups. In her academic career, she has developed curriculum (Certificate of Thanatology) and founded a Center to Advance the Study of Loss (CASL) in the Kansas City, Missouri area. Dr. Hilliker has held numerous positions both in and outside of academia, including Assistant Professor of Sociology; Executive Director of CASL; Continuing Care Coordinator for grief support groups and others.
Professional Associations & Service
Dr. Hilliker is a member of several professional associations including the American Public Health Association, American Sociological Association, and the Association of Death Education and Counseling. She has served as a conference panelist and on the steering committee for Art for Charlie Foundation (now Children’s Palliative Care Coalition of Michigan) since 2014 and has served as an on-call advisor for a local community GriefShare program. She is a requested guest speaker in college courses and for community groups and has given presentations for chaplains at Hurley Hospital on unacknowledged grief, for professionals at Valley Area Agency on Aging on topics such as self-care and for Visiting Nurse Services of Michigan.
Dr. Hilliker has taught both undergraduate and graduate students and her teaching experience encompasses courses taught at four higher-learning institutions, namely Lansing Community College, Michigan State University, Park University and currently University of Michigan-Flint. In the discipline of sociology, courses taught comprise the introductory course, health and illness, social problems, society and the individual, death dying and bereavement, ethical and legal issues in end of life and social inequality. Public health courses have included topics related to long-term care, health care, research methods and personal health.
Julie Hollenbeck, M.Ed., R.T.(T)
Julie Hollenbeck is the Program Director for the Radiation Therapy Program as well as a lecturer. She earned a B.S. in Secondary Education at Western Michigan University, a B.S. in Radiologic and Imaging Sciences at Grand Valley State University and an M.Ed in Adult and Higher Education from Grand Valley State University. She is also a registered radiation therapist through the American Registry of Radiological Technologists.
- Educational methodologies regarding mindfulness in the learning environment
- Identifying and understanding student qualities in different educational environments that lead to success
- Radiation therapy education that creates best practices and critical thinking in the profession
- Studying new technologies and best practices in radiation oncology
- Creating safe learning spaces for students in a clinical environment
- Science and biology behind radiation therapy
- Creating a learning environment that allows for high level learning
- Incorporating self-regulating techniques throughout the Radiation Therapy program
- Working with community clinical partners to help cancer patients and families in need
Vicki Johnson-Lawrence, Ph.D.
Dr. Johnson-Lawrence is a social epidemiologist interested in the application of epidemiologic methods that capture the dynamic nature of psychosocial factors over the life course, and how these factors contribute to chronic disease risk. Further, she is interested in racial/ethnic patterns of comorbid mental and physical health outcomes, and how these patterns vary throughout the life course.
Gergana Kodjebacheva, Ph.D.
Dr. Kodjebacheva earned a B.A. in economics, an M.A. in urban planning, and a Ph.D. in public health from the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA). She completed a postdoctoral fellowship at the UCLA David Geffen School of Medicine.
Dr. Kodjebacheva's research focuses on reproductive health as well as maternal and child health in the U.S. and Europe. Dr. Kodjebacheva conducts research within the life course perspective to examine the influence of pre-conception, parental and early child life on long-term health. Recent research focused on the influence of the Flint Water Crisis on reproductive, physical, and mental health. An intervention focused on increasing safe water drinking among women of reproductive age.
Dr. Kodjebacheva's teaching interests are in health program implementation and evaluation, research methods, and health economics. In her classes, Dr. Kodjebacheva and students implement community projects such as nutrition education among families during the Flint Water Crisis. Dr. Kodjebacheva has co-authored with undergraduate and graduate students’ manuscripts in peer-reviewed journals.
Dr. Kodjebacheva has served on the Great Lakes Chapter of the American College of Healthcare Executives, Speak to Your Health Survey, and Flint Master Plan Technical Advisory committees. She is an Editorial Board Member of the American Journal of Health Promotion. Dr. Kodjebacheva served as a program certification reviewer of 3 university health administration programs for the Association of University Programs in Health Administration.
Lisa Lapeyrouse, Ph.D.
Lisa M. Lapeyrouse earned her Ph.D. in Health Behavior and Health Education from the University of Michigan, School of Public Health.
Her areas of expertise are in racial/ethnic disparities in mental health and health care access among Latino communities, including immigrant and border populations. Through interdisciplinary training in Women and Gender Studies, Mexican American Studies, and Public Health, her work employs an intersectionality framework where she investigates the impact of racial/ethnic discrimination, gender-based sources of acculturative stress, and culturally protective assets on mental health outcomes.
Dr. Lapeyrouse teaches in health education, leadership and health communication.
Her continued contributions in applied research and dedication to the public awareness of issues of mental health disparities serve not only her immediate community but the public at-large.
Her publications appear in Archives of Women’s Mental Health and The Journal of Immigrant and Minority Health.
Max Mendieta, Ph.D.
Dr. Mendieta earned his Ph.D., Reubin O’D. Askew School of Public Administration and Policy, Florida State University, a M.P.A., Reubin O’D. Askew School of Public Administration and Policy, Florida State University and B.S., Finance, Florida State University.
Dr. Mendieta’s main areas of interest are public policy, long term care, health care management, human resources, budgeting, financial management, health policy, health care financing, and mixed research methods. He is interested in the effects of government policy on organizations and on the citizenry. His dissertation work is in the area of political economy with a focus on the effect that Medicare policy has on terminally ill patients and their families.
Dr. Mendieta has a background in health care services administration and policy, and his professional leadership experience includes managing government, private and nonprofit enterprises. He has experience working as an external evaluator for nonprofit organizations in Florida and the U.S. Department of Health & Human Service’s Communities Empowering Youth, a capacity building program. His experience in public service includes working for the Gadsden County Board of County Commissioners in Florida, one of the state’s poorest counties and largest minority populations. In Gadsden County, he worked with the Office of the County Administrator and the Office of Management & Budget. Dr. Mendieta was the 2011-2012 Claude and Mildred Pepper Dissertation Fellow at the Pepper Institute on Aging and Public Policy at Florida State University. His article on the spillover effect of the Veteran’s Administration palliative care benefit (with Dr. Bruce McDonald) appears in Political and Military Sociology: An Annual Review, Indiana University, Summer 2013.
Dr. Mendieta teaches courses in Public Policy, Health Policy, Health Finance, Financial Management, Health Care Management, Health Services Administration, Health Care Operations, Health Economics, and Strategic Planning.
Jane E. Motz, DNAP, CRNA
Dr. Motz is a Clinical Assistant Professor for the Nurse Anesthesia Programs at the University of Michigan-Flint. She received her doctorate in nurse anesthesia practice from the University of Michigan-Flint. She has a master’s degree in nurse anesthesia, and has been a practicing Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetist for 22 years. Dr. Motz has practiced in both urban and rural hospitals in the mid-Michigan area.
Research interests include simulation education and crisis management in anesthesia.
Crisis Management in Anesthesia for entry to practice Doctor in Nurse Anesthesia Practice (DNAP) students, as well as Evidence Based Practice for DNAP completion students.
Previous involvement with Project Helping Hands, an organization who assisted in hurricane relief, and Habitat for Humanity. Resides on the Scholarship Committee for the Michigan Association of Nurse Anesthetists.
Published in the American Association of Nurse Anesthetist Journal and The Journal of Anesthesia and Clinical Research.
Public Health & Health Sciences
Shan Parker, Ph.D.
Dr. Parker received her doctorate in Health Education and Health Promotion jointly from the University of Alabama at Tuscaloosa and The University of Alabama at Birmingham School of Public Health where she also received her M.P.H. Her B.S. in Biology is from the University of South Alabama. Dr. Parker is a health promotionist who has focused her efforts on working with minority populations, specifically African Americans in addressing disease prevention.
Her areas of interest include HIV/AIDS and STD prevention and reproductive health. She also works in the areas of diabetes education, nutrition, and breast and cervical cancer prevention.
She has been engaged in research at the university acting as the principal investigator on a research project to address HIV and gonorrhea prevention among youth. She has conducted research with HIV prevention and substance abuse and is engaged in evaluation research with a number of programs in the community.
Dr. Parker teaches primarily in health education.
She has worked in developing culturally sensitive interventions for minority populations including women, adolescents, and persons in substance abuse treatment and has brought her expertise to her work with many community agencies in Flint to address these health issues for the citizens of Flint.
Public Health and Health Sciences
Nicholas Prush, MHA, RRT-ACCS
Nicholas Prush MHA, RRT-ACCS is the founding Program Director and Clinical Assistant Professor for the University of Michigan-Flint Bachelor of Science in Respiratory Therapy (BSRT) degree advancement program. Nicholas received his respiratory therapy training from Henry Ford Community College where he graduated with an AAS in 2003. He obtained his Bachelor of Applied Science (BAS) from Siena Heights University in 2008 and a Master of Health Administration (MHA) from Eastern Michigan University in 2014. He is currently working on his dissertation for a Ph.D. in Healthcare Administration. Nicholas began teaching at Oakland Community College with their Respiratory Therapy Program as an Adjunct Professor. Most recently, he taught at Monroe County Community College for seven years, four years as the DCE and three years as the Program Director. Nicholas is an active member in the Michigan Society for Respiratory Care (MSRC) where he serves as the Education Chair-Elect and is on the Sputum Bowl Committee.
Michelle Sahli, Ph.D.
Dr. Sahli obtained a BS in Environmental Issues from the City University of New York Baccalaureate for Unique and Interdisciplinary Studies Program. She completed her MS in epidemiology at the University at Buffalo during which time she investigated the relationship between vitamin D status and pathogenic oral bacteria. Her doctoral studies, also conducted at the University at Buffalo, examined nutritional factors and diabetic eye disease as well as lifestyle advice given to patients by optometrists practicing in Western New York.
Dr. Sahli’s research interests include communication between healthcare providers and patients as well as nutritional epidemiology, in particular diet patterns.
She currently teaches Introduction to Epidemiology (PHS 315) and anticipates teaching some nutrition focused courses in the future.
Dr. Sahli serves on the Healthy Flint Research Coordinating Center (HFRCC) team.
Suzanne Selig, Ph.D.
Dr. Selig is a professor and the Department Director. She received her doctorate in Medical Sociology and Human Ecology from the University of Cincinnati , an M.P.H. from the Johns Hopkins University School of Hygiene and Public Health, an M.S.W. from The University of Michigan, an M.S. in Medical Sociology from the University of Maine and a B.A. in Sociology from the University of Florida.
Previously, she was the Coordinator of the School of Health Sciences at UM-Flint.
Dr. Selig's research interests are in the areas of community-campus partnerships, the role of racism in health disparities, social epidemiology and culturally competent practice.
Her current teaching interests include epidemiology and cultural competence.
Rie Suzuki, Ph.D.
Dr. Suzuki is an Associate Professor of Public Health and Health Sciences at the UM-Flint. Before this position, she was a co-program director/post-doctoral researcher at the Oregon Health & Science University. Dr. Suzuki received her PhD in Health Education, specializing in health behavior and psychometric statistics, from the University of Texas at Austin. She is a behavioral scientist and has an extensive background in needs assessment, the development of theory-based health promotion programs and program evaluation for adults and aging with physical disabilities. She has authored more than 30 referral articles in fields. She belongs to the U-M Institute for Healthcare Policy & Innovation and U-M Michigan Institute for Data Science. She was the Michigan Center for Urban African American Aging Research Pilot Scholar before.
My long-term goal is to identify and intervene the factors associating with health disparities/health equities among adults and aging with disabilities. Currently, I develop the scientific evidence of disability and health outcomes such as secondary health conditions and access to preventive care in Flint, MI. As PI on several university grants, I laid the groundwork for the impacts on physical environments on health outcomes in Flint MI.. Recently, I focused on two major areas by using the medical records and the self-administered survey such as health disparities, independent living, factors associating with health outcomes among adults with disabilities in the Medicaid or/and aged population in Flint, MI.
I currently teach HED 540: Health Behavior Theory for Public Health; HCR 368: Sociology of Health and Illness; AGE 350: Health and Aging. I also supervise students as the research coordinators and present research findings at the national and regional conferences with them.
My studies have been conducted at the local agencies (e.g., the Court Street Common, Senior Centers, the Hamilton Community and Health Network, PACE center). Further, I regularly attend specific meetings at the Disability Network as well as the Genesee County Commission on Aging.
Gena Welch, DNAP, CRNA
Dr. Welch earned a BS in Nursing from Michigan State University in 2008, a MS in Anesthesia in 2012, and a Doctor of Anesthesia Practice in 2017. She is the Assistant Director of the Anesthesia Program, a Clinical Assistant Professor, and a practicing Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetist. Dr. Welch has practiced independently and in the care team model as a CRNA. She also has a BS in Agriscience and MS in Criminal Justice from Michigan State University. Dr. Welch’s varied educational and professional background brings a unique style and perspective to her teaching, research, and clinical practice.
Dr. Welch’s research interests include enhancing clinical communication and education, preadmissions predictors of academic success, and interdisciplinary initiatives in graduate education.
Dr. Welch provides clinical instruction in the delivery of perioperative anesthetic care to a diverse patient population at Hurley Medical Center in Flint, Michigan.
Dr. Welch teaches anatomy, physiology, and pathophysiology with an emphasis on student learning and engagement. She also educates and mentors students on evidence-based practice and translational research methods.
Dr. Welch serves on the Michigan Association of Nurse Anesthetists Board of Directors as co-chair of the COMOM committee. She strives to advance the practice of and advocate for the nurse anesthesia profession. She frequently mentors students in practice advocacy at meetings and events with state and federal legislators.