Our Team

Program Founders

Kim A. Eagle, MD
Kim A. Eagle, MD
Albion Walter Hewlett Professor of Internal Medicine,
Director, Samuel and Jean Frankel Cardiovascular Center, Co-Founder, Project Healthy Schools

Read Dr. Eagle's Bio
The alarming increase of childhood obesity and other preventable Cardiovascular Risk Factors compelled Dr. Kim Eagle to contribute with a solution. Dr. Eagle is the Albion Walter Hewlett Professor of Internal Medicine and director of the of the Samuel and Jean Frankel Cardiovascular Center at the University of Michigan Health System. He graduated from Oregon State University in 1976 and from Tufts University Medical School in 1979. He completed his residency and chief residency in Internal Medicine at Yale-New Haven Hospital from 1979 to 1983 followed by research and clinical fellowships in cardiology and health services research at Harvard Medical School and The Massachusetts General Hospital from 1983 through 1986. From 1986 to 1994, Dr. Eagle served The Massachusetts General Hospital where he was promoted to associate director of Clinical Cardiology and associate professor of Medicine at Harvard.

Since his recruitment to the University of Michigan, he oversees a vigorous outcomes research program focusing on quality, cost-effectiveness, use of practice guidelines in cardiovascular care, evaluation and management of acute coronary syndromes, the evaluation and management of aortic dissection, and the use of modern mathematical models to assess outcomes and risk. He maintains an active inpatient and outpatient practice and is working with colleagues in creating the University of Michigan Cardiovascular Center. His outcomes research team has led quality improvement initiatives across the state of Michigan in acute myocardial infarction, heart failure, and coronary angioplasty.

LaVaughn Palma-Davis
LaVaughn Palma-Davis, MA
Co-Founder, Project Healthy Schools, Former Senior Director, University Health and Well-Being Services

Read LaVaughn's Bio
LaVaughn Palma-Davis retired as the Senior Director for Health and Well-Being Services at the University of Michigan in 2018. During her many years in this role, she provided leadership for strategy, business development, program implementation, marketing, operations and evaluation of MHealthy, an ambitious effort to leverage the University's resources to promote the health and well-being of over 80,000 faculty, staff, dependents and retirees on 4 campuses, including the Health System. MHealthy also provides wellness and risk reduction services to UM Health System patients and the community to support the organization's population health management goals.

LaVaughn also co-founded the Project Healthy Schools program, a Community-University of Michigan collaboration designed to reduce childhood obesity and improve the current and future health of Michigan's youth. LaVaughn served on the national Health Enhancement Research Organization's (HERO) Board of Trustees from 2010 until her retirement in 2018. LaVaughn has over 30 years of experience in health care administration and health promotion. At the U-M, prior to her role leading MHealthy, LaVaughn served as the administrative director for sports medicine, preventive cardiology and cardiac rehab programs and oversaw the Health System Child Care Center. She also was the project director for leadership development strategy for the Health System. LaVaughn received her B.S. in Health Education from the University of Dayton and her Master's Degree in Public Health Education from Central Michigan University.

Program Team

Rich Holcomb
Rich Holcomb
Senior Director for Benefits and Health & Well-Being Services

Read Rich's Bio
Rich Holcomb is the Senior Director for Benefits and Health & Well-Being Services at the University of Michigan, where he oversees strategy, design and development for a $1.2 billion benefits portfolio covering 110,000 lives, as well as all programs and services provided by our MHealthy, occupational health and mental and emotional health programs. With more than 20 years of experience in human resources and benefits, including 11 years as the Director of Total Rewards at the University of Michigan Health System, Rich brings a focus on developing strategies to create value for both employees and the employer through strategic benefit and wellness plan design. During the past decade he has provided valuable leadership to multiple university committees focused on long-term benefits sustainability. Rich received a Bachelor's degree in Employment Relations and a Master of Science degree in Labor Relations/Human Resources from Michigan State University. He also completed the Program on Negotiation at Harvard Law School, and the Advanced Human Resource Executive Program and the Health Care Leadership Institute at the University of Michigan Ross School of Business.

Karen Schmidt
Karen Schmidt, MPH
Director, MHealthy Programs & Services

Read Karen's Bio
Karen Schmidt is the director of MHealthy programs and services for the University of Michigan. In this role, she supports the health and well-being of the university's 60,000+ faculty, staff, dependents, retirees, and spouses. Karen has over 20 years of proven experience leading, implementing, and evaluating health and well-being programs. Before joining MHealthy in 2008, she worked for the university's health plan, developing and overseeing wellness programming for its members. She has held various roles in health and well-being within corporate, health system, and health plan organizations. Karen holds a MPH (health behavior/health education) from the University of Michigan and a BA in communication and psychology. She is also a certified Nutritional Therapy Practitioner.

Jean DuRussel-Weston
Jean DuRussel-Weston
Program Manager, Project Healthy Schools

Read Jean's bio
As Program Manager for Project Healthy Schools at the University of Michigan Health System, Jean DuRussel-Weston is responsible for the overall direction, growth and sustainability of Project Healthy Schools in over 50 schools. Project Healthy Schools (PHS) is a middle-school based program designed to reduce childhood obesity and its long-term health risks. The program encourages healthy habits through education, environmental change and measurement across the state of Michigan. DuRussel-Weston earned her Bachelors of Science in Nursing from Michigan State University and a Master's Degree in Public Health from the University of Michigan. DuRussel-Weston is a registered nurse and certified health education specialist with over 30 years of experience in Public Health as a Public Health Nurse for Washtenaw County and Community Health Educator for Chelsea Community Hospital. She was also on the faculty of Eastern Michigan University's School of Nursing and the University of Michigan-Flint's School of Allied Health Professions and Studies. DuRussel-Weston also served as the Director of Patient Education for the University of Michigan Health System. In addition she is a frequent speaker at national health promotion conferences and contributor to national articles on childhood obesity and Project Healthy Schools.

Jenn Alexander
Jenn Alexander
Wellness Coordinator, Project Healthy Schools

Read Jenn's bio
Jenn Alexander joined the Project Healthy Schools (PHS) team as a wellness coordinator in September 2018. Her educational background includes a Bachelor of Science degree in education with a major in kinesiology and health promotion. Jenn was a volunteer Health Ambassador for PHS in the Ann Arbor schools in 2015. Prior to that, she worked for Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan and Cigna Health Insurance as a health coach and a health educator, respectively. Most recently, Jenn was a trainer for Michigan Medicine's HITS Education and Training and is a credentialed EPIC Trainer. Jenn has two small children. She enjoys traveling with her husband and going to the theater, when they can schedule time away from the little ones.

Megan Carlin
Megan Carlin
Summer Intern, Project Healthy Schools

Read Megan's bio
Megan Carlin started as a volunteer with PHS before she joined the team as a summer wellness intern in summer 2019. She is in the process of completing her Master's in Public Health Nutritional Sciences from the University of Michigan. She received her bachelor's degree from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill in Exercise and Sports Science and hopes to combine her passion for physical activity and nutrition education to one day pursue child nutrition education as a registered dietitian. Carlin is originally from Charlotte, North Carolina and enjoys running and spending time with friends exploring Michigan.

Miriam Dineen
Miriam Dineen
Administrative Assistant, Project Healthy Schools

Read Miriam's bio
Miriam Dineen provides administrative support to the program manager and the Project Healthy Schools team. She also provides program support to Ann Arbor, Ypsilanti and Detroit schools. She joined PHS in the fall of 2012. A graduate of Washtenaw Community College, she is a proponent of healthy living and believes in the mission of Project Healthy Schools.

Julie Nelson
Julie Nelson, BA
Communications and Special Projects Facilitator

Read Julie's Bio
Julie has assisted Project Healthy Schools with communication projects off and on since 2005, officially joining the PHS team on a part time basis in 2011. In her current job with the University of Michigan she is a senior administrative specialist handling communications and special projects for both MHealthy and Project Healthy Schools. Julie's life-long interest in horses led her to attend Salem College in West Virginia which is affiliated with Meredith Manor School of Horsemanship. Julie graduated magna cum laude with a double major in Communication Theatre Arts and Equestrian Studies. After graduation, she was the only member of her class invited to stay on as an instructor at Meredith Manor where she earned Riding Master and Teaching Master degrees. After teaching for two years at Meredith Manor, she returned to Ann Arbor where she was a marketing manager for a software company for 18 years. In her spare time, Julie leads an all-volunteer-run therapeutic riding program for people with disabilities.

Brad Newman, MA
Brad Newman, MA
Wellness and Grants Coordinator

Read Brad's Bio
Brad Newman joined PHS in February 2017 as a wellness and grants coordinator. Newman previously worked at Florida Gulf Coast University for four years as a resident director. He is passionate about bringing student health and wellness to the forefront of school environments. Newman completed his undergraduate work in interpersonal communication at Western Michigan University and his Master of Arts degree in higher education/student personnel administration from New York University.

Ben Ransier
Ben Ransier, M.Ed
Curriculum and Training Coordinator, Project Healthy Schools

Read Ben's Bio
Ben Ransier joined the Project Healthy Schools team in September 2015 and is excited to be working with schools throughout Southeast Michigan. Prior to joining the team, Ben spent the last 10 years working with students to develop healthy habits and achieve academic excellence as a physical education teacher and student advisor in Arizona and Michigan schools. He is excited to take what he has learned in education and work with each school to implement and sustain a healthy, academic environment where students can learn how to live a healthier lifestyle and achieve higher levels of academic achievement. Ransier earned his undergraduate degree in health sciences from Oakland University, a post-baccalaureate degree in physical/health education from Eastern Michigan University, and a master's degree in educational leadership from Northern Arizona University.

Jacob Robidou
Jacob Robidou
Wellness Coordinator, Project Healthy Schools

Read Jacob’s Bio
Jacob Robidou joined the PHS team in August of 2018. Jacob was born and raised in Gardiner, Montana at the north entrance of Yellowstone National Park. He received his Bachelors of Science degree from Montana State University in K-12 health and physical education. Jacob previously spent 10 years as K-8 physical education/health teacher and athletic director in Bozeman, MT. He is excited to be a part of the Project Healthy Schools team as well as the University of Michigan. Jacob hopes to utilize his experience teaching health and wellness in the classroom and apply it to his role with Project Healthy Schools.

Nate Saulter
Nathan Saulter, BS
Program and Tech Assistant, Project Healthy Schools

Read Nathan's Bio
Nathan Saulter began providing program and administrative support for a variety of schools in fall 2015. He earned his Bachelor of Science degree in health administration from Eastern Michigan University. While he was a student at Eastern Saulter also worked as a staff and payroll supervisor for the EMU student center's catering department. Prior to earning his bachelor's degree, Saulter received an associate degree in applied science-occupational studies from Washtenaw Community College. Saulter grew up in Ann Arbor and attended Community High School.

Jana Stewart, MPH
Jana Stewart, MPH
Wellness Coordinator, Project Healthy Schools

Read Jana's Bio
Jana Stewart joined PHS as a full-time wellness coordinator in August 2016. Stewart earned a Master of Science in natural resources and a Master of Public Health from the University of Michigan, where she also worked in the LSA Dean's Office and the Environmental Psychology Lab. Her research focus was sustainable food systems, and she regularly volunteers at farms and food banks in the area. Stewart is also a prolific writer. She previously worked as a journalist and continues to do freelance work. Her writing has been published in academic journals, magazines, and newspapers, and she is finishing her first young adult novel. When not working, Stewart enjoys cycling with her husband and puttering in her garden.


Development Team

Ryann Eff
Ryan Eff
Assistant Director of Development

Read Ryann's Bio
Ryann Eff serves as the Assistant Director of Development for the Frankel Cardiovascular Center. In this role he forges relationships and secures philanthropic support from individuals and corporations to benefit institution wide priorities and initiatives, including Project Healthy Schools.

He received his bachelor's degree in marketing from Adrian College and a master's degree from Villanova University in Public Administration.

Research Team

Patsy Bruenger
Patsy Bruenger, BA, CCRC
Clinical Research Coordinator

Read Patsy's Bio
Patsy Bruenger graduated from the University of Michigan with a degree in Cultural Anthropology because of her interests in people and different cultures. However, it was her interest in the medical field that prompted her to work as a technician in ophthalmology and then later as a research assistant in cardiology. Over the years she has held various roles beginning with her work on clinical drug trials, working on an interventional database and then in 2007 she was introduced to Project Healthy Schools. Currently, Patsy is a Clinical Research Coordinator for the Michigan Clinical Outcomes Research and Reporting Program (MCORRP). In this role she handles the IRB (Ethics board) submissions for PHS as well as the IRB and Legal/Compliance Committee submissions for the other research projects for MCORRP. Outside of work, Patsy enjoys being active, cooking and spending time with her family.

Caren Goldberg
Caren Goldberg, MD
Pediatric Cardiologist, C.S. Mott Children's Hospital

Read Dr. Goldberg's Bio
Dr. Caren Goldberg is a practicing pediatric cardiologist at C. S. Mott Children's Hospital at the University of Michigan. Dr. Goldberg's research work is focused in two areas: 1) improving long term outcomes for children with congenital heart disease and 2) reducing risk of early atherosclerosis in children.

Dr. Goldberg leads the multidisciplinary Pediatric Preventive Cardiology Program where children with risk factors for early atherosclerosis are referred for consultation and treatment. While personal care is needed for some children with increased risk, Dr. Goldberg is so pleased to work with the PHS program, as it provides a means of offering benefit to a large number of children in a more efficient way than typical clinical schedules allow. Through PHS we are able to provide helpful programming to middle school students which can help them to modify their habits and to reduce their risk of early atherosclerosis. Dr. Goldberg graduated from Amherst College in 1986 and the University of Cincinnati College of Medicine in 1990. She completed residency training in Pediatrics in 1993. Her Pediatric Cardiology Fellowship training spanned from 1994-1997 after working as a pediatrician for the Indian Health Service for one year.

Eva Kline-Rogers
Elizabeth A. Jackson, MD, MPH
Robert C. Bourge and Cutessa D. Bourge Endowed Professorship in Cardiovascular Disease Director, Cardiovascular Outcomes and Effectiveness Research (CVOER) Program Professor of Medicine UAB Division of Cardiovascular Disease

Read Dr. Jackson's Bio
Dr. Elizabeth Jackson is a professor of medicine and director of the Cardiovascular Outcomes and Effectiveness Research Program at the University of Alabama. Prior to taking this position, Dr. Jackson was an assistant professor of medicine at the U-M Health Center. Dr. Jackson graduated from Tufts University School of Medicine. After completing her internal medicine residency at Brown University's Rhode Island Hospital, she completed a fellowship in cardiovascular medicine at New England Medical Center in Boston, Massachusetts and a research fellowship in preventive medicine at Brigham and Women's Hospital in Boston, Massachusetts. During her research fellowship, Dr. Jackson completed a Master's in public health at Harvard University's School of Public Health. Dr. Jackson joined the U-M Health Center in 2007 where she serves as an attending cardiologist with emphasis in women's cardiovascular health and cardiovascular prevention. She has also completed additional training at Harvard University School of Public Health in nutritional epidemiology. Dr. Jackson is board certified in Internal Medicine and Cardiovascular Disease and is a fellow of the American College of Cardiology.

Elizabeth Jackson
Eva Kline-Rogers, RN, NP, AACC
Nurse Practitioner, Internal Medicine-Cardiology, Medical School

Read Eva's Bio
Eva Kline-Rogers is the co-director of MCORRP at Michigan Medicine, project manager for the Fibromuscular Dysplasia (FMD) Registry, and functions as a cardiovascular Nurse Practitioner in general cardiology. Previously, she has worked as an inpatient NP and case manager. Her work in cardiology dates back to 1984 when she began coordinating cardiovascular research studies and remained in clinical research, coordinating a variety of thrombolytic and PCI trials until 1993. She has published multiple articles on thrombolytic therapy and quality improvement and lectures on topics ranging from quality improvement to C-V outcomes research. She has been a member of several ACC working groups, including the ACC's Best Practice and Quality Improvement (BPQI) Subcommittee, and received the designation of Associate of the American College of Cardiology. In 2015, she was elected to the Board of Directors of the Anti-coagulation Forum and is a Steering Committee Member for Quantum-AF.

Rachel Sylvester
Rachel Krallman, BS
Research Coordinator

Read Rachel's Bio
Rachel Krallman is a research coordinator at the Michigan Clinical Outcomes Research and Reporting Program (MCORRP). She graduated from the University of Michigan in 2011 with a Bachelor of Science degree in brain behavior and cognitive science. She began working on Project Healthy Schools research in 2012 as a student intern. Since then, she has contributed to several PHS publications and has presented research findings at national conferences. She also participates in the spring and fall middle school screenings. In addition, Krallman coordinates the research efforts of the Bridging the Discharge Gap Effectively (BRIDGE) registry at MCORRP.

Dan Montgomery
Dan Montgomery

Read Dan's bio
Dan Montgomery joined the PHS team as a statistician in March 2017. He graduated from the University of Michigan with a B.S. in Zoology after initially studying art and design at Michigan State University. He worked for the University of Michigan in Cardiovascular Pharmacology for five years as a research assistant testing experimental anti-arrhythmic medications in animal models for treatment and prevention of sudden coronary death. Before joining MCORRP, he spent 17 years in the Cardiology Division as a research associate analyzing and modeling ventricular function utilizing cardiac catheterization data from patients with defective heart valves. Dan also coached women's volleyball teams at the high school, club, and college levels for 12 years. Dan lives with his wife Barbara and has a daughter Erin and a son Ryan. His hobbies include music, astronomy, and sailing.

Karen Peterson
Karen E. Peterson, Sc.D.
Director, Human Nutrition Program, Principal Investigator, Children's Environmental Health Center P20 , School of Public Health, and Co-Director, Michigan Nutrition and Obesity Research Center

Read Dr. Peterson's Bio
Dr. Peterson is a professor in and director of the Human Nutrition Program at the University of Michigan, School of Public Health (UMSPH). She is the principal investigator of the UMSPH Children's Environmental Health Center P20 and co-director of the Michigan Nutrition and Obesity Research Center (MNORC). Before moving to Michigan in 2008 to direct the SPH Human Nutrition Program, Karen Peterson directed the Program in Public Health Nutrition in the Department of Nutrition at the Harvard School of Public Health, a program she helped found in 2000. Her research focuses on: 1) bio-social and environmental determinants of intergenerational patterns of growth in mothers and children; 2) the design and evaluation of domestic and international surveillance systems and population-based interventions in low-income, multiethnic populations; and 3) validation of measures of diet and physical activity in diverse populations. While at Harvard, Dr. Peterson helped to pioneer and evaluate Planet Health and Healthy Choices, school-based, obesity-preventive interventions, which educated middle school children about nutrition, physical activity, and screen time practices. Since arriving at Michigan, Dr. Peterson has lent her experience and expertise in school-based interventions and provided input on the evaluation of Project Healthy Schools.

Tom Reischl
Tom M. Reischl, Ph.D.
Associate Research Scientist, Department of Health Behavior and Health Education, School of Public Health

Read Dr. Reischl's Bio
Dr. Tom Reischl is an associate research scientist in the Department of Health Behavior and Health Education at U-M's School of Public Health. He received a Doctorate in psychology from the University of Illinois and has held previous faculty appointments at Michigan State University, the University of New Hampshire, and the University of Waikato (New Zealand). In his current position, he serves at the director of evaluation for the Prevention Research Center of Michigan and conducts evaluation research studies of community-based public health programs, childhood obesity prevention programs, violence prevention programs, family support programs, consumer-controlled (self/mutual help) programs, and public-health preparedness programs.

Brian Shensky
Brian Shensky, BS
Web Applications Developer

Read Brian's Bio
Brian is an Executive Technical Consultant and Software Developer from Detroit, Michigan who joined MCORRP in 1997 after pursuit of his B.S. in Information Systems at the University of Michigan-Dearborn. His 30-year career includes roles as Application Developer, Database Administrator, Systems Administrator, Technical Project Manager, Trainer and Project Management Consultant for innumerable companies that span Healthcare, Manufacturing and Marketing disciplines. Specific technical core competencies include Oracle database, Linux, and the Drupal content management system upon which the MCORRP registries are built. As an early adopter advocate of Open Source technologies, he has given numerous presentations at regional and national Oracle, Linux and Drupal conferences. He resides with his wife and son in Dexter, Michigan, and enjoys piano playing and composition, audio and video engineering, Amateur Radio, SCUBA diving, camping, biking and extensive travel.

Our Steering Committee

We appreciate the ongoing support, insight, dedication and experience of our Project Healthy Schools Steering Committee.

Jenna Bacolor - Ann Arbor Public Schools Recreation Education
Jeff Bradley - Ann Arbor Pubic Schools Teacher
Ryann Eff - UMHS CVC Development Office
Andrea Highfield - Champions for Charity
Heather Holland - Ann Arbor Public Schools Food Service
Joyce Lee, M.D., M.P.H. - UMHS Pediatric Endocrinology, Diabetes Metabolism
Amanda Ng - Washtenaw County Public Health Department
Joe Piffaretti - Michigan Medicine Office of Development
Katie Schutt - Frankel Cardiovascular Center Office of Development
Maria Thomas - UMHS C.W. Mott Administration
Susan Woolford, M.D., M.P.H. - UMHS Pediatrician
Marc Zimmerman - U-M School of Public Health
and the PHS team