John Greden, MD
Dr. John F. Greden is the Rachel Upjohn Professor of Psychiatry and Clinical Neurosciences in the Department of Psychiatry, Founder and Executive Director of the University of Michigan Depression Center, Founding Chair, National Network of Depression Centers (NNDC), and Research Professor in the Molecular and Behavioral Neuroscience Institute. He joined the faculty at the University of Michigan Medical School in 1974 and served as Chair of Michigan’s Department of Psychiatry from 1985 to 2007 when he stepped down to focus on directing the Depression Center and developing the NNDC. He currently is President of the Board of Directors of the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention (AFSP). Dr. Greden is the Principal Investigator for the M-SPAN programs.
Jane Spinner, MSW, MBA
Jane Spinner is Project Officer for Strategic Initiatives at the University of Michigan Depression Center and Department of Psychiatry. In this position, she oversees the design, development, and implementation of major projects and initiatives that address the mental health needs of special populations, and helps translate clinical research advances in mental health to those in need in Michigan and nationally. Ms. Spinner has over thirty years of experience in the health care field, with a background as a clinician, health care business executive, and an entrepreneur. She has specific expertise in strategic marketing planning and center of excellence development for health care systems, physician groups, and corporations. She is Project Director for the M-SPAN programs and services.
Michelle Kees, PhD
Dr. Michelle Kees is a Clinical Psychologist and Associate Professor in the Department of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry at the University of Michigan. She holds dual Clinical and Research Without Compensation (WOC) appointments at the Ann Arbor Veterans Affairs Medical Center (VA), and an Adjunct Appointment in the Department of Psychology at the University of Michigan. Dr. Kees’ expertise centers on risk and resilience in female veterans, military spouses, caregivers, and families; peer programs supporting veterans in the community and on college campuses; and large-scale dissemination of evidence-based programs. She is the Principal Investigator for HomeFront Strong, a group-based resiliency intervention for military and veteran spouses/partners that is being disseminated statewide via community clinicians. She is the Principal Investigator for PAVE (Peer Advisors for Veteran Education), a national peer mentorship program for student veterans returning to college on the Post 9-11 GI Bill, and the Principal Investigator for the program evaluation of Buddy-to-Buddy, a peer support program for veterans throughout the state of Michigan. Lastly, Dr. Kees is working with colleagues at M-SPAN to develop a new program, After Her Service, that focuses on the intersection of mental health and professional growth in female veterans. She is also the spouse of a former National Guard soldier.
Kate Rosenblum, PhD
Dr. Kate Rosenblum is a clinical and developmental psychologist at the University of Michigan where she holds dual appointments as both Clinical Associate Professor of Psychiatry as well as Associate Research Scientist at the Center for Human Growth & Development. Her research and clinical work focus on parenting, infant and early childhood mental health, and the development of preventive interventions to promote resilience in families, with a special interest in military and veteran families with young children. Many of the families she works with have experienced significant disruptions, including separations, trauma, and/or loss, and in these contexts her work focuses on strengthening protective factors to enhance family resilience. Dr. Rosenblum is a nationally recognized expert in the area of early childhood mental health and military families. She is a member of the Academy of Fellows with the national organization Zero to Three, and serves on the Research Advisory Board for Team Red White and Blue. Within the Department of Psychiatry she directs the Women and Infants Mental Health Program and co-directs the Infant and Early Childhood Clinic, the specialty multidisciplinary training clinic that provides assessment and intervention services for children birth to 6 years old and their families within the Department of Psychiatry. Within M-SPAN, Dr. Rosenblum leads the Strong Military Families initiative, delivering an effective preventive intervention designed to serve military families with young children during and following deployment.
Adrienne Lapidos, PhD
Dr. Adrienne Lapidos is a licensed clinical psychologist and Assistant Research Scientist at the University of Michigan School of Social Work. She directs the Certificate in Integrated Behavioral Health and Primary Care. Her clinical practice background includes community-based primary care and recovery-oriented psychosocial rehabilitation through the Veterans Health Administration. Her clinical and research interests include integrated primary care, recovery-oriented systems of care, and Acceptance and Commitment Therapy. She has expertise in peer programs, program design for underserved populations and program evaluation.
Marcia Valenstein, MD, MS
Dr. Valenstein is a Professor Emeritus at the University of Michigan Department of Psychiatry and a senior research scientist at the VA Health Services Research and Development service and the Serious Mental Illness Treatment Research and Evaluation Center (SMITREC). She has extensive clinical experience treating veterans in the VA health system. She is a national expert on peer-to-peer programs and was a key member in the collaborative Michigan Army National Guard and University development team that conceptualized and implemented the Buddy-to-Buddy program in the Michigan National Guard. Her areas of research focus are medication adherence, depression management strategies, quality of depression care and suicide.
Bill Bryan, BA
Bill Bryan is the Buddy-to-Buddy Program Manager. He oversees all aspects of the program, including building and maintaining relationships with National Guard and military leadership, working with community and private sector partners, and supporting the volunteer corps. Bill has been an Intelligence Specialist in the U.S Coast Guard Reserve since 2013. He brings a wealth of project management and volunteer coordination experience to this role. He has previously worked as a Disaster Program Specialist for the American Red Cross where he served as the Assistant Director of Information and Planning for the Flint Water Crisis, and as the Manager of Visitor Services at the Detroit Historical Society. Most recently Bill worked at Michigan Medicine where he was part of the Development team. Bill earned a Bachelor of Arts in History from Wayne State University and is currently pursuing a Master of Public Administration from Eastern Michigan University.
Amy Kienast, MS
Amy Kienast is the Buddy-to-Buddy Outreach Coordinator. She is responsible for implementing a volunteer recruitment plan, identifying and staffing veteran-related events, and reaching out to volunteers to ensure they have the support they need. Ms. Kienast has over twenty years of business development, networking, public relations, and sales experience from her tenure at other organizations including the MIAT College of Technology, Spirit Airlines, and Air Wisconsin Airlines Corporation. She holds a Bachelor of Science in Education from the University of Wisconsin-Oshkosh and a Master of Science in Technology Studies from Eastern Michigan University. Ms. Kienast is the wife and daughter of veterans and has extensive ties to the Michigan veterans’ community thanks to her volunteer work with the Yankee Air Museum and Michigan Veterans Affairs Agency.
Jamie Majer, BS
Jamie Majer is the Volunteer Coordinator for Buddy-to-Buddy. She earned a Bachelor’s of Science from Eastern Michigan University in Health Administration and is pursuing an MBA and Master’s in Management from Walsh College. She previously worked as a medical receptionist and medical record keeper at military hospitals throughout the Southern U.S. and at Integrated Health Associates (IHA) in Ann Arbor. Many in her family have served in the military, including her Army veteran husband and Marine veteran mother. Ms. Majer is responsible for answering the program’s 1-800 call-in line and working with other staff to coordinate the referrals to volunteers.
Peer Advisors for Veteran Education (PAVE) Team
Timothy Nellett, BA
Timothy Nellett is the Program Manager for the PAVE program (Peer Advisors for Veteran Education). In this position, Mr. Nellett coordinates the implementation of the PAVE Program on current campuses. He enlisted in the United States Marine Corps Infantry in 2005 and served in 1st Battalion 6th Marine Regiment out of Camp Lejeune, NC. He deployed to Ramadi, Iraq in 2006-2007 and in 2008 he was deployed to Kandahar and Garmsir, Afghanistan. Recognitions from his service include the Navy and Marine Corps Achievement Medal with a Combat “V”. Mr. Nellett graduated from the University of Michigan with a Bachelor’s Degree in Communications. During his time there, he served as Secretary of the UM chapter of Student Veterans of America (SVA), worked as a Team Leader for PAVE and as a Veteran/Military Student Contact Coordinator within the UM Office of New Student Programs. Mr. Nellett is interested in helping veterans successfully transition from military to civilian life with an emphasis on transitions related to education and employment.
Brittany Risk, LMSW
Brittany Risk is the Program Advisor for Peer Advisors for Veteran Education (PAVE), a peer support program for student veterans offered through the Military Support Programs and Networks (M-SPAN) at the University of Michigan. Ms. Risk oversees the implementation of the PAVE Program on 40 campuses nationwide, and has held a lead role in the development of the curriculum and the roll-out of the hybrid technology training model. As an appointee of the Governor, she also serves on the Michigan Board of Social Work. Additionally, she is as a Field Instructor for the University of Michigan School of Social Work. Ms. Risk completed her Bachelor’s Degree in Social Work at Michigan State University, and earned her Master’s Degree in Social Work at the University of Michigan. Ms. Risk also has experience as a Project Coordinator at the Department of Veterans Affairs implementing programmatic research in the areas of veteran mental health, inpatient psychiatry, and substance abuse. She is interested in reducing stigma and barriers to care through innovative approaches for service members and veterans.
Strong Military Families Team
Stephanie Thompson, LLMSW
Stephanie Thompson is a Project Coordinator for M-SPAN’s STRoNG Military Families Program. In this position, Mrs. Thompson organizes the program’s evaluation and research, assists with student training and supervision, and manages data – collection, entry, and analysis. She also assists with participant recruitment, home visitation, and special event coordination. Originally from Austin, Texas, Mrs. Thompson earned her Bachelor’s Degree in Social Work form Texas State University. She moved to Michigan seven years ago to earn her Master’s Degree in Social Work at the University of Michigan. Mrs. Thompson has extensive experience working the mental health field both as a direct practice case manager and as a researcher. She is also the Program Coordinator for the Women and Infants Mental Health Program at the Depression Center.
Karen Smith, LMSW
Karen Smith has worked at the University of Michigan since 2004 and has served as a clinical social worker in the Child and Adolescent Psychiatry Outpatient Parent Child Relational Clinic since 2009. In this capacity, she provides evaluation and treatment services to young children and their families using a variety of clinical interventions. She is endorsed as an Infant Mental Health Specialist. Ms. Smith has worked with the M-SPAN project since 2008, and facilitates the Strong Families group, a psycho-education group for military service members and their families. She is a graduate of the University of Michigan School of Social Work. She also provides supervision and training for social work interns.
HomeFront Strong Team
Jennifer Lamb, LMSW, MS
Jennifer Lamb is a Clinical Social Worker and Program Manager for HomeFront Strong. Ms. Lamb oversees the HomeFront Strong program, including building and maintaining state-wide partnerships, training community clinicians in the HomeFront Strong model, supervising delivery of the HomeFront Strong intervention, and overseeing participant recruitment and program evaluation metrics. For two years, she worked in partnership with community clinicians and facilitated the HomeFront Strong program with military and veteran spouses. Prior to her position with HomeFront Strong, Ms. Lamb served as a clinical social worker at the University of Michigan providing clinical services to adults and children. Ms. Lamb earned her Bachelor’s degree from the University of Central Oklahoma.She holds a Master’s in Social Work from Loyola University Chicago and a Master’s in Child Development from the Erikson Institute. Ms. Lamb hails from a multigenerational family of military service. She served in the Marine Corps both as an enlisted Marine and as a commissioned officer, and is also married to a Marine.
Ali Thompson, BA
Ali Thompson is the Outreach Coordinator for HomeFront Strong. She is responsible for coordinating and conducting HomeFront Strong’s outreach and engagement activities with military and veteran spouses. Ms. Thompson also collaborates closely with Michigan’s Active, Reserve, and National Guard military components; the Veteran’s Administration; and military and veteran service organizations across the state. She received a Bachelor’s degree in International Relations from the University of Toledo and served three years in the Army as a logistician in the Transportation Corps. Ms. Thompson has spent the past 17 years providing support, community outreach and engagement to military spouses and commands at military installations in the U.S. and abroad. As both a veteran and spouse of a veteran, she holds a unique understanding of the value of programs designed for military and veteran families.
After Her Service Team
Brittany Risk, LMSW
Interim Program Manager
Brittany Risk is the Interim Program Manager for After Her Service, overseeing the project management and reporting for the program. Ms. Risk completed her Bachelor’s Degree in Social Work at Michigan State University, and earned her Master’s Degree in Social Work at the University of Michigan. Ms. Risk has extensive project coordination and management experience as the M-SPAN Peer Advisors for Veteran Education (PAVE) Program Manager and as a former Project Coordinator at the Department of Veterans Affairs implementing programmatic research in the areas of veteran mental health, inpatient psychiatry, and substance abuse. As an appointee of the Governor, she serves on the Michigan Board of Social Work. Additionally, she is as a Field Instructor for the University of Michigan School of Social Work. She is interested in reducing stigma and barriers to care through innovative approaches for service members and veterans.
Jennifer Lamb, LMSW, MS
Jennifer Lamb is a Trainer for After Her Service. She is part of the planning team, and also co-lead sessions in the After Her Service curriculum during the program's weekend retreats. Ms. Lamb has worked as a clinical social worker providing services to critically ill children and their families as well as direct therapy services to both adults and children. She earned her Bachelor’s Degree from the University of Central Oklahoma. She holds a Master’s in Social Work from Loyola University Chicago and a Master’s in Child Development from the Erikson Institute. She comes from a long family history of military service and served in the Marine Corps both as an enlisted Marine and a commissioned officer.
M-SPAN Programs Support Team
Chrysta Meadowbrooke, MA, MSI
Senior Research Specialist
Chrysta Meadowbrooke is the Senior Research Specialist for M-SPAN, working on research and evaluation for multiple projects, including Peer Advisors for Veteran Education and HomeFront Strong. She earned her MS in Information at University of Michigan and her MA in Clinical Psychology at Antioch University. Through several years of experience with community-based health and clinical research projects, Ms. Meadowbrooke has developed skills in both qualitative and quantitative research, such as study design and management, data collection through surveys and interviews, and data analysis. Her professional and personal experiences with veterans and military families help strengthen her person-centered approach to research and her commitment to helping people improve their quality of life.
Alyssa Wealty, MA
Communications and Marketing Manager
Alyssa Wealty is the Communications and Marketing Manager for M-SPAN and coordinates the various marketing communications activities for M-SPAN and all of its programs. As a native of Military City, USA (San Antonio, Texas), veteran spouse, and former military base employee, Ms. Wealty has a firsthand appreciation of service members, their families, and the sacrifices they make for our country. She earned a Bachelor’s degree in English and Communications from St. Mary’s University and a Master’s degree in Integrated Marketing Communications from Marist College and has diverse experience working in communications, particularly for non-profit organizations. She focuses on using strategic, targeted communications to increase M-SPAN’s reach and connection to the people it serves.
Margy Howes, MA
Margy Howes is the M-SPAN Administrative Specialist. Ms. Howes supports all programs within M-SPAN and serves as the office manager. She manages many financials, including program feature reports, budget analysis, travel activity, expense tracking, and procurement. She manages logistic details for M-SPAN's statewide and national special events. Ms. Howes earned a Bachelor of Arts in Sociology/Social Welfare from The College of Wooster and a Master of Arts in Higher Education and Student Affairs from Bowling Green State University. She is the daughter and niece of World War II and Korean War veterans and is proud that her work at M-SPAN serves to improve the lives of today's veterans. Ms. Howes has been in this position since 2010 and is one of M-SPAN's longest serving staff.
Jessica Youngblood, MPP, MPH
Jessica Youngblood is a Research Specialist for the Peer Advisors for Veteran Education (PAVE) and After Her Service programs at M-SPAN. She is responsible for leading a qualitative study, facilitating surveys, and providing data management. Ms. Youngblood earned her Masters of Public Policy and Public Health from the University of Michigan and a Bachelor of Arts in Anthropology from the University of Washington. She holds expertise in qualitative interviewing and analyses, having worked as a research assistant at the U-M Medical School on a project exploring pregnant adolescents’ access to pre- and post-natal care, among other research projects. Jessica is a military spouse and draws on her personal connection to student veterans and female veterans to inspire her work.