Michelle Kees, PhD
Associate Professor, Department of Psychiatry
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 a Without Compensation (WOC) appointment 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 women and families, including female veterans and military spouses; peer programs supporting veterans on college campuses; and large-scale evaluation and dissemination of evidence-based programs. She is the Principal Investigator for HomeFront Strong, a Department of Defense funded resiliency intervention for military and veteran spouses and their children. Dr. Kees also leads a resiliency program for women veterans, After Her Service, that focuses on the intersection of mental health and professional success. Additionally, she oversees Peer Advisors for Veteran Education (PAVE), a national peer mentorship program for student veterans returning to college on the Post 9-11 GI Bill. Dr. Kees received her PhD in Clinical Psychology at SUNY Stony Brook, completed a clinical internship at Children’s Memorial Hospital in Chicago, IL, and completed a 2-year postdoctoral fellowship at the Center on Child Abuse & Neglect at the University of Oklahoma Health Sciences Center. She has been at the University of Michigan for 17 years, and was a founding member of M-SPAN in 2008. She is also the spouse of a former National Guard soldier.
Myra Kim, PhD
Dr. Myra Kim is a Research Scientist at the University of Michigan’s Center for Consulting for Statistics, Computing and Analytics Research (CSCAR) and an Adjunct Professor of Biostatistics. Her work has focused on applying advanced statistical methods to assess health outcomes, particularly in collaboration with investigators conducting clinical trials and analyses of large-scale observational datasets. Her research interest is in longitudinal data analyses and health services research, and she also has extensive experience working with complex pharmaco-epidemiology datasets with interests in mental health treatment medication use in health systems. She is currently a co-investigator and principal statistical investigator on several NIH, Department of Defense and Veterans Health Administration sponsored multi-national and multi-center randomized clinical trials, cluster randomized trials, and observational cohort studies. Dr. Kim collaborates with M-SPAN as a co-investigator with HomeFront Strong and contributes to the multi-method, multi-wave longitudinal data analyses of the project.
Adrienne Lapidos, PhD
Dr. Adrienne Lapidos is a licensed clinical psychologist and a Clinical Assistant Professor at the University of Michigan Medical School, Department of Psychiatry. Her research focuses on innovations designed to improve access to care, especially novel interventions led by Community Health Workers that integrate physical, behavioral, and oral health. As a practicing clinical psychologist at Michigan Medicine, she works with individuals living with depression, psychosis, and post-traumatic stress.
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.
Marcia Valenstein, MD, MS
Dr. Marcia 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.
Kali Lake, MSW
Program Manager, PAVE
Kali Lake is the Program Manager for Peer Advisors for Veteran Education (PAVE). Ms. Lake oversees the implementation of the PAVE program, including supporting partner campuses, building partnerships, and managing program grants. She was involved in the initial design and development of PAVE as a Program Coordinator when the program formed in 2012 and rejoined the M-SPAN team in 2020. Ms. Lake completed both her Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees in Social Work at the University of North Dakota. She also has experience as Director of Operations for the North Dakota Air National Guard where she was responsible for day-to-day leadership and management of 60 targeting analysts, and provided oversight for developing long-term training, intelligence, and readiness plans. Ms. Lake has over 19 years combined experience between her time in the Army and Air Force. She joined the ND Army National Guard as a Combat Medic in 2001. She later transferred to the ND Air National Guard and was a firefighter from 2004-2013. During that time, she deployed to Iraq and worked there with Iraqi firefighters on developing training. In 2013, she received her commission as an intelligence officer.
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.
Riva Szostkowski, MFA
Program Coordinator, PAVE
Riva Szostkowski is the Project Coordinator for Peer Advisors for Veteran Education (PAVE). She is responsible for supporting the partner campus teams in the implementation and delivery of the program. A veteran herself, Ms. Szostkowski served as an aircraft maintainer in the Air Force for 8 years. She completed her Bachelor's Degree in English at the University of Michigan in 2017 and her Master's of Fine Arts in Creative Writing at Texas State University in 2020. Since separating from active duty, Ms. Szostkowski has been involved with several national veterans organizations and knows firsthand how instrumental veteran-specific programs are. She believes that everyone can be successful with the right resources and support, and she is interested in connecting veterans with the tools they need to succeed.
Stephanie Thompson, MSW
Program Coordinator, After Her Service & HomeFront Strong
Stephanie Thompson is the Program Coordinator for After Her Service (AHS). She leads all aspects of recruitment into the program, coordinating logistics for the in-person retreat, managing aspects of the program evaluation, and interfacing with partners. Previously, Ms. Thompson was the Project Coordinator for the Strong Military Families Program, a parenting intervention for military and veteran families with young children. In this position, Ms. Thompson organized the program’s evaluation and research, assisted with student training and supervision, and managed data collection, entry, and analysis. She also assisted with participant recruitment, home visitation, and special event coordination. Originally from Austin, Texas, Ms. Thompson received her Bachelor’s Degree in Social Work form Texas State University in 2006. She moved to Michigan in 2006 to earn her Master’s Degree in Social Work at the University of Michigan. Ms. Thompson has extensive experience in the mental health field as a direct practice case manager, researcher, program evaluator, and project manager. She has worked in the women’s mental health field since 2011 and is dedicated to the empowerment of women.
Emma Czajka, BS
Emma Czajka is a Research Assistant for all M-SPAN programs, assisting with implementation and evaluation activities such as data collection, review, and analyses. She completed a Bachelor of Science degree in Biopsychology, Cognition, and Neuroscience with a minor in Biology from the University of Michigan in 2019. Prior to joining the M-SPAN staff, Ms. Czajka volunteered on the child team for HomeFront Strong and assisted with After Her Service research. Her educational pursuits, volunteer work with M-SPAN, and experience as part of a military family have all fostered her desire to help improve the mental health and well-being of service members, veterans, and their families.
Iris Hadziegric, BA
Iris Hadziegric is a Research Assistant for all M-SPAN programs, assisting with implementation and evaluation activities such as data collection, review, and analyses. Additionally, she provides support to the communications activities of the PAVE and HomeFront Strong programs. She graduated from the University of Michigan with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Psychology and continues to pursue a focus on understanding the adverse experiences that individuals face, as well as ways to positively influence the outcomes that may follow. Prior to joining the M-SPAN staff, Ms. Hadziegric volunteered on the child team for HomeFront Strong. Her educational studies, past research experiences, and volunteer work with at-risk individuals and unique populations have all led her to M-SPAN, where she has become interested in working to reduce mental health stigma for service members, veterans, and their families.