MI-SCIMS Faculty and Staff

Here you can find an overview of the individuals who make up the MI-SCIMS' faculty and staff:

Center PI's and Co PI's

Michelle A. Meade, PhD (PI/Director and Director of Collaborative Module Research Project)

Dr. Meade is a professor with tenure in the U-M Departments of PM&R and Family Medicine within the U-M School of Medicine, a practicing rehabilitation psychologist, affiliated faculty with the U-M Institute for Healthcare Policy and Innovation (IHPI), and Co-Director of the U-M Center for Disability Health and Wellness (U-M CDHW). Her research expertise is in the areas of healthcare disparities, health self-management, m-Health technology, and employment of individuals with physical disabilities (particularly individuals with SCI). Dr. Meade currently serves as the PI and Director of the NIDILRR-funded IDEAL Rehabilitation Research Training Center (RRTC) on promoting healthy aging for individuals with long-term physical disabilities. Dr. Meade is currently on the board of the grass-roots organization Warriors on Wheels of Greater Detroit and co-leads the Michigan Medicine Disability Council. Past roles include serving as President of the Division of Rehabilitation Psychology within the American Psychological Association, where she is now a fellow; as President and a member of the Executive Board of the SCI Association of Virginia (formerly the Old Dominion Chapter of the National SCI Association); and as a Taskforce Member for State Plans for the Health Promotion of Individuals with Disabilities in both Virginia and Michigan.

Michael Jakubowski, MD (Co-PI and Site Director for Mary Free Bed)

Dr. Jakubowski is the Chief Medical Officer at Mary Free Bed Rehabilitation Hospital (MFB) and oversees MFB’s Center for Research and Innovation. Dr. Jakubowski has been chief medical officer since 2014 and has over 40 years of clinical experience working in the fields of internal medicine and physical medicine and rehabilitation. He is board certified in both disciplines. In addition to his role as CMO, Dr. Jakubowski serves as Chair for the MFB Research Advisory Council and is Director of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation at Michigan State University’s College of Human Medicine. 

Gianna Rodriguez, MD (U-M Co-PI)

Dr. Rodriguez is a professor in U-M's Department of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation and medical director for the SCI program at Michigan Medicine. She is board certified in SCI medicine and most recently completed the Program for Academic Leadership of the Association of Academic Physiatrists. Her research interests focus on neurogenic bladder and bowel and respiratory dysfunction. Dr. Rodriguez is also the medical director of U-M’s Wheelchair Seating Service and Clinics, manager for the Michigan Bowel Control Program, and on the staff of the Assisted Ventilation Clinic. From 2005-2016 she served as Co-I on the U-M SCIMS. For the MI-SCIMS she will be the Medical Director at U-M, guiding collection of data concerning neurological status.

Mark Peterson, PhD (Site-Specific Project Director)

Dr. Peterson is an associate professor with tenure in U-M’s Department of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation and an active member in the U-M Neuroscience Graduate Program, U-M’s Institute for Health and Policy Innovation (IPHI), Michigan Center on the Demography of Aging, and the Michigan Institute for Data Science. His federally funded research is designed to study cellular muscle physiology and metabolic health/regulation among individuals with neurodevelopmental and acquired disabilities and to examine the effectiveness of targeted exercise interventions in these populations. He has advanced training in biostatistics and epidemiology, and his latest funded work will incorporate machine learning to examine the independent effects of physical activity on cognitive function and brain age from raw neuroimaging.

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Jonathan Vandenberg, MD (Co-Investigator for Mary Free Bed)

Dr. Vandenberg is a Physiatrist at MFB, where he specializes in the care of adults with SCI and medically complex conditions. He completed an SCI Medicine fellowship at the University of Texas Science Center in Houston before joining MFB in September of 2020. He currently provides treatment for patients with SCI throughout the clinical continuum of care at MFB’s main location in Grand Rapids, MI. Dr. Vandenberg will facilitate data collection for the National SCI Database (NSCID), clinical team, and dissemination activities. 

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Additional Key Staff

TBA (Program Manager for Mary Free Bed)

Madeline Felske, MS (U-M Associate Research Coordinator)

Madeline is an associate research coordinator at the Center for Disability Health and Wellness (CDHW) at the University of Michigan. Her primary role is to serve as coordinator for the Michigan Spinal Cord Injury Model System, which aims to expand and enhance health management for all individuals living—and aging—with SCI in Michigan and throughout the United States. In addition, Madeline will be providing research assistance to other collaborative studies currently underway at PM&R, including aging, assistive technology, and oral health with those living with SCI.

Prior to joining the CDHW, Madeline was a research coordinator at Wayne State University. In her role with the Office of Women’s Health Make Your Date Program, she worked to improve birth outcomes for pregnant women in the City of Detroit. Madeline is a recent graduate of Wayne State University, where she obtained a Master of Science in Community Health Education.

Martin Forchheimer, MPP (U-M Program Manager)

Martin Forchheimer is a researcher in the Department of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation (PM&R) at the University of Michigan. He is a Study Coordinator and Co-Investigator on a number of studies concerning people with SCI and SCD, and has also done research on disabilities including amputation, ALS and Post-Polio Syndrome. His research focuses on adjustment, quality of life, measurement issues, community integration, and physical and mental health after disability. His activities include study coordination, research design, analysis, and dissemination of research findings, both to professional and consumer audiences. Mr. Forchheimer has worked on the MI-SCIMS program since 1989 and will guide data collection efforts for both the Model Systems Database and the collaborative studies on which U-M is participating. He will also conduct analyses using the Model Systems Database and work on dissemination of findings for research and clinical audiences.

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