CBPR Partnership Academy Instructors & Mentors

Alex J. Allen, III, MSA, is Executive Director of the Chandler Park Conservancy. Previous roles have included Executive Director of the Detroit Eastside Community Collaborative, Vice President of Community Planning & Research at Isles, Inc., and Director of Butzel Family Center. Mr. Allen was a founding member of the Detroit URC and of the Healthy Environments Partnership, where he currently serves as a member of the Steering Committee. He has over 25 years of experience with CBPR, and in community development and is passionate about creating active greenways that connect people and communities.

Barbara Brush, RN, PhD, FAAN, is the Carol J. and F. Edward Lake Professor of Population Health, U-M School of Nursing, past faculty Director of Michigan Institute of Health and Clinical Research, and Fellow of the American Academy of Nursing. Her research with homeless families in urban communities uses principles of CBPR to guide study design, implementation, analysis and dissemination and operates under a theoretical framework that recognizes the compounded disadvantages shaping families’ lived experiences. A nurse practitioner and historian with policy training through the UM Center for Healthcare Research and Transformation, Dr. Brush’s work informs policy and practice at local, national, and international levels.

Chris Coombe, PhD, MPH, is Associate Research Scientist in the Department of Health Behavior and Health Education in the University of Michigan (U-M) School of Public Health (SPH). Dr. Coombe has more than 25 years of experience developing, implementing, and evaluating collaborative research and interventions using CBPR. Her work focuses on understanding how urban social and physical environments contribute to racial and socioeconomic inequities, and translating that knowledge into policy interventions to promote health and equity.

Laprisha Berry Daniels, MPH, MSW,  is a public health social worker with a track record of leading and growing organizational and community capacity while helping turn collective vision into lasting impact. Laprisha holds a Bachelor’s degree in Psychology from Michigan State University, as well as Master’s degrees in Social Work and Public Health from the University of Michigan. She has over 20 years of public health experience, with 15 of those being in progressively responsible leadership roles, where she has been responsible for developing, implementing and evaluating efforts focused on eliminating some of the most stubborn health disparities.

Paul J Fleming, PhD, MPH, is Associate Professor in the Department of Health Behavior and Health Education in the University of Michigan (U-M) School of Public Health (SPH) and is Faculty Lead for Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion. Dr. Fleming focuses his work on the root causes of racial health inequities and strategies to address them. He conducts community-based participatory research focused on the health needs of Latinx immigrants in Michigan and examines how to best integrate anti-racist principles into public health training and practice. He also is a member of Public Health Awakened and contributes to community organizing efforts to promote health through social change.

Sonya Grant, MPA, is the CEO and President of Cobbworks, a state-wide workforce development organization in Atlanta, GA.  She has CBPR experience serving on the Steering Committee for Community Action Against Asthma (CAAA), an affiliated CBPR partnership of the Detroit URC, representing the Eastside Community Network, and she has also worked as a Field Coordinator for four projects of CAAA, supervising a staff of over 30 in data collection and intervention implementation in Detroit.  She has been co-teaching and mentoring in the CBPR Partnership Academy since 2021.  Ms. Grant has co-developed and has been an instructor in the Detroit URC’s policy change capacity building program since 2007.

J. Ricardo Guzman, MSW, MPH, is the former Executive Director of Community Health and Social Services Center, Inc. (CHASS), a federally qualified health center in Detroit which provides health care to underserved residents (primarily Latino, poor and underserved). He is a founding and former member of the Detroit URC Board, and he served at CHASS for 45 years. He has played a leadership role in increasing access to culturally appropriate, high-quality, affordable, comprehensive health services  and is a past chair of the board of directors of the National Association of Community Health Centers headquartered in Washington DC.

Barbara Israel, DrPH, MPH, is Professor in the Department of Health Behavior and Health Education at U-M SPH and Director of the Detroit URC. She has been the Principal Investigator and Co-Investigator on a number of Detroit URC affiliated partnerships, including the Healthy Environments Partnership, Community Action Against Asthma, and Community Action to Promote Healthy Environments, focused on understanding and addressing the social and physical environmental determinants of health inequities. She has published widely on multiple aspects of CBPR, and teaches a graduate level course in CBPR . 

Toby Lewis, M.D., MPH, is Associate Professor of Pediatrics and Communicable Diseases, U-M School of Medicine, and Associate Professor, Environmental Health Sciences, U-M SPH. Dr. Lewis is a pediatric pulmonologist with expertise in the epidemiology of childhood respiratory disease; she has conducted community-based participatory asthma intervention research with CAAA in Detroit since 1999, and has served as Principal Investigator of several intervention projects carried out by CAAA.

Enrique Neblett, PhD is Professor in the Department of Health Behavior and Health Education at the U-M School of Public Health.  He is the Associate Director of the Detroit Urban Research Center, a longstanding community-based participatory research partnership with the aim of promoting health equity in Detroit. He has a special interest in workforce development, education, CBPR and anti-racism. He is the Principal Investigator of the Youth Mental Health and Employment Equity (YMHEE, pronounced “Why Me”) Project in partnership with Focus HOPE, aimed at understanding how mental health-enhanced workforce development programs may benefit employment, economic, and mental health outcomes for Black youth

Rogério Meireles Pinto, PhD, MP, MSW is the Berit Ingersoll-Dayton Collegiate Professor of Social Work and Associate Dean for Research and Innovation at, UM School of Social Work and a Brazilian-born psychiatric social work researcher with more than two decades of clinical and community practice. He is a member of the Detroit URC Board. He is an expert in CBPR using a mixed-methods approach. In his research in the United States, Brazil and Spain, Dr. Pinto examines how transdisciplinary collaboration and practitioners’ involvement in research improves delivery of evidence-based services. He also studies factors that influence ethnic and sexual minority women's involvement in research and health care. He has been a mentor and instructor in the CBPR Partnership Academy.

Angela G. Reyes, MPH is founder and Executive Director of Detroit Hispanic Development Corporation, which works in partnership with organizations, residents, and youth for the betterment of neighborhoods. She is a founding Board member of the Detroit URC, is on the Steering Committee of three affiliated partnerships, is a leader in the National Community Partners Forum, and has served as faculty and mentor for the CBPR Partnership  Academy since its inception.

Zachary Rowe, BBA, a founding Board member of the Detroit URC, is Executive Director of Friends, a grassroots community-based organization that provides youth, employment, health and safety, and computer learning programs for Detroit residents. Mr. Rowe is a Steering Committee member of several Detroit URC-affiliated partnerships and has served as faculty and mentor for the CBPR Partnership Academy since its inception.

Amy J. Schulz, PhD, MPH is a Professor of Health Behavior and Health Education at U-M SPH, . She has published extensively on community-based participatory research and social determinants of health in urban communities. She is the Principal Investigator of the Healthy Environments Partnership, an affiliated partnership of the Detroit URC focused on examining and addressing social and environmental factors associated with cardiovascular inequities in Detroit, and Multiple Principal Investigator of Community Action to Promote  Healthy Environments (CAPHE), an affiliated partnership of the Detroit URC. She has served as faculty and a mentor for the CBPR Partnership Academy since its inception.

Carmen Stokes PhD, RN, FNP-BC, CNE, Dr. Carmen Stokes is an Associate Professor of Nursing at the University of Michigan - Flint. She obtained her M.S. in Nursing from the University of Detroit Mercy and her Ph.D. from Eastern Michigan University in Educational Studies, Nursing Education. Dr. Stokes has a passion for socialization of the beginning nursing student to the profession and the transition of the senior/graduate nursing student to the role of professional nurse. She also maintains clinical practice as a Family Nurse Practitioner (FNP) and remains involved in efforts to nurture student diversity, development and success in nursing school, as well as the profession as a whole. She currently sits on several community boards, contributing to efforts around public health, cardiovascular health, and the nutrition and fitness of children (to prevent obesity).

Donele Wilkins is the Executive Director of The Green Door Initiative which focuses on creating green jobs, providing training and workforce development for people entering the profession, ensuring environmental justice, youth development in the environmental movement and amplifying youth voices, and expanding solar power in Detroit. She was a member of the Detroit URC Board as the founder of Detroiters Working for Environmental Justice.  She has been involved in CBPR work for over 20 years and is an organizational partner in Community Action to Promote Healthy Environments (CAPHE), an affiliated partnership of the Detroit URC. She has been an instructor and mentor in the CBPR Partnership Academy since 2021.

Former Instructors

Wilma Brakefield-Caldwell, BSN, was a founding member of the Detroit URC Board and was a health department and community representative on the Community Action Against Asthma's (CAAA) Steering Committee, an affiliated partnership of the Detroit URC. She is a former Public Health Nursing Administrator at the Detroit Health Department, and has extensive experience participating in Community-Based Participatory Research (CBPR) partnerships.

Edith C. Kieffer, MPH, PhD, is a Professor Emerita of Social Work at the University of Michigan. She conducted numerous community-based participatory research studies addressing health disparities. In addition to longitudinal epidemiological studies and qualitative formative research in community and health care settings, she and collaborators conducted and evaluated the effectiveness of community health worker (CHW) programs. She conducted community studies evaluating the impact of Medicaid expansion in Michigan. She was a founding member of the Detroit URC Board, and of the Michigan Community Health Worker Alliance, which promotes sustainability of CHW programs and careers through policy change and workforce development.

Richard Lichtenstein, PhD, MPH was an Associate Professor of Health Management and Policy; and Director of U-M's Summer Enrichment Program. He conducted numerous CBPR studies including a focus on racial and ethnic disparities in health; barriers to health insurance coverage for low-income children; effects of discrimination on access to health care; and, efforts to increase diversity in the health workforce. He was formerly the Co-Director of the Detroit URC, and directed several CBPR affiliated partnerships.

Graciela Mentz, PhD served for more than 10 years as the Senior Programmer and Data Analyst for two Detroit UCR-affiliated partnerships: Healthy Environments Partnership (HEP) and Community Action Against Asthma (CAAA). She has extensive expertise in the management and analysis of complex data, particularly with intervention research designs. She served as a mentor to a number of doctoral students, post-doctoral scholars and faculty on research design and statistical analyses.

Gloria Palmisano, MA REACH Detroit Partnership Manager, is based at Community Health and Social Services, Inc. (CHASS). She has more than 30 years of experience in program implementation related to public health, education, and employment and training. She has developed and coordinated training programs for Community Health Workers (CHW) and is actively involved in national efforts to promote the use of a CHW model within the context of a CBPR approach.