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Project Directors

Denise Tate Denise G. Tate, Ph.D., ABBP, FACRM
Project Co-director: University of Michigan Spinal Core Injury Model System
Professor, Clinical Psychologist and Associate Chair for Research, Department of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation, University of Michigan

Dr. Tate has been with U-M SCIMS since 1986. Her primary research interests are health outcomes, quality of life and adaptation to injury. She has more than 70 peer-reviewed publications. Dr. Tate has overseen the post-doctoral fellowships of more than 50 post-doctoral and physician research fellows. Among her many research awards is the Stanley J. Coulter Lecturer award from the American Congress of Rehabilitation. Dr. Tate is also the principal investigator for two National Institute on Disability and Rehabilitation Research grants and a National Center for Medical Rehabilitation Research grant.

Anthony Chiodo

Anthony Chiodo, M.D.
Project Co-director: University of Michigan Spinal Cord Injury Model System
Clinical Professor, Department of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation, University of Michigan

Dr. Chiodo is co-director for U-M SCIMS and has been the clinical director of Spinal Cord Injury Medicine at the University of Michigan since 2002. He has worked on the U-M SCIMS research projects, Wellness in SCI and Predictors of Health, and Quality of Life in Persons with Ventilator Assistance after SCI. He has published several manuscripts on pain management, wellness in SCI, and is preparing several manuscripts on ventilator weaning after SCI. He has served as a co-investigator for two clinical trials of Fampridine’s efficacy after SCI: as treatments for spasticity and for restrictive lung disease.

Dr. Chiodo is the primary attending physician for SCI services in the UMHS Adult Rehabilitation Unit, coordinating all clinical services.


Martin Forchheimer Martin Forchheimer, MPP
Senior Research Associate and Co-investigator

Mr. Forchheimer has been with U-M SCIMS since 1989 and is director of Research. He is the principal investigator for two site-specific research projects, and the coordinator for collaborative study led by Craig Hospital. Mr. Forchheimer is primarily interested in the areas of outcomes research, community integration and measurement. He has written more than 35 peer-reviewed publications.

Claire Kalpakjan

Claire Z. Kalpakjian, Ph.D.
Project Manager and Co-investigator

In addition to her administrative duties, Dr. Kalpakjian plays a key role in research. Previously, Dr. Kalpakjian was a post-doctoral fellow with the Department of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation. She is particularly interested in women’s health and spirituality. She is the principal investigator for a three-year study on menopause and SCI, and is in the second year of a National Institutes of Health Career Development Award for research into women’s health and SCI.

Michelle Meade

Michelle Meade Ph.D.
Associate Professor and Co-Investigator

Dr. Meade is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation and the Center for Managing Chronic Disease at the University of Michigan and a Co-Investigator in the UM SCI Model Systems.  Dr. Meade is a rehabilitation psychologist who works and conducts research with individuals with spinal cord injury.  Her primary research interests focus around improving the health and participation of individuals with spinal cord injury from traditionally underserved populations.  Dr. Meade’s current projects include developing an electronic game to promote self-management skills among underserved individuals with SCI, assessing the efficacy and feasibility of an in-person administration of the Health Mechanics Program, and serving as co-PI of the NIDRR funded UM-AACIL Advanced Rehabilitation Research Training Program.  Dr. Meade is active in numerous professional associations and scientific boards, serving as Past-President of Section 2 (Women’s Issues in Rehabilitation) of Division 22 (Rehabilitation Psychology) of APA, editorial board member for Topics of Spinal Cord.

Gianna Rodriguez

Gianna Maria M. Rodriguez M.D.
Assistant Professor

Dr. Rodriguez, is Board Certified in SCI medicine and is on the PM&R SCI Consultation Team. Her research interests include SCI, musculoskeletal rehabilitation and traumatic brain injury (TBI). She was Chief Resident in PM&R at Rush Presbyterian St. Luke’s Medical Center in Chicago, and Advanced Fellow in SCI Medicine at the Veterans Affairs North Texas Health Care System in Dallas. Dr. Rodriguez is the PM&R Administrator and Manager for the Michigan Bowel Control Program and on staff for the Adult Ventilator Program here at the University of Michigan Health System. 

Associated Faculty:

Anne Kathleen Pelletier Cameron, M.D.

Jon-Kar Zubieta, M.D., Ph.D.

Lisa A. Diponio M.D.


Rachel Hartwig, BS Rachel Hartwig, BS
Project Coordinator

Rachel graduated green and white from the MSU Honors College last year with a B.S. in Psychology and a minor in Public Health; along the way, she completed her Honors thesis which focused on optimism and emotion regulation in neural activity. Rachel will be coordinating the Research Registry, as well as conducting interviews for follow-ups and the new studies.

Lisa Konkol

Lisa Konkol
, MPH- Research Assistant, Model Systems Data Management

Lisa has a background in public health focusing on health behavior and health education. Ms. Konkol joined U-M Model System in September 2010 and brings experience in data management to the SCI research team.  As a person with a disability she is able to provide a unique perspective on designing interventions to improve the health status of persons with chronic conditions, evaluating the effectiveness of health education programs, self-management, and social support.

Colleen Bouton

Colleen Bouton
, Administrative Assistant Senior

Colleen joined the SCIMS office in May, 2012.  She is working as the Administrative Assistant to our Principal Investigator, Denise Tate, PhD.  Colleen comes from the IRBMED where she has worked for five years since joining the University of Michigan.  She brings many years of experience as an administrative assistant in both the medical and legal fields. 

Gina Jay

Gina M. Jay
, Ph.D., Research Technician

Gina, our newest team member, took a long and winding road to the University of Michigan Spinal Cord Injury Model System. She completed her undergraduate degree at UM-Dearborn in psychology and sociology, her graduate work at Penn State University in human development and family studies, and her postdoctoral work in public health and gerontology here at UM, before taking a position in survey methodology at the Institute for Social Research.  She took an 18-year hiatus from formal research work to focus on raising her family and doing community work. Gina is currently busy with the SCIMS database work and conducting interviews for the site-specific intervention study, Applying Health Mechanics to Enhance Bowel and Bladder Health for Persons with SCI.

In her free time she enjoys volunteering at Arbor Hospice, writing children’s/young adult fiction, and creating beautiful, or at least interesting things, using her sewing machine, screen printing supplies and  gardening tools.

Connie Pines

Connie Pines
, RN, CCM, Research Assistant, Community Outreach and Recruitment

Constance Pines joined the project staff at the University of Michigan Spinal Cord Injury Model System in March 2011. Her area of expertise for the past 37 years has been as Nurse Case Manager with Cardiothoracic Surgery/ Cardiology specialty services at U-M and The Ann Arbor VA Medical Center. Ms. Pines currently has oversight responsibilities for three research grants. Ms. Pines is the widow of a former U-M Spinal Cord Model System patient and therefore has hands-on experience and critical knowledge of the challenges facing those people with spinal cord injuries

Maggie Travin

Maggie Travin, MA, Dissemination Coordinator and Research Technician

Maggie Travin completed her undergraduate degree at the University of Michigan with a B.A. in Psychology and Political science.  She then completed her graduate degree at the Chicago School of Professional Psychology in Clinical Psychology with a concentration in trauma assessment and treatment. Maggie’s graduate thesis focused on how to treat chronic emotional trauma while dealing with health complications. Maggie will be assisting in the Research Registry, conducting interviews, and focusing on research dissemination and outreach activities. Before joining the SCIMS team she worked clinically in community mental health.

Brad Trumpower

Brad Trumpower, Research Technician

Brad graduated from Texas A&M – Corpus Christi with a Master of Science in Counseling with a focus in clinical mental health. He is an 8-year veteran of the Army National Guard including a 1-year combat deployment for Operation Iraqi Freedom. Brad’s focus is on interventions, regulatory management and data management. Prior to joining the University of Michigan, Brad worked in community mental health with adolescents.