REACH Staff: Team Leaders

Ricardo Guzman, MPH, MSW, has more than 37 years of experience working with health and human service programs targeting Detroit's Hispanic community. Since 1983, Mr. Guzman has served as CHASS Chief Executive Officer. Mr. Guzman has been successful in obtaining federal, state, and local government support, as well as, foundation grant funding to plan and implement several major community-level interventions addressing Diabetes, Intimate Partner Violence and School-Based Health Services in Detroit. He serves as Principal Investigator for 'LA VIDA' (a multi-component community intervention addressing domestic violence against Latina women). Through his involvement with the Detroit Community-Academic Urban Research Center based at the University of Michigan, Mr. Guzman serves as a leading advocate for community participation in the planning and implementation of health programs relevant to minority communities. Mr. Guzman's publications include, but are not limited to, co-authoring articles in The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologist, Health Education and Behavior, and Ethnicity & Disease.

Ricardo Guzman

Gloria Palmisano, MA is responsible for the project's operational management, fiscal accountability, and assists the Project Director, Principal Investigator, Co-Investigators, and community partners in the implementation of the Community Action Plan and with data collection, analysis and dissemination activities. Mrs. Palmisano oversees adherence to timetables and work-plans, completion of reporting requirements to NIH, staffing the REACH Steering Committee and the REACH-Out Network, supervision of REACH staff, and identification of additional sources of funding and resources for project activities.

Gloria Palmisano

Michael Spencer, PhD, MSW, is a Professor and the Associate Dean of Educational Programs the University of Michigan School of Social Work. He is the Principal Investigator of the REACH Detroit Family Intervention. His research examines disparities in physical and mental health and service use of populations of color. He teaches courses on diversity, social justice, and community organizing.

Michael Spencer

Edith (Edie) Kieffer, MPH, PhD, is Associate Professor in the University of Michigan School of Social Work. Using the community-based participatory research approach, she and her community partners have identified weight, diabetes, eating, and exercise-related beliefs and practices of Latino and African American Detroit community residents of all ages, with a particular focus on pregnant and postpartum women. This research led to several multi-level interventions in southwest and eastside Detroit.

Edie Kieffer

Melissa A. Valerio, Ph.D. is an Assistant Professor in the University of Michigan School of Public Health in the department of Health Behavior & Health Education. Her interests include chronic disease prevention and management; her research is focused on the design and evaluation of effective health education interventions and survey methods. She is particularly interested in functional health literacy and its implications for disease prevention, management and health disparities.

Melissa Valerio

Michele Heisler, M.D., MPA is an Associate Professor, Department of Internal Medicine at the University of Michigan Medical School and an Associate Professor of Health Behavior & Health Education at the UM School of Public Health. Her research interests are patient self-management of chronic illnesses, patient-doctor relations, disparities in processes and outcomes in chronic illnesses.

Michele Heisler