About

Staff

The Precision Health team is available to help support and connect faculty with the resources they need.

  • Rachel Dawson, JD, Managing Director

    Rachel serves as the Managing Director,  where she works closely with the faculty co-directors to shape strategy, implement programs, and develop resources for researchers across campus.  Rachel manages the administrative staff as well as the day-to-day operations of the campus-wide initiative. Rachel has more than 10 years of operations experience; her responsibilities include oversight of teams that develop data analytics methods and secure compute environments, patient cohorts and community engagement initiatives in support of research, education and training programs to develop precision health scientists, and health implementation teams that bring cutting-edge discoveries to the bedside to treat patients.

    Prior to returning to her alma mater, Rachel worked in the legal industry and academia for over 18 years, working as a lawyer, a legal administrator, and an assistant dean at Indiana University Maurer School of Law.

    Rachel is an active member of the U-M community, where she serves on the executive teams of the Women of Color Task Force and the Association of Black Professionals, Faculty, Administrators, and Staff, and is a member of the Police Department Oversight Committee and the Advancing Public Safety U-M Task Force. Rachel earned her bachelor’s degree from the University of Michigan and a law degree from Indiana University Maurer School of Law.

  • Tina Creguer, Senior Project Manager

    Tina comes to Precision Health after serving as managing director of the interdisciplinary University of Michigan Injury Center for six years. She has many years of experience managing successful projects in corporate roles, including serving as vice president of marketing communications for a large publishing company. Tina is available to help faculty engage with Precision Health, in addition to supporting all administrative and management functions.

  • Lori Robertson, Administrative Specialist

    Lori brings to this position more than two decades’ administrative experience in hospital and health care settings. She holds a Professional Administrative Certification, Service Excellence Certification, and Six Sigma Certification. Her eclectic background includes experience working in human resources, scheduling, and administrative office management, as well as implementing cost-saving measures and streamlined processes. Most recently, Lori was lead Administrative Assistant, Senior, for the Oncology Clinical Trials Support Unit at U-M, where she had the opportunity to work with multiple teams within the Cancer Center and campus wide.

  • Jessica Virzi, MSN, CSSBB, Clinical Informaticist

    Jessica is the MIPACT Project Director, and a Clinical Informaticist with Precision Health’s Health Implementation Workgroup. She is an accomplished clinical and research leadership professional with experience in improving strategic and operational initiatives, quality, informatics, clinical data analytics, and lean project management methodologies in healthcare. Jessica has led various quality assurance and process improvement efforts, and has implemented key strategic initiatives that cross multiple tiers of the health system.

  • Cinzia Villanucci Smothers, M. Bioethics; Manager, Data Analytics & IT

    Cinzia manages the multifaceted and interdisciplinary Data Analytics & IT workgroup, which brings together teams from the IT, clinical and genetic data, regulatory, computer science, and UXR domains. Before joining Precision Health, Cinzia was in charge of engagement-related projects and programs with a focus on learning analytics at the University of Michigan Center for Academic Innovation. Prior to moving to Michigan, she worked in the Global Health and Population Department at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, where she coordinated research programs and broadly supported faculty research projects and activities in the area of global health economics and demography. Cinzia has more than ten years of experience teaching residential as well as online courses in philosophy, logic, applied ethics/bioethics, and practical reasoning. Her education is grounded in philosophy, applied ethics, and policy, with a Master’s degree in Bioethics from La Sapienza University in Rome and a Master’s degree in Applied Philosophy from Bowling Green State University.

  • Clarissa Piatek, Communications Manager

    Clarissa has worked in communications in the fields of healthcare, medical research, nonprofit, and retail, in addition to having experience at the University of Michigan. Her most recent position was communications specialist for Critical Path Institute, where she wrote about cross-disciplinary, cross-sector collaboration in advancing treatments and therapies, biomarker qualification, precision medicine, and data aggregation and standardization. Prior to that, she held a communications role in the Law School. Clarissa has a BA from the University of Michigan and an MFA from Emerson College. Clarissa manages the Precision Health communications portfolio, including newsletters, website, branding, events, and public relations.

  • Janet Houghtby, MS; Manager, Cohort Development

    Janet Houghtby has been with the Department of Anesthesiology for nearly ten years.  Janet started her career in research with the Michigan Awareness Control Study. She then started and established the Michigan Genomics Initiative with the goal to complement a patient’s electronic medical record with their genetic data to lead to discoveries to improve patient treatments and therapies.  Janet currently is a Clinical Research Project Manager for the Michigan Predictive Activity & Clinical Trajectories study, which was built upon the experience she gained from 65,000+ patients enrolled in MGI.  She is responsible for the management of MIPACT study team and its study participants; as well as managing the subject incentives piece. Janet received her BA in Education from Western Michigan University and her MS in Education from the University of Michigan; she is also a Certified Clinical Research Professional.

  • Alexus Williams, Community Outreach Coordinator

    In her role as Precision Health’s Community Outreach Coordinator, Alexus recruits, consents, enrolls, and provides technical support to participants of the MIPACT and MY PART studies. Prior to this, she was a Clinical Subjects Associate in Anesthesiology and a recruiter for the MIPACT Study. Alexus interned for MHealthy in 2017, and has been a U-M employee since 2018. She has a Bachelor of Science in Public Health from Eastern Michigan University.

  • Bryanne Caldwell-Larkins, Clinical Subjects Coordinator

    Bryanne began her career in research as a part of the MIPACT Study Team, where she had the opportunity to learn more about the role of wearable technology in health care. Since she has joined Precision Health, she has helped to launch the MY PART Study in an effort to diversify samples available to researchers in U-M’s Central Biorepository. Bryanne earned her BS in biology and psychology and is currently working toward her MPH in Population and Health Sciences at U-M. Her research interests include providing equitable access to healthcare to underserved and underrepresented populations, and applying personalized medicine to provide better long-term health outcomes.

  • Jacob Ortlieb, Clinical Subjects Coordinator

    Jacob has helped coordinate and recruit participants for multiple research studies within Anesthesiology and Precision Health. He earned his BA in public policy at Michigan State University, and he is currently working toward a Master’s degree in Health Informatics at U-M.

     

  • Gabriella-Marie Dela Cruz, Clinical Subjects Associate

    Gabriella is a Clinical Subjects Associate for various Precision Health studies, helping with enrollment and providing tech support and other administrative duties related to recruitment. Prior to joining Precision Health, she received her Bachelor’s in Genomics and Molecular Genetics from Michigan State University and worked at a primary care clinic as a Clinical Informatics Specialist. Gabriella is starting graduate school and hopes to attend medical school as well.

  • Austin Vensko, Research Assistant

    Austin is a junior at U-M, working on a Mechanical Engineering degree. He enjoys working with and getting to know people, and establishing relationships with them. His role as a Research Assistant for Precision Health combines his passion for S.T.E.M and his desire to work with people. In his free time, he loves being in nature as much as possible, whether it is running, camping, or any other outside activity.

  • Anisa Driscoll, MSA, Research Scientific Facilitator

    Anisa works with U-M Precision Health investigators across multiple disciplines. Prior to joining Precision Health, she managed and coordinated bio and data repositories at both the Rogel Cancer Center and Frankel Cardiovascular Center. Anisa completed her bachelor’s degree in biochemistry and chemical biology at Wayne State University. She continues her education at Central Michigan University, working toward an MS in administration and project management. Anisa is enthusiastic about assisting collaborations that bridge the gap between researchers and U-M’s vast resources.

  • Kate Smith, PhD, CCRP, Research Scientific Facilitator

    As a research scientific facilitator, Kate  promotes compliant research while decreasing administrative burden. She received a BS in biology from Purdue University, and a PhD in Molecular and Medical Pharmacology from UCLA. Kate has previously worked in clinical research compliance, most recently focusing on research use of Protected Health Information.

  • Susan Hollar, MSI

    Susan has worked at U-M for 22 years, first in the University Library, then in the Medical School and HITS. At Precision Health, she assists researchers by communicating complex technical, data structure, and system access information using written and visual formats. She prepares instructional materials on using technology tools and accessing data, and assesses technology tools. Susan is a graduate of the University of Michigan School of Information, where she earned a Master of Science in Information (MSI).

  • Anita Pandit, MS, Research Area Specialist Senior

    Anita completed her undergraduate degree in statistics-mathematics at Rutgers University and her MS in biostatistics at the University of Michigan. Since then, she has worked as the primary analyst and study coordinator for Genes for Good, a large-scale genetics study conducted through social media. As part of her role, she has collaborated on GWAS analyses for various self-reported outcomes such as women’s health and pregnancy outcomes, gastrointestinal disorders, and behavioral traits. Her personal research interests are centered around integrating and highlighting minority populations in genetics research.

  • Brett Vanderwerff, PhD, Research Area Specialist

    Before joining Precision Health, Brett spent six years working in a research group focused on the study of targeted anti-cancer therapeutics. He received a PhD in Molecular Bioscience from Washington State University, Washington . He holds a Bachelor’s in Biological Sciences from the University of Wisconsin-Parkside. He currently works as a Research Area Specialist for Precision Health and is responsible for developing, maintaining, and running pipelines for cleaning and analyzing genotype data.

  • Adrian Weyhing, Lead Application Programmer

    Adrian has over twenty years of experience building complex software applications. His specialties range from clinical business analysis to development of large-scale messaging systems. He comes to Precision Health after nearly 10 years of leading software development for the University of Michigan Transplant Center. At Michigan Medicine, Adrian was instrumental in building EMR components. Previously, Adrian helped build two early-stage startup companies, as the architect and lead developer of real-time application sharing and an online support platform, and by developing applications to help grassroots political groups coordinate their messaging and efforts. Adrian has also developed data analysis applications for Goldman Sachs, and telephony applications for Northern Telecom. He holds a BS in Computer Science from the University of Michigan.

  • Giovanni Siciliano, Application Programmer/Analyst Senior

    Giovanni is an experienced software developer with over 14 years of experience working in the insurance industry. A strong and versatile engineering professional skilled in web, mainframe, and data warehousing technologies, Giovanni earned his BS in Computer Information Systems from Ferris State University. Giovanni will help implement technical solutions to Precision Health projects.

  • Justin Ortwine, Application Programmer/Analyst, Intermediate

    Justin is an application programmer and database administrator who joins Precision Health from the Anesthesiology Department and DataDirect development team. After earning a BS in Biology from the University of Michigan, he later returned to Eastern Michigan University to study Computer Science. He now brings to Precision Health extensive knowledge of health IT systems and experience with developing and supporting databases and their related infrastructures.

  • Matt Milligan, Research Cloud Administrator

    Matt currently serves as a Research Cloud Administrator responsible for Precision Health’s Windows virtual machine pool, and as a liaison with ARC High Performance Computing and storage environments. He received his BS and MS from Eastern Michigan University. Matt brings with him over 8 years of experience supporting faculty, staff, and students in ITS at U-M.