Who We Are
In collaboration with the Flint community, the Healthy Flint Coordinating Center (HFRCC) is a partnership among the University of Michigan – Flint, University of Michigan, and Michigan State University. HFRCC is focused on coordinating research conducted in Flint, minimizing duplication of efforts across local universities, elevating the community’s voice in the face of academic and government mistrust, and ensuring ethical research is conducted. The aim is to give power and voice to the community, while fully engaging academic research partners in developing and advancing a community-driven research agenda.
Flint Community Core
E. Yvonne Lewis, BBA, BS
Founder/CEO of the National Center for African American Health Consciousness
Through which she consults and facilitates community education and awareness efforts. She serves in a leadership role as the Co-Director of the Healthy Flint Research Coordinating Center in the development and implementation of Community/Academic Partnerships. She has a passion for ensuring the community is adequately prepared to make informed quality health and health related decisions. Yvonne assists with organizing and facilitating education and information sessions for community.
Yvonne holds a BS in Business Administration (Ferris State University, 1977) and Clinical/Community Psychology (University of Michigan-Flint, 1996). She is currently completing her Masters in Health Education.
Tonya French-Turner, MBA
Tonya has worked in the public health realm for over 25 years. During her tenure at the Genesee County Health Department, she worked for several programs, which included Women Infants and Children (WIC), Immunization and Communicable Diseases. As a public health servant, she served as a Public Health Program Coordinator for such notable programs as the Racial and Ethnic Approaches to Community Health (REACH) 2010/US and Reaching Across the Nation Consortium (RANC) projects in Genesee County and nationally. In this role, she was responsible for the overall administration and management of projects, implementation of project activities, coordination of work at the local, state, and national level. Tonya has served on several committees, which focused on racial & ethnic health disparities and health equity/social justice. Currently, she is the Community Core Co-Director of the Health Flint Research Coordinating Center (HFRCC). She also serves as the Mid-North Regional Director on the National REACH Coalition (NRC) Board of Directors and as community representative for Hurley Medical Center’s Institutional Review (IRB) Board. Mrs. French-Turner holds a Bachelor of Business Administration (B.B.A) and Masters of Business Administration (M.B.A.) in Strategic Management.
Community Ethics Review Board
Ella currently serves as the Community Activities Manager of the Science Education Partnership Award (SEPA) Project and “Bridge” at the Center for Public Health and Community Genomics, at the School of Public Health – University of Michigan – Ann Arbor; Community Based Organization Partners (CBOP) Community Ethics Review Board (CERB) Administrator in the Community Engagement Office of the Healthy Flint Research Coordinating Center (HFRCC); and Community Director of the Methodology Core of the Flint Center for Health Equity Solutions (FCHES). She also serves as an Independent Community-Academic Consultant working with other academic institutions and partnerships that are engaged in Community Based Participatory Research (CBPR) with their local communities.
Michigan State University
Debra Furr-Holden, PhD
C. S. Mott Endowed Professor of Public Health based in Flint, and Professor of Epidemiologist and Biostatistics at the Michigan State University Department College of Human Medicine. Dr. Furr-Holden is an epidemiologist with expertise in addiction epidemiology, prevention science, psychosocial measurement and behavioral health equity research, interventions and policy. Dr. Furr-Holden’s community-based, action-oriented research has been well received by community stakeholders in Flint who are eager to explore policy interventions to help address some of Flint and the nation’s greatest public health challenges, with a special emphasis on health equity and policy-level interventions.
Rick Sadler, PhD
Medical geographer by training and an Assistant Professor in the Division of Public Health at Michigan State University in Flint. His work is rooted in community partnerships and aimed at strengthening the understanding between the built environment and health behaviors/outcomes, with the goal of informing land use policy to build healthier cities. His work is particularly focused on regions like his hometown of Flint, which experience unique challenges arising from a combination of social, political, and economic forces that exacerbate health equity issues.
University of Michigan – Flint
Ken Sylvester, PhD
Director of Research and Sponsored Programs at University of Michigan Flint, with research development and administration responsibilities on the Flint campus, and has more than 15 years’ experience in social and environmental research at the University of Michigan’s Institute for Social Research.
Michelle Sahli, PhD, MS
Assistant Professor at the Department of Public Health and Health Sciences School of Public Health and Health Professions at the University of Michigan – Flint. Dr. Sahli has investigated relationships between vitamin D status and pathogenic oral bacteria, and associations between nutritional factors and diabetic eye disease, and lifestyle advice given to patients by optometrists.
Her current research interests include communication between healthcare providers and patients as well as nutritional epidemiology, in particular diet patters and their relationship to eye disease. Dr. Sahli currently teaches epidemiology and introductory biostatistics. She has supervised independent studies in infectious disease epidemiology and anticipates teaching some nutrition focused courses in the future.
University of Michigan – Ann Arbor
Susan Woolford, MD., MPH
Assistant Professor and Co-Director of the Mobile Technology to Enhance Child Health (MTECH) Program in the Child Health Evaluation and Research (CHEAR) Center and Faculty in the Michigan Institute for Clinical and Health Research (MICHR) Community Engagement Program at the University of Michigan. Her research focuses on community-engaged approaches to inform the use of communications technology in the treatment of childhood obesity for diverse populations.
Tricia Piechowski, MSW, MPH, MA
Administrative Program Director of the Michigan Institute for Clinical and Health Research (MICHR) Community Engagement Program. She works toward building equitable partnerships between community and academic partners in research. She develops trainings, provides consultations, and engages in other infrastructure building activities for partnership development. She has a MSW and MPH from the University of Michigan and MA in African Studies from UCLA.