Jamie Abelson

Senior Research Associate, The Michigan Center for Urban African American Aging Research (MCUAAAR)

More about Jamie Abelson

Sean Knurek

Sean KnurekExtension Health Educator, Michigan State University Extension

M.P.H., Michigan State University
M.A., Mass Communication, University of Wisconsin-Madison
B.A. in Journalism, Marquette University

More about Sean Knurek

Sean currently works in the MSU Extension’s Health and Nutrition Institute as an Extension Health Educator, focusing on delivering evidence-based health programming to residents of Genesee, Shiawassee, Saginaw, Bay, and Midland Counties.

Sean previously worked for Michigan State University Extension as a Nutrition Program Instructor in Genesee County, teaching Cooking Matters and Cooking for One under a MDHHS Flint Special Funds grant. The target audiences reached included children aging out of foster care and consumers seeking mental health services in Flint and Genesee County. Sean also worked for five years as a Behavioral Support Specialist for ATTIC Correctional Services in Madison, Wisconsin, providing assistance and services for men transitioning from incarceration back to productive society.

Vanessa O. Rorai

Vanessa RoraiCommunity Outreach Specialist, Healthier Black Elders Center

Certificate, 2018, Gerontology, Wayne State University
MSW, 2016, Master of Social Work, Wayne State University
B.A., 2012, Developmental Psychology, University of Windsor

More about Vanessa O. Rorai

Vanessa is the Community Outreach Specialist for the Michigan Center for Urban African American Aging Research (MCUAAAR). Her role is within the Community Liaison Recruitment Core (CLRC) where she maintains and organizes all HBEC activities. This includes organizing the Lunch & Learn community education events, publishing the bi-annual newsletter, and managing the Participant Resource Pool (PRP) database. The PRP provides older African American adults the opportunity to participate in research and offers researchers a database to recruit for their studies. She also maintains relationships with the Community Advisory Board members that oversees all HBEC activities.

Yamani Rikia Vinson

Yamani Rikia VinsonEducational Program Coordinator, Center for Social Epidemiology and Population Health

Administrative Support, The Michigan Center for Urban African American Aging Research (MCUAAAR)

MHSA Candidate, University of Michigan
B.S., Psychology, Spanish Minor, Michigan State University

More about Yamani Rikia Vinson

Yamani Rikia Vinson is a second-year Master of Health Services Administration (MHSA) Candidate at the University of Michigan’s School of Public Health (UM-SPH). She earned her BS in Psychology from Michigan State University (MSU) in 2019 and is an Alum of the University of Michigan’s Summer Enrichment Program (UM-SEP). At MSU Yamani focused her research efforts on healthcare inequities faced by those with intersected identities. In 2018, Yamani participated in UM-SEP, where she held two internship placements; one with Trinity Health’s Diversity and Inclusion Office and the other at Joy-Southfield’s Health and Education Center. 

Currently, Yamani is working as the Educational Program Coordinator for the Center for Social Epidemiology and Population Health and for the COVID-19 Coping Study as the Director of Communication. At UM-SPH, Yamani is most known for her development of the Social Epidemiology Certificate Program, and her role as President of the Michigan Healthcare Executive Student Association. She is also known for her planning of the Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion workshop series: “If You Really Knew Me”. Passionate, staunch, and confident, Yamani aspires to be a Chief Experience Officer for a health system. She is most interested in addressing the lack of adequate representation in the medical field.

Diana Armistead

Research Administrator, The Michigan Center for Urban African American Aging Research (MCUAAAR)

M.S., Eastern Michigan University
BGS, University of Michigan

More about Diana Armistead

Diana works as the research administrator for PRBA handling day to day activities associated with current funding and assisting with proposal management. She has worked at ISR/RCGD since 2006 and with PRBA since 2015.

Deborah Robinson

Deborah Robinson Faculty Administrative Coordinator, MCUAAAR
Research Investigator, Research Center for Group Dynamics

B.A., Psychology, 1978, Williams College
Ph.D., Psychology, 1987, University of Michigan
MBA, International Organizations, 2005, University of Geneva

More about Deborah Robinson

Dr. Robinson is a researcher and senior program manager with more than 25 years of experience working with grassroots community groups, academic institutions, non-governmental organizations, churches, government agencies, and most recently, public libraries. She has lived, worked in, or traveled to 75 countries to date and has over 15 years’ experience in survey research methodology. She is the Co-PI on the African Americans Living Abroad Project being conducted by the Program for Research on Black Americans (PRBA). There has not been a comprehensive study of African Americans living abroad globally because of numerous methodological challenges. Dr. Robinson is creating innovative strategies to address these challenges. In addition to the quantitative online survey, Dr. Robinson plans to conduct qualitative oral histories with African Americans currently living overseas.

Julie Sweetman

Research Assistant, The Michigan Center for Urban African American Aging Research (MCUAAAR)

B.A., Psychology and Economics, University of Michigan
M.S., Survey Methodology, University of Michigan

More about Julie Sweetman

Julie Sweetman has a BA in Psychology and Economics, and a MS in Survey Methodology, both from the University of Michigan. She has worked with PRBA in various capacities for nearly two decades. She was the data manager for the National Survey of American Life, maintaining the NSAL datasets across multiple platforms, creating many complex variables, and running analyses in SPSS, SAS, and Stata for many NSAL publications and presentations. She has been involved with the National Politics Studies, managing data from both paper-and-pencil questionnaires and Qualtrics online surveys. She has programmed and analyzed Qualtrics data to track the effectiveness of the MCUAAAAR mentorship programs. Julie also maintains a comprehensive master list of both NSAL and NPS publications.

Angela M. Zell

Angela M. ZellAdministrative Support Staff, The Michigan Center for Urban African American Aging Research (MCUAAAR)

Dr.P.H., Expected 2021, Public Health, Capella University M.S., 2018, Human Development & Family Studies, Michigan State University
M.P.H., 2013, Public Health, Michigan State University
B.B.A., 2010, Health Services Administration, Davenport University

More about Angela M. Zell

Ms. Zell’s research interests are older adults and chronic conditions, and geriatric medical education.

Ms. Zell is a Project Coordinator for the MSU College of Human Medicine’s Office of Research. She coordinates collaborative research across disciplines, colleges, and domestic and international communities. She is the co-instructor and preceptor for the introductory research and health literacy classes for medical student courses. Ms. Zell organizes and mentors student research opportunities, approves and grades medical student research electives. She serves as the needs assessment coordinator and project operations manager on the Caring for Patients with Chronic Conditions (CPCC), Geriatric Rural Extension of Expertise through Telegeriatric Services (GREETS), Partners in Aging Strategies and Training (PAST) grants, served as an Evaluation Coordinator for the THRIVE grant and provides administrative support on the MCUAAAR grant. She conducted a study of CHM faculty perceptions of medical student and resident research. She managed the faculty search for seven public health research positions for Flint, MI.