Chair, Allied Health Sciences Department and Assistant Professor
Chad’s professional background is in educational leadership, clinical research, and healthcare administration. Before joining GVSU’s faculty, he began his career as an elementary teacher followed by seven years in school administration. Chad transitioned into a healthcare career starting at Spectrum Health where he worked as a Clinical Research Coordinator facilitating all Emergency Medicine studies in coordination as an appointed faculty with Michigan State University College of Human Medicine. This experience resulted in numerous research publications with a number of current studies underway for an upcoming publication. Chad also served as an appointed member of the Spectrum Health Institutional Review Board (IRB).
He earned his Nursing Home Administrator’s license and spent his final years before joining GVSU in administration, consulting, and researching long-term care both in non-profit and for-profit environments. Chad has also served on numerous local and state professional associations focused on long-term care leadership along with access and quality of care to seniors.
Chad earned a Bachelor of Arts (Elementary Education) at Cornerstone University, and both a Masters of Educational Leadership and Masters of Healthcare Administration from Grand Valley State University. He is currently working on a Doctorate at Indiana Wesleyan University in Organizational Leadership.
Chad’s research interests are geriatric access and quality of care, clinical process improvement, and emergency management systems and education.
AHS Internship Coordinator
Alisha's professional background is in health care management and community health education. She has worked at both Spectrum Health and Priority Health and has been in health care for over a decade. Her experiences have been in safety education, quality improvement, life skills management, and marketing. Alisha has had a considerable amount of experience in health care diversity, health literacy, disease management and healthcare disparities. Along with her health care background, Alisha has worked with the Grand Rapids Public School system's after-school programming and service learning projects in collaboration with various community organizations. She has also worked with transitional housing programs for homeless individuals and families through Dwelling Place, Inc.
Alisha earned a Bachelor's Degree in Community Health Education, a Masters of Arts in Family and Consumers Sciences (Family Life Education), and is currently pursuing a Doctorate in Educational Leadership (Higher Education), all from Western Michigan University. Go Broncos!
She has taught several of the courses in Allied Health Sciences including: Introduction to Health Care, Health Care Research, Health Care Management, Medical Terminology, Ethical and Legal Responsibilities in Health Care and the Allied Health Capstone. Additionally, she has developed the newly offered Global Health Care and Holistic Health Care courses. She also coordinates the internships for the program. Currently, Alisha is working in collaboration with GRAAHI (Grand Rapids African American Health Institute), on a mentoring program for underrepresented minority students in health professions programs. Along with her teaching responsibilities, Alisha is the Inclusion Officer for the College of Health Professions and an Inclusion Champion for the University.
Her research interests center on diversity in health care, health care disparities, global health and recruitment and retention of minority students.
Program Director-Health Information Management
Julie's professional background is in Health Information Management. Before teaching, she worked for Spectrum Health Reed City & the Downtown Grand Rapids Campus wearing many hats from coding, release of information, working with physicians to complete their medical records on time and educating physicians on proper documentation and coding updates. Julie also did remote coding from home where she worked for hospitals such as John Hopkins Hospital and a variety of other facilities. For the last five years, she has taught at Ferris State University for the Health Information Management Programs.
Julie earned her associate's degree from Ferris State University in Health Information Technology. She also has two bachelor degrees from Ferris State University in Health Information Management and Health Care Systems Administration. Julie obtained her Master's degree in one year also from Ferris State in Career and Technical Education with a concentration in Instructor all while teaching 17 credits. She is currently working on her Doctorate from Capella University in Health Administration with a concentration in Health Care Leadership.
Julie's research interests are cancer registry, telehealth monitoring and rehospitalizations and cancer screening.
Associate Professor, AHS/MPH
Dr. Leiras is an Assistant Professor for both the Allied Health Sciences and Public Health programs within the College of Health Professions at Grand Valley State University. She is also the MPH Epidemiology Track Coordinator for the Public Health program. Dr. Leiras received her master’s degree in Natural Sciences (interdisciplinary program with a focus in oncology and epidemiology) from Roswell Park Cancer Institute, a graduate division of the State University of New York at Buffalo. Her Ph.D. in Epidemiology (emphasis in oncology and women’s health) is from the Graduate School of Public Health from the University of Pittsburgh.
Over the past fifteen years, Dr. Leiras has worked on all aspects of research studies, including proposal development, grant writing, multi-study site coordination, recruitment strategies (specifically focusing on underrepresented minorities), creation and management of study databases, data analysis (SAS, Stata, R, and SPSS), and development of data collection forms and questionnaires in both English and Spanish. She is an expert in quantitative data analysis and community-based participatory research. In addition, Dr. Leiras has received funding for her research from the National Cancer Institute and been the recipient of several Minority Scholar Awards from the American Association for Cancer Research. Dr. Leiras’ research interests include health literacy, women’s health, health disparities, and biomarkers of cancer susceptibility.
In addition to mentoring graduate students in research projects, Dr. Leiras teaches both undergraduate and graduate courses in research methodology. She teaches Ethical and Legal Responsibilities in Health Care and Introduction to Health Care Research for undergraduate students and will be teaching several epidemiology courses for the Public Health program for graduate students. She is currently under contract to write an undergraduate research methodology textbook for Cognella Publishing (June 2014 expected publication date). In addition, Dr. Leiras is the chair of the Responsible Conduct of Research Advisory Committee of the University.
Health Information Management
Janna’s professional background is in the field of Health Information Management (HIM). Prior to teaching, she worked for Spectrum Health United Memorial as both the HIM Supervisor and Coding Supervisor for seven years. As a HIM Supervisor, she was responsible for multiple HIM technical areas such as the release of information, ICD, and CPT Coding, and record assembly and analysis. Janna also has experience with human resource functions along with developing, implementing, and working with an electronic record platform and also with working with and educating physicians about chart documentation standards and coding updates.
After working and managing in a healthcare setting, Janna transitioned into education as an Instructor at Ferris State University (FSU). While at FSU she advised and instructed in the Health Information Management Program along with the Health Care Systems Administration Program. She also has extensive experience developing HIM curriculums. Janna also assisted with the development of the GVSU Scribe Academy where she continues to teach lessons in Medical Terminology along with Billing and Coding. Along with Janna’s teaching responsibilities, she is also the Clinical Coordinator for the HIM program.
Janna earned an Associates Degree from Ferris State University in Health Information Technology, two Bachelor Degrees from Ferris State University in Health Information Management and Health Care Systems Administration. Janna obtained her Masters of Science in Career and Technical Education with a concentration in Instruction. She is currently pursuing her Doctorate from Capella University in Health Administration with a concentration in Health Care Leadership.
Janna’s research interests are revenue cycle management in healthcare, organizational culture, and online learning.
GVSU MiRIS Coordinator and Assistant Professor
Kerry Mohney is an Assistant Professor in the Allied Health Sciences Department at Grand Valley State University. Her professional background is in medical imaging sciences. Her career began through radiography program completion and national certification in radiologic technology through the American Registry of Radiologic. She also earned additional ARRT certification in mammography. She worked as a medical imaging technologist for 21 years with experience gained at Bronson Hospital and Kalamazoo Radiology (now Bronson Advanced Radiology Services).
In 2002, Kerry became Clinical Coordinator of a college radiography program and was awarded the Program Director position in 2003. Her work as a Radiography Program Director expanded to developing 3 additional educational programs in medical imaging at the same institution. During that time, she also supervised the building of a 1.05 million-dollar medical imaging laboratory for the new programs. At GVSU Kerry is the Coordinator for the MiRIS (Michigan Radiologic Imaging Sciences) MRI Consortium. She is also gaining experience in Invasive Cardiovascular Sciences for additional ARRT certification in cardiac interventional (CI) and to research educational program development in this area.
Kerry earned a Bachelor of Science Degree in Health Sciences at Western Michigan University and continued in completing a Master of Arts in Education and Professional Development, also at WMU. She has earned recognition in online instruction through Quality Matters and the Education Technology Organization of Michigan. In addition, she earned instructional design certification through the American Society for Training and Development (TD). She was awarded the Educator Award for the Michigan Occupational Dean’s Administrative Council for the development, implementation, and management of the Michigan Radiologic Imaging Sciences Consortium.
Kerry’s interests include adult learning theory, educational access for students, and educating the community about career pathways in health sciences. She currently serves on the Van Buren County Intermediate School District’s Advisory Team for Allied Health Education.
Assistant Professor, American Sign Language
Coordinator, American Sign Language Interpreting Emphasis
Misti’s professional background is in American Sign Language interpreting. She started her career as an interpreter in public schools, spending 10 years interpreting in high schools. She then transitioned to private practice community interpreting and has multiple areas of experience, including medical, mental health, legal, business, and performing arts settings.
Prior to establishing the American Sign Language course offerings at Grand Valley, she created a similar program at Muskegon Community College.
Misti earned an Associate’s degree in American Sign Language Interpreting from Lansing Community College, and a Bachelor’s degree in Liberal Arts with an emphasis of American Sign Language Interpreting from Sienna Heights University. Her Master’s degree in Psychology is from Capella University. She has been a nationally certified American Sign Language Interpreter since 2001.
Nicole ‘Nikki’ Wright is a certified genetic counselor. She received her Masters of Genetic Counseling from Wayne State University in 2012. Prior to graduate school, she was a Laker and received her Bachelors in Biopsychology from Grand Valley State University. She worked at Bronson Maternal-Fetal Medicine as a prenatal genetic counselor for five years. During that time, she was involved with not just patient care and education, but she also assisted in WMed lectures and local OB grand round presentations emphasizing the advances and limitations of cell-free DNA screening. More recently, she returned to the GVSU family as an assistant professor for Allied Health Science. She is part of the GVSU genetic counseling task force working to create the third genetic counseling graduate program in Michigan at Grand Valley State University.