Allied Health Science Faculty
Michael W. Wambach, Ph.D.
Chair, Allied Health Sciences Department and Assistant Professor
Dr. Wambach’s professional background is health care (Respiratory Therapy), which he taught for five years at the State University of New York at Stony Brook and directed the Respiratory Therapy Program for seven years at the University of Pittsburgh. His experiences also include grant writing and administration through the State of Michigan and federal OSHA. Mike has performed consulting and training for many West Michigan companies like Meijer, Herman Miller, Stryker, and Spartan Stores. In 1994, he started the health care administration program at Davenport University in Grand Rapids, MI and in 2000 he became director of faculty development for Davenport. Mike also worked as faculty development specialist for Baker College Online and was the state-wide lead trainer for the Michigan Community Blood Centers.
Mike earned an Associates Degree (Respiratory Therapy) at the Milwaukee Area Technical College, a Bachelor's of Science (Cardiorespiratory Sciences), a Masters of Science (Health Sciences), both from the State University of New York at Stony Brook, and a Ph.D. in Higher, Adult, and Lifelong Education from Michigan State University.
His research interests center on the processes of health sciences education, organizational culture, and online learning.
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 health care 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.
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 associates 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.
Claudia Leiras, Ph.D.
Assistant Professor, AHS/MPH
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.
Julia VanderMolen, Ph.D.
Dr. Julia VanderMolen is an Assistant Professor in the Allied Health Sciences program within the College of Health Professions at Grand Valley State University. Dr. VanderMolen received her Ph.D. in Educational Leadership with an emphasis in Career and Technical Education from Western Michigan University. She has a M.Ed in Educational Technology from Grand Valley State University, a MA in Health Science from the University of Alabama, a MS in Biology from Clemson University and a Bachelor of Science in Biology from Western Michigan University.
She is a recipient of the 2011 Teaching Excellence Award from Davenport University and 2012 and 2014 Blackboard Exemplary Course Award winner for online teaching in health and science. She has presented at a number of conferences on the topic of educational technology and online learning. She has expertise in online learning and currently provides expertise to numerous organizations in the area of health education, health promotion, health literacy, online teaching and learning, and assistive technology.
In addition to advising and mentoring students on various projects, Dr. VanderMolen teaches the following undergraduate courses Medical Terminology, Introduction to Healthcare, Healthcare Management, Introduction to Health Care Research, Issues in Health Professions and Advanced Medical Terminology. Dr. VanderMolen is currently consulting with the Online Learning Consortium on developing and facilitating best practices in teaching online health and science courses.
Dr. VanderMolen’s research interests include health literacy, community health, health assessment and assistive technology.
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.
Karen’s professional background is in Health Care Management and Genetic Counseling. Karen has worked in clinical genetics for over 20 years providing clinical counseling services and professional education. In addition, to her clinical work Karen also has over 10 years’ experience in payer systems and policy development. Prior to teaching in the AHS department at GVSU, Karen’s teaching experience includes medical ethics, genetics for nursing, health care policy and humanities for the GVSU biology and nursing departments as well as Michigan State’s College of Human Medicine. Karen is involved with her professional society, the National Society of Genetic Counseling, as their representative to the American Medical Association Health Care advisory committee.
Karen received her bachelor’s degree in Biology and Chemistry and a Master’s degree in Genetic Counseling from the University of Pittsburgh. Karen also has a Master’s of Management degree from Aquinas College and is currently working on her Doctorate of Education degree in Educational Leadership from Capella University.
In her spare time, Karen enjoys cooking and outdoor activities including participating in triathlons.
Kerry Mohney is a Team Educator Awardee for the Michigan Occupational Dean’s Administrative Council for the development, implementation, and management of the Michigan Radiologic Imaging Sciences Consortium. She continues to work in the MiRIS collaborative as the coordinator for Grand Valley State University students who are seeking technologist career paths in the medical imaging sciences.
Kerry’s educational background in medical imaging was launched through a two-year competitive admission technologist training program. Upon graduation, she earned national certification from the American Registry of Radiologic Technologists in radiography, and later in her experience, ARRT certification in mammography. Kerry then continued to a Bachelor of Science in Health Studies degree and a Master of Arts in Education and Professional Development through Western Michigan University. Overall, Kerry has over 34 years of experience in medical imaging for the last 13 years focusing on medical imaging program development, program leadership, and instruction. 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).
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.
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 upcoming publication. Chad also served as an appointed member on 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.
Page last modified February 12, 2016