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 for 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 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 in 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
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 for the University.
Julia VanderMolen, Ph.D.
Dr. Julia VanderMolen is an Assistant Professor Allied Health Science with Grand Valley State University, Grand Rapids, Michigan. She is a 2011 Teaching Excellence Award and 2012 Blackboard Exemplary Course Award winner. She graduated with a 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 and is completing a MS in Biology from Clemson University. 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 the International Association for K-12 Online Learning (iNACOL) as a member of the research committee for best teacher education practice.
Page last modified October 14, 2015