Michelle A. Meade, PhD
University of Michigan, Department of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation
Ann Arbor, MI16th ASCIP Member to Mention
RESEARCH PROJECTS / INTERESTS:
My research focus is on enhancing the health and participation, and reducing health care disparities and costs, among individuals with SCI and other disabilities through (1) identification of modifiable factors; (2) development and validation of culturally relevant programs and interventions, especially those associated with self-management; and (3) implementation of (tailored) dissemination and knowledge translation strategies. Specific projects include the development of a mobile gaming app to promote self-management (see SCIHard.com), a qualitative study on factors associated with positive adjustment and resilience; and several projects examining the feasibility and effectiveness of Health Mechanics, the self-management program that I developed.
Dr. Meade was proudly nominated by the ASCIP Governance Board (a first!) for several reasons. Michelle has been a member of the organization since 1999 and she has spent her career conducting research, developing programs and advocating in collaboration with individuals with spinal cord injury (SCI) with a focus on reducing health disparities and improving quality of life. Michelle actively involves herself in ASCIP committees and shares her talents freely and with notable contributions. Dr. Meade is an asset to ASCIP and is truly an SCI Champion!
THE FABULOUS FOUR QUESTIONS:
Favorite part of working in the field of SCI: The short answer is that working with individuals with SCI allows me to meet and get to know interesting people. More holistically, I think that working with individuals with SCI as patients, research participants and collaborators challenges me and the healthcare system to problem solve and to think beyond our current programs, limits and barriers. Just as we ask those with new SCI to adjust their behaviors and their lives to cope and optimize functioning with their impairment, so we as a field are having to change what we do and how we do it (and then provide evidence that it does, in fact make a difference) in order to adapt and thrive in the changing healthcare system.
Interesting personal fact about the MM: I am a Big Sister in the Big Brother-Big Sister. My “Little” Anthony and I have been matched for about five years now. Our activities are split between those focused on educational activities (going to museums, music, lectures, etc) and just doing things that are fun (going out to dinner [we both like trying new places and eating good food], bowling, etc).
The most influential person(s) in your life: I think that there were 2 people who most influenced my professional life: (1) Dr. Thomas Creer, my dissertation advisor who introduced me to the concept of self-management and validated my personal strengths; and (2) Dr. Njeri Jackson, a colleague from Virginia Commonwealth University, who offered first collaboration then friendship and open my eyes to the presence of health and healthcare disparities. Both individuals have now passed away but I continue to feel thankful for having had them in my life.
Pearls for new, tenured and future members of ASCIP: We are all busy individuals who are offered many opportunities for engagement. Think strategically about which ones may help you get to where you want to be both right now and in the future. We may not be able to do everything at the same time, but I truly believe that you can do those things that are important to you over the course of your career if you identify and validate your own priorities, goals and strengths (rather than letting these be set by others) and live according to your personal values and truths. Finally, I have come to realize the importance of prioritizing family and friendships as they provide both the emotional and practical support that allow us to continue to work in a demanding and challenging field
The Academy Research Committee (ARC) thanks the ASCIP membership for highlighting one of our stellar peers! Please send all nominations and questions to Maggi Budd at firstname.lastname@example.org.