Meet the MVBH Team:
RoAnne Chaney, Michigan Disability Rights Coalition
RoAnne Chaney is Executive Director for the Michigan Disability Rights Coalition. She has decades of experience in disability and health care issues both in Michigan and nationally and particular expertise in long term care and supports, nursing facility transition, community integration, and meaningful consumer involvement.
In 2005, RoAnne was appointed by the Governor to Chair the Governor’s Medicaid Long Term Care Task Force. She was appointed to the state Advisory Commission on Long-Term Care, Supports and Services in 2010 and she remains a member of the Commission. She also co- chairs an Advisory Committee to the state’s Health Promotion for People with Disabilities project. RoAnne has a Bachelor of Arts in Social Work and a Master of Public Administration from Eastern Michigan University.
Norman DeLisle, Jr., Michigan Disability Rights Coalition
Norman G. DeLisle, Jr., Project Consultant, has worked in disability advocacy since 1970. He served as the Executive Director of Michigan Disability Rights Coalition from 1997 to 2015. Norm has been a part of, and has worked with, Michigan’s disability community in a wide variety of settings from school systems to medical programs and legal services. His educational background is in psychology with graduate work in developmental learning and Montessori. His work has always focused on the broad community of people with disabilities, and their long quest for self-determination and community inclusion. Norm has learned from personal experience what it is like to be dis-empowered and cut off from the support of friends and family. He believes that the true role of professional knowledge is to effectively catalyze the deepest hopes and dreams of all people.
Alison Hirschel, Michigan Elder Justice Initiative
Alison Hirschel is the Director of the Michigan Elder Justice Initiative and the Elder Law Specialist at the Michigan Poverty Law Program. From 1998-2014, she also taught elder law at the University of Michigan Law School where she serves as a Public Interest/Public Service Fellow. Previously, Alison worked at Michigan Protection and Advocacy Service and Community Legal Services in Philadelphia. She also taught elder law at the University of Pennsylvania Law School for 7 years.
In her current position, Alison represents clients and advocates on the state and national level on issues of concern to older adults and people with disabilities including long term care, public benefits, guardianship, elder abuse, and health care. She provides training and legal support to legal services lawyers and other advocates who work with older adults and people with disabilities. She is also counsel to the State Long Term Care Ombudsman Program and oversees two local ombudsman programs. Alison is the co-editor and one of the authors of Advising the Older Client and Clients with Disabilities (ICLE, 2009). Alison received her B.A. in 1981 from the University of Michigan and her J.D. in 1984 from Yale Law School.
Maureen Mickus, Ph. D., Western Michigan University
Maureen Mickus, Ph. D., is a gerontologist and Associate Professor at Western Michigan University where she has taught since 2006. Previously, Dr. Mickus was on the faculty of Michigan State University. A passionate and highly regarded teacher and researcher, Dr. Mickus’s expertise spans aging and health policy, mental health, long term care, cultural competency in health care, dementia, loneliness, and healthcare workforce issues.
In addition, she has explored comparative health and long term care issues around the world and frequently takes students abroad to explore health care and aging policy and practice. Dr. Mickus earned her bachelor’s degree from Kalamazoo College before completing a master of science in gerontology at the University of Southern California and a doctoral degree at Northwestern University.
Dan Wojciak is a staff attorney with the Michigan Elder Justice Initiative. He served as the primary author of the Advocate’s Guide to Michigan’s new MI Health Link (MHL) program and is a member of the MHL Ombudsman project. Dan completed a summer internship with the University of Michigan’s Human Trafficking Clinic and then spent an additional two semesters with the clinic as a student attorney. He also completed an internship with Advocates for Basic Legal Equality, working on cases involving evictions and housing rights, disability law, and immigration. He received his BA from the University of Michigan in 2009 and his JD from the University of Michigan Law School in 2014.
Aimee Sterk, LMSW, is a woman with invisible disabilities and has been working in the aging and disability community for almost 20 years. She started her career helping people transition out of nursing homes and progressed to policy and program development to support community living using assistive technology. She has written successful grants totaling over $1 million dollars and has presented to and worked with governmental task forces and audiences around the state and nation on inclusion, grant writing, nursing facility transition, financial literacy, disability, voting rights, effective communication, community-based long-term care and assistive technology.
As social policy chair for the League of Women Voters in Holland, Aimee coordinated a National Organization on Disability award-winning program to increase voter accessibility for older adults and people with disabilities in West Michigan. Aimee served on the national board of the Association of Assistive Technology Act Programs and is on the Outpatient Advisory Committee for Spectrum Health. She has a B.A. in Psychology from Hope College and an M.S.W. from Michigan State University.
Gwendolyn Graddy-Dansby, M.D., FACP, Medical Director, PACE Southeast Michigan
Dr. Gwendolyn Graddy-Dansby completed her undergraduate education at the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor in 1980. She graduated from Wayne State University School of Medicine in 1984. She joined the Henry Ford Health System in 1987 and is Board Certified in both Internal Medicine and Geriatrics. She is also a Fellow in the American College of Physicians.
Dr. Graddy has been the Medical Director for the Center for Senior Independence (CSI) since 2001 which was the first Program of All Inclusive Care of the Elderly (PACE) site in the state of Michigan. Dr. Graddy, in collaboration with the Interdisciplinary Team (IDT) at CSI, developed its own Comfort Care program. The focus is on identifying patients early and enrolling them into Comfort Care. The goal is to improve and maintain not just quality of life but quality of death and dying.
She is a member of Straight Gate International Church in Detroit and the Department Head for Gate Care Health Ministry.
Special interests: Alzheimer’s disease, Nursing Home care, Spirituality, Aging and Wellness, health disparities and cultural competency, the role of women’s support groups on stress reduction and improvement of work-life balance. She speaks extensively on healthy aging, caregiving and Alzheimer’s dementia. She also has begun to study the role that PACE plays in facilitating controlling hospital utilization through understanding the role of PACE on care coordination. She is the founder of (DOCSS) Daughters of Christ Standing Steadfast.
Dr. Graddy has been consistently named Hour Detroit Magazine’s “Top Doc”. In 2015, she was named Crain’s Healthcare Hero and also received the Henry Ford Health System’s Diversity Hero Award.
Anita Salustro, Michigan Disability Rights Coalition
Anita Salustro has spent the better part of her career on advocacy and education to older people. Anita is currently a coordinator of outreach for MI Health Link, the pilot project that integrates Medicare and Medicaid.
Anita worked for AARP in a variety of outreach activities, but her proudest accomplishment was in consumer protection, where she headed a multi-agency team to expose deceptive living trust marketing practices.
She is a former member of the Attorney General’s Senior Brigade. She has designed consumer awareness for Medicare fraud for the Michigan Medicare Medicaid Assistance Program.
Sherry Whitman, Upper Peninsula Commission for Area Progress (UPCAP), Escanaba, MI
Sherry Whitman has served as Planner/Program Developer and MMAP Regional Coordinator for UPCAP since 2004. In this capacity, Sherry is responsible to draft the U.P. Area Agency on Aging’s Annual Implementation Plan for Older Adults, helping to develop and administer new programs and ensure the quality of existing programs for seniors. She is a Master Trainer for Matter of Balance: Managing Concerns About Falls™ and a certified leader for Creating Confident Caregivers, both evidenced-based prevention programs that teach people how to manage their health & well-being. She is also a trainer for the Building Training, Building Quality Initiative which trains in-home personal care aides to improve their skills and provide quality of care.
As MMAP Regional Coordinator, she is responsible to recruit, train, mentor, and supervise over 50 volunteer Medicare/Medicaid Assistance (MMAP) counselors throughout the Upper Peninsula. Additionally, she is on the state-wide MMAP Advisory Council and is a Certified Medicaid Specialist.
Darren Young, Upper Peninsula Commission for Area Progress (UPCAP), Escanaba, MI
Darren Young is the Manager of Business and Community Relations for the Upper Peninsula Commission for Area Progress, as well as a Quality Assurance Specialist for the Area Agency on Aging for the entire Upper Peninsula. Darren has been employed at UPCAP since October of 2013 where he has been implementing outreach events as part of the Aging and Disability Resource Coalition to bring awareness to the MMAP program. He also plays in intricate part in the marketing and promotion of UPCAP’s evidence-based Health and Wellness programs. In addition, Darren is currently the coordinator of Escanaba’s Senior Task Force which is working on OSA’s Community For a Lifetime Assessment.
While Darren was working on his Bachelors in Business Science and Entrepreneurship at Northern Michigan University, he was active in initiating and building multiple healthy lifestyle clubs that promoted exercise and comradery among NMU Students. While building these clubs, he was able to help set two world records to increase awareness. His excitement for building healthy lifestyles for others has made the transition to UPCAP seamless.
Susan Steinke, Michigan Elder Justice Initiative
Susan Steinke is the Outreach Coordinator for the MI Health Link Ombudsman and the Michigan Voices for Better Health project. Past positions include Project Coordinator for PHI Michigan’s “Training to Prevent Adult Abuse and Neglect”, and Community Based Ombudsman working with individuals receiving services in their homes after being transitioned from a nursing home. She was the first Executive Director for the Michigan Quality Community Care Council (QC3), an inter-governmental agency supporting consumers and individual providers of Home Help, Michigan’s State Plan Personal Care Program. Prior to the QC3, Susan worked in a variety of outreach, advocacy, and organizing capacities. She has a B.S. in International Relations from James Madison College at Michigan State University.