Team Biographies

Dr. Bree E. Holtz is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Advertising and Public Relations in the College of CommunicationB. Holtz Photo Arts and Sciences at Michigan State University.

Dr. Holtz’s broad research interest centers around understanding the adoption of information communication technologies and its impact on health care access and delivery. Her prior research has examined the use of mobile phones in asthma and diabetes management, online health literacy, adoption and utilization of telemedicine technologies in a health setting, and using innovative telecommunications technologies to improve access to health care.  Her current research interests include understanding the implementation and utilization of mHealth technologies while improving patient centered care.

Holtz received her master’s degree from the London School of Economics, her PhD from Michigan State University, and completed a post-doc at the Center for Clinical Management Research, Ann Arbor VA Healthcare System. She has published work in communication, technology, and medical journals. Dr. Holtz’s research is funded by the American Diabetes Association and Health Resources and Services Administration.


Dr. Michael Wood, MD is Associate Professor of Pediatrics at University of Michigan Wood PhotoMedical School and Clinical Director of the Pediatric Diabetes Program.

Dr. Wood’s main clinical research focus has been on improving the care of children with type 1 diabetes.  Many of his previous studies have involved the use of technology to improve diabetes care and control with an eventual goal of participation in the first national studies of the artificial pancreas in children.  Since he joined the University of Michigan pediatric diabetes team in April 2013 as its clinical director, they have identified the improvement of transition from pediatric to adult care as an important clinical focus.  Dr. Wood has been working with Dr. Holtz and her team to see if using technology (app) will improve diabetes control and the transition process.

Dr. Wood attended the University of Michigan for both undergraduate studies and medical school. After completing medical school, Dr. Wood served his internship and pediatric residency, as well as a pediatric endocrinology fellowship, at Harvard’s Boston Children’s Hospital from 1988–1994. From 1994 until 2013, Dr. Wood was the Division Chief of Pediatric Endocrinology at the Helen DeVos Children’s Hospital in Grand Rapids, Michigan.


Julie Dunneback, MSN, APRN, BC, CPNP, CDE is a Pediatric Nurse Practitioner Julie Dunnebackworking in the Pediatric Endocrinology Clinic at Sparrow Health System.

Dunneback’s full time clinical focus is working with children and adolescents with Type 1 diabetes. She is particularly interested in how the use of technology may reduce the burden of care that families face when their child has diabetes. Use of research to help facilitate the transition from parental care of the child’s diabetes, to the adolescent becoming independent in diabetes self-management, is especially important to her clinical role.

Previous research interests include the use of nursing interventions to treat children’s postoperative pain and the use of distraction to reduce pain, fear and behavioral distress in children in both inpatient and outpatient clinical settings.

Dunneback received her Bachelor of Science in Nursing from Michigan State University, and her Master of Science in Nursing from Wayne State University.  She has been in practice for the past 36 years, caring for children in inpatient and outpatient clinical settings.  She has 22 years of experience as a pediatric nurse practitioner, which includes educating parents and children about diabetes and diabetes self-care.


Dr. Shelia R. Cotten is the Director of the Sparrow/MSU Center for Innovation MSU Outside Photo - 9-2015and Research, the Director of Trifecta, and a Professor in the Department of Media and Information at Michigan State University.

Dr. Cotten studies technology use across the life course and the social, educational, and health impacts of that use. She conducts large-scale community based intervention studies designed to use technology to enhance various aspects of quality of life.

Prior to joining MSU, Dr. Cotten was a Professor in the Department of Sociology at the University of Alabama, Birmingham.


Dr. Denise Hershey, PhD, MSN, FNP-BC is an Assistant Professor in the College of Nursing at SoltowHershey_DeniseMichigan State University.

Dr. Hershey’s research interest is in the area of self-management of multi-morbidities in adults, the self-management of prior existing chronic conditions and care management/coordination for patients with multiple chronic diseases.

Hershey received her Bachelor of Science in Nursing from Nazareth College in Kalamazoo, MI, and her Master of Science as well as her PhD in Nursing from Michigan State University. Dr. Hershey has over 20 years of experience as a family nurse practitioner, working with patients with diabetes and other chronic conditions. Dr. Hershey has extensive experience educating and working with adults regarding the self-management of their chronic conditions.


Dr. Amanda Holmstrom is an Associate Professor in the Department of Communication in the Screen Shot 2016-07-06 at 12.34.28 PMCollege of Communication Arts and Sciences at Michigan State University.

Her scholarly work focuses primarily on the communication of various forms of social support (including informational, tangible, network, emotional, and esteem support) in relationships and their association with indices of physical, mental, and relational well-being. Other, related areas of interest include relational and family communication, health communication (such as provider-patient communication), gender and sex differences in supportive communication, and the development and maintenance of self-esteem.


Dr. Joshua Richman has an MD and PhD in Biostatistics and is an Associate joshua_richman-2Professor of Surgery at the University of Alabama at Birmingham with secondary appointments in Preventive Medicine and Biostatistics. He has extensive experience with the design and analysis of pragmatic community-based clinical trials and with the analysis of large observational datasets. His other research interests include nonlinear model and risk-estimation for diabetes, cardiac events and surgical outcomes.



Amol Pavangadkar is the Director of sandbox engagement and a Senior Specialist amol-headshotat Michigan State University. He has produced and directed dozens of media projects, with international collaborators and federal agencies. His productions range from promotional, training, music videos and films, delivered on a broad range of platforms. Some recent projects include trauma response training, human trafficking awareness, PTSD training for law enforcement agencies, food systems innovations in Africa and India, a diabetes monitoring app and climate change communication. He is a 2012 recipient of the prestigious faculty seminar fellowship from the Academy of Television Arts and Sciences and recently won the Faculty Impact award in his college.

He has his Bachelors in Electronics from the University of Pune, MBA in Finance from Symbiosis Institute of Management Studies and an MA in Telecommunications from Michigan State University.


Katharine Murray is an Outreach Specialist and Grant Project Manager in New Facultythe

Department of Advertising and Public Relations in the College of Communication Arts and Sciences at Michigan State University.

Murray acts as the coordinator for all grant-related communications and tasks in order to enhance collaboration among both internal and external stakeholders including hospital and clinic staff. She is also responsible for training, recruitment and event logistic materials for the research participants and clinical staff. Murray also acts as the media liaison for all grant related publicity, including crafting and disseminating press releases, creating flyers, social media management and developing and maintaining website content.

Murray received both her Bachelors and Masters degrees from the Department of Communication at Michigan State University.


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