Our Team

We are here to provide support to the people that we serve: patients we care for, learners who entrust their education to us, and our colleagues who work here.


David J. Brown, MD headshot

David J. Brown, M.D.

Associate Vice President and Associate Dean for Health Equity and Inclusion
Associate Professor of Pediatric Otolaryngology

Dr. Brown has been a Michigan Medicine faculty member since 2011. He is an associate professor of pediatric otolaryngology. He was the medical director of the Pediatric Otolaryngology Clinic, the medical director of the Multidisciplinary Aerodigestive Clinic, the pediatric otolaryngology liaison for the Global Tracheostomy Collaborative, and founder and faculty lead of the Otolaryngology Essential Skills Simulation Bootcamp. He is a member of Michigan Medicine’s Global REACH (Research, Education, and Collaboration in Health) program and is part of an otolaryngology team that travels to Ghana multiple times a year to collaborate on research projects and advance the surgical skills of local Ghanaian otolaryngologists.

As part of the University of Michigan’s comprehensive Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Strategic Plan, Dr. Brown leads the Michigan Medicine Office for Health Equity and Inclusion and the health system’s diversity, equity and inclusion initiatives. OHEI includes pipeline programs, diversity professional development and education, mentorship programs and health equity research. In 2011, Dr. Brown restarted the Michigan Otolaryngology Diversity Team which won the U-M Distinguished Diversity Leadership Award in 2013. Dr. Brown is a member of the Society of University Otolaryngologists Diversity Committee. Dr. Brown is currently regional representative for the Association of American Medical College’s Group on Diversity and Inclusion and serves as a member of the AAMC GDI Steering Committee.

Dr. Brown graduated from Brown University and Harvard Medical School. He completed his residency in otolaryngology-head and neck surgery at U-M and his fellowship in pediatric otolaryngology at the Children’s Hospital of Boston. Before returning to Michigan, Dr. Brown was on the faculty at Johns Hopkins Hospital. There, he was the Otolaryngology Residency associate program director and winner of the 2005 George T. Nager Award for Excellence in Teaching. While serving at the Medical College of Wisconsin, Dr. Brown was honored with the 2009 Otolaryngology Faculty Teaching Award.

Kristen Howard, J.D.

Senior Director, Office for Health Equity and Inclusion

Kristen joins Michigan Medicine from the Detroit Public Schools Community District (DPSCD), where she served as chief of staff to the superintendent. In her previous role, Kristen helped to develop and execute the organization’s strategic plan, while growing and leading a team of 30 members with a $3 million budget. Areas within her purview included the office of the superintendent, equity advocacy and civil rights, employee discipline and civil rights compliance, government affairs, board relations, marketing, and enrollment.

Kristen began working in diversity, equity and inclusion at DPSCD in 2016. She remediated serious compliance issues that were being monitored by the United States Department of Education Office for Civil Rights and Inspector General, and she established internal structures for compliant reporting and resolution. In 2018, she presented a broader vision for the district’s diversity, equity and inclusion work by creating and staffing the Office of Equity Advocacy and Civil Rights.

 Kristen received her Bachelor of Arts degree from Howard University, and her Juris Doctor degree from Georgetown University. In addition to her work with DPSCD, Kristen has worked in Washington, D.C., on corporate and financial transactions as a restructuring attorney, as well as a host of other corporate and legal roles.

Alex Blackwood, MD headshot

Alex Blackwood, M.D., Ph.D.

Faculty Lead, Leaders and Learners Pathways Program
Associate Professor of Pediatrics, Division of Infectious Diseases

Dr. R. Alexander Blackwood graduated from Columbia College in 1976 and Columbia University Medical School and the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences in 1983. Dr. Blackwood also completed a pediatric internship, residency, and fellowship at the University of California San Francisco. He was a Harold Amos Medical Faculty Development Scholar (Robert Wood Johnson Foundation) before coming to the University of Michigan in 1992.

Dr. Blackwood’s primary research interest has been in neutrophil cell biology. However, he has been most noted for his involvement with U-M students in serving as the faculty adviser for Multicultural Association of Pre-Health Students, Black Undergraduate Medical Association, and Wolverine Tutors. He is vice-chair of the Institutional Review Board of U-M Medical School. He is a member of the Admissions Committee, Student Biomedical Research Committee and Advisory Board, and the M.D./Ph.D. Program Advisory Committee.

Dr. Blackwood has received numerous teaching awards including the Harold R. Johnson Diversity Service Award and he was inducted as a teacher into the Alpha Omega Alpha Medical Honor Society’s Michigan Chapter in 2009. He also has been developing partnerships with area schools to foster education and to provide mentoring and tutoring for disadvantaged and underrepresented student populations.

Gary Freed

Gary L. Freed, M.D., M.P.H.

Faculty Lead

Dr. Freed is the Percy and Mary Murphy professor of Pediatrics in the University of Michigan School of Medicine and professor of Health Management and Policy in the U-M School of Public Health in Ann Arbor.

From 1998-2013, Dr. Freed served as director of the division of General Pediatrics and founding director of the Children's Health Evaluation and Research Center. From 2013-2016, Dr. Freed divided his time between U-M and the University of Melbourne (Australia) where he served as director of the Australian Health Workforce Institute, professor of Population Health, and as visiting scholar in Health Care Policy at the Royal Children's Hospital. In 2016 Dr. Freed returned full time to U-M to continue his research in health policy and economic issues focused on children.

Dr. Freed has more than 25 years of experience in children's health services research. He has been the principal investigator of numerous federal, state and foundation-funded grants, and of the first pediatric health services research fellowship program funded by the National Institutes of Health. He has published more than 275 peer-reviewed articles on child health policy and health economics, immunizations, physician behavior, the medical workforce and inter-specialty variation in the provision of preventive services to children.

Dr. Freed received his bachelor's degree from The University of Texas at Austin, his medical degree from Baylor College of Medicine in Houston and his Master of Public Health degree from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. At UNC-CH, Dr. Freed was a Robert Wood Johnson clinical scholar as well as a preventive medicine fellow.

He is a past president of the Society for Pediatric Research, the largest research society in the field of child health. SPR awarded him its 2009 Douglas K. Richardson Lifetime Achievement Award for Perinatal and Pediatric Health Care Research.

Dr. Freed serves on several national and international committees regarding child health. He is past chair of the Department of Health and Human Services National Vaccine Advisory Committee. He is a frequent consultant to state and federal agencies as well as to the Institute of Medicine of the National Academy of Sciences and to the World Health Organization. He is a member of the American Board of Pediatrics and a fellow of the American Academy of Pediatrics.

Photo of Dr. Marcia Perry

Marcia Perry, MD

Director of House Officer Programs and Director of the Health Equity Visiting Clerkship

Dr. Marcia Perry is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Emergency Medicine. She completed her Emergency Medicine training at the University of Michigan and stayed on as faculty. She currently serves as the Assistant Director of the Emergency Medicine Residency Program and provides clinical care and teaching at the University of Michigan.

Dr. Perry is a Doctoring/Coaching faculty member in the Medical School. She is the Director of House Officer Programs and the Director of the Health Equity Visiting Clerkship in the Office for Health Equity and Inclusion.


Patti Andreski OHEI headshot

Patti Andreski

Senior Research Area Specialist Lead
Co-Lead, DEI Measurement and Metrics Team

As a member of the research team, Patti develops analytic plans in response to research needs of the Office for Health Equity and Inclusion. She similarly collaborates with other investigators throughout the health system. Patti has more than 20 years of experience in the research field. She has a Master of Arts degree in applied sociology and a Bachelor of Arts degree in psychology, both from Wayne State University.

Jodi Forrester-Hutchins OHEI headshot

Jodi Forrester-Hutchins

Administrative Assistant Senior

Jodi is a grounded professional with over 25 years of experience at the University of Michigan.  As the Coordinator of the Michigan Health Sciences Summer Institute(MHSSI) and Pipeline team, she provides high-level administrative and strategic support overseeing and managing the operations, processes, contracts, budgets and activities of these programs, to achieve the highest program success and compliance.  Jodi’s education and bachelor’s in Human Resource Management, experience, and direct collaboration with pre-college, undergraduate, graduate, staff and faculty has provided her with a unique experience aiding in her work with diverse populations, disparities and with various educational levels.

Tami Hart-Johnson OHEI headshot

Tami Hart-Johnson

Senior Research Manager

Tami Hart-Johnson has been studying health disparities for nearly two decades. The Office for Health Equity and Inclusion is dedicated to ensuring the work we do is scientifically driven and systematically evaluated, and Tami spearheads the office’s health disparities research process. She works with OHEI’s research team to examine existing data within Michigan Medicine, including consulting and mentoring developing researchers. She also collaborates with the pipeline program managers to ensure careful evaluation of the pipeline programs for the purpose quality improvement and track program success.

Michael Herrington, M.Ed., SPHR

DEI Learning Specialist Lead
Michael boosts employee's performance and promotes inclusivity by enhancing the competencies of individual employees. Michael designs and delivers curriculum, learning materials, and engagement activities while evaluating learning outcomes. He performs need assessments, liaises and collaborates with unit partners, leadership and human resources team members – helping facilitate the success of individual employees and leadership across Michigan Medicine.
Prior to joining the OHEI team, Michael worked in Residence Education for 12 years at various institutions including the University of Southern California, as well as in Human Resources for 17 years at the University of Illinois and the University of Michigan. Michael holds a B.A. in Psychology, a M.Ed. in Counseling & Student Personnel Administration, and SPHR certification.
Ru Knoedler OHEI headshot

Ru Knoedler

Senior Financial Analyst

Ru is responsible for carrying out OHEI’s budget, finance, and contracts functions, as well as supporting internal controls, infrastructure, and strategy for its administration function. She received her combined Bachelor of Business Administration degree and Master of Science degree in accounting with a concentration in accounting information systems from Eastern Michigan University. She also owned and operated three small businesses over a 10-year period. Before coming to OHEI, she worked as a grants/contracts specialist in the University of Michigan’s Department of Anesthesiology and as an executive assistant in the Department of Psychiatry’s U-M Addiction Research Center.

Brandon Lucas OHEI headshot

Brandon Lucas, MS, Ph.D

Program Manager, Student Affairs

Dr. Brandon Lucas serves as Student Affairs Program Manager for pre-health student development and retention initiatives in the Office for Health Equity and Inclusion. In this role, he co-leads the development and implementation of our Michigan Health Sciences Summer Institute.

Dr. Lucas earned his BS in physics from Norfolk State University, where he graduated summa cum laude.  Subsequently, he received his MS in electrical engineering and Ph.D. in applied physics from the University of Michigan.

Prior to joining OHEI, Dr. Lucas served as a business development and educational outreach coordinator for the regional node of the National Science Foundation-funded National Nanotechnology Infrastructure Network where he led efforts to increase access and training opportunities for underrepresented faculty and students. 

Othelia W. Pryor, Ph.D.

Senior Project Manager, Pathways Learners and Leaders Program

Dr. Pryor’s responsibilities include overseeing Michigan Health Sciences Summer Institute programming and recruitment activities; teaching workshops on the root causes on health inequities; and developing community partnerships.  Her career has focused on diversifying the next generation of health care professionals by serving the needs of underrepresented and disenfranchised individuals and communities.

Dr. Pryor is a founding member of the National Partnership for Action to End Health Disparities and the founder of the Michigan Minority Health Coalition.  Her educational accomplishments include a Ph.D. in educational psychology from Michigan State University; an M.P.H. from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill; an MBA from the University of Illinois; and a Bachelor of Science degree in business from the University of Pittsburgh.

Photo of Sue Schreck

Sue Schreck

Meetings and Special Events Manager

Sue joined OHEI in 2018 as Events and Communications Coordinator, with more than 20 years of graphic design and marketing experience. At OHEI, Sue manages, plans, and executes logistics and expenses for all major events including recruitment fairs, alumni weekends, and symposia.

Previously, she worked as the Events Coordinator and Graphic Designer at the Confucius Institute at the University of Michigan, Marketing Manager and Head Graphic Designer at Eden Foods, Graphic Designer at Gelman Sciences Inc., and has worked with a multitude of clients through her freelance work. Sue received an Associate’s Degree in graphic design technology from Washtenaw Community College, where she was a member of the Dean’s Honor Roll and Phi Theta Kappa.

Peggy Wright OHEI headshot

Peggy Wright

Executive Assistant Senior

Peggy is Executive Assistant to the Associate Vice President and Associate Dean of OHEI. She also provides collaborative and strategic administrative support to the entire team. Peggy enjoys streamlining and producing various projects. She brings over 20 years of experience and leadership in marketing, sales and management, from the automotive, advertising and financial industries.

Photo of Kim Ward

Kimberly Ward

Administrative/ Project Coordinator

Kim is the Administrative/Project Coordinator with OHEI. Providing a full range of highly responsible administrative, programmatic and logistical support to its faculty, medical students and house officer driven programs and activities. Additionally, she provides support for the Administrative Manager for OHEI.

Kim collaborates with OHEI’s Events Coordinator, Communications Specialist and Financial Specialist to execute activities and programs related to faculty directors regarding logistics, communications, and financial aspects of various programs and activities; as well as high level administrative and project coordination for OHEI’s Faculty Directors, Faculty, Medical Student Success and House Officers. She has over 20 years of administrative, financial, human resources and research management experience at Michigan as well as a BBA in Human Resources and a MBA.

Portia Bonner

Portia Bonner

Administrative Assistant Senior

Portia is responsible for providing high-level administrative support to OHEI’s Administrative Director.  She has over 20 years of administrative experience in both public and private sector – with the past 10 years at Michigan Medicine providing high-level support to the Assistant Dean for Clinical Research, Medical Directors, Chief Operating Officers and tenured/junior faculty.  In addition, she has managerial experience from the financial and research and development industries. She received her bachelor’s in business administration in management from Eastern Michigan University. 

Reginald E. Beasley

Program Manager for Medical Student Programs

Reggie supports Dr. David Brown with advising and mentoring OHEI’s Sponsored Student Organizations (SSO), which focuses on addressing the disparities that exist in under-represented and marginalized communities. Reggie also assists Dr. David Brown with planning and coordinating the L.E.A.D Program. 

Reggie earned his masters degree in Higher Education Leadership with a focus on Student Affairs from Eastern Michigan University. With a strong passion to support students from various backgrounds, Reggie brings experience in supporting student programming that creates a community within graduate student education.

Brittanii Lyons

Communications Specialist