MCDTR Leadership

Michele E. Heisler, MD, MPA

Mary Ellen Heisler, M.D.

Dr. Heisler is a Professor of Internal Medicine at the University of Michigan Medical School and Professor of Public Health at the University of Michigan School of Public Health. She is a Research Scientist of the Ann Arbor VA's Center for Clinical Management Research. From 2008-2019 she served as a co-Director of the National Clinician Scholars Program (formerly Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Clinical Scholars Program) and teaches a one-semester course on Behavioral and Social Determinants of Health for the Master's Program affiliated with that program. In her role as a Co-Director of the NIDDK-funded Michigan Center for Diabetes Translational Research and a core Director of the Peer Support core, she provides regular mentorship and consultation for junior researchers and trainees. She has won multiple mentorship awards, including the Michigan Institute for Clinical & Health Research Distinguished Clinical and Translational Research Mentor Award, University of Michigan and a nationwide VA HSR&D Daniel Deykin Award for Outstanding Mentorship.  Dr. Heisler’s research has applied rigorous health services research approaches to investigate and improve health equity, health, and human rights among vulnerable populations with type 2 diabetes. With over $35M of continuous funding from federal donors such as NIH, VA, AHRQ, PCORI, and CDC funding, she has pioneered methods, programs, and evaluation tools that enhance health by developing and evaluating innovative health system approaches to activate and support low-income individuals to effectively manage their health and health care, thereby improving diabetes outcomes. She has authored more than 200 peer-reviewed studies in medical and public health journals and is an elected member of the Association of American Physicians. Dr. Heisler received her MD degree from Harvard University and MPA degree from Princeton University’s Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs. She completed residency training in internal medicine and health services research training as a Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF) Clinical Scholar at the University of Michigan.

Gretchen Piatt, PhD, MPH

Gretchen Piatt

Dr. Piatt is an Associate Professor and Associate Chair for Educational Programs in the Department of Learning Health Sciences (DLHS) at the University of Michigan. She also directs the Health Infrastructures and Learning Systems MS and PhD program in DLHS. Dr. Piatt holds a joint appointment as an Associate Professor in the Department of Health Behavior and Health Education at the University of Michigan School of Public Health. Dr. Piatt is an experienced diabetes translational researcher. Having a broad background in chronic disease epidemiology with specific training and expertise in implementing, designing, and evaluating efforts aimed at improving health systems and health care delivery for people with diabetes. Dr. Piatt has built a national and international reputation for her work in understanding the behavioral and psychosocial aspects of diabetes self-management and support and developing and implementing diabetes prevention and self-management interventions in the community and primary care settings. She has led and contributed to multiple research teams that designed and evaluated interventions in the primary and secondary prevention of diabetes and its complications, including implementation and evaluation of peer navigator self-management support interventions in underserved communities, federally qualified health centers, and primary care. Dr. Piatt has been PI or co-PI on sixteen funded research grants, and co-I on an additional twenty-one. Additionally, she has served on a variety of institutional, national, and international diabetes committees, including serving as a member of the American Diabetes Association Nationwide Research Program Grant Review committee, the International Diabetes Federation Bringing Research in Diabetes to Global Environments and Systems grant review committee, as the President of the Behavioral Research in Diabetes Group Exchange, a professional advisor to the Michigan Health Improvement Alliance Regional Diabetes Prevention Program, as an associate editor of Diabetes Canada, and as an editorial board member for several diabetes related peer-reviewed journals. In addition to her diabetes-specific service, Dr. Piatt is a standing member of the NIH Clinical Management of Patients in Community-based Settings study section and served as an adhoc reviewer for the NIH Risk, Prevention and Health Behavior study section and the Nursing and Related Clinical Sciences study section. In her role as Associate Chair for Educational Programs in the DLHS, Dr. Piatt directs all educational activities in the department, including predoctoral and postdoctoral training in implementation science.

Brenda Phillips

Brenda Phillips provides administrative leadership and continuity for the MCDTR. Ms. Phillips represents programmatic issues to Health System faculty and administrative personnel and to external organizations. She provides for strategic planning and development of resources to diversify the Centers’ funding base and insures continuation of programs. Specific responsibilities include fiscal planning and analysis, oversight of grant management in compliance with National Institutes of Health requirements, personnel management, space planning and utilization, public relations and marketing, and website and resource development. Ms. Phillips is a member of the Internal Advisory Committee and the Core Operating Committee of the MCDTR.

Remember to cite the Michigan Center for Diabetes Translational Research (MCDTR) in publications as follows:
“The project described was supported by Grant Number P30DK092926 (MCDTR) from the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases”