Project Directors

Denise Tate, PhD, ABPP, FACRM
Co-Director Advanced Rehabilitation Research Training post-doctoral program
University of Michigan Spinal Cord Injury System Professor
Clinical Psychologist and Associate Chair for Research, Department of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation, University of Michigan

Dr. Tate is a Professor and Associate Chair for Research in Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation (PM&R) at the University of Michigan Medical School in Ann Arbor.  She leads the Michigan Spinal Cord Injury Systems (MSCIS) which includes a number of key research projects conducting research in SCI.  Her current funding includes the U.S. Department of Defense SCIR program, the National Institute on Disability and Rehabilitation Research, The Craig Neilsen Foundations, and the Fraternal Order of the Eagles.  Her research focuses on psychological adaptation after injury and on measuring health and quality of life outcomes.  Since 2011, she has been conducting a large study examining the effects of bowel and bladder complications on quality of life after SCI.  She served as a member of the Board of the American Spinal Injury Association (ASIA) and a member of the Advisory Board of the National Center for Medical Rehabilitation Research at the NIH.  Most recently, she has begun focusing her research on international efforts and collaborations with other centers conducting similar research around the world. 


 Anthony Chiodo, MD

Project Co-Director: University of Michigan Spinal Cord Injury System
Clinical Professor, Department of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation, University of Michigan

Dr. Chiodo serves as co-director for U-M MSCIS and has been the clinical director of Spinal Cord Injury Medicine at the University of Michigan since 2002.  He has worked on the U-M MSCIS research projects, Wellness in SCI and Predictors of Health, and Department of Defense study on sleep disordered breathing in SCI. He has published several manuscripts on pain management, wellness in SCI, and is preparing several manuscripts on ventilator weaning after SCI. He has served as a co-investigator for two clinical trials on the efficacy of Fampridine™ after SCI: as treatments for spasticity and for restrictive lung disease.

Dr. Chiodo is the primary attending physician for SCI services in the UMHS Adult Rehabilitation Unit, coordinating all clinical services.  



Martin Forchheimer, MPP
Senior Research Associate, Department of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation, University of Michigan

Mr. Forchheimer is a researcher in the Department of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation (PM&R) at the University of Michigan. He is the Principal Investigator for a study developing a measure of the quality of caregiving experienced by people with SCI that is funded by the Craig H. Neilsen Foundation. He is also a Co-Investigator and Study Coordinator for several other studies concerning people with SCI or SCD. His research focuses on adjustment, quality of life, measurement issues, community integration, and physical and mental health after disability.

Gianna Maria M. Rodriguez, MD 
Assistant Professor

Dr. Rodriguez, is Board Certified in SCI medicine and is on the PM&R SCI Consultation Team. Her research interests include SCI, musculoskeletal rehabilitation and traumatic brain injury (TBI). She was Chief Resident in PM&R at Rush Presbyterian St. Luke's Medical Center in Chicago, and Advanced Fellow in SCI Medicine at the Veterans Affairs North Texas Health Care System in Dallas. Dr. Rodriguez is the PM&R Administrator and Manager for the Michigan Bowel Control Program and on staff for the Adult Ventilator Program here at the University of Michigan Health System.

Associated Faculty

Anne Kathleen Pelletier Cameron, MD

Lisa A. DiPonio, MD


Connie Pines, RN, CCM
Research Assistant, Community Outreach and Recruitment

Constance Pines joined the project staff at the University of Michigan Spinal Cord Injury Model System in March 2011. Her area of expertise for the past 37 years has been as Nurse Case Manager with Cardiothoracic Surgery/ Cardiology specialty services at U-M and The Ann Arbor VA Medical Center. Ms. Pines currently has oversight responsibilities for three research grants. Ms. Pines is the widow of a former U-M Spinal Cord Model System patient and therefore has hands-on experience and critical knowledge of the challenges facing those people with spinal cord injuries.

Lisa Petroff, MOTR/L
Research Area Specialist Associate

Lisa Petroff joined the project staff at the University of Michigan Spinal Cord Injury System in March of 2019. Ms. Petroff has a Masters in Occupational Therapy from Eastern Michigan University. Prior to joining PM&R, Lisa worked as an Occupational Therapist in a variety of settings including post-acute rehabilitation. She is currently the study coordinator for the Reinventing Yourself after SCI study.

Suzanne Walsh, MBA/MA
Research Area Specialist Associate

Suzanne joined the project staff in December 2017. She has an MBA with Marketing specialization from Eastern Michigan University, and an MA in Anthropology with Cultural specialization from Wayne State University. Prior to joining PM&R, Suzanne held a variety of appointments at the University of Michigan including positions in research, program management, and teaching. She is currently the study coordinator for Neurogenic Bowel and Bladder Management after SCI where she is utilizing her background in qualitative research to understand patient decision-making.

Elizabeth Riedman, MA
Research Area Specialist Associate

Elizabeth is a research associate at University of Michigan MSCIS, joining the team in July 2018. She works closely with various grant projects, including research on Neurogenic Bowel and Bladder Management, Healthy Aging and Socio-Economic Barriers and Facilitators, and Chronic Pain. She also works in collaboration with the Institute for Social Research. She has a MA in Cultural Anthropology from Wayne State University, where she conducted research on urban sustainability initiatives in the Detroit community. She is passionate about conducting research in a variety of settings, particularly in using qualitative research to help understand the experience and perspectives of those living with SCI

Haley Scott, BS
Research Area Specialist Associate

Haley joined the staff at the University of Michigan Spinal Cord Injury System in August 2018. She is currently working on her MA in medical anthropology from Wayne State University, to be completed in May 2019. Prior to PM&R, Haley began to better understand anatomy and physiology while working for multiple medical examiner’s offices across Michigan. She is currently using her expertise in qualitative research to explore and understand challenges that people with SCI face daily.