Johnson Research Team

Dr. Jennifer Johnson, a C.S. Mott Endowed Professor of Public Health, is conducting several research projects. Her research team consists of the following members:

Maji Hailemariam Debena, PhD
Dr. Maji Hailemariam holds a PhD in Mental Health Epidemiology from Addis Ababa University, Ethiopia. Her interests include equitable access to mental health care, global mental health, implementation science and behavioral health intervention development. Her previous research work focused on examining the feasibility and acceptability of integration of mental healthcare into primary care facilities in rural Ethiopia, Africa. Her research is guided by understanding barriers to mental health care disproportionately experienced by underserved populations including women, rural residents, individuals with serious mental illness, justice-involved populations and individuals from low socioeconomic backgrounds. She is interested in developing peer-provided mental health interventions that would improve mental health outcomes for individuals experiencing multiple barriers to care. Dr. Hailemariam’s completed and ongoing research engagements are based in low-resource settings of Africa and the United States.

Project Manager

Raven Miller, MS
Raven graduated with an MS in Clinical Research Administration from Walden University in 2016. She has worked in clinical research for the last 10 years providing project coordination to multidisciplinary research projects, including behavioral health. She feels the ROSES study is the first step to improving mental health states and removing stigmas around prevention, treatment, and care for postpartum depression.

Project Coordinator

Susan Lamphere, MA
Sue obtained her B.A. in Psychology from the University of Notre Dame and went on to earn an M.A. in Counseling Psychology from Michigan State University. She began working with Dr. Johnson’s team as a Research Assistant for the SPIRIT Study. Sue was drawn to the work because of the translational nature of the mental health research and the intention to apply new, more effective interventions.

Research Assistants

Brandon Taylor, MSW
Brandon graduated from the University of Michigan-Flint in 2017 with a B.S. in Research Psychology and a minor in Substance Abuse Treatment. He graduated from Michigan State University with an MSW in 2020. He worked on the suicide-prevention trial (SPIRIT) for justice-involved people. He now works on Dr. Johnson’s pregnancy-loss study (HeAL) and Dr. Hailemariam’s community reentry study (MAPS) for people with serious mental illness leaving jail. He wants to use his career to help alleviate unnecessary suffering in the world.

Morgan Flees Morgan, BS
Morgan graduated from Eastern Michigan University in 2011 with her B.S. in Communications and Marketing. She is a research assistant and office coordinator for Dr. Jennifer Johnson. Before becoming an MSU Spartan in November 2017, she worked as a residency coordinator for 6 years at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor. For over 7 years, she has dedicated her career to keeping health faculty educators and directors organized, prioritized and efficient. Morgan finds enjoyment in helping people and organizations become successful.

Takeya Harris, BS
Takeya graduated with a B.S. from Saginaw Valley State University in 2019. Before coming to MSU, she worked in patient care and customer service for several years. After graduation, she discovered the ROSES program and valued their goals and wanted to take part in the team. She’s currently a Research Technologist and every day is rewarding because she sees how this program changes the lives of women all over the country. She’s very passionate about helping low income individuals and finds enjoyment in giving back to community through volunteer service. She would like to further her education at MSU to help with current health disparities in rural areas.

Christine Huff, MBA
Christine graduated from Baker College, Center for Graduate Studies with an MBA in Leadership in 2012. Her Bachelor’s degree is in Health Services Administration. Before coming to MSU, she worked for Genesys PHO as a Business Analyst and Baker College as an Academic Advisor. She was also an adjunct faculty member at Baker College, teaching Healthcare and Business courses. Christine focuses on Servant Leadership and has volunteered at the North End Soup Kitchen, and the Burton V.F.W. volunteering with “My Heart Supports the Troops,” where boxes are sent to deployed military men and women who are from Michigan. She is also on the board for the Freedom for Veterans Race, which helps local veterans and programs in Genesee County. This is her first job as a Research Technologist and because of her background in leadership and healthcare, she felt the calling to continue her work as a Servant Leader in helping others through research and healing. Christine is working on the HeAL project with Dr. Johnson’s team.

Morgan Cinader, MS
Morgan graduated from Hope College in 2018 with a B.S. in Biochemistry and a minor in Neuroscience. She graduated from Georgetown University in 2020 with a M.S. in Systems Medicine and Biostatistics. She has experience in child clinical psychology focusing on understanding early predictors of the development of depression. Morgan hopes to earn a M.D. and Ph.D. with a goal of discovering the social, behavioral, and molecular mechanisms of risk, resilience, and impulsivity in children and adults with a history of depression and trauma/adversity. Her overall goal is to implement peer-reviewed research techniques in the clinic to provide holistic options for patients struggling with trauma.

Lab Alumni

Garrett Brown, BA
Master of Industrial/Organizational Psychology student at the University of West Florida
Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Intern at JM Family Enterprises

Juan Contreras, AM
Psychotherapist at Roamer’s Therapy
Research Assistant at the University of Chicago

Brianca Nuby, BS
Registration / Scheduler at HonorHealth in Arizona

Fallon Richie, MA
Clinical Health Psychology doctoral student at the University of North Carolina-Charlotte

Joshua Sinclair, MSW
Clinical Social Worker at Great Lakes Psychology Group and We Are Many, PLLC

Sara Hughes, MSW
Lead Social Worker at Centennial Peaks Hospital in Colorado

Jamil B. Scott, PhD, MPH
Senior Scientific Program Analyst
National Institutes of Health
National Human Genome Research Institute 
Office of the Director

Stephanie Anthony

Melissa Rainey

Esme Roddy

Ashley Batsios

Kent Key, PhD, MPH
Dr.  Key is a is a Racial and Ethnic Health Disparities Researcher at the Michigan State University College of Human Medicine, Division of Public Health. Dr. Key specializes in Community-Engaged Research approaches and methodologies. He has an interest in urban minority populations and uses qualitative research methods to evaluate the perceptions and lived experience with a goal towards the development of community-driven solutions for health equity. Dr. Key’s focus is on the African American population across the lifespan. He also worked to create equitable engagement for patient/provider engagement as he was a member of the National Patient Stakeholder Council for PCORI and PCORI’s National Fall Prevention Council and the University of Michigan Medical School’s Clinical Translation Scientific Award (CTSA) in the community engagement program. Dr. Key is Principal Investigator on an NIH-K Award focused on exploring the utilization of Family Health Histories in the African American community. The goal is to increase the utilization of preventative screenings, increase health literacy and community between families and providers by creating a culturally tailored Family Health History toolkit. Dr. Key is also Principal Investigator for the Recruiting and Retaining Older African Americans for Research (ROAR) this study is a part of the Michigan Center for Urban African American Aging Research (MCUAAAR). Dr. Key serves as a faculty for MCUAAAR. In his community role, Dr. Key is the Executive Deputy Director of the Community Based Organization Partners (CBOP) and Founder of the Community Engagement Studio of Flint. Dr. Key is also the Founder and Director of the Flint Public Health Youth Academy. Dr. Key is a 2017 Fellow of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Culture of Health Leaders Program. In June of 2020, Dr. Key authored a resolution Declaring Racism a Public Health Crisis in Genesee County which was passed by both the Genesee County Board of Health and Board of Commissioners.

Pictured, left to right, Jennifer Johnson, Maji Hailemariam Debena, Brandon Taylor, Fallon Richie, and Rick Sadler


Our team is committed to respect for people of all races, colors, genders, religions, national origins, sexual orientations, history of criminal involvement, marital status, disability, height, weight, veteran status and age. We support Michigan State University’s goal of increasing diversity, ensuring equity, promoting inclusion, and enhancing outreach and engagement. Our work seeks to address structural racism and sexism, empower the unempowered, and elevate community and patient contributions to solutions.


Scholarly Interests

  • Mental health and substance use interventions for vulnerable populations 
  • Perinatal women and justice-involved populations (e.g., prisoners and jail detainees)
  • Community-engaged and participatory approaches to research, leadership, and governance

Dr. Johnson’s CV


  •  @JJohnsPhD
  • Email:

  • Office Phone: 810-600-5669

  • Address:
    Charles Stewart Mott Department of Public Health, College of Human Medicine, Michigan State University
    200 East 1st Street, Room 366, Flint, MI 48502


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Research Projects