Core Faculty & Associates

INPEP Core Faculty

Michael Boivin, Ph.D., MPH Michael Boivin
Departments of Psychiatry and Neurology and Ophthalmology
College of Human Medicine
Michigan State University

Adjunct Professor
Department of Psychiatry
University of Michigan

Michael J. Boivin, Ph.D., MPH, is a Professor in the International Neurologic and Psychiatric Epidemiology Program at Michigan State University and an adjunct research investigator with the Neuropsychology Section at the University of Michigan. He has a Ph.D. degree in experimental analysis of behavior from Western Michigan University and an MPH degree from the University of Michigan.

A former Fulbright research scholar to the DR Congo (1990-91) and Uganda (2003-04), he presently helps lead NIH-sponsored studies in Uganda pertaining to the neurocognitive effects of HIV subtype in children, the neurodevelopmental benefits of caregiver training to enrich the home environment of very young children with HIV, and factors affecting neurocognitive disability in rural Ugandan children affected by HIV. He has also led projects in evaluating cognitive rehabilitation programs in Ugandan school-age children with HIV and those having survived cerebral malaria. Presently he is also collaborating on studies evaluating the neurocognitive effects of cerebral malaria in Malawian and in Ugandan children, as well as the developmental effects of maternal anemia in very young children in Benin.

Over the past 20 years Dr. Boivin has pioneered the application of neuropsychological assessment to gauging the neurocognitive impact of public health risk factors and interventions in African children. More information can be found at .

Here are a few articles featuring Dr. Boivin’s Konzo Disease research:

Curriculum Vitae for Michael J Boivin, Ph.D., MPH

Douglas G. Postels

Douglas G. Postels, M.D.
Associate Professor
International Neurologic & Psychiatric Epidemiology Program
Department of Neurology and Ophthalmology
Michigan State University

Pediatric neurologist Douglas Postels’ first international work experience occurred in 2003 and 2004 when he led groups of medical students, residents, and staff physicians to the Himalayas of India. They set up mobile medical clinics to provide primary care to the geographically isolated Ladakhi and Kashmiri populations. Later, he taught a one-month course in pediatric neurology to clinical officers at Queen Elizabeth Central Hospital in Blantyre, Malawi. In 2009-2010, he volunteered with Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) in the eastern Democratic Republic of Congo to teach local health care providers the diagnostic and treatment protocols used by MSF. Currently working toward a Certificate in Epidemiology, Dr. Postels is excited about the opportunity to utilize his pediatric neurology training and interest in public health challenges in developing regions to further contribute to the growing body of research being undertaken within INPEP.

Curriculum Vitae for Douglas G. Postels, M.D.

Michelle C. Powell Kvalsund

Michelle C. Powell Kvalsund, DO, MS
Clinical Instructor and Neuroepidemiology Fellow
Department of Neurology
College of Osteopathic Medicine
Michigan State University

Dr. Kvalsund is a global health neurologist with special interest in the neurological manifestations of infectious and tropical diseases. She completed her neurology residency at Vanderbilt University Medical Center in June 2013 and returns to her alma mater as a clinical instructor and neuro-epidemiology fellow in the MSU International Neurologic & Psychiatric Epidemiology Program. She divides her time between East Lansing and Zambia, where she conducts research on distal symmetric polyneuropathies and serves as an honorary lecturer within the University of Zambia School of Medicine.

Curriculum Vitae for Michelle C. Powell Kvalsund, D.O., M.S.

INPEP Associates

Farha Z. AbbasiFarha Z. Abbasi, M.D.
Staff Physician, Department of Psychiatry
Michigan State University

Dr. Abbasi is a Clinical Assistant Professor in the Department of Psychiatry, Core Faculty with the International Neurologic & Psychiatric Epidemiology Program (INPEP) at Michigan State University, and Staff Psychiatrist at the University’s student health facility, Olin Health Center. She emigrated from Pakistan in 2000 and settled in the United States with her husband and three daughters. Her areas of interest are cultural psychiatry and teaching medical students how to provide culturally appropriate care to Muslim patients. In January of 2009, Dr. Abbasi was awarded the American Psychiatric Association SAMSHA Minority Fellowship. She used the grant funds to form A Cultural Competence Education & Practicing Tract (ACCEPT), a program that seeks to not only create awareness about cultural competency, but to redefine it as acceptance of others and not merely tolerance.

In addition to her efforts to build bridges between cultures, Dr. Abbasi’s work as a psychiatrist has led her to publicly address the barriers that stigmatize and silence mental health issues within the Islamic community. She has established the Muslim Mental Health Conference, hosted at Michigan State University and now in its fourth year. She is the managing editor of the Journal of Muslim Mental Health, and works directly with the Muslim American community to encourage integration in rather than isolation from main stream society.

Dr. Abbasi has many accomplishments and honors including the 2013 Diversity EIDA Award for Emerging Process; she is the managing editor for the Journal of Muslim Mental Health being hosted by MSU; Founding Director of Muslim Mental Health Conference, hosting its 5th Annual Conference this year in Dearborn, MI on May 3-5, 2013. She is also part of training of Inman's and Chaplains as mental health workers.

Dr. Abbasi is relentlessly enthusiastic and works tirelessly towards one goal: learning to coexist and move beyond differences to reach the common point of peace and prosperity.

Curriculum Vitae for Farha Abbasi, M.D.

James C. (Jim) AnthonyJames C. (Jim) Anthony, M.Sc., Ph.D
Professor & Chair of Epidemiology
Department of Epidemiology
College of Human Medicine
Michigan State University

Professor Anthony’s current research interests include: epidemiologic field research on psychoactive medicines, alcohol, tobacco, and other drugs, and associated hazards; clinical and community epidemiologic research on disturbances of intellectual functioning, depressive illnesses, and emotional distress in general; methods research on case ascertainment tools and other measures for use in drug epidemiology and mental disorders epidemiology.

He has received numerous awards for his work and is Elected Fellow in the American College of Neuropsychopharmacology, the College on Problems of Drug Dependence, the American Psychopathological Association, and the American Epidemiological Society. In 2001 he was elected to be Chairman of the Section on Epidemiology and Public Health of the World Psychiatric Association (2001-2008). His active research collaborations extend to the many low- and middle-income countries of the world where his research trainees and former fellows now work in neuropsychiatry and public health.

Curriculum Vitae for James Anthony, M.Sc., Ph.D.

Adrian J. BlowAdrian J. Blow, Ph.D., LMFT
Assistant Professor
Department of Family & Child Ecology
College of Social Science
Michigan State University

Adrian Blow, associate professor in the Department of Human Development and Family Studies at Michigan State University (MSU), and is the Program Director of the couple and family therapy program. He obtained his doctorate from Purdue University, served on the faculty at Saint Louis University for six years, and joined MSU in 2005. He is involved with several studies related to military deployment, including post-deployment adjustment of Michigan National Guard Couples (MING), evaluation of the BuddytoBuddy program (a peer-to-peer support program), resiliency processes in National Guard Families, and other family-based interventions. He and his collaborators work closely with the MING around issues of data collection, service delivery, and reporting to policy makers about issues related to reintegration. Blow also studies spirituality, emotional wellbeing, and quality of life in women living with breast cancer, and has written and presented on many topics, including infidelity in committed relationships. He has worked on research studies in South Africa and Malawi related to families, health, and trauma. He is the secretary of the Board of Directors at the American Association for Marriage and Family Therapy. He holds a .25-time appointment in AgBioResearch at Michigan State University. He was born and raised in Johannesburg, South Africa. Have traveled to diverse countries and cultures such as Namibia, Angola, Mozambique, Zimbabwe, Zambia, Malawi, Swaziland, Lesotho, Botswana, United Kingdom, Russia, and the USA.

Curriculum Vitae for Adrian J. Blow, Ph.D, LMFT

Hui ChengHui Cheng, Ph.D.
Post-Doctoral Research Associate
Shanghai Mental Health Center
Shanghai Jiao Tong University

Hui received a Ph.D in Epidemiology from Michigan State University. She is currently working as a Research Associate at Shanghai Mental Health Center, Shanghai Jiao Tong University, China. Her main research interests include drinking behavior and drinking-related problems, as well as population mental health in general.

Curriculum Vitae for Hui Cheng, Ph.D.

Melissa ElafrosMelissa Elafros, MA
INPEP Fellow
MD/PhD Candidate
Department of Epidemiology
College of Human Medicine
Michigan State University

Melissa Elafros, MA is an INPEP Fellow and an MD/PhD candidate in the Department of Epidemiology. Prior to joining INPEP, she completed undergraduate degrees in Human Biology and Spanish as well as a Master of Arts in Bioethics, Humanities and Society at Michigan State University. Her Master’s thesis research focused on the health concerns and health care utilization patterns of Michigan’s often underserved Hispanic population.

As an INPEP Fellow, Melissa assisted with the World Health Organization’s 2008 Global Burden of Disease study. More recently, she resided in Zambia for over a year to assist in the logistical support of the NIH-funded Cohort of HIV-Associated Seizures and Epilepsy Study (CHASE) while completing her dissertation research. Her research addresses the burden of dual stigma in individuals with HIV and epilepsy and the drug side effects and interactions that occur as part of this HIV and epilepsy double burden. She received funding from the American Medical Association to support this work. As part of capacity building activities associated with the Epilepsy-Associated Stigma in Zambia study, Melissa has also conducted extensive training in the ethical conduct of research with human subjects with Zambian investigators and research staff.

After completing her PhD, Melissa will resume her medical education by completing her clinical rotations in the College of Human Medicine.

Curriculum Vitae for Melissa Elafros, MA

Karl SeydelKarl Seydel, M.D., Ph.D. Assistant Professor Department of Internal Medicine College of Osteopathic Medicine Michigan State University

Karl Seydel earned medical and doctorate degrees from Washington University in St. Louis, Missouri in 1999, where he participated in their Medical Scientist Training Program. Dr. Seydel joined the faculty of Michigan State University's Department of Osteopathic Specialties after working for six years as a fellow at the National Institute of Health's Laboratory of Malaria and Vector Research. Dr. Seydel holds M.S. and B.S. degrees in Biological Sciences from Stanford University.

Dr. Seydel is interested in the clinical heterogeneity of malarial disease. While some children present with life threatening symptoms with a relatively low parasite burden, others are completely asymptomatic with a large parasite burden. He is investigating whether differences in the levels of cytoadherence of parasitized erythrocytes to endothelial cells of the microvasculature can account for these differences in disease severity. He has recently identified levels of a parasite protein, pHRP2, as an accurate marker for malarial disease severity and progression. Dr. Seydel splits his time between clinical and research duties while in Blantyre, Malawi where he has been overseeing the establishment of a Molecular and Genomics Laboratory.

Curriculum Vitae for Karl Seydel, M.D., Ph.D.

Terrie E. TaylorTerrie E. Taylor, D.O.
University Distinguished Professor
Internal Medicine
College of Osteopathic Medicine
Michigan State University

Since 1986, Professor Terrie Taylor (Osteopathic Medicine) has been working to better understand cerebral malaria and its severe effects on children. Every year, she works six months in the U.S. and six months in Africa, based at the Queen Elizabeth Central Hospital in Blantyre, Malawi. Funding from the National Institutes of Health (NIH) has been used to develop a network of clinical trial sites across Sub-Saharan Africa (in Malawi, Kenya, Ghana, Gabon, and the Gambia) to conduct trials of new anti-malarial treatments. With another grant from the NIH Fogarty International Center, Taylor, and colleagues from the University of Michigan have supported recent medical graduates of the University of Malawi College of Medicine to receive specialty training in pathology and doctoral training in epidemiology and public health. These trainees have now returned to their faculty positions in Malawi. Also, each year, twelve to twenty MSU medical students go to Malawi to do a clerkship program there.

She has received the Glyn Williams Prize, Liverpool School of Tropical Medicine, 1986. She is an Honorary Lecturer, Department of Tropical Medicine and Infectious Diseases, Liverpool School of Tropical Medicine 1986-present. In 2000 she received the Bailey K. Ashford Medal, American Society of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene. From 1994 – 1998 she was the Chairperson, Task Force on the Clinical Development of Arteether, UNDP/World Bank/WHO Special Programme for Research and Training in Tropical Medicine (TDR). She is a Member, on the Editorial Board, American Journal of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene since 1996. She was a Councilor, American Society of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene from 1997-2001. She was a member, Scientific Advisory Committee, Malaria Research & Reference Reagent Resource Center, American Type Culture Collection from 1998-2003. She is also a member of the Parasitic and Tropical Disease Expert Committee, U.S. Pharmacopoeia 2000-present. She completed a grant from NIH/NIAID on Clinicopathological Correlates of Cerebral Malaria. She was the Principal Investigator. The major goal of this project was to use the information revealed by autopsies to decrease the mortality rate of pediatric cerebral malaria. Based on results from the first phase of this study, the purpose is to establish the associations between clinical presentation, disease pathogenesis, and pathological findings in children dying of cerebral malaria and controls. Redefining Cerebral Malaria, The primary hypothesis is that the clinical case definition of cerebral malaria would be significantly improved by including the results of a bedside eye examination. This will be tested within the Severe Malaria in African Children (SMAC) Network, which includes five sites in East and West Africa. Clinicopathological Is Cerebral Malaria a Risk Factor for Epilepsy? This grant is examining whether febrile seizures lead to later onset epileptic seizures. Other grants include Severe Malaria in African Children: A Clinical Network, and Correlates of Cerebral Malaria.

Curriculum Vitae for Terrie Taylor, D.O.

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