Coordinating Center Team

Program Director

Jennifer Griggs, MD, MPH, FACP, FASCO

Dr. Griggs received her undergraduate degree from Mount Holyoke College and her MD from the University of Buffalo. She completed her Residency and Chief Residency in Internal Medicine and Fellowships in Hematology and Oncology and Health Services Research at the University of Rochester. She was then the Director of the Comprehensive Breast Cancer Program at the University of Rochester in the James P. Wilmot Cancer Center in Rochester, New York. In September 2006, she joined the faculty at Michigan Medicine, Comprehensive Cancer Center (MMCCC) with a practice in the Breast Oncology Program.

Dr. Griggs’ research interests focus on patient-provider communication, quality of care, including end-of-life care, and care of cancer survivors. She is the Past Chair of the Clinical Practice Guidelines Committee at the American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO), was a member of the ASCO Health Disparities Committee, and has been the Chair or Co-Chair of several clinical practice guidelines.

Program Co-Director

Shitanshu Uppal, MD

Dr. Uppal received his medical degree from the All India Institute of Medical Sciences in New Delhi, India. He graduated from his residency program at Temple University Hospital in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania and went on to complete his fellowship training in gynecologic oncology at the University of Wisconsin in Madison, Wisconsin. He joined the faculty of the University of Michigan as an Assistant Professor in 2014. Dr. Uppal’s areas of expertise include minimally invasive surgeries with a focus on sentinel lymph node dissection, robotic surgery as well as single-port laparoscopic surgery to improve surgical outcomes.

Dr. Uppal’s research program focuses on patient-centered, evidence-based care. In particular, he has published numerous high-quality publications on quality of care in gynecologic cancers. Most recently, his research has focused on reducing surgical site infections and readmissions after complex oncologic procedures for women with ovarian.

Emily Mackler

Program Co-Director

Director, Clinical Quality Initiatives

Emily Mackler, PharmD, BCOP

Dr. Mackler received her PharmD from Drake University and completed her Residency experience in Pharmacy Practice and Oncology at the University Hospital in Cincinnati, OH. She joined Michigan Medicine in 2002 as a Clinical Oncology Pharmacist. She founded the Oncology Specialty Residency at the University of Michigan in 2003 and was the program director until 2013. She has been involved in multiple oncology quality and safety endeavors including serving as the co-lead and founding developer of the NCCN Chemotherapy Order Templates since its inception in 2006, founding pharmacist in the Cancer Center Symptom Management and Supportive Care Program at the University of Michigan 2009 – 2012, founding director of the University of Michigan Oral Chemotherapy Program in 2012 and thereafter MOQC’s Oral Oncolytic Program in 2013, and Course Director of the Michigan Society of Hematology Oncology (MSHO) Annual Pharmacist’s Meeting since inception in 2013. HOPA representative for the National Quality Forum since 2017, and Task Force Chair for the HOPA Quality Oversight Task Force since 2018.

Dr. Mackler’s research and practice interests focus on oncology symptom management, quality of care, chemotherapy safety, medication adherence and patient reported outcomes.

Program Manager

Keli DeVries, MSW

Keli DeVries completed both her undergraduate degree and her Masters of Social Work at the University of Michigan. She began her career as a licensed clinical social worker in the Emergency Department at Michigan Medicine, and eventually moved into social work leadership. After 10 years working in the Department of Social Work and the Department of Care Management, Keli became the Call Center Manager for the Frankel Cardiovascular Center at Michigan Medicine. Throughout her career she has been a champion for diversity, equity, and inclusion for all populations that access or work within health care. Keli has special interest in the well-being of health care professionals and in burnout prevention, which therefore improves the quality of the patient care provided. She hopes that through her MOQC role she can continue to inspire teams to prioritize patient- and family-centered care above all else.

Intermediate Project Manager

Vanessa Aron, BA

Vanessa has over six years of experience working with Gynecologic Oncology at Michigan Medicine. Her career path has led her to her present role of project manager, and she hopes to use the strong connection with and passion for quality improvement that she developed in Ob/Gyn to improve patient care in the realm of gynecologic oncology. Vanessa has a film degree from the University of Michigan and plans to use her creative side to enhance MOQC’s media presence. She looks forward to using her skillsets to help communicate with and connect Gynecologic Oncology practices across the state of Michigan.

Clinical Data Abstractor

Heather Behring, BSN

Heather is a Registered nurse with over 30 years of clinical experience. She spent 26 years in the operating room in various roles, including Nursing Education. The past 6 years she has been in Quality Improvement as a Clinical Data Abstractor for both the Michigan Arthroplasty Collaborative Quality Initiative (MARCQI) and the Michigan Surgical Quality Collaborative (MSQC).  She obtained her Bachelor of Science in Nursing in 2012 from Madonna University and her Post Bachelor Certificate in Cancer Information Management from Ferris State University in 2019.  Heather also passed her Certification exam in October 2020 as a Cancer Tumor Registrar.  She has been involved in quality initiatives with both Enhanced Patient Recovery and Patient Reported Outcomes. Heather is excited to be joining the MOQC team so that she can continue her journey in improving patient healthcare outcomes.

Senior Project Manager

Samkeliso Beusterien, MS, CCRP, CCRA

Sam received her Master’s degree in Clinical Research Administration from Eastern Michigan University. She has over 10 years of research experience at the University of Michigan, with a focus in project management, site management, and site monitoring. As a site manager and site monitor at a multi-center clinical trial network focusing on neurological emergencies (such as stroke, TIA, and TBI), she worked with participating research sites to meet and maintain compliance with trial protocols, Good Clinical Practices, institutional and NIH policies, and FDA guidelines. Prior to joining MOQC in September 2017, Sam worked as a project manager for an NINDS-funded program designed to help investigators develop scientifically rigorous and practical clinical trials.

Dave Bolen

Administrative Specialist

Dave Bolen

Dave graduated from California State Polytechnic University with a degree in Business Administration.  After a successful twenty-year career in the publishing industry as a National Accounts Manager and Director of Sales, Dave decided to take his career in a new direction and joined the University of Michigan. Prior to becoming a MOQC’s Administrative Specialist, Dave was the Administrative Assistant Senior to the Medical Director and Clinical Team at the University’s Health Service. This is the campus’ health and wellness resource, which offers comprehensive clinical services to students, faculty and staff. Dave was an integral part of the clinic for three years, coordinating administrative activities for its leadership team.

Pharmacy Intern

Arielle Davidson

Arielle is a PharmD candidate at the University of Michigan College of Pharmacy. She graduated from Michigan State University in 2019 with a Bachelor’s degree in Human Biology and a minor in Pharmacology and Toxicology. Prior to joining MOQC in 2020, she gained experience in quality care by working with the Michigan Arthroplasty Registry Collaborative Quality Initiative (MARCQI). In addition, she has worked as a pharmacy technician at Walgreens for the past three years. Arielle is a member of the Hematology and Oncology Pharmacist Association (HOPA), the American Society of Health System Pharmacists (ASHP), and the Student National Pharmaceutical Association (SNPhA). She is excited to explore her interest in oncology and quality initiatives through the work of MOQC.

Kleo Kolizera

Clinical Data Abstractor

Kleanthe Kolizeras

Kleo received her Bachelor of Science degree in the Biological Sciences from Wayne State University.  Her 18 year experience as a research assistant in the Departments of Ob/Gyn and in the Department of Pathology at Wayne State University helped build her the knowledge and ability for data collection and implementation and adherence of clinical guidelines for physicians.  Prior to joining MOQC in April 2016, Kleo was a Clinical Data Analyst at Ascension Health’s St. John Hospital at the Van Elslander Cancer Center where she abstracted lymphoma patient data into a clinical research database, utilized by clinic staff for publications, posters, and abstracts.  In addition to the lymphoma database, Kleo also became the lead abstractor for QOPI and MOQC patient data abstraction for the St. John Hematology and Oncology Clinic during her 7 year stay at St. John’s.  She also pushed to have physicians in the clinic implement the important MOQC sponsored Tobacco Cessation Program into that clinic’s practice.

Kleo will continue using and further developing her MOQC abstraction and post-abstraction knowledge in a wider abstraction model across the state to help physicians and their staff achieve greater quality patient care goals in the coming years.

Clinical Information Analyst

Cindy Michalek, BBA

Cindy Michalek studied Business Management at Henry Ford Community College and earned a Bachelor’s in Business Administration from the University of Michigan in 2006. Her work experience in customer relations includes roles as a customer service representative, account manager, executive assistant, account executive, and supervisor at various companies within our Great Lakes State. Cindy began working at the University of Michigan Cancer Center as a Senior Administrative Assistant in 2011 where she provided support to both the Cancer Center Administration and MOQC.

Cindy moved on to become Project Coordinator at the University of Michigan Pharmacy in 2013 which gave her the opportunity to work in Oncology with the Cancer Center Orders Team and a part of the Specialty Pharmacy Team. In 2016, Cindy then contracted with MOQC as a Lead Clinical Data Abstractor. She further contributed to MOQC with payroll management of our outside abstractors, became the contact for some of our practices, provided us with support at our Biannual Meetings, and was involved in multiple projects on quality initiatives with MOQC team members that included Oral Oncolytics, POEM and PROM Onc. This entailed data analysis and provided her expertise for new project developments between the Pharmacy and MOQC teams. Cindy is looking forward to growing the abstraction team and helping with recruitment of new practices for MOQC. In her free time, Cindy enjoys running, hiking, kayaking, snowmobiling, mountain biking, traveling, outdoor life, and spending time with Rocco, her Rhodesian Ridgeback.

Senior Project Manager

Jisha Panicker BDS, MPH

Dr. Jisha Panicker received her dental degree from the Mar Baselios Dental College, Kerala, India. Upon graduation, she served as a clinical instructor in the Department of Conservative Dentistry & Endodontics in her college. She graduated with a Masters in Public Health from Wayne State School of Medicine and recently completed the Dental Postgraduate Program in Prosthodontics at University of Michigan School of Dentistry.

Dr. Jisha has worked in clinical, academic and other healthcare environments, including Henry Ford Health System and Michigan Medicine. She has been involved in the operations, implementation and evaluation of various evidence-based public health interventions including oral health, maternal & child health and community health.

She aims to strive towards vision of MOQC by offering a standard of excellence in patient-centered care by leveraging evidence based science and integrating healthcare practices.

Clinical Data Abstractor

Ermili Potka, BS, RT(T)

Ermili is a graduate of Wayne State University in Detroit. He received his Bachelors of Science in Radiation Therapy in 2012. During his time in the Radiation Therapy at Wayne State, he trained at Karmanos Cancer Institute, Henry Ford Hospital Detroit and West Bloomfield, Oakwood Hospital and Sinai Grace Hospital.

He worked for St. Mary Mercy Hospital and St. Joseph Mercy Hospital-Ann Arbor for the last 15+ years. During Ermili’s time at St. Mary Mercy hospital, he worked in Radiology as a Radiology Assistant 2005-2014 and a data abstractor for outcomes management in 2009-2010. In 2014, he took a position with St. Joseph Mercy Hospital-Ann Arbor as a Cancer Research Coordinator with Michigan Cancer Research Consortium. He was responsible for reviewing protocols and enrolling eligible patients in cancer clinical trials and entering their data post enrollment. He was also responsible for uploading Radiation Therapy treatment plans and general imaging for review.

In 2016, Ermili joined MOQC as a clinical data abstractor and have been abstracting since then. He is looking forward to sharing his healthcare experience with the team in the future to help MOQC in continuing toward accomplishing MOQC’s mission and goals.

Clinical Research Project Manager

Beth Rizzo, MPH

Beth completed her undergraduate degree in Health Fitness at Central Michigan University and her Master of Public Health in Maternal and Child Health from Boston University. Throughout her career, Beth has focused on chronic disease prevention and early intervention within operational, relationship management, and quality improvement roles in both corporate and non-profit sectors. Most recently, Beth worked with Federally Qualified Health Centers (FQHCs) and local health departments throughout southeast Michigan to implement quality improvement efforts, promoting improved cancer screening rates and methodologies in addition to managing multiple health equity grant projects around metro-Detroit for the American Cancer Society. As the Clinical Research Project Manager for the MiGHT project, Beth is excited to collaborate with internal and external partners to support life-saving cancer research projects through Michigan Medicine and MOQC.

Outside of the office, Beth’s family is central in her life with any additional free time spent reading, jogging, and getting her hands dirty – in the garden or the pottery studio.

Senior Project Manager

Nicole Timmerman, MSN, RN

Nicole is an Adult Acute Care Nurse Practitioner who has worked at Michigan Medicine since graduating with a Master’s of Science and Nursing degree in 2011 from University of Michigan.  She brings a diverse clinical background of Internal medicine and Surgical Oncology, which has allowed her to care for patients within the clinics, as well admitted to the health care system.  In addition to her clinical role, she was been involved in many quality initiatives within her department, as well as system wide focusing on improving continuity of care, patient experience and clinical outcomes. She is very excited to be a part of  the MOQC team and looks forward to continuing to pursue her passion of improving the patient experience and health care outcomes of Oncology patients.

Project Coordinator

Shayna Weiner, MPH

Shayna received her Masters of Public Health in Epidemiology from the University of Illinois at Chicago. Shayna has over five years of experience working in academic research. Some of the work she has been involved in focused on reducing the incidence of Klebsiella (a colonizing bacteria that can be hard to treat) at long-term acute care facilities, assessing barriers to low tidal volume ventilation in the treatment of patients with Adult Respiratory Distress Syndrome (ARDS), and investigating risk factors for Clostridium difficile infection and recurrence. Prior to joining MOQC in March 2019, Shayna worked as a research coordinator at the University of Michigan in the Infectious Diseases department. She is overseeing the introduction and coordination of patient reported outcomes in MOQC practices.