MEET OUR TEAM
Lesli Skolarus, MD
Dr. Skolarus graduated from Wayne State University School of Medicine as a Stroke Neurologist. She is the principal investigator of Stroke Ready and is interested in ensuring that all people have the opportunity for equitable health and well-being. Dr. Skolarus’ passion for stroke preparedness, community education and well-being truly shows in her day to day work as she also treats patients at the University of Michigan- Ann Arbor. In her down time, she enjoys reading, running, Zumba and takeout food.
Alina’s involvement in the faith based community creates a strong interconnection between churches in Flint and Stroke Ready. She is a gospel recording artist and praise team leader at Bethlehem Temple Apostolic Church. She is the Children & Youth Director of Super Church, a children and youth program at Bethlehem Temple. Alina developed two afterschool programs for the city of Flint called “Puppets of Duty” and “Acting Up.” Additionally, she is a play writer, director and resident actress at the McCree Theatre in Flint, and a writer and producer at SheDope Productions. Outside of work, Alina enjoys crafting, reading, and traveling.
Elder Sarah Bailey
Community Principal Investigator
Elder Bailey is a Flint-based consultant with the Stroke Ready program. She received her Bachelor of Arts in Sociology and Comparative religions, minoring in Psychology. She then received her Master of Arts in Christian Counseling and later her PhD in theology. She became an ordained and licensed minister in 2001. Elder Bailey has co-developed several research projects and was the original principal investigator on the CDC pilot of Church Challenge. She is the Executive Director of Bridges into the Future and a member of Community Based Organization Partners (CBOP). She specializes in community engagement, with an emphasis on the health of minorities and marginalized communities.
Mellanie Springer, MD
Academic Research Team
Dr. Springer is a Stroke Neurologist at the University of Michigan. She has a Bachelor of Science in Psychology, a Master’s degree in Cognitive Neuroscience, a Master’s degree in Clinical Research Methods, and a M.D. degree. Her research interests include racial disparities in stroke incidence and treatment and cognitive impairment after stroke. Her professional activities include caring for stroke patients, research, and teaching medical students and neurology trainees. During her spare time, she enjoys dancing and playing the piano.
Casey is the project manager for the Stroke Ready program. She received a Masters of Science in Occupational Therapy and worked for over a decade as a licensed stroke rehabilitation therapist. Wanting to transition to a greater focus on community-based stroke prevention and preparedness, she then received a Masters of Public Health in 2016. Casey’s professional interests are focused on the improvement of stroke systems of care through program development and implementation in hospital and community settings. Outside of work she enjoys traveling, dancing, and eating out.
Maria Cielito Robles
Maria Cielito is a proud Filipino-American who immigrated to the US when she was 8 years old. She graduated from Cornell University with a Bachelor’s degree in Human Biology, Health and Society. She worked in clinical research in New York City prior to moving back to Michigan. Her interest lies in the intersection of medicine, health equity and policy. Maria loves working for Stroke Ready and plans to use all that she’s learned as she pursues a career in medicine. In her free time, she enjoys taking classes to learn new things such as boxing, gymnastics, ballet and spending time with her family.
Tia, a Flint native, graduated from Central Michigan University with her Bachelors of Science in Communication Disorders, her focus being Speech-Language Pathology, Human Development and American Sign Language. She later earned her Masters of Science in Health Education where her passion for the community truly took focus. Tia believes everyone deserves to reach their fullest potential when it comes to their health (mental, physical and spiritual). Outside of Stroke Ready she works on research projects at the University of Michigan-Ann Arbor. In her down time she enjoys spending time with with family/friends, watching movies, and being a member of a competitive dance team.
Community Coordinator & Educator
Brooke received a bachelor’s degree in journalism from the University of Missouri- Columbia. She worked at The Flint Journal for 30 years as a reporter, copy editor and editor. Her interest in stroke education is personal. After her husband of 40 years had a massive stroke in 2016, she became his primary caregiver and advocate until his death last year. Outside of work, Brooke likes to spend time with her three grandsons in Toronto and enjoys traveling.
Graduate Research Assistant
Avonlea attended Howard University in Washington, D.C. and earned a Bachelors of Science in Health Education with a concentration in Community Health and minor in Chemistry. She is most interested in prevention and epidemiology of both infectious and chronic diseases. Avonlea recently spent time researching HIV in South Africa. She is currently a Masters of Public Health Candidate in the Health Behavior and Health Education department at the School of Public Health and a Master of Science candidate in Clinical Research. She likes to travel and discover new activities with her friends and family and also enjoys cooking!
Undergraduate Research Assistant
Jacob attends the University of Michigan-Ann Arbor. He is interested in public health because he wants to study economic determinants that affect health, as well as the disparities that many face with regard to healthcare. He is involved in the Health Science Scholar Program at U of M and also volunteers with Medlaunch. During his free time, he enjoys playing beach volleyball and basketball, as well as graphic design. His career goals include pursuing nursing, biomedical engineering or medical school.