MPHI is successful in improving the health of communities because of the strength of our staff. We have more than 500 employees, including more than 180 with doctoral and master’s degrees. Our staff includes researchers, data analysts, IT professionals, project managers, and scientists trained in a broad array of health fields.

Dr. Canady
Renée Canady, Ph.D.
Chief Executive Officer
Phone: (517) 324-8301

MPHI’s Board of Directors named Renée Branch Canady, PhD chief executive officer in early 2014. She is working to set the Institute’s strategic direction in the midst of unprecedented changes spurred by national health reform, as well as transformations in Michigan’s public health system. She is continuing to build a world-class infrastructure to support MPHI’s innovative program areas and projects.

Dr. Canady is a nationally recognized thought leader in health disparities and inequities, cultural competence, and social justice. She came to MPHI from the Ingham County Health Department, the state’s first public entity local health department and federally qualified health center, where she served as the appointed health officer. She is also an assistant professor at Michigan State University’s College of Human Medicine’s Program for Public Health.

Dr. Canady earned her PhD in Medical Sociology from Michigan State University, a master’s degree in Public Administration from Western Michigan University, and a bachelor’s degree in Public Health Nutrition from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

Dr. Darwish-Yassine
May Darwish-Yassine, Ph.D.
Chief Program Officer
Phone: (517) 324-8342

As chief program officer, Dr. Darwish-Yassine provides oversight to MPHI’s programs, mentoring and supporting program directors and leading implementation of programmatic initiatives. She is a member of the Senior Leadership Team, representing program and corporate interests and sharing in setting strategic direction for the Institute.

Dr. Darwish-Yassine specializes in chronic disease epidemiology, outcome research, and evaluation. She has interest in analyzing disparities in health outcomes. Her nearly 20 years of tenure at MPHI is marked by leadership of evidence-based public health planning, integration of surveillance data to illustrate disease burden, support of public/private partnerships, and initiation of population-based studies focused on cancer outcomes within minority groups.

Previous experience includes serving on the faculty of the University of Massachusetts Boston as executive director of research, program and Initiatives in the college of Nursing and Health Sciences.

Dr. Yassine received her Ph.D. in Epidemiologic Science from the University of Michigan, where she also completed her post-doctoral training. She received a master of science degree in Epidemiology and a bachelor’s in Environmental Health from the American University of Beirut.

Jana Dean
Jana Dean
Chief Financial Officer
Phone: (517) 324-8350

Jana Dean serves as Chief Financial Officer at MPHI. She provides leadership and strategic direction for all financial functions, directly overseeing finance, contracts, payroll and accounting. Before joining the Institute in 2015, Ms. Dean was the Finance & Operations Audit Manager for the Internal Audit Department at Michigan State University. Prior to that, she was a Senior Associate at Plante & Moran. Her professional career began at Arthur Anderson.

Ms. Dean earned her degree in accounting and her MBA at Michigan State University and is a CPA and CIA. Ms. Dean is a member of the Institute of Internal Auditors, the Michigan Association of CPA’s, and the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants.

Michelle Napier-Dunnings
Chief Communications Officer
Phone: (517) 324-6008

Michelle Napier-Dunnings, MFA, received her Masters from Virginia Commonwealth University and completed her undergraduate degree in psychology and biology from Earlham College. Michelle provides the Institute with leadership in communication, strategy and facilitation. She has extensive experience working with governmental agencies, educational institutions, businesses, and non-profits and was formerly the Director of Education at Michigan State University’s Wharton Center for Performing Arts. Michelle comes to MPHI as the Executive Director of Michigan Food and Farming Systems (MIFFS), working collaboratively to connect and empower diverse partners to improve regional and equitable food systems. Michelle is also the co-author of the book: Trust-Building: An Experiential Approach.

Jeff Ott
Jeff Ott
Chief Operating Officer
Phone: (517) 324-7308

Chief Operating Officer Jeff Ott has nearly 20 years of experience in operations, sales, and solution integration. His responsibilities as chief information officer include: setting the strategic direction for information technology, ensuring that service delivery operations meet client expectations, and maintaining alignment between IT and support of business needs and priorities.

Prior to his role as MPHI’s CIO and now COO, Jeff designed and implemented IT support and organizational models that ensured enterprises realized their vision for IT, and that IT supported business concerns. He has experience in applications programming, project management, solution design, operations management and program management. Jeff holds a B.A. in Business Administration from Michigan State University.

Heather White
Chief Administrative Officer
Phone: (517) 324-8309

Heather White, MSA, has 18 years of experience in Human Resource Management. She works closely with the chief executive officer, assessing, organizing, and delegating administrative functions, and with the chief financial officer, addressing administrative and financial oversight throughout MPHI’s programs. She is responsible for implementing MPHI’s hiring policies, acts as a staffing agent in recruiting candidates, provides administrative direction to programs, and assists in program development. She is also responsible for oversight of facilities, lease negotiations, building operational issues, tenant improvements, new builds, build-outs, and staff moves. She serves as MPHI’s Equal Employment Opportunity coordinator, developing and implementing the annual Affirmative Action plan, overseeing employee evaluations, and providing guidance to the management team in Human Resources-related areas. Ms. White led implementation of E-Recruiting, which serves as a catalyst for recruiting prospective employees while improving efficiency, and encouraging collaboration by matching current employees’ skills with new projects. She holds a B.S. in Business from Ferris State University and a M.S. in Administration from Central Michigan University.