Who we are
Susan Murphy, ScD, OTR, FAOTA
Dr. Murphy is an occupational therapist by training and Professor in the Department of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation, and of Internal Medicine, Rheumatology Division at the University of Michigan. She also is a faculty lead in the Education and Mentoring Group at the Michigan Institute of Clinical and Health Research (MICHR). She earned her ScD in 2000 from Boston University and completed post-doctoral training at Yale University School of Medicine. Her research interests involve developing and translating relevant and effective interventions into practice to optimize management of chronic conditions. She has a particular interest in advancing telehealth and rehabilitation for people with scleroderma and leads the behavioral studies branch of the University of Michigan's Scleroderma Program. Dr. Murphy has expertise in patient-oriented and community-engaged research methods, social and behavioral clinical trial methodology, as well as real-time assessment techniques such as ecological momentary assessment and accelerometry.
Gina Jay, PhD
Dr. Jay is a Program Manager in the Department of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation at the University of Michigan. Gina has extensive experience in the organization and management of single and multi-site collaborative research, the training and supervision of research staff, and the creation and optimization of administrative and research databases. She has worked on a variety of projects focusing on spinal cord injury, women’s health and disability, cancer rehabilitation, scleroderma, and best research practices training, among other topics.
Shannen Bolde, MPH
Ms. Bolde is a Research Coordinator in the Department of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation, University of Michigan. Shannen has been with PM&R for over 4 years now, working on various projects related to women’s health and physical disability, quality of life after limb trauma, stroke recovery, healthy aging with cerebral palsy, and the impact of scleroderma on daily life and functioning.
Postdoctoral Research Fellows
Yen Chen, PhD
Dr. Chen is a Postdoctoral Research Fellow in the Division of Rheumatology at the University of Michigan. She completed her Ph.D. in Health Behavior and Health Education at the University of Texas at Austin in 2020. Yen's current research focuses on symptom experiences of individuals living with chronic diseases, with a particular interest in examining how burdensome symptoms, including pain, fatigue, and cognitive dysfunction, influence daily life functioning and health-related quality of life in people with scleroderma.
Alexandra Harper, PhD, OTR/L
Dr. Harper is a Postdoctoral Research Fellow in the Department of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation at the University of Michigan. She completed her Ph.D. in Rehabilitation Science at the University of Pittsburgh in 2022. Alex’s research focuses on leveraging stakeholder engagement and implementation science methods to enhance the design and conduct of pragmatic clinical trials to facilitate the consistent delivery of evidence-based practices and improve the quality of rehabilitation.
Nirali Shah, PhD, MPT
Dr. Shah is a Postdoctoral Research Fellow in the Department of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation at the University of Michigan. She completed her Ph.D. in Rehabilitation Sciences at Boston University in 2023. Nirali’s research interests are in developing and investigating digital health tools for management of chronic pain conditions.
Ms. Fallon is in her third and final year in the Occupational Therapy doctorate program at the University of Michigan-Flint. Abigail has been working with Dr. Susan Murphy for the past two years in her Scleroderma research. Abigail’s doctoral capstone will be with Dr. Murphy developing a support “Tool-Kit” for newly diagnosed patients with scleroderma with the Michigan Medicine Scleroderma Program.
Ms. Feldpausch is a Volunteer Researcher in the Department of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation, University of Michigan. She is a third-year Doctor of Physical Therapy Student at Wayne State University, working on projects related to the daily life and functional impact of scleroderma. Her interest in scleroderma comes from her mother's scleroderma diagnosis in 2017. She aspires to research the benefits of mobility and physical therapy in patients with scleroderma.
Ms. Alore is a trained health coach in the TRACC-R Center. She also serves as a peer mentor in the University of Michigan's Scleroderma Program. Since her scleroderma diagnosis in January of 2011, she’s been an encourager and advocate for other scleroderma patients. She hopes to help other patients navigate the condition, help them find the resources they need, and be a reminder that they are not alone. In addition to these roles, she is a Business Technology Advisor of Sweet Bytes Technology, a company that provides website development services and technical support.
Ms. Hicks is a patient advocate and trained health coach in the TRACC-R Center. She is also a peer mentor in the University of Michigan’s Scleroderma Program and is involved in fundraising for the cure fund. She has been diagnosed with scleroderma since 2007, when she suffered severe ulcerations on her fingertips. Sheri continues to fight digital ulcers, digestive issues, and other life-altering symptoms. As a mother and a wife, she tries to balance the needs of her family with the ups and downs of her scleroderma. Sheri continues to advocate for other patients and believes in effective communication to build successful support systems.
Mr. Pape is a patient advocate and trained health coach in the TRACC-R Center. He was diagnosed with systemic sclerosis in 2017. Married with two adult children and has worked as a police officer for the last 23 years.
Mr. Johnson is a peer mentor in the University of Michigan’s Scleroderma Program. He shares the frustration of fatigue, pain, and the overall lack of energy, along with fighting the emotions of remembering who he used to be.
Mary Janevic, MPH, PhD
Dinesh Khanna, MD, MSc
Anna Kratz, PhD