CJI Staff and Leadership Board
R. Michael Massanari, Executive Director
R. Michael Massanari, MD, directs grant and contract development efforts for the Critical Junctures Institute, overseeing the Institute's various research activities. He recently served as Director of the Center for Healthcare Effectiveness Research (CHER) and Professor of Medicine and Community Medicine at Wayne State University School of Medicine. He received his M.D. from Northwestern University and M.S. in Preventive Medicine Epidemiology from the University of Iowa. Click here to see Michael's complete curriculum vitae (pdf).
Michael has served in multiple roles in academic institutions and large health systems including research, teaching, clinical care, and administration. In his recent role as center director, he established effective partnerships with clinicians and investigators across the Wayne State University campus, and developed productive collaborations with healthcare organizations and industries in the Detroit metropolitan community.
Michael and Lois have two children. They recently retired to Whatcom County to be near their daughter and her family, including three grandchildren.
Ronald Kleinknecht, Interim Chair, Leadership Board
Ron Kleinknecht recently retired from Western Washington University as Founding Dean of the College of Humanities and Social Sciences where he also was a Professor of psychology since 1970.
Ron received his Ph.D. in Clinical Psychology from WSU and served an internship and residency in Medical Psychology at the University of Oregon Medical School. Ron’s research and professional interests are in Clinical Health Psychology and include the role of anxiety and fear as barriers to medical and dental treatment, the role of doctor - patient communication in relation to compliance and treatment outcomes, and promotion of educational opportunities in the health professions. He is a Clinical Associate in the Dental Fears Research Clinic, Department of Dental Public Health Sciences, at the University of Washington.
Ron was part of the group who conceptualized and developed the Critical Junctures Institute and serves on its advisory board. He was also instrumental in developing the Center for Healthy Living at WWU. http://www.wwu.edu/depts/healthyliving/
James Marcus “Marc” Pierson, Interim Vice Chair, Leadership Board
Marc Pierson, MD is the Regional Vice President, Clinical Information & Special Projects and Regional Vice President of Medical Affairs. Marc is board certified in Internal Medical and Emergency Medicine. He completed medical school at Indiana University School of Medicine in 1976 and his residency in Internal Medical at Parkland Memorial Hospital in Dallas, TX in 1979. He practiced Emergency Medicine in Bellingham from 1980 until 1997.
Marc joined the executive team at St. Joseph Hospital in 1995, where he is responsible for supporting education, training, information systems, Community Health Record and lab services. He led the creation of a self-sustaining community-wide health information network (HInet). He is also the Project Executive for the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation supported Pursuing Perfection Project. Additionally, Marc became an Adjunct Professor of Sociology at Western Washington University in 2007. Marc’s real passion in work is clinical quality improvement across the continuum of care including the patient’s home. Community informatics, knowledge management and social marketing are continuing areas of study. He has three daughters and claims ocean sailing and motorcycle riding as diversions.
Regina Delahunt, Leadership Board Member
Regina Delahunt has more than 30 years of experience in the public health field primarily in the area of environmental health and public health administration. Regina has served in a leadership capacity with the Whatcom County Health Department in Bellingham, Washington for 20 years and has been Public Health Director for Whatcom County since 2000. In this capacity, she approaches public from a broad-based community perspective, playing an active in bringing community partners together to address public health needs. With a focus on creating solutions to complex public health problem, she serves on many local and regional boards tackling public health issues such as health care access, domestic violence, mental health and homelessness. She is also active in community emergency planning efforts including Pandemic Flu planning and the establishment of the Whatcom County Medical Reserve Corps. Regina received her Bachelor of Science with honors from State University of New York and her Master Degree in Biology from New Mexico State University.
Marcy Hipskind, Leadership Board Member
Michael Lilliquist, Leadership Board Member
Michael Lilliquist currently serves as an elected City Council member representing the 76,000 residents of Bellingham, Washington. In addition Michael currently serves on the board of ReUse Works, a local sustainability and job-training non-profit, and on the board of Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault Services of Whatcom County, a victim advocacy and support agency. Michael’s many past community activities include the steering committee of Futurewise Whatcom, the Mayor’s Neighborhood Advisory Commission, the Lake Whatcom Watershed Advisory Board, and as past president and trustee of the Bellingham Unitarian Fellowship, where he is also active in youth programs and mentoring.
Michael holds a Ph.D. in behavioral neuroscience from the University of Texas at Austin, and his professional experiences include work as a scientific researcher and as a neuropsychometrist in various clinical settings, including inpatient hospital, rehabilitation center, and outpatient settings with children, adult and elderly clients.
Cheryl Macpherson, Leadership Board Member
Barbara Mathers-Schmidt, Leadership Board Member
Barbara Mathers-Schmidt is a Professor and Chair in the Department of Communication Sciences and Disorders at Western Washington University. She completed her B.A. in Psychology and Spanish at Lewis and Clark College in 1973. After working with emotionally-disturbed children in the Portland, OR area she went on to complete a Master’s Degree in Speech-Language Pathology at Portland State University (1978). She earned her Ph.D. in Speech-Language Pathology at University of Washington (1987) where her dissertation research focused on the impact of rheumatoid arthritis on the larynx.
Barbara has worked as a speech-language pathologist for the Department of Otolaryngology at the University of Michigan Medical Center in Ann Arbor and for the Rehabilitation Medicine Departments at Northwest Hospital and Virginia Mason Hospital in Seattle.
Barbara’s research, teaching, and clinical interests include the areas of laryngeal disorders, motor speech disorders, and stuttering. She has conducted treatment efficacy research regarding phonatory control in people who have Parkinson’s Disease, and inspiratory/expiratory muscle training in elite athletes, individuals with paradoxical vocal cord dysfunction, and individuals with Parkinson’s Disease.
Barbara and her husband, Bob Schmidt, have two adult sons. They have enjoyed camping, hiking, and kayaking in the northwest.
Lori Nichols, Leadership Board Member
Lori Nichols is the Director of Whatcom Health Information Network, LLC (HInet) and the Shared Care Plan Personal Health Record.
Lori has 30 years experience in health care in a variety of settings and roles. She has been on the front line answering calls coming into medical and dental practices and at a major trauma center. She served on the board, coded patient bills, provided Spanish interpretation for WIC, OB and dental patients and managed the Dental and OB programs at 45th Street Community Clinic in Seattle. As Provider Relations Director for Whatcom Medical Bureau, a local Blue Shield Licensee, Lori worked with health care professionals through start up of a managed care plan and implementation of a new claims processing system. Since then she has been working with Health Information Technology implementation in Whatcom County to support communications, transactions and quality improvement activities across the continuum of care.
Lori participates in her local Community Health Improvement Consortium, and is on the board of the Elder Service Providers Group. She serves on the Business and Computer Information Systems Advisory Committee for Bellingham Technical College, as well as the Leadership Board for the Critical Junctures Institute.
Lori has two adult children and a dog.
Chris Phillips, Leadership Board Member
Richard Scholtz, Leadership Board Member
Richard Scholtz is self-employed, and works primarily in music and education, as well as in computer consulting, project administration, and financial management. Richard was the co-director of CJI's first research project, Health Neighborhood Mapping, funded by The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. He serves on the CJI Advisory Board.
Richard has worked with pre-schools and elder hostels, a youth orchestra and youth choir, organized adult camps, and taught university and community college classes. He has released multiple CDs of his own music: instrumental duets, traditional American songs, and improvised music to accompany the telling of traditional stories. Richard has shared his music in formal and informal settings, ranging from concerts and festivals to doctor's offices, hospitals, and university offices.
A graduate of Antioch College in Yellow Spring, OH, Richard was one of the founders of Antioch College West. He and his wife Helen have two adult sons.
Jay D. Teachman, Leadership Board Member
Jay Teachman is a professor in the Department of Sociology at Western Washington University. He received his Ph.D. from the University of Chicago in 1978 and has served on the faculties of the University of Iowa, Brown University, Old Dominion University, the University of Maryland, and Washington State University.
Jay maintains a long-standing interest in families and how families change over time. He has published a number of articles concerning topics such as divorce, remarriage, child support, and cohabitation. He is among the group of individuals who developed the vision for the Critical Junctures Institute and continues to serve on its Advisory Board and Leadership Team. His most recent CJI grant, funded by the National Science Foundation, looks at the effects of military service on individuals' subsequent physical and mental health.
Jay is an avid fly fisherman, who also likes to ride horses and golf.