Senior Team Members


Tsu-Yin Wu, Ph.D., RN, FAAN

Dr. Tsu-Yin Wu is a professor and director of the Ph.D. program in nursing at Eastern Michigan University. She also serves as the director of the Healthy Asian Americans Project (HAAP), with its mission to improve the health and well-being of individuals and families from underserved Asian communities. Since 2006, HAAP’s work has made strides decreasing health disparities in Michigan and later, in 2010, expanded its scope internationally in China, the Philippines and Taiwan. The Lay Health Advisor (LHA) model successfully increased the awareness on colorectal, breast and cervical cancer and provided screening for thousands of underserved Asian Americans in Michigan.

In the past five years, Dr. Wu has devoted her efforts in global cancer control research focusing on cancer disparities of low- and middle-income countries. With dissemination of HAAP’s LHA framework, Dr. Wu expanded breast cancer awareness and a screening program in China in underserved areas that covers 27 cities in China and results in more than 15,000 women getting breast cancer screening; for many of them, for the first time in their lives. The medical mission-based work is another example for community-academic partnerships to advance early detection of breast cancer in the Philippines. Dr. Wu is a renowned researcher to establish evidence base for understanding the unique needs and characteristics of Asian Americans that have been linked to health outcomes. She peer-reviewed papers focused on psychosocial and belief correlates of cancer screening and lesson-learned from developing and testing culturally-tailored interventions to increase preventive health behaviors. Her papers have been cited more than 1,560 times with national and international professional and media sources (as of May, 2019). These publications were frequently cited and referenced by researchers and practitioners around the world. Her research has contributed to the science needed for changing the status quo with regards to “unequal burden” of healthcare needs for underserved minority populations. Results from her research have informed advocacy for policy-level of improvement in improving cancer outcomes for Asian Americans.

As a result of her expertise, Dr. Wu has been appointed to several prestigious councils, including the Susan G. Komen National Advisory Council of Asian Pacific Americans and the Michigan Asian Pacific Americans Affairs Commission.

Read more about Dr. Tsu-Yin Wu.

Senior Faculty

Meriam Caboral-Stevens, Ph.D., RN, NP-C

Dr. Meriam Caboral-Stevens is an assistant professor in the School of Nursing at EMU. She migrated from the Philippines to New York in 1985, where she worked at Kings County Hospital Center in Brooklyn, NY as a critical care nurse and cardiology nurse. From 2000 to 2012 she worked at SUNY Downstate Medical Center at Brooklyn as a clinical research nurse, adult nurse practitioner/coordinator of the Heart Failure Center, and a lecturer at the College of Nursing. Dr. Caboral-Stevens was site coordinator to some landmark heart failure trials, including SCDHeFT and AHeFT studies. She received her MSN/ANP at Molloy College, and her Ph.D. in Nursing at the Graduate Center of the City University of New York in 2012. She relocated to Michigan in 2015 and has taught at EMU since 2016. In 2015, Dr. Caboral-Stevens was inducted as a Fellow of the New York Academy of Medicine.

Read more about Dr. Meriam Caboral-Stevens.

Olivia Ford, Ph.D., MPH, RD

Dr. Olivia Ford is an associate professor and program director in the Dietetics and Human Nutrition programs at EMU. She has a broad background in foods and nutrition, with specific training and expertise in food production, menu analysis and creation, school nutrition, community academic partnerships, and training community members to create sustainable nutrition programs. Dr. Ford earned an MPH with a focus on global nutrition from Emory University, and a Ph.D. in Foods and Nutrition from the University of Georgia. She has conducted research projects focusing on childhood nutrition both nationally and internationally. Additionally, Dr. Ford is a registered dietitian with experience working in school nutrition.

Read more about Dr. Olivia Ford.


Jenni L. Hoffman, DNP, RN, FNP-C, CLNC, FAANP

Dr. Hoffman is an associate professor at EMU School of Nursing. She is also a nurse practitioner in community/public health. Additionally, she has a clinical background in reproductive health and urgent/retail health. Dr. Hoffman received her BSN with a specialization in health promotion from Michigan State University, MS in community health nursing and FNP training from University of Michigan, and DNP from Oakland University. In 2016, Dr. Hoffman was inducted as a Fellow of the American Association of Nurse Practitioners. In 2022, she received the Public Health Nursing Excellence Award. Her research interests include: health promotion, health disparities, sexual and reproductive health, women’s health, simulation, interprofessional education, and professional preparation. She has delivered multiple presentations and authored numerous publications. Dr. Hoffman is committed to improving population health through practice, education, and research.

Read more about Dr. Hoffman.

Alice Jo Rainville, Ph.D., RD, CHE, SNS, FAND

Professor of Nutrition and Dietetics Dr. Alice Jo Rainville has managed over $500,000 in contracts and grants from USDA, the Institute of Child Nutrition, and other organizations. Dr. Rainville has 30 years as a foods and foodservice management educator/researcher and 10 years of food marketing and foodservice management work experience. Her Ph.D. in Community Health Sciences is from the University of Texas School of Public Health in Houston. Alice Jo was the recipient of the Everett L. Marshall Award for Excellence in Scholarly Activity by the EMU College of Health and Human Services in 2006. In 2014 she was named a Fellow of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. In 2016 she was awarded the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics Excellence in Practice Award for Research.

Read more about Dr. Alice Jo Rainville.

Dr. John Sonnega, Ph.D.

Dr. John Sonnega is an assistant professor of public health education and director of the undergraduate Public Health Program at EMU. He has broad experience with both academic and applied (practitioner) public health programs.

Dr. Sonnega was previously the director of the Mhealthy Thrive, the University of Michigan’s Stress Management Program. Prior to that he was faculty at the University of Michigan – Flint in Public Health, and a member of the University of Michigan’s Prevention Research Center. He has conducted research in sleep and stress, particularly as they pertain to health disparities. Dr. Sonnega was a senior research associate at the Institute of Social Research, and involved with many NIH-funded grants. Dr. Sonnega is the president elect of the Great Lakes Society for Public Health Education. He received his degree in Public Health Psychology from the Johns Hopkins School of Hygiene and Public Health.

Read more about Dr. John Sonnega.

Dr. Xining Yang, Ph.D.

Dr. Xining Yang is an assistant professor in the Department of Geography and Geology at EMU. Dr. Yang is broadly trained as geographer and information scientist, with specific expertise in geographic information science and its interdisciplinary applications in health and environment. His research focuses on describing and understanding place-based and geographic disparities in food environment and health, with a specific emphasis on applied geographic methods and the role geographic factors play on health outcomes and prevention. He is especially interested in the interactions between socioeconomic, demographic and neighborhood environmental factors that influence human health and disease, and in how we can measure these factors to better understand various health outcomes using innovative data and methods including spatio-temporal analysis, volunteered geographic information (VGI), geovisualization, social media and web GIS.

Dr. Yang has been involved in research grants funded by NSF, NASA and CDC. He is a member of the American Association of Geographers. He is currently the EMU CDC-REACH Physical Activity Director.

Read more about Dr. Xining Yang.

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