The U-M PAVE staff draws on experience and expertise in the areas of outreach and access; peer-to-peer programs; family, marital and parenting interventions; and support groups to develop and tailor the PAVE Program on each college campus where it operates. In collaboration with the SVA staff, the PAVE team works to assist student veterans in their transition to college life.


University of Michigan (U-M) PAVE Team

Jane Spinner, MSW, MBA

Jane Spinner

Jane Spinner is Project Officer for Strategic Initiatives at the University of Michigan Depression Center and Department of Psychiatry. In this position, she oversees the design, development, and implementation of major projects and initiatives that address the mental health needs of special populations, and helps translate clinical research advances in mental health to those in need in Michigan and nationally. Ms. Spinner has over thirty years of experience in the health care field, with a background as a clinician, health care business executive, and an entrepreneur. Ms. Spinner did her undergraduate work at the University of Michigan. She received a Masters in Social Work from Wayne State University, and an MBA from Michigan State University’s Executive MBA program where she was a member of Beta Gamma Sigma, the International Business School Honor Society. She has specific expertise in strategic marketing planning and center of excellence development for health care systems, physician groups, and corporations.  Ms. Spinner is Project Director for the M-SPAN programs and service, including the PAVE Program.

Michelle Kees, PhD

Photo.KeesDr. Michelle Kees is a Clinical Psychologist and Associate Professor in the Department of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry at the University of Michigan.  She holds dual Clinical and Research Without Compensation (WOC) appointments at the Ann Arbor Veterans Affairs Medical Center (VA), and an Adjunct Appointment in the Department of Psychology at the University of Michigan. Dr. Kees’ expertise centers on risk and resilience in female veterans, military spouses, caregivers, and families; peer programs supporting veterans in the community and on college campuses; and large-scale dissemination of evidence-based programs. She is the Principal Investigator for HomeFront Strong, a group-based resiliency intervention for military and veteran spouses/partners that is being disseminated statewide via community clinicians. She is the Principal Investigator for PAVE (Peer Advisors for Veteran Education), a national peer mentorship program for student veterans returning to college on the Post 9-11 GI Bill, and the Principal Investigator for the program evaluation of Buddy-to-Buddy, a peer support program for veterans throughout the state of Michigan. Lastly, Dr. Kees is working with colleagues at M-SPAN to develop a new program, After Her Service, that focuses on the intersection of mental health and professional growth in female veterans. She is also the spouse of a former National Guard soldier.

Marcia Valenstein, MD, MS
Director of Research

Marcia Valenstein, MD, MS

Dr. Valenstein is a Professor at the University of Michigan Department of Psychiatry and a senior research scientist at the VA Health Services Research and Development service and the Serious Mental Illness Treatment Research and Evaluation Center (SMITREC). She has extensive clinical experience treating veterans in the VA health system. She is a national expert on peer-to-peer programs and was a key member in the collaborative development team that conceptualized and implemented the PAVE program. Her areas of research focus are medication adherence, depression management strategies, quality of depression care and suicide. Dr. Valenstein has worked as a clinical psychiatrist in the VA for 20 years, has been principal investigator on multiple federally and foundation funded grants and has over 90 articles or book chapters either published or in press. Dr. Valenstein graduated from Harvard College, and received her Medical Degree from the University of Illinois Medical School, and completed her residency training at Duke University and SUNY-Stony Brook. She subsequently completed her Masters in Clinical Research Design and Statistical Analysis from the U-M School of Public Health.

Brittany Risk, LMSW
Program Manager

Brittany Risk, LMSWBrittany Risk is the Program Manager for the Peer Advisors for Veteran Education (PAVE) Program.  In this position, Ms. Risk coordinates and oversees all aspects of the implementation of the PAVE Program.  She completed her Bachelor’s Degree in Social Work at Michigan State University, and earned her Master’s Degree in Social Work at the University of Michigan.  Prior to coming to PAVE, Ms. Risk worked as a Project Coordinator at the Department of Veterans Affairs on grants that focused on veteran mental health, substance abuse, and suicide prevention.  She has experience with program development and implementation, team management, and clinical care.  She is specifically interested in reducing stigma and barriers to care and creating supportive networks and programs for service members and veterans.  Ms. Risk’s personal connections to the military inspire her work in advocacy and development of military programs, especially those related to successful transition to civilian life.

Timothy Nellett, BA
Program Coordinator
Tim NellettTimothy Nellett is the Program Coordinator for the PAVE program (Peer Advisors for Veteran Education). In this position, Mr. Nellett coordinates the implementation of the PAVE Program on current campuses. He enlisted in the United States Marine Corps Infantry in 2005 and served in 1st Battalion 6th Marine Regiment out of Camp Lejeune, NC. He deployed to Ramadi, Iraq in 2006-2007 and in 2008 he was deployed to Kandahar and Garmsir, Afghanistan. Recognitions from his service include the Navy and Marine Corps Achievement Medal with a Combat “V”. Mr. Nellett graduated from the University of Michigan with a Bachelor’s Degree in Communications. During his time there, he served as Secretary of the UM chapter of Student Veterans of America (SVA), worked as a Team Leader for PAVE and as a Veteran/Military Student Contact Coordinator within the UM Office of New Student Programs. Mr. Nellett is interested in helping veterans successfully transition from military to civilian life with an emphasis on transitions related to education and employment.

Chrysta Meadowbrooke, MA, MSI
Research Specialist

Chrysta Meadowbrooke

Chrysta Meadowbrooke is the Research Specialist for M-SPAN, working on research and evaluation for multiple projects, including Peer Advisors for Veteran Education and HomeFront Strong. She earned her MS in Information at University of Michigan and her MA in Clinical Psychology at Antioch University. Through several years of experience with community-based health and clinical research projects, Ms. Meadowbrooke has developed skills in both qualitative and quantitative research, such as study design and management, data collection through surveys and interviews, and data analysis. Her professional and personal experiences with veterans and military families help strengthen her person-centered approach to research and her commitment to helping people improve their quality of life.

Alyssa Wealty, MA
Communications Specialist

Alyssa Wealty

Alyssa Wealty is the Communications Specialist for PAVE and coordinates the various marketing communications activities for it and all M-SPAN programs. As a native of Military City, USA (San Antonio, Texas), veteran spouse, and someone who worked on a military base overseas, Ms. Wealty has a deep appreciation of and connection to service members, their families, and the sacrifices they make for our country. She earned a Bachelor’s degree in English and Communications from St. Mary’s University and a Master’s degree in Integrated Marketing Communications from Marist College and has diverse experience working in marketing communications, particularly for non-profit organizations. She focuses on how to use strategic, targeted communications as a tool to increase PAVE’s reach and connection to the people it serves.

To reach any of the PAVE staff, please e-mail