Faculty

Director, Prevention Research Collaborative
Dr. Zimmerman is the Director of the Prevention Research Collaborative and the CDC-funded Michigan Youth Violence Prevention Center. Dr. Zimmerman’s research focuses on health and resiliency of adolescents, and on empowerment theory. His work on adolescent health examines how positive factors in adolescents’ lives help them overcome risks they face. His research includes analysis of adolescent resiliency for risks associated with alcohol and drug use, violent behavior, precocious sexual behavior, and school failure. He is also studying developmental transitions and longitudinal models of change. Dr. Zimmerman’s work on empowerment theory includes measurement and analysis of psychological and community empowerment. The research includes both longitudinal interview studies and community intervention research. Dr. Zimmerman is the Editor of Youth and Society, a member of the editorial board for Health Education Research, and a member of the Editor Emerita of Health Education and Behavior.
Associate Professor
Dr. Heinze is currently an Associate Professor in the Department of Health Behavior and Health Education in the School of Public Health and holds an appointment with the Combined Program in Education and Psychology. His research investigates how schools influence disparities in violence and other risk outcomes from an ecological perspective that includes individual, interpersonal, and contextual influences on development. He is particularly interested in structural features of school context and policy that perpetuate inequity in violence and firearm outcomes, but also how these institutions can serve as a setting for intervention. He is the Director of the National Center for School Safety, the faculty lead for Public Health IDEAS for Preventing Firearm Injury, and principal investigator of the Healthy Minds Study.
Research Assistant Professor
Dr. Hsieh is a Research Assistant Professor at the Institute for Firearm Injury Prevention at the University of Michigan. She is also the Project Director for the Flint Adolescent Study. Dr. Hsieh’s primary research interests include adolescent resiliency and health disparity, focusing on substance use and other health behaviors related to cancer or cancer prevention. She is also interested in the longitudinal and cross-domain relations among individual and social-ecological factors of risk behaviors in adolescence to adulthood.
Associate Professor
Dr. Mehdipanah’s research focuses on the impacts of urban policies on health and health inequities. Her current research portfolio focuses on aspects of urban health, including urban renewal, planning, housing and gentrification, and their effects on community health and health inequities, including violence. Dr. Mehdipanah is the co-lead for the Public Health IDEAS for Creating Healthy and Equitable Cities and the Director of the Housing Solutions For Health Equity initiative.
Research Investigator
Libby Messman has worked with the Prevention Research Collaborative since 2020. She is a project manager for the YES (Youth Empowerment Solutions) program, as well as the Sandy Hook Promise Foundation evaluation studies. She has experience with school-based research, program implementation/evaluation, and quantitative data analysis. Her areas of interest also include youth empowerment, positive youth development, and school violence prevention. Prior to joining the PRC, Libby was a postdoctoral research fellow with the PRC. Libby holds a PhD in Education and Psychology from the University of Michigan.