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Newsroom > Speakers Bureau > Health & Wellness


Health & Wellness

Our health and wellness experts cover a wide range of topics related to health and well-being through every stage of life – from building healthy habits as a family, to fostering a culture of wellness in the workplace and knowing the keys to healthy aging.

  • Taking charge of your health
  • Living with chronic disease (diabetes, asthma, high blood pressure, heart disease, etc.)
  • Knowing your numbers
  • Achieving your health goals
  • Building healthy habits as a family
  • Fostering a culture of wellness in the workplace
  • Emotional health and well-being (depression, stress, substance abuse, etc.)
  • The healthy mind (depression, stress, anxiety, etc.)
  • Weight management
  • Healthy aging
  • Cancer screening and prevention
  • Medication safety

Speakers:

Vernal Brand, PhD, MSA, BSN, RN, CHCQM - Associate Vice President, Quality and Disease Management

Areas of Expertise:

  • Health care quality
  • Weight management
  • Living with chronic disease
  • Taking charge of your health
  • Achieving your health goals
  • Leadership development


Bio:
Dr. Vernal Brand leads HAP's quality and disease management programs. She previously held leadership positions in utilization and medical management, quality and case management at Molina Healthcare Plan of Michigan, OmniCare Health Plan and Detroit Medical Center. She received her Ph.D. in Organizational Psychology from Walden University, a master's in Health Service Administration from Central Michigan University and a bachelor's in nursing from Oakland University. She is certified in managed care, quality, utilization and case management by the American Board of Quality Assurance and Utilization Review Physicians. The Michigan Chronicle honored Dr. Brand as a 2013 "Woman of Excellence."

Fun Facts:
Vernal is active in her church and enjoys reading James Patterson novels, exercising and journaling. She is proud to be named after her grandmother.


Diane Edwards, RN - Health Promotion Coordinator

Areas of Expertise:

  • Taking charge of your health
  • Living with chronic disease
  • Knowing your numbers
  • Fostering a culture of wellness in the workplace
  • The healthy mind
  • Healthy aging


Bio:
Diane Edwards, RN, health promotion coordinator, has been a registered nurse for over 35 years working in specialties such as oncology, surgery, hospice and home care. She has a deep interest in natural medicine, energy body work and loves to teach healthy living practices. She is a member of the National Wellness Institute of America and a member of the Speakers Bureau for the Arthritis Foundation. She has been with HAP for 18 years. She received her nursing degree from Henry Ford Community College.

In the News:
Building a Healthier You (video) – Detroit Wants 2 Know, hosted by Steve Hood (July 2012)

Fun Facts:
Diane is an animal lover and enjoys knitting and reading – especially about holistic health and history. She was a regular dancer on the television dance show "Swingin' Time" with Robin Seymour in 1965 - 1966. She studied tap and jazz dance in her thirties.


DeAndre Lipscomb, MSA - Vice President, Community Outreach

Areas of Expertise:

  • Community stewardship
  • Employee volunteerism
  • Diversity and inclusion
  • Building healthy habits as a family
  • Fostering a culture of wellness in the workplace
  • Brand
  • Health insurance literacy
  • Leadership development

Bio:
As vice president, Community Outreach, DeAndre Lipscomb leads HAP's business development, community relations, member engagement and public relations strategies and programs. He previously served as director, Market Communications, at Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan. DeAndre earned a bachelor's degree from Wayne State University and a master's of administration in leadership from Central Michigan University. He is vice president of the board of directors for Spaulding for Children and a board member for Winning Futures and the Michigan Wellness Council. In this brief video, DeAndre describes HAP's community outreach efforts.

Fun Facts:
DeAndre enjoys mentoring young adults. He also writes plays, short stories and poetry. In high school, one of his plays was performed on Broadway - 1515 Broadway in Detroit! At age 11, he got his first job as a Detroit News carrier, and after high school, he was hired as a Detroit News editorial assistant.


Karine Pawlicki - Worksite Wellness and Health Promotion Coordinator

Areas of Expertise:

  • Fostering a culture of wellness in the workplace
  • Achieving your health goals
  • Building healthy habits as a family


Bio:
Karine Pawlicki coordinates HAP's worksite wellness programs and the Ready, Set, Cook program for children. She joined HAP from the Visiting Nurse Association of Southeast Michigan, where she assisted with the development and marketing of worksite wellness and immunization programs for small to mid-size businesses in Michigan and throughout the U.S. She has also served as a family health advocate for REACH Detroit (Racial and Ethnic Approaches to Community Health). She received a bachelor's degree in English from Wayne State University. She is fluent in Spanish.

Fun Facts:
Karine was born in Cali, Colombia and spent most of her youth in New York City. She is passionate about medical anthropology and the mind/body/culture connection. She also enjoys dancing, cooking and spending time with her two young children.


Vanita Pindolia, Pharm.D. - Vice President, Ambulatory Clinical Pharmacy Programs-Pharmacy Care Management

Areas of Expertise:

  • Medication safety and adherence
  • Medication therapy management
  • Polypharmacy
  • Pharmacy trends
  • Hospital readmission - medications
  • Specialty pharmacy/Oncology


Bio:
Vinita Pindolia, Pharm.D., vice president, Ambulatory Clinical Pharmacy Programs-Pharmacy Care Management, is a nationally recognized expert in medication therapy management. She has worked for Henry Ford Health System for more than 20 years. Vanita serves on the National Quality Forum's Behavioral Health Steering Committee. She is also an adjunct associate professor at Wayne State University and University of Michigan. She received her Doctor of Pharmacy degree from the University of Michigan. Vanita is fluent in Gujarati.

Fun Facts:
English was a second language for Vanita while she was growing up. In fact, to make sure she and her brother didn't forget their native language, they we were not allowed to speak English in the home through elementary school. Vanita coached one of her son's soccer teams at one of the largest Midwestern soccer tournaments and they won their division!


Connie Porter, RN, BSN, MDiv, CDE - Nurse Health Coach and Certified Diabetes Educator

Areas of Expertise:

  • Living with chronic disease
  • Taking charge of your health
  • Knowing your numbers
  • Achieving your health goals


Bio:
As a nurse health coach, Connie Porter telephonically coaches members with chronic disease in establishing personalized wellness action plans tailored to each individual members' health issues and concerns. She previously served on HAP's Inpatient Care Management team. Connie earned a bachelor's of science degree in nursing from Oakland University and has worked in intensive care, critical care, hemodialysis, hospice care and travel nursing/neurological intensive care.

Fun Facts:
In addition to her nursing degrees, Connie earned a master's of divinity degree from Garrett Evangelical, Northwestern University in 1997. She is also a camping and hiking enthusiast


Judith Sullivan, MS - Director, Auto Accounts Unit

Areas of Expertise:

  • The customer experience
  • Service excellence
  • Health care costs
  • Utilization management
  • Fostering a culture of wellness in the workplace
  • Weight management


Bio:
Judith Sullivan is director of HAP's Auto Accounts Unit. She joined HAP from Ford Motor Company, where she held roles as manager, Employee Benefits Purchasing; purchasing manager and engineer. Judy also served as a project engineer for the United States Air Force. She received a bachelor's degree from St. Olaf College and a master's degree in Engineering Science from the University of Florida.

Fun Facts:
Judy conducted some of the original engineering development on the Space Shuttle Program and managed the supply side of the Ford Motor Company Firestone recall in 2000-2001. Her hobbies include fitness, gardening, reading, and cooking.


Susan Weaver Schwandt, APR - Director, Public Relations

Areas of Expertise:

  • Public Relations
  • Corporate communications
  • Brand
  • Stress: Putting the FUN in dysFUNctional
  • The power of art in healing
  • You're more creative than you think
  • Motivating young women to succeed


Bio:
Susan Weaver Schwandt, APR, is HAP's public relations director. She has 25 years of public relations experience in health care and nonprofit trade associations, including the Michigan Credit Union League. She began her career at PR Associates, Inc. Susan received a bachelor's degree in advertising and a Social Media Driver's License certificate from Michigan State University, as well as accreditation in public relations from the Public Relations Society of America. She serves as a Commissioner on the Canton Arts, Culture and Heritage Commission.

Fun Facts:
Susan enjoys cooking, volunteering, yoga and rescuing homeless animals. She spent a summer as a junior park naturalist and a summer on Beaver Island at a field biology station. As a child, she learned how to canoe in white water before she learned how to ride a bike. She also enjoys making contemporary art quilts and experimenting in her art studio.


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