Our Mission:

We realize that everyone’s problems are unique and complex – with psychological, biological, and social causes and consequences. Our mission is to help individuals learn new, science based strategies that will help to improve their mental health and overall well-being – both now and into the future. We want to help people live the life they’ve always wanted: one with deep meaning, less anxiety and depression, more joy and contentment, and better relationships.

Staff

Patricia Deldin, Ph.D.

Patricia Deldin, Ph.D., Founder and CEO, is currently a Professor at the University of Michigan in the Departments of Psychology and Psychiatry. Before that she was a professor, for 9 years, at Harvard University. She received her B.A. with honors from the University of Iowa and her Ph.D. from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. She is the Deputy Director of the University of Michigan Depression Center. Additionally, she helped to launch the National Network of Depression Centers as a founding board member. She has published nearly 90 peer-reviewed articles on depression, bipolar disorder and schizophrenia with a focus on the neural correlates of major depression. Dr. Deldin created Mood Lifters as a way to help many people worldwide who aren’t receiving sufficient mental health care. Her intention is to provide people in pain, wherever they are and whatever their means, with instant, broad access to effective, evidence-based mental health treatment. Her dream is to tap into the work of the world’s best mental health researchers and make an expanding set of resources available to improve lives everywhere. In addition to creating the program, Dr. Deldin is a Mood Lifters leader and participated as a member.

Cecilia Votta, Ph.D. Co-Founder, CSO and COO, was a graduate student in the Clinical Psychology program at the University of Michigan when she began her work as a co-founder of Mood Lifters. Her dissertation work was on the feasibility and efficacy of the program. Her current role at Mood Lifters is to develop new modules, materials, and programs, oversee the training of new leaders and assure data fidelity including testing continued efficacy of the program. Additionally, her role includes managing the internal operations of the company

Dr. Votta worked with Dr. Deldin to create the program because of her concerns about accessibility to mental health care and worsening mental health statistics in the United States. She is committed to making evidence-based care more accessible for everyone.

Jennifer Porte, Director of Operations, received a B.A. in Psychology and an M.S.W. from the University of Michigan. She first became involved with Mood Lifters as a participant in the initial pre-pilot group. Jennifer found Mood Lifters to be extremely beneficial and is now a full time employee – she manages the clinical operations and training of peer leaders and helpers. She remains excited to help others through the program in her role as a peer leader!

“The most gratifying part of being a Mood Lifters leader is witnessing the bravery in others as they gain confidence and start noticing positive changes in their lives by being able to apply the program strategies.”

Marie Knoerl, Marketing and Administrative Assistant, received a B.A. in Communications from the University of Michigan, where she also did post-graduate work in Environmental Advocacy. She has spent years doing nonprofit and volunteer work; including care for the homebound elderly in Detroit, non-partisan democracy reform, and freelance art and design for various schools and nonprofits in Washtenaw County. Mood Lifters has provided yet another critical opportunity to help support people in our community.

Emily Rosenzweig, L.L.M.S.W., App Coordinator, recently graduated with her MSW from the University of Michigan and holds a B.A. in Psychology from Michigan State University. She has participated in research for bipolar disorder, cognitive development, and child & family counseling practices. She has been an advocate for survivors of sexual and domestic violence and is currently a full time clinical social worker. Emily aspires to help people who have experienced trauma and finding new ways to help people receive mental health services that are accessible and affordable.

Steve Rich, legal advisor, entered the Massachusetts bar in 1997 and was admitted in Michigan in 2004. After several years as a public interest attorney representing low-income clients and assisting in statewide legal aid technology, he refocused on transactional matters supporting our region’s economic development. He has since become a seasoned business attorney who loves, in no particular order, startups, entity formation, contract writing for humans, cannabis business, media law, trademark, copyright, nonprofits, e commerce, privacy, employment and arts law. Since late 2017 Steve has rolled back private practice to take on the challenges of in-house lawyering at LoveBookonline.com in Rochester, Michigan, where he currently serves as Chief Legal Officer, while coming home to watch out for moodlifters.com .

Steve is married to Mood Lifters founder Patty Deldin. Together the couple parents Jacob Rich, a quality control specialist polishing Nintendo video games in Seattle, Washington, and Ben Rich, who is preparing to study the intersections of government, politics, and law at Michigan State’s James Madison College.

Steve also finds time for farming, lightshows with Illuminatus Lasers, making music, and providing pro bono service to small businesses.

Leaders

Dana With over 15 years of experience planning, creating, and implementing youth programming in an urban school district, Dana brings a wealth of knowledge in youth development best practices. In her various roles with Flint Community Schools, she was responsible for coordinating, facilitating, and training staff to use evidence-based strategies to create high-quality out-of-school time programs.
A seasoned youth development professional, Dana transfers this knowledge to parent four daughters three of whom attend Ann Arbor Public Schools in the 6th, 11th and 12th grades. Her oldest daughter is a Senior (with honors) in the UM Ford School of Public Policy.
Dana is a native of Flint, Michigan area where she attended public schools and later attended the University of Michigan for both her Bachelor of Arts (’95) and Master of Public Health (’18) degrees. Dana currently works in the UM Medical School’s Office of Research Institutional Review Board as a Regulatory Analyst.

Attending the University of Michigan is a family tradition, as her husband Charles Banks, MSW (’16) is also a graduate of the University of Michigan School of Social Work. Go Blue!

Denise is a medical student at Wayne State University School of Medicine. While completing her B.S. at the University of Michigan, her research focused on the relationship between sleep dysfunction and mood as well as the driving forces of group cohesion in the Mood Lifters program. Working at Mood Lifters as a helper, leader, and data team member has made her passionate about expanding healthcare (both mental and physical) to vulnerable populations through education and early intervention.

Jaz graduated from the University of Michigan School of Social Work. She has worked in a multitude of settings providing individual and group supports. Jaz has special interests in grief and loss, trauma, wellness and resilience and is excited to be a part of the Mood Lifters team. She feels that Mood Lifters provides great insight into all the realms of life that can leave a person struggling, and by focusing on basic needs, Mood Lifters offers easily accessible support for all.

Marilyn has worked in the world of business for three decades in a large international company, a startup, teaching university business classes and running a High-Tech Business Incubator. She was introduced to Mood Lifters by a colleague to help develop the business strategy, but took the workshop to learn more. She was hooked. She works as a helper and a leader. She also coaches businesswomen to greater success, sits on a university board, is helping a company complete a merger, and helped to run a campaign to win a Michigan seat in the House of Representatives. In her spare time, she takes University classes in Positive Psychology, Religious Studies and Health and Nutrition. Marilyn has a Bachelor of Science Degree in Math and a Masters in Business from Michigan Technological University.

Jenna is a postdoctoral fellow at the Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute for Child Health and Human Development. She holds degrees in psychology from the University of South Florida and the University of California, Los Angeles. Jenna participated in a Mood Lifters group, and now serves as a helper for other groups.

Kamilah holds a Master’s in Health Administration and has experience as a Public Health Project Manager and a Community Health Educator. Currently, Kamilah works with adolescents as a Community Outreach and Education Manager at Corner Health Center and the Co-Chair for the Region 9 Perinatal Quality Collaborative. Her first introduction to Mood-Lifters was through observing the planning process of the program as it was implemented within a community-neighborhood, through the Corner. She then became a Mood-Lifters participant, which provided her with an uplifting and life sustaining experience.

Paul is a full time software engineer at a local Ann Arbor technology company.  He holds a BA in Computer Science from Alma college and an M.B.A. with a concentration in Strategic Quality Management from Eastern Michigan University.  He is also a member of the American Society for Quality (ASQ) and a member of the Project Management Institute (PMI) holding a Project Management Professional (PMP) certification.  Paul has been employed in the software industry for over 25 years and has held the position of Project Manager, Project Director, Account Manager and Lead Engineer in large-scale, enterprise-wide, multi-national implementation projects.  Paul’s first involvement in Mood Lifters was as a participant in the first pre-pilot session and has been involved ever since either as a participant or group leader.  Paul lives in the area with his wife and three children.

Courtney is a second-year graduate student at the University of Michigan School of Public Health where she is studying Health Behavior and Health Education. She graduated from the University of Michigan with a BA in Biopsychology, Cognition & Neuroscience and a minor in Gender and Health. She has research experience focusing on adapting mental health content and programming to accommodate the unique needs of older adults. She is passionate about increasing access to cost-effective mental health care for all and became a peer leader after participating in the Mood Lifters program as a group member.

Taylor is a third-year undergraduate student at the University of Michigan majoring in Biopsychology, Cognition, and Neuroscience with a minor in Gender and Health. She is currently a research assistant for The Kids’ Empowerment Program and is interested in studying relaxation techniques and sleep. Taylor has participated in Mood Lifters as a group member and is a group helper.

Anne is retired from the University of Michigan. She earned an MAT from Northwestern University, an MA from Michigan State University, and a Ph.D. from the University of Michigan. Her areas of expertise include communication, psychology, teacher education, action learning and coaching. She has consulted with the University of Michigan Depression Center, where she met Patty Deldin. Anne is helping develop a version of Mood Lifters for people over 65. She is an enthusiastic advocate for the program, believing that the development of multiple evidence-based strategies can increase mental health and lead to successful aging.

Marin graduated from Eastern Michigan University with a BS in Environmental Science and Society (with a focus on public health and ethics). He is currently a Performance Coach at Camis Inc., a software company specializing in making campground reservations for State Parks. In this position, he provides support to Call Center Agents while they achieve performance goals and meet call center metrics. He has applied to EMU’s Clinical Mental Health Counseling Master’s Program for Fall of 2021 and hopes to eventually be a Licensed Professional Counselor. He has been through the Mood Lifter’s program as a participant and found it very beneficial.

Debbie is an Administrative Manager at a local non-profit company and spent the majority of her career as a paralegal in Ann Arbor. She also volunteered as a Girl Scout Leader and 4H Leader for many years and is an active volunteer in her faith community. As a participant in a Mood Lifters program, she appreciated the practical tips and techniques offered to create and maintain healthy mental health. She appreciates the opportunity to share what she learned with other Mood Lifters participants.

Annmarie holds degrees in Education, Theology, and Sign Language. She went through Mood Lifters after her Mother went through the program and spoke very highly of it. Later, Annmarie’s brother also joined the program after hearing about it through his family members. Annmarie found the Mood Lifters’ information, tools, and group experience to be very empowering, and became certified as both a Leader and Helper for groups. Annmarie is certified as a Sign Language interpreter and is very hopeful to bring Mood Lifters to the Deaf community in their native language.

Miranda is a current leader and helper within Mood Lifters with a background in sports medicine. She earned her B.S. from Alma College in Athletic Training with a minor in Psychology & immediately pursued her Masters at the University of North Carolina where she studied exercise and sport science, was a graduate assistant athletic trainer for the football and fencing programs, as well as conducted concussion research, and taught undergraduate lifetime fitness courses. Miranda’s passions revolve around supporting athletes in their physical and mental health goals, and she knows Mood Lifters is a wonderful way to support her mission.

Teresa graduated from Grand Valley State University with a BA in Psychology. She spent much of her career working with adjudicated youth in a group setting using Positive Peer Culture as the basis of our treatment. The focus was on positive lifestyle changes. She is currently a Client Success Manager for a renewable energy company in Ann Arbor. She been through the program as a participant and saw great changes as a result.

Cheyenne is an assistant professor in Leadership Studies at West Virginia University. She teaches undergraduate and graduate level courses in leadership, followership, and change practices. She received her B.S in Psychology and M.S.A in Sport Administration from Central Michigan University. Cheyenne earned a Ph.D. in Educational Leadership from Eastern Michigan University focusing on the historical emergence of women in intercollegiate athletic leadership. Previously, she coached intercollegiate volleyball, basketball, and track and field at both Division III and I institutions. Due to her experience working and studying the student athlete experience, Cheyenne works with the Mood Lifters athlete groups in partnership with the Athlete Brain Health Foundation. Cheyenne facilitates workshops and trainings in leadership development and is a certified Gallup Strengths coach.

Jen holds a Master’s degree in Psychology and is a Certified Alcohol and Drug Counselor. She currently works with adolescents, doing care management and research, at the Corner Health Center in Ypsilanti. Jen experienced Mood Lifters as a participant, and found it to be very beneficial. She knew her patients at Corner Health Center had been waiting for a group like this. She has been both a helper and leader for Mood Lifters groups at CHC.

Erik has a BA (French) and an MSI (Library & Information Science), both from the University of Michigan. He is currently a librarian at the University of Michigan Library. He has been a participant and a helper in Mood Lifters, and found both experiences to be highly rewarding and helpful. Erik enjoys being able to help people and help himself at the same time.

Shani is a public health professional as well as a birth and postpartum doula. She currently works remotely for the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, managing reproductive health surveys internationally. Shani discovered Mood Lifters as a participant through the University of Michigan’s Palliative Care group and was inspired to become a helper following that experience. The mother of a toddler with complex medical needs, Shani is interested in providing support to families of children with special needs, and sees doulaing and the Mood Lifters program as valuable ways to care for the caregivers.

Lindsey holds degrees in Art, Interpreting, and Communication Equity. She currently works as an ASL/English interpreter specializing in medical and mental health services. Lindsey joined Mood Lifters to spread good vibes and help make mental healthcare more accessible.

Synthia has been with Michigan Medicine since 1993. Currently as a Business Analyst in the Health Information Technology Services Department. She participated in the Mood Lifters program in 2020. She quickly recognized the many benefits of this program in her life. Sharing this program with others became a passion of hers so she decided to become a leader.

Sarah is the Grants and Program Evaluation Manager at the Corner Health Center in Ypsilanti. She has a bachelor’s degree in Accounting and is currently in the MBA program at Eastern Michigan University with a specialization in Nonprofit Management. Sarah went through the Mood Lifters program as a participant in 2019 and became a Helper and Leader in 2020. As someone who has struggled with depression and anxiety throughout her life, she loves that the program teaches coping skills and strategies that can help people build healthier habits and that are proven to be effective.

Special Thanks

We would like to thank the following organizations for their support in the development of, and research on, Mood Lifters:

The University of Michigan Department of Psychology
The University of Michigan Department of Psychiatry
The University of Michigan Depression Center
The University of Michigan Mcubed and UMOR
5 Healthy Towns Foundation
Abrahm’s Family Trust
Ann Arbor SPARK
Athlete Brain Health Foundation
Beaumont Health
Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan
Dr. Cheryl Barget
Educational Foundation of Dexter/ E4DS
The Eisenberg Family
Jewish Federation of Metro Detroit
The Jenkins Foundation
Michigan Mental Health Integration Partnership (MIP)
Ravitz Foundation
The Rotary
The Women’s International Study Center

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