RISE Core Team
Rajesh Mangrulkar, M.D.
Dr. Mangrulkar’s work lies in organizational leadership and innovative technologies, and their interface with transforming medical education at scale. As associate dean, he led the curriculum, student affairs, evaluation and assessment, educational research, learning community, and admissions units for medical student education at the University of Michigan. For over 10 years, his central area of focus was leading the medical school-wide initiative to transform the curriculum into a program that will graduate physician leaders who lead change in patient care, healthcare delivery and science. To support this transformation, Dr. Mangrulkar and his team were awarded one of 11 competitive $1.1M grants from the American Medical Association, serving as principal investigator for the initial 5-year project, which was extended for 3 additional years through 2021. He is also actively involved in studying the approaches to organizational leadership and influential communication, in order to transform medical education at scale. He has described his vision and the work at Michigan in a TED talk, and was also the host of the inaugural season of the AMA’s new podcast series, “AMA Doc Talk”. Finally, Dr. Mangrulkar serves as the founder and Executive Director of RISE, a new medical education innovations initiative at the University of Michigan, to help foster this vision.
Paula Thompson, Ph.D.
Dr. Paula Thompson is the Michigan Medicine Research. Innovation. Scholarship. Education (RISE) program director. She oversees the RISE unit operations and innovation project development. Prior to this role, Dr. Thompson served as director, Advancing Scholarship at the University of Michigan Medical School where she led efforts to develop and disseminate the school’s education research and promote an infrastructure to produce high-quality scholarship. She earned a Ph.D. in medical sociology with a specialty in qualitative research methods. She has extensive experience with qualitative research design using various methodologies and philosophical approaches. For over 15 years, she has qualitatively investigated topics in diversity in medicine, medical student professionalism, health care disparities, and veteran-centered care in both undergraduate and graduate medical education.
Nikki Bibler Zaidi, Ph.D.
Evaluation and Assessment Director
Dr. Nikki Bibler Zaidi is the evaluation and assessment director, Michigan Medicine Research. Innovation. Scholarship. Research (RISE). She oversees the RISE unit evaluation and assessment. Prior to this role, Dr. Zaidi served as associate director, Advancing Scholarship at the University of Michigan Medical School where she worked with Dr. Ross to advance and disseminate the school’s education research and promote an infrastructure to produce high-quality scholarship. She earned a Ph.D. in quantitative research methods with a focus in evaluation and assessment. She has experience with quantitative research design and best practices for evaluation and assessment.
Jun Yang, M.S.
Jun Yang is a statistician in the Office of Medical Student and Education. She has a M.A. in mathematics with a concentration in computer science. She has been working as a member of curriculum evaluation and assessment team for 11 years. She has extensive knowledge in complex data management and advanced statistical analysis. During her time at OMSE, she provided statistical consultation, analysis and reporting within and out of OMSE, and she also conducted numerous analyses, prepared reports and managed data for public release, and co-authored manuscripts.
Meg Wolff, M.D., MHPE
Dr. Meg Wolff is the curriculum director of the Research. Innovation. Scholarship. Education (RISE) unit at Michigan Medicine. In this role, she provides oversight to the development and progress of our RISE innovators. Dr. Wolff also currently serves as the associate program director of the pediatric residency program at the University of Michigan. Prior to this, she served in medical education leadership roles spanning UME and GME including as the emergency medicine medical education fellowship director.
Jessica Bixby, MFA
Marketing Communications Specialist
Jessica Bixby is the marketing and communications specialist for RISE. She also serves in this role for the Center for Interprofessional Education and for Medical School Communications at Michigan Medicine. Jessica joined the RISE team in 2022 after previously working at UM-Dearborn, where she was responsible for the social media communications strategy as part of the External Relations team. Prior to joining the university, Jessica was the social media specialist at The University of Akron and spent 10 years working in professional theatre. She earned her bachelor’s degree in history from the University of Michigan and an MFA in theatre management from Wayne State University. In her free time, she enjoys reading, television, theatre and watching too many cat videos.
Heather Hunter, B.S.