who we are
eHealth Innovations Group
wichealth.org exists through a symbiotic relationship between its developers, partner WIC states, and the clients it serves. Originally conceived as a joint project between Western Michigan University and the Michigan Department of Community Health, it has since expanded to encompass WIC partners across the U.S. The eHealth Innovations Group, located in the Department of Human Performance and Health Education at Western Michigan University, conceived of, expands, and maintains the site. It is there that wichealth.org first caught a glimpse of life and has since transitioned through various stages to become the system it now is.
Bob Bensley, PhD, mches, Director
Bob has 25 years of creating solutions for various public health issues, with the past 15 years focusing on harnessing technology as the means for improving health behaviors. He's garnered over $10 million in funding and been the catalyst in the development and implementation of innovative technology-based solutions impacting blood pressure and weight management, parent-child feeding, breastfeeding peer counseling, and daycare provider nutrition management. He combines his technology and public health professional experiences to continually seek out new ideas for marrying the two into fundable solutions, which drives the eHealth Innovations team.
Grant Acquisition and Management Behavior Change Solutions
Adventurer. Whether it be traveling and living in far corners of the world, supporting his kids, restoring old farmhouses, writing stories, being active, or sharing life with his wife, this is the word that best describes Bob. "Life is a book, and those who do not seek out and experience it read but only one page." Yeah, that pretty much sums up how Bob resides within his world.
Jason Rivas, MPA, Associate Director
Over the past 12 years Jason has worked exclusively in the area of online behavior change, helping lead the expansion of wichealth across over 28 states and Indian Tribal Organizations. He's been integral in defining the ongoing features and functions to be included in wichealth and has been instrumental in pulling together and developing a highly efficient and effective remote team that designs, builds, supports, and promotes proven online health behavior interventions - constantly ensuring everything they do supports the overarching mission of improving people's lives by changing behavior.
From Alaska to Michigan to Japan to Texas, Jason has loved living in geographical and cultural extremes. Though he leads a pretty healthy life, he has a soft spot for a good video game and a bag of chips. His best ideas come to him while in the shower. He has a thing for superheroes, and his wife and kids make his world go 'round.
Kimbra Quinn, M.ed., Senior Marketing Specialist
Kimbra joined the eHealth Innovations team in February of 2015, bringing with her 20 years of experience in marketing, project management, and higher education administration. She specializes in the ability to cultivate partnerships by identifying needs and providing creative and thoughtful solutions. A custumer-centered approach and visionary leadership allows Kimbra to excel at developing and growing new initiatives that coincide with overall goals of the organization.
Kimbra works daily as a fashion consultant, dating counselor, and pitching coach to three amazingly awesome kids, but she is known for her southern charm that quickly has strangers spilling their family secrets. Don't let the accent fool you! Take away date nights with her husband, good coffee, summer days, fried potatoes, close friends or suede wedges, and feel the wrath of a redhead!
Ana Vargas, Ba, Client Support Specialist & Spanish Translator
Ana is a UNLV alum who started her professional career in the higher education advising field at her alma matter prior to transitioning into health and human services in Nevada in 2012. She has worked with wichealth for the past three years managing client support and providing Spanish translations. Her mission is to ensure the hundreds of client interactions that come through wichealth each month result in happy and satisfied customers. She's bilingual in Spanish and English, and has genuinely enjoyed translating ever since she was a young girl, interpreting for her newly immigrant family.
Ana lives in Las Vegas, but is originally from Mexico. She enjoys keeping up with her busy toddler and husband, and is a firm believer in the idea that "naps=happy life." She's a coffee lover and might even go out on a ledge and label herself a "coffee connoisseur." Ana is happiest in the fall and winter seasons when she can geek out over holidays, sweaters, and family traditions.
John Brusk, MPH, Evaluation Specialist & Data Analyst
John has 20 years of program evaluation experience specializing in innovative technology-assisted heath education, surveillance, and management. He received his Master of Public Health in Epidemiology from the University of Michigan, and has been employed with the Michigan Public Health Institute and as Associate Director of Health Promotion and Education at the Sindecuse Health Center at Western Michigan University. He's currently completing a PhD at WMU in Evaluation, Measurement and Research, while also working as a data scientist in the healthcare industry.
When he's not tackling the tough terrain of data science and program evaluation, John is outdoors, shredding Appalachian mountain bike trails near his home in Atlanta. He was a bronze medalist in the sport during the 2011 Georgia Games. When he is not racing or in front of a computer, you can still find him on a bike riding recreationally with his wife and kids.
kim jones, ba, grant and contract administration specialist
Kim has a BA in accounting (with a fraud and audit influence) with more than 20 years of experience. She has worked for Western Michigan University since March 2014 where she specializes in the budget needs of grants under the College of Education and Human Development. She joined the eHealth Innovations team in January 2015 managing the invoices of the independent contractors associated with the wichealth programs from behind the scenes in order to keep the finances moving in the right direction.
Kim moved from the Palm Springs valley of California to a small town near Gull Lake, Michigan in January 1993. Her competitive nature was nurtured with sand drag racing starting at the age of 13 until 17. Her journey to Michigan came about through her husband while he was in the USMC and moved back to his family home and farm after his tour ended. Her family is completed with 2 adult children (an ASL interpreter daughter and a son studying as a BioMed student at WMU) and Great Dane dogs.
putting it all together
The wichealth.org team serves as the heart of the system, continually providing new logic and functionality that drives its growth. A variety of expert designers and programmers clothe the system and provide the skills necessary for wichealth.org to operate. Representatives of partner WIC states and agencies provide the system's arms and legs, giving it momentum. It is through the dedicated efforts of these partners that the system is able to move in the direction that best suits the needs of WIC clients. And, most importantly, the WIC clients themselves serve as the social network: through their interaction with wichealth.org, they provide the context for which the system exists. It is the ongoing collaboration between all of these parties that continues to provide the environment for wichealth.org to operate as effectively it does.