Our Staff

MEJI staff include legal and advocacy staff committed to empowering low income older adults and assuring their dignity and autonomy.

Alison Hirschel

Alison Hirschel is the Director of the Michigan Elder Justice Initiative and the elder law attorney at the Michigan Poverty Law Program. Since 1998, she has taught elder law at the University of Michigan Law School where she also serves as a Public Interest/Public Service Fellow. Previously, Alison was a staff attorney at Michigan Protection and Advocacy and served as the co-director of the Elderly Law Project and the Director of Planning at Community Legal Services in Philadelphia, PA. From 1991-1997, Alison also taught on the adjunct faculty of the University of Pennsylvania Law School.

In her current position, Alison provides support and training to local legal services program staff, is counsel to the State Long Term Care Ombudsman Program, serves as the MI Health Link Ombudsman, and oversees two local long term care ombudsman programs. She also engages in a wide array of advocacy efforts on behalf of low income older adults and people with disabilities. She is co-editor and one of the authors of Advising the Older Client and Clients with Disabilities (ICLE, 2009). Alison is the past president of The Consumer Voice (formerly NCCNHR--the National Consumer Voice for Quality Long Term Care) in Washington, D.C. and served as a Commissioner on the American Bar Association Commission on Law and Aging. In both 2008 and 2009, Alison provided testimony to Congressional committees and she served as a delegate to the White House Conference on Aging in 2005.

Alison received her B.A. in 1981 from the University of Michigan and her J.D. in 1984 from Yale Law School. In 1997, she was selected by Yale Law School as the first Arthur Liman Fellow. In 2003, Alison received the National Aging and Law Award.

Alison can be reached at hirschel@meji.org or (517)827-8023.

 

Shelby Coolbaugh

Shelby is the Administrative Manager for the Michigan Long Term Care Ombudsman Program. Shelby comes to Michigan Elder Justice Initiative and the State Long Term Care Ombudsman Program with over sixteen years experience in the health care field, eight of those years as an Operations Manager for a large Michigan based healthcare system.  As the Administrative Manager, Shelby will work closely with local Ombudsman staff to ensure all time-sensitive information, case reporting details, and referral requests are handled appropriately and efficiently.  Shelby has a strong passion for helping others; for many years she has volunteered at several local Michigan based charities, from serving meals to raising funds. 

 

Shelby can be reached at scoolbaugh@meji.org or (517) 827-8027.

Ahnuh Hayes

Ahnuh Hayes serves as the local long term care ombudsman for Region 2 (Jackson, Hillsdale, and Lenawee Counties) where she advocates for residents of nursing facilities, adult foster care homes, and homes for the aged.  Ahnuh works out of Legal Services of South Central Michigan's Jackson office.  Ahnuh previously held a variety of positions working with children, families and people with developmental disabilities.  These include work in many different systems including foster care, schools, and private not for profit agencies.  In addition to being a licensed social worker in Michigan, Ahnuh has a special certification for advanced work with addiction. She received her bachelor's degree in Social Work at Michigan State University in 2001 and her Master's in Social Work from MSU in 2005.  

Ahnuh can be reached at ahayes@meji.org or (517)990-0510 or 866-485-9393.

 

Dakima Jackson

Dakima Jackson is the Assistant State Long Term Care Ombudsman for Local Ombudsman Support.  Dakima has been involved in the aging network for 12 years, most recently as the Local Long Term Care Ombudsman for the Area Agency on Aging 1-C service area in Wayne County.  She began her career working with adults with developmental disabilities adults in adult foster care homes, elders in nursing homes, and in assisted living facilities. Dakima has a Masters in Healthcare Services Administration from the University of Detroit Mercy. Her passion for elder abuse prevention prompted her to develop an expertise in elder rights that lead to developing caregiver and elder abuse prevention seminars for professionals and caregivers.

Dakima can be reached at djackson@meji.org or or (517) 827-8028.

Karrie Jordan

Karrie Jordan is the long term care ombudsman for Ingham, Eaton, and Clinton counties where she advocates for residents of nursing facilities, adult foster care homes, and homes for the aged.  Karrie has extensive experience in health care and long term supports and services.  She worked in outreach for the Capital Area Health Alliance which partners with area organizations to promote healthy lifestyles.  She has been the administrator/director of two local assisted living facilities as well as working in management positions for a home health agency and a continuing care retirement community.  She has helped to develop dementia curriculum for nursing students and facilitated Alzheimer's Support Groups.  She has a Master's in Public Administration with an emphasis in Health Care Administration from Western Michigan University and a Bachelor's Degree from Michigan State University.

Karrie can be reached at kjordan@meji.org or (517)394-3027.

Kylie Meyer

Kylie Meyer works on MEJI's Elder Abuse Prevention Grant.  She writes the "Excellence in Caregiving" newsletter for direct care workers in nursing homes and will be adjusting the content for caregivers in other settings.  Kylie is a PhD student studying family caregiving and elder abuse at the Leonard Davis School of Gerontology at the University of Southern California.  Recently, she served as the research assistant to Marie-Therese Connolly, a MacArthur Fellow who is engaged in groundbreaking research and advocacy on elder abuse.  Previously, Kylie received a Fulbright Fellowship to complete an MSc in Gerontology at the University of Southampton, England.  As an undergraduate at Kalamazoo College, Kylie worked at several organizations across Michigan focused on improving long-term care and preventing elder abuse, including the Michigan Campaign for Quality Care, the Kalamazoo Elder Abuse Prevention Coalition, and Elder Law of Michigan.

Salli Pung

Salli Pung is the new State Long Term Care Ombudsman. Ms. Pung brings over 20 years of experience to this position. For the last 13 years, she has served as the Nursing Facility Relocation Coordinator at the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services where she oversees nursing facility closures and ensures that residents are protected and empowered in this process. Previously, Ms. Pung served as the Program Manager for MI Health Link, Senior Program Manager at the Center for Long Term Care at the Michigan Public Health Institute, and Director of Education and Shared Services at the Michigan Association of Homes and Services for the Aging (now called Leading Age). Ms. Pung began her career in this arena when she served as a nursing assistant in a nursing home during college.

Salli can be reached at spung@meji.org or (517)827-8025.

Susan Steinke

Susan Steinke is the Outreach Coordinator for the MI Health Link Ombudsman project as well as the Elder Abuse Prevention Outreach Specialist.  Past positions include Outreach Coordinator for the Michigan Voices for Better Health, Project Coordinator for PHI Michigan's "Training to Prevent Adult Abuse and Neglect", and Community Based Ombudsman working with individuals receiving services in their homes after being transitioned from a nursing home.  She was the first Executive Director for the Michigan Quality Community Care Council (QC3), an inter-governmental agency supporting consumers and individual providers of Home Help, Michigan's State Plan Personal Care Program.  Prior to the QC3, Susan worked in a variety of outreach, advocacy, and organizing capacities.  She has a B.S. in International Relations from James Madison College at Michigan State University. 

Susan can be reached at ssteinke@meji.org or  (517)827-8026.

Jonathan Tabor

Jonathan Tabor is the Legal Counsel for the Michigan Long Term Care Ombudsman Program.  Prior to joining the program, Jonathan practiced public interest law in Chicago for 15 years.  Most recently, Jonathan served as Staff Attorney to the Legal Assistance Foundation’s Long Term Care Ombudsman Program where he represented residents of long-term care facilities in a wide range of legal matters.  Jonathan has also served as an immigration attorney in Chicago-based refugee resettlement organizations and as a federal law clerk in the United States District Court for the Northern District of Illinois.  Jonathan received his B.A. in 1995 from the University of Michigan and his J.D. in 1999 from Boston University School of Law.   

Kenneth Wirth

Kenny Wirth is a Michigan State University School of Social Work senior interning with the long term care ombudsman for Ingham, Eaton, and Clinton counties. Kenny has previously interned with Adult Protective Services, Veteran’s Services and In Home Supportive Services in Marin County, California. He is expected to graduate in May of 2018 with Bachelor’s Degree in Social Work and a Certificate in Aging.  He has been a wonderful addition to our team with his compassion, dedication, and sense of humor!

He has also been selected for the Healthcare Education and Leadership Scholars (HEALS) program at MSU as one of two undergraduate students.  Kenny doesn't like to boast about his achievement so we will!  Only 500 students are selected for the HEALS program nationally, and only 8 of those students are at MSU.  Social Work HEALS: Social Work Health care Education and Leadership Scholars was created to develop the next generation of health care social work leaders who will stand ready to lead efforts to address system-level changes, to heighten awareness of prevention and wellness, and to address the issues of structural racism that are embedded in social institutions.  We are honored he chose to do his fellowship with the Long Term Care Ombudsman Program.

 

Dan Wojciak

Dan Wojciak is the MI Health Ombudsman. He served as the primary author of the Advocate’s Guide to Michigan’s new MI Health Link (MHL) program and has been a staff attorney with the Michigan Elder Justice Initiative since February 2015.  In his role as MHL Ombudsman, he will advance the MHLO program's dual goals of individual and systemic advocacy.  Dan has prior experience working on legal issues involving housing rights, disability law, immigration, and human trafficking. He  received his JD from the University of Michigan Law School in 2014 and his BA from the University of Michigan in 2009.

Dan can be reached at dwojciak@meji.org or (517)827-8014.