The interdisciplinary team of the SHARP Center is comprised of individuals across departments at the University of Michigan. Please see the bios below for details about our growing organization.
Michelle Segar, Ph.D., M.P.H. / Director, SHARP
Research Investigator, Institute for Research on Women & Gender (IRWG)
President, Michelle Segar, LLC
Philip Veliz, Ph.D. / Associate Director, SHARP
Assistant Research Professor, Institute for Research on Women & Gender
Kathy Babiak, Ph.D. / SHARP Scholar
Associate Professor, Sport Management, U-M School of Kinesiology
Co-Director, Michigan Center for Sport Management
U-M School of Kinesiology
1402 Washington Heights
2120 Observatory Lodge
Ann Arbor, MI 48109-2013
Professor Babiak is an internationally recognized scholar in the area of sport management. In particular, her expertise lies in the areas of organizational governance and leadership, sport policy, social responsibility and individual and organizational philanthropy both in professional and Olympic level sport.
Professor Babiak’s work has examined issues related to ethics, social responsibility, justice, diversity and representation in sport. She has examined athlete representation and involvement in decision making around policies and issues that affect them. Her most recent funded project examines athlete philanthropy and uses gender as a variable to explore differences in focus, mission, and involvement of athletes in their own charitable foundations.
Dr. Babiak was recognized as a research fellow for the Center for the Study of Sport in Society, and has worked with the Sports Philanthropy Project as well as Athletes for Hope on various research projects related to corporate and individual social responsibility in sport. She has also lectured nationally and internationally on topics related to corporate social responsibility, the Olympic Games, athlete philanthropy, and athlete representation and involvement in decision-making in international sport federations and Olympic committees.
Professor Babiak earned her PhD in leisure and sport management from the University of British Columbia, Vancouver (2003).
More info aboutÂ Kathy Babiak PhD
Cathleen M. Connell, Ph.D. / SHARP Scholar
Professor and Chair, Department of Health Behavior and Health Education, U-M School of Public Health
Interim Director, Center for Managing Chronic Disease
Dr. Connell is Chair and Professor in the Department of Health Behavior and Health Education in the School of Public Health and Interim Director of the Center for Managing Chronic Disease. Her research focuses on the psychological and social context of chronic disease self-management within a lifespan developmental perspective. She studies the role of physical activity for the self-management of diabetes.
James T. Eckner, M.D., M.S. / SHARP Scholar
Assistant Professor, Physical Medicine & Rehabilitation
Research Director, Michigan NeuroSport
Sarah Fenstermaker, Ph.D. / Director, IRWG
Director, Institute for Research on Women & Gender (IRWG)
Professor, Women’s Studies and Sociology
Kathryn L. Heinze, Ph.D. / SHARP Scholar
Assistant Professor, Sport Management, U-M School of Kinesiology
Kathryn Heinze joined the School of Kinesiology in 2011 as an Assistant Professor of Sport Management, after earning her PhD in Management and Organizations from the Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University. Kathryn’s research examines the motivations around, and processes of, organizational and institutional change. She examines these in the context of sport and community wellness.
Petra Kuppers, Ph.D. / SHARP Scholar
Professor of English Language and Literature, Women’s Studies, Art, and Theatre and Drama, University of Michigan
Petra Kuppers is a disability culture activist, a community artist, and a Professor of English, Theatre and Dance, and Women’s Studies. Her current research work focuses on her creative practice: after writing a number of recent books, she is looking (again) at other ways of producing and playing with knowledge. Prof. Kuppers is interested in creative methodologies and their place in university-level research, and has organized a number of events (for instance, The Anarcha Symposium) where she encourages both artists and non-artists to work together using performance and poetic approaches to meaning and knowledge. Thematically, her work encompasses disability studies, performance studies, critical theory and poetics, medical humanities, and the general fields of arts and expression, arts and health, and arts and community building.
Ava Purkiss, Ph.D. / SHARP Scholar
Assistant Professor of American Studies and Women’s Studies, University of Michigan
Dr. Ava Purkiss joined the departments of American Culture and Women’s Studies as an assistant professor in 2016. Her work explores how the intersection of race, gender, and health shaped the lived experiences of black women in the twentieth century. She is currently at work on a book manuscript about the history of African American women’s purposeful exercise—the first full-length historical study on the subject. Purkiss’ research questions how current health crises facing black women in the U.S. are grounded in long-standing practices of recreational segregation and exclusion from fitness institutions. The lead publication from this project, an article on black women’s exercise and fat stigma in the early twentieth century, will be published in the summer 2017 issue of the Journal of Women’s History. Dr. Purkiss earned her Ph.D. in history from the University of Texas at Austin and holds an M.A. and B.A. in Africana Studies and psychology, respectively.
Susan J. Woolford, MD, MPH / SHARP Scholar
Medical Director, U-M Pediatric Comprehensive Weight Management Center