Meet the Co-Leads and Leadership Council of the Michigan Nursing Action Coalition


There are two co-leads of the Michigan Nursing Action Coalition, Melanie Brim of the Michigan Health Council and Renee Branch Canady of the Michigan Public Health Institute. The Michigan Nursing Action Coalition is a team of both nurses and non-nurses dedicated to taking action to improve health and healthcare in the state of Michigan through nursing.  The Michigan Nursing Action Coalition is convened to advance the Future of Nursing: Campaign for Action, a collaboration of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and the AARP Foundation.  

Renée Branch Canady, PhD, MPA

Chief Executive Officer, Michigan Public Health Institute

Renée Branch Canady serves as Chief Executive Officer of the Michigan Public Health Institute; an academic, government, and research institute that strives to maximize positive health conditions in populations and communities through collaboration, scientific inquiry, and applied expertise. Canady earned a PhD in Medical Sociology from Michigan State University, a master’s degree in Public Administration from Western Michigan University and a bachelor’s degree in Public Health Nutrition from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.  

Melanie Brim, MHA

President & CEO, Michigan Health Council

Melanie Brim currently serves as the President and CEO of the Michigan Health Council. She previously served as the Senior Deputy Director of the Public Health Administration/State Health Officer at the Michigan Department of Community Health. Melanie has worked in a variety of health care settings including acute care, long term care, community health care, mental health care and physician practice management. She also provided executive leadership for a federal planning grant to accelerate the transformation of health care delivery and payment systems in Michigan.


The Leadership Council consists of the following members.

Heather Beaman, BSN

Heather is a Von Voigtlander Birth Center registered nurse at Michigan Medicine. She is currently pursuing her MSN in Nursing Education and Leadership from the University of Wyoming. 

Ericka Brunson-Gillespie DNP, RN, AGACNP-BC

Ericka is a Nurse Practitioner in the Neurosurgery department at Michigan Medicine in Ann Arbor, Michigan.



Dr. Coke is the Acting Dean of the Kirkhof College of Nursing at Grand Valley State University.  As Associate Dean for Practice and oversight of the Wesorick Center, Dr. Coke is responsible for creating and nurturing academic practice partnerships and exploring new health care transformation initiatives.  Her research area of interest and advanced practice expertise is in cardiovascular care, quality of life and risk factor assessment and behavior change.  She is an expert in Motivational Interviewing and conducts workshops nationally and internationally.

Nancy Combs


Nancy founded Nancy Combs Communications, LLC, in 2020 as the next chapter in a four-decade career as a communicator, including 24 years at Detroit’s Henry Ford Health System. She works from a framework of collaboration to advance equity and well-being in the lives of individuals, organizations and communities. An accomplished writer, editor and strategist, Nancy also is a skilled convener of community and faith-based partnerships. She has a track record of effectiveness in the fields of health equity, unconscious bias, health literacy, cultural competency and faith-health initiatives.

Jaimee Gerrie, MSN, BSN, RN, LNC, CPPS


Jaimee is the Principal Agent of UPvision Consulting, LLC providing comprehensive legal nurse services, including alternative dispute resolution, for medically related cases. Jaimee also serves as a full time Assistant Professor of Nursing for Lake Superior State University. Jaimee earned her MSN with an emphasis in Nursing Management and Leadership from Walden University and a Certificate in Legal Nurse Consulting from Brighton College. She currently maintains national certification as a professional in patient safety.

Jonnie Hamilton DNP, PNP-BC, NE-BC


Jonnie works as the manager for Ascension St John Community Health School Based Health Centers.  She is the Vice President of the Detroit Black Nurses Association and National First Vice President of Chi Eta Phi Sorority, Incorporated.


Karen Kafantaris, Associate State Director, AARP Michigan


Karen leads the AARP Network of Age Friendly Communities program, working with community leaders across the state to create communities that are great places to grow up and grow old.


The Michigan Nursing Action Coalition is co-lead by the Michigan Health Council and the Michigan Public Health Institute. The Michigan Health Council is a nonprofit organization on a mission to create products and provide services our partners rely on to build health care workforce capacity.

© 2021 michigan health council

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