Survivors: Be a part of the solution

Survivors, please help us…

When healing from difficult experiences like sexual abuse or sexual assault, some people move forward by becoming activists and advocates and making meaning out of their pain by using their experience to prevent the same thing happening to others. 

Given that this can be helpful and that survivors are an important source of solutions, we have reached out to people at MSU to find MSU efforts that could be improved in partnership with survivors. The idea was that by embedding survivors in positions of influence at MSU longterm, we could empower you and embed your voices in key places to improve responsiveness to your needs

We want to be inclusive of many voices and solutions. Most invitations below are open to current and past members of the MSU community (in any capacity – as students, staff, faculty, patients, visitors) and survivors who have been injured in their interactions with members of the MSU community. In other words, if you are one of us or if you have been hurt by one of us, we would love to have your wisdom about how to become better. We would love to partner with you. Yes, you. 

Please see ways to participate below and reach out to the contact person listed for the opportunity and tell them you saw the opportunity on this website and would like to participate. 

Dr. Julia Felton (; 810-600-9125) is also available to answer questions about these opportunities. 


Opportunity: Be part of an an advisory group to MSU’s Health Care’s performance team. The team’s goal is to foster a culture of safety for all and to ensure that each patient and family has the highest quality experience in the safest environment, every time, in order to continually measure, evaluate, improve, learn and heal.

Opportunity: Provide input on the MSU Health Care’s new chaperone policy.

Opportunity: Provide input into making MSU’s Counseling and Psychological Services (CAPS) maximally survivor-friendly. Work with CAPS directors to help think about: (1) how to make sure that CAPS processes and services are survivor-friendly, safe, and inviting, and (2) the best referral protocols between CAPS and MSU’s Sexual Assault Program. 

Opportunity: Participate in the planning and development team for the Go Teal campaign, a communication campaign emphasizing sexual assault awareness, prevention and response. 

  • University Partner: Nicole Szymczak
    Time Involved: Flexible

Opportunity: Be a member of the Diversity, Equity & Inclusion Committee of MSU’s College of Communications Arts and Sciences. Help the college advance the general wellbeing and safety of all of its students, staff and faculty.

  • University Partner: Dr. Geri Zeldes
    Time Involved: Monthly meeting – 3rd Friday of month 10:30-12:00
    No limitations; CAS community and alumni especially invited

Opportunity: Participate as a member of the Relationship Violence and Sexual Misconduct subcommittee of the MSU President’s Advisory Committee on Disability Issues. Help make recommendations to MSU about sexual assault and misconduct policy as they affect individuals with disabilities, a particularly high-risk group.

  • University Partner: Graham Pierce
    Time Involved: Meet approximately once/month

Opportunity: Provide counsel and advice to the College of Human Medicine course director for the Health Systems Complexities and Population Vulnerabilities Intersession, a four-week intensive curricular experience required for first year medical students. The intersession is designed to look at vulnerable populations and challenges within the existing health care system to meet their needs. Advise the course director on how best to address sexual assault and mandatory reporting in the curriculum. Assist in creating a simulated patient experience and participate on a patient/physician panel as part of this intersession.

  • University Partner: Dr. Carol Parker
    Time Involved: Flexible, but the syllabus needs to be finalized by January 2019

Opportunity: Advise the content developer teams in the College of Human Medicine Advanced Skills and Knowledge course for medical students on how to best incorporate information on caring for patients who have been sexually assaulted. Potentially work directly with students, discussing the survivors’ experience in a small group. 

Opportunity: Advise certificate directors on how to incorporate teaching about sexual assault or responding to sexual assault into certificate programming for medical students. Each certificate program is specific to a certain population (rural, global and urban, public health, research). Options could include curriculum material development, panels or seminars, small group discussions, interest groups.

Opportunity: Be part of a committee in the College of Arts and Letters that works to improve diversity, inclusion and equity throughout the college. Help make teaching and learning more accessible to students of all backgrounds. Help the college ensure inclusion of diverse voices in decisions. 

  • University Partner: Dr. Sonja Fritzsche
    Time Involved: Meet 4 times per year on Tuesday afternoon for an hour

Opportunity: Provide input and feedback on a statewide child sexual abuse prevention campaign led by the Traverse Bay Children’s Advocacy Center in partnership with MSU. 

  • University Partner: Sue Bolde
    Time Involved: Flexible

About The Project: Jennifer Johnson, PhD, a clinical psychologist and community participatory researcher, and Claudia Finkelstein, MD, a general internist and expert in wellness, and resiliency were tasked by Dean Norman Beauchamp, Dean of the College of Human Medicine and Associate Provost for Health Affairs, to form a workgroup to help the college meet its mission to reach and serve vulnerable populations. We chose to begin with enrolling the expertise of survivors. We are confident that the wisdom of your input will help move MSU in the direction of healing. In addition to Drs. Johnson and Finkelstein, others in the workgroup include Wanda Lipscomb, PhD, Carol Parker, PhD, Andrea Wendling, MD, Jerry Kooiman, and Aron Sousa, MD. 

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