Mindfulness Initiative Advisory Board

An advisory board co-chaired by Dr. Bobby Mukkamala and Dr. Mona Hanna-Attisha provides leadership, guidance, and medical expertise to ensure the efficacy and impact of this work.

  • National leadership provided by Jon Kabat-Zinn, Ph.D; James Gimian, and Daniel Rechtschaffen.
  • Local leadership provided by physicians, public health and educational leaders from MSU, Hurley Hospital, McLaren, HAP, the Greater Flint Health Coalition, Beaumont Hospital-Center for Mindfulness, Flint Community Schools, Carman-Ainsworth Community Schools, and the Genesee County Intermediate School District.

Evaluation and Research Team

Drs. Karin Pfeiffer and Julia Felton of Michigan State University (MSU), Dr. Lenwood Hayman of University of Michigan, and Dr. B Grace Bullock of Oregon Research Institute all contribute to the evaluation and research of the initiative.

Mindful Community Leadership Team

As the Crim Mindfulness Initiative grows, we are excited to begin inviting local mindful leaders to serve as our Mindful Community Leadership Team to serve as Mindfulness Champions in their schools to help others learn about and practice mindfulness. They meet quarterly as a group with the Crim Mindfulness Staff Team to share feedback, engage in training, and help design the future of this work to be responsive to their needs.

Mindfulness Ambassadors - Teachers

The first team of Mindful Community Leaders are teachers in the Flint Community Schools and Genesee Intermediate School District. They were invited to serve as Mindfulness Teacher Champions in the fall of 2017.

Mindfulness Ambassadors - Administrators

The second team of Mindfulness Community Leaders are administrators in the Flint Community Schools and Genesee Intermediate School District. They were invited to serve as Mindfulness Champions in the Spring of 2018.

Crim Staff Team

The Crim Mindfulness Team Members come from diverse backgrounds; yet share the same passion - to improve the health and wellness of the Flint and Genesee Communities through the daily practice of mindfulness.

Program Director – Sarah Sullivan

Sarah Sullivan is passionate about health, wellness, and creating communities of opportunity for all.  She directs a Healthy, Mindful Communities Initiative at the Crim Fitness Foundation in Flint, Michigan - engaging the education, health, business, community, and civic sectors to co-create a healthier, more mindful, compassionate and thriving community.

Sarah was born and raised in a small town between Flint and Detroit, studied for years in Thailand and Germany and then spent a decade in Seattle, WA before returning to her hometown with her husband and twin daughters.

She started her career as an AmeriCorps member, served as a Youth Development Faculty at Washington State University, and led a CDC-funded statewide school and community health initiative for the state of Washington before joining the Crim Fitness Foundation team in 2017. She earned her M.A. in Organizational Design and Systems Thinking from Seattle University.

Program Manager – Tom Hauer

Tom came to the Crim in late 2009 after a thirty year career as an elementary school teacher.  His diverse sports background, which included track, baseball, ultra-marathoning, martial arts, and coaching; combined with his classroom experience, created a perfect fit at an educational fitness foundation such as the Crim.  He serves as program manager. Tom has trained and studied mindfulness techniques with Thich Nhat Hanh, Mindful Schools, the Holistic Life Foundation, Mindful Education Institute, and the world-renowned University of Massachusetts Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction Program.  He is a nationally certified yoga teacher (RYT) and is trained in multiple styles including working with children (Yoga Ed. and ChildLight Yoga).  Tom was born in Cleveland, Ohio and is a graduate of the University of Michigan.  He currently lives in Fenton with his wife Susan and Oliver their cat.

Mindfulness Educator– Canisha Bell

Canisha graduated from the University of Michigan- Flint with a Bachelor of Science in Health Education with a particular interest in health disparities in minority and low-income populations. While interning for a non-profit organization that focused on preventing intergenerational incarceration for at-risk families, she was introduced to the concept of Mindfulness and began incorporating Mindfulness into her everyday life. Canisha is a product of Flint Community Schools, and graduate of Flint Southwestern Academy High School. She is a Mindfulness Educator, meditation facilitator & yoga instructor. Canisha is a 200-hour RYT certified yoga instructor and Yoga Ed. graduate. She is also certified as a Health Education Specialist (CHES) through the National Commission for Health Education Credentialing, Inc. Outside of work, Canisha loves spending time with her husband and 4 children that keep her active and culturally aware of all things youth-related.

Mindfulness Educator– Elizabeth Wise

Elizabeth grew up in Flint and is proud to call Genesee County her home.  She graduated from the University of Michigan – Ann Arbor with a bachelors in education and went on to the University of Chicago where she received her master’s degree in clinical social work. Additionally, she has a certification in Traumatic Stress Studies from the Trauma Center at the Justice Resource Institute. Elizabeth taught seventh and eighth grade language arts at Flushing Middle Schools and is truly grateful for her time in the Flushing community.  Elizabeth has been co-chair of the Genesee County Human Trafficking Taskforce and is an active board member for the YWCA of Greater Flint. As an advocate for those in need, Elizabeth believes in empowering women and youth through education and supportive resources. Elizabeth is a certified yoga instructor, with training in trauma informed yoga and YogaEd. She is excited to help bring the power of mindfulness and mindful movement to the Flint Community.  Elizabeth lives in Fenton with her husband and two children who often remind her to take a mindful breath.

Mindfulness Coordinator – Cassie Kent

Cassie started at the Crim in 2015 as an AmeriCorps member and part of the Race Department. She joined the Mindfulness team in 2019 and has mainly focussed on communications, logistics, data, and, in response to COVID-19, tech support for virtual programs. Cassie graduated from the University of Michigan - Flint with a Bachelor of Business Administration and is currently in an MBA program with a concentration in Marketing and Innovation Management. She lives in the City of Flint and is proud to be part of the Mindfulness Team that is leading the city to be a more Healthy, Mindful Flint!