Our Mission:

We realize that everyone’s problems are unique and complex – with psychological, biological, and social causes and consequences. Our mission is to help individuals learn new, science based strategies that will help to improve their mental health and overall well-being – both now and into the future. We want to help people live the life they’ve always wanted: one with deep meaning, less anxiety and depression, more joy and contentment, and better relationships.

The Mood Lifters Team

Patricia Deldin, Founder and CEO, is currently a Professor at the University of Michigan in the Departments of Psychology and Psychiatry. Before that she was a professor, for 9 years, at Harvard University She received her B.A. with honors from the University of Iowa and her Ph.D. from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. She is the Chairwoman and Director of the Clinical Science program in the Department of Psychology and an Associate Director of the University of Michigan Depression Center. Additionally, she helped to launch the National Network of Depression Centers as a founding board member. She has published nearly 90 peer-reviewed articles on depression, bipolar disorder and schizophrenia with a focus on the neural correlates of major depression.

Dr. Deldin created Mood Lifters as a way to help many people worldwide who aren’t receiving sufficient mental health care. Her intention is to provide people in pain, wherever they are and whatever their means, with instant, broad access to effective, evidence-based mental health treatment. Her dream is to tap into the work of the world’s best mental health researchers and make an expanding set of resources available to improve lives everywhere. In addition to creating the program, Dr. Deldin is a Mood Lifters leader and participated as a member.

Cecilia Votta, Chief Science Officer, is a graduate student in the Clinical Science Ph.D. program at the University of Michigan. She holds an A.B. in Psychology from Washington University in St. Louis and an M.S. in Psychology from the University of Michigan. Her current research interests include emotional experience, emotion regulation and accessibility to mental health care. In addition to assisting in the development of the program, Cecilia is a Mood Lifters leader and has participated as a group member.

Ted Dacko, Business Consultant, is the CEO of Arbor Dakota Strategies. In his previous role as CEO of HealthMedia Inc., Ted led the company in the development of innovative, online programs designed to help participants improve their health behaviors. Prior to HealthMedia, Dacko was president and CEO of Centromine, an Internet-based behavioral health firm in Ann Arbor. Dacko holds a B.S. in Mathematics from Waynesburg College and a M.S. in Mathematics from the College of William and Mary.

Group Leaders

Paul is a full time software engineer at a local Ann Arbor technology company.  He holds a BA in Computer Science from Alma college and an M.B.A. with a concentration in Strategic Quality Management from Eastern Michigan University.  He is also a member of the American Society for Quality (ASQ) and a member of the Project Management Institute (PMI) holding a Project Management Professional (PMP) certification.  Paul has been employed in the software industry for over 25 years and has held the position of Project Manager, Project Director, Account Manager and Lead Engineer in large-scale, enterprise-wide, multi-national implementation projects.  Paul’s first involvement in Mood Lifters was as a participant in the first pre-pilot session and has been involved ever since either as a participant or group leader.  Paul lives in the area with his wife and three children.

Teresa graduated from Grand Valley State University with a BA in Psychology. She spent much of her career working with adjudicated youth in a group setting using Positive Peer Culture as the basis of our treatment. The focus was on positive lifestyle changes. She is currently a Client Success Manager for a renewable energy company in Ann Arbor. She been through the program as a participant and saw great changes as a result.

Annmarie holds degrees in Education, Theology, and Sign Language. She went through Mood Lifters after her Mother went through the program and spoke very highly of it. Later, Annmarie’s brother also joined the program after hearing about it through his family members. Annmarie found the Mood Lifters’ information, tools, and group experience to be very empowering, and became certified as both a Leader and Helper for groups. Annmarie is certified as a Sign Language interpreter and is very hopeful to bring Mood Lifters to the Deaf community in their native language.

Jenny received a B.A. in Psychology and an M.S.W. from the University of Michigan. She first became involved with Mood Lifters as a participant in the initial pre-pilot group. Jennifer found Mood Lifters to be extremely beneficial and is excited to help others through the program in her current role as a peer leader.

Neema Research Assistant, is a third-year undergraduate student at the University of Michigan where she is studying Biopsychology, Cognition, and Neuroscience. She is enjoying exploring the different topics of research in the psychology field, with a current interest in research involving age and sex and its influence on mental health factors. Neema has been a Helper in previous Mood Lifters groups and has recently been certified to be a Leader for future groups.

Andrea is a graduate student in the Clinical Science Ph.D. program at the University of Michigan. She holds a B.A. in Psychology and Spanish from the University of Wisconsin-Madison and her M.S. in psychology from the University of Michigan. She is interested in studying the effects of variations in stress processing capabilities on the association between trauma, stressful life events, and internalizing psychopathology. She is also interested in evaluating treatment and intervention programs, particularly as these programs relate to variations in stress exposure, perceived stress, and self-efficacy. Andrea is a group leader and has participated as a group member.

Emily is an MSW student at the University of Michigan. Emily graduated from Michigan State University with a B.A. in Psychology and a minor in Health Promotions. She has participated in research for bipolar disorder, cognitive development, and child & family counseling practices. She also spent time working as an advocate for survivors of sexual and domestic violence. Emily aspires to help people who have experienced trauma and is interested in new kinds of mental health practices that would reduce cost and stigma around seeking services. Emily is a peer group leader and was a group member.

Jen holds degrees in Healthcare Administration and Psychology. She currently works with adolescents, doing care management and research, at the Corner Health Center in Ypsilanti. Jen experienced Mood Lifters as a participant, and found it to be very beneficial. She knew her patients at Corner Health Center had been waiting for a group like this. She has been both a helper and leader for Mood Lifters groups at CHC.

Denise is a fourth-year undergraduate student at the University of Michigan double majoring in Biomolecular Science and Biopsychology, Cognition and Neuroscience. Her current research interests include protein factors implicated in neurogenesis as well as the associations between Major Depressive Disorder, Sleep Disordered Breathing, and Cardiovascular Disease. Denise has been involved in Mood Lifters as a research assistant and participant, and is excited to help lead groups to combat the stigma and accessibility problems surrounding mental healthcare.

Jaz graduated from the University of Michigan School of Social Work. She has worked in a multitude of settings providing individual and group supports. Jaz has special interests in grief and loss, trauma, wellness and resilience and is excited to be a part of the Mood Lifters team. She feels that Mood Lifters provides great insight into all the realms of life that can leave a person struggling, and by focusing on basic needs, Mood Lifters offers easily accessible support for all.

Anne is retired from the University of Michigan. She earned an MAT from Northwestern University, an MA from Michigan State University, and a PhD from the University of Michigan. Her areas of expertise include communication, psychology, teacher education, action learning and coaching. She currently does pro bono consulting for the University of Michigan Depression Center, where she met Patty Deldin. Anne has participated in two Mood Lifters groups and is an enthusiastic advocate for the program, believing that awareness and the development of multiple evidence-based strategies can increase mental health and lead to a more fulfilling life.

Program Contributors

Ryan Cardinale, Ph.D. is a graduate of the Clinical Science Ph.D. program at the University of Michigan. He holds a B.A. in Psychology from San Diego State University and a M.S. and Ph.D. in Psychology from the University of Michigan. His current research focuses on developing an individualized medicine approach for the treatment of mood disorders.

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