Community Advisory Committee
Esther Onaga received her Ph.D from Michigan State University in community psychology. Since then she was the director of evaluation at St. Lawrence Hospital in Lansing followed by a faculty position at Michigan State University. She was project manager for a NIMH funded dissemination study of one the first evidence-based program serving people with serious and persistent mental illness. This work led to her receiving several federal and state grants focused on supporting community employment for people with disabilities. She organized The Coalition for Community Living as a mechanism to sustain a national effort to continue the translation of research to practice. In the years before retirement she worked with the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services to develop a longitudinal database on Michigan Clubhouses on their performance. The results of five years of data led to the revision of Medicaid guidelines enabling Clubhouses to be accountable for implementing core elements related to the evidence-based model. She also coordinated the Michigan Family Impact Seminar working with Michigan policymakers. In retirement she supports her 33 year old son who is on the spectrum disorder to become an active community participant as a custodial worker and an artist.