July 12, 2016

Clinical Care

The Michigan Alzheimer’s Disease Center promotes care support and wellness for individuals and families affected by memory loss by partnering with the Cognitive Disorders Program at the University of Michigan Geriatrics Center.

The Cognitive Disorders Program brings together experts in neurology, nursing, and social work to provide high quality care.

Many people experience changes in their memory as they get older.  Some changes are normal.  Other changes may be a sign of a memory loss condition. If you are concerned about changes in memory, personality or thinking, it is important to schedule an evaluation with a specialist such as a neurologist or geriatrician. An evaluation can help you:

  • Understand the cause of your memory or thinking changes
  • Learn more about treatment options
  • Discover ways to maximize skills and promote quality of life
  • Plan for the future

The Multidisciplinary Team includes:

Judy Heidebrink, MD - Director

Dr. Heidebrink is a Richard D. and Katherine M. O’Connor Research Professor and has been affiliated with the Michigan Alzheimer’s Disease Center since 1995, when she began her fellowship training in Geriatric Neurology.  Her clinical and research interests focus on improving the diagnosis and treatment of Alzheimer’s disease and related disorders.  Dr. Heidebrink leads the University of Michigan’s participation in the Alzheimer’s Disease Neuroimaging Initiative (ADNI).  This landmark study uses brain imaging and other biomarkers to evaluate the onset and progression of Alzheimer’s disease.  ADNI data support the belief that brain changes occur many years before symptoms of Alzheimer’s disease emerge.  ADNI techniques will soon be used to identify persons with very early Alzheimer’s pathology, in order to study therapies that might halt the disease even before symptoms appear.  Judy attended medical school at the University of Texas Southwestern and received her Neurology training at the University of Michigan.

Nancy Barbas, MD, MSW

 Associated with the MADC for many years, Dr. Barbas is Associate Professor of Neurology and Director of the Cognitive Disorders Clinic at the University of Michigan Health System. She has been on the faculty of University of Michigan Medical School and Health System since 1991.  Dr. Barbas’s clinical interests include cognitive disorders in adults, such as Alzheimer’s disease and related dementias, and general geriatric neurology. She is active in clinical trial research for treatment development for Alzheimer’s disease and other dementias. She actively trains the next generation of professionals, teaching them state-of-art dementia care techniques and research skills.  She has published articles and chapters on dementia topics. Nan has spent the majority of her years in higher education in Ann Arbor, Michigan obtaining Bachelors of Arts (BA), Masters in Social Work (MSW), and Doctor of Medicine (M.D.) degrees from the University of Michigan. She continued her training at Tufts New England Medical Center in Boston completing a Neurology Residency and a Neuro-ophthalmology Fellowship.

Henry Paulson, MD, PhD

Henry PaulsonDr. Paulson directs the MADC, working closely with MADC staff to define and implement the diverse initiatives through which the center fulfills its three-part mission. He joined the Center as Associate Director in 2009 and assumed Directorship in 2011. He has worked for more than twenty years on degenerative brain diseases, both inherited and acquired. As a neurologist and neuroscientist, Dr. Paulson is deeply committed to translating findings from the research bench to the patient bedside. Toward that goal, he is focused on building connections between scientists, clinicians and the public, not only across the University of Michigan campus but also across the state of Michigan. He received his MD and PhD degrees from Yale University School of Medicine and his Neurology training at the University of Pennsylvania.


Roger Albin, MD

Associated with the MADC as the Research Education Component Core Leader, Dr. Albin is a Professor of Neurology at the University of Michigan. He held the title of Brain Bank Director at the University of Michigan from 1998 through January of 2016. In addition to caring for patients with cognitive disorders, he studies basic disease mechanisms and participates in human imaging studies seeking to improve our diagnosis of dementing disorders.  He also performs research on brain chemical factors that influence the production of beta-amyloid, a key disease protein in Alzheimer’s disease.  Dr. Albin is passionate about advancing disease knowledge so that we can treat patients better.  He attended medical school at the University of Pittsburgh and received his Neurology training at the University of Michigan. 

Sami Barmada, MD, PhD

Dr. Barmada currently serves as Associate Professor of Neurology at the University of Michigan. He was recruited from UCSF to the University of Michigan in 2013.  Dr. Barmada divides his time between the laboratory, Cognitive Disorders Program, and the classroom.  In his investigations of molecular mechanisms in FTD including TDP43 proteinopathies, Dr. Barmada employs automated microscopy.  He treats patients in the Cognitive Disorders Program, with an emphasis on individuals with dementia and motor neuron disease.  Dr. Barmada is also an Assistant Professor of Neurology.

Benjamin Bly, MD

Dr. Benjamin Bly is a Clinical Assistant Professor of Neurology and a neurologist at the Michigan Medicine Neurology Clinic and the Geriatric Neurology Clinic at the University of Michigan. He received his medical degree from Rutgers New Jersey Medical School in 2009 and completed his residency at the University of Michigan Health System in Neurology in 2013.

Nina Abney, MSW

ninabNina Abney received her M.S.W. and Certificate in Gerontological Studies from Boston University, School of Social Work in 1985. She has been at the University of Michigan Geriatrics Center since 2004. She is a licensed clinical social worker and her practice includes: geriatric assessments, social work services in the cognitive disorders program since 2011, psychotherapy for individuals, and group work. In addition, Regina provides supervision and program administration for the Geriatrics Center Clinic social work team.
Her professional areas of interests include dementia care, caregiver support services, long-term care planning, and Cognitive Behavior Therapy. She is a native of Germany and is fluent in German and English. She has worked in the field of geriatrics and social work in Massachusetts, New Jersey, Tuebingen/ Germany and Michigan.

Kristina Tomasik

Kristina M. Tomasik, a 1995 graduate of Rutgers University, is currently an Advanced Practice Nurse specializing in cognitive disorders at the University of Michigan.  Her initial plan to pursue further education was put on hold after meeting her future husband, a Michigan native.  Following their marriage in 1998, Kristina relocated to Michigan. She was accepted into the Graduate program at University of Michigan where she received her degree as an adult nurse practitioner in 2001.

After 13 years of primary care experience Kristina decided in 2013 that she was ready for a new challenge. She accepted a position with the University of Michigan Cognitive Disorders Clinic and instantly knew she found her new home. Kristina enjoys working as part of a multidisciplinary approach with a team of nurses, social workers, and physicians.  She appreciates the diversity of dementia and guiding patients and their families through the challenging course of this disease.

Selina Mathis

Selina Mathis received her master's degree in Social Work specializing in Aging Families and Society from the University of Michigan. She has previous experience at the Chelsea Community Hospital where she primarily worked with geriatric patients and their families, providing emotional support while helping them with discharge planning and connections to needed resources. She has been a medical social worker of U of M since October 2012 as the "bridge" social worker. She has been cross-trained to work with adult inpatients and in the adult emergency services. In this role she gained experience providing crisis intervention, patient education, resources, and support to patients and families.

Marie Milliken, LLMSW

Marie Milliken is a clinical social worker in the Cognitive Disorders Clinic. Motivated by her own family experiences with memory loss, she has a passion for walking alongside adults with dementia and their caregivers. Marie enjoys working in an interdisciplinary role to problem-solve and advocate for patients and their families. She has experience working with adults in a residential dementia care setting and in a clinical outpatient setting. She received her BSW from Hope College and her MSW from the University of Michigan School of Social Work.

For more information or to schedule an appointment at the Cognitive Disorders Clinic, call 734-764-6831