Health & Wellness

Prioritize Your Health

The School of Music, Theatre & Dance is committed to supporting students’ wellness by providing services that are tailored to meet the unique demands of performing artists, and to sustaining a positive environment in which faculty and staff can thrive. The Wellness Initiative offers a variety of workshops, services, and courses geared towards prevention and recovery. Ongoing services and classes include: Mind-Body Balance Series (Yoga, Tai Chi, etc.), Wellness Mini-Series, Performing Arts Health Clinic, Wellness Coaching, and more! Events are generally free and open to all SMTD students, faculty and staff.

Explore our offerings below or visit the Frequently Asked Questions page.


The Wellness Initiative offers a variety of workshops, services, and courses geared towards prevention and recovery. Events are generally free and open to all SMTD students, faculty and staff.

Screenings & Clinic


Funding & Hiring Opportunities

  • Wellness Ambassadors Program
  • Mental Health Awareness Microgrants

Special Events

  • SMTD Peer-to-Peer Support Network
  • Wellness Pop-Ups
  • Stress-Relieving Events



  • Alexander Technique
  • Yoga for Performers I
  • Yoga for Performers II
  • Strengthening & Conditioning
  • Wellness for the Performing Artist



There are a multitude of resources both at SMTD and at U-M to support every aspect of your wellness. For specific information about physical and mental health offerings, current students, faculty, and staff should visit the Wellness Initiative section of the SMTD Intranet.

Wellness News

The Musician’s Body
Professional musicians are athletes. That’s not just a metaphor — at least not for the speech pathologists, physical therapists, occupational therapists, laryngologists, vocal coaches, and other providers who care for them at Michigan Medicine.

Exercise is Medicine
Whether you’re a novice, professional athlete or in between, an expert shares the important health benefits of exercise

Working with Performing Artists and Athletes with Dr. Kristen Schuyten
Podcast of the American Physical Therapy Association – Michigan

Calendar of Events

The Wellness Team


Until retirement inJuly, 2020, Bruce Edwards, AuD, was the Assistant Director and Clinics Manager of Audiology in Otolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery at Michigan Medicine, and held a faculty role in the Department of Communication Disorders at Wayne State University teaching courses in advanced electrophysiology and neurophysiologic intraoperative monitoring. He taught/mentored Audiology, Linguistics, and Medical School students and Otolaryngology residents and Fellows at the University of Michigan, Ohio State University, and the University of Florida. He actively pursues humanitarian and teaching efforts in Africa. For Michigan’s School of Music, Theatre & Dance, he is involved in planning and carrying out efforts for students that include hearing screening, conservation of hearing, and education regarding the effects of noise exposure, and their mitigation, for students, staff and faculty.

Allie Heckman, AuD is a clinical audiologist at Michigan Medicine. She earned her doctorate of audiology from the Northeast Ohio Au.D. Consortium (N.O.A.C.) in Akron, OH and moved to Michigan in 2016. She specializes in hearing wellness; including hearing conservation, hearing rehabilitation, and tinnitus for the adult patient population. Dr. Heckman leads monthly tinnitus group classes at East Ann Arbor Health Center, as well as presents on hearing health topics in our community. She enjoys supervising students in the clinical setting. She has previous experience in hearing conservation and rehabilitation in the military and veteran population, and is excited to share her knowledge with students at the University of Michigan.

Counseling and Psychological Services

Emily Hyssong is a licensed clinical social worker and the embedded CAPS (Counseling and Psychological Services) counselor in the School of Music, Theatre & Dance. Emily works exclusively with students in SMTD, providing free and confidential counseling services to currently enrolled students. Counseling services include initial consultation, individual brief therapy, referrals to other U-M resources and community services, drop-in workshops, outreach presentations, and consultation to faculty and staff. Emily received her MSW from the University of Michigan School of Social Work and has seven years of experience providing therapy in a college setting. As a clinician, Emily’s interests are broad, but she particularly enjoys working with clients who have issues related to anxiety, substance use, self-esteem, identity and adjustment, eating and body image, relationship difficulties, and depression. Emily uses an integrative therapeutic approach, drawing from DBT, ACT, and psychodynamic principles. Prior to her career in Social Work, Emily attended the University of Michigan School of Music, Theatre & Dance where she received a bachelor’s degree in viola performance.

Eisenberg Family Depression Center

Stephanie Salazar, MPH, CHES, is Outreach and Education Program Manager at the University of Michigan Comprehensive Depression Center. Earning her Master of Public Health in Health Behavior and Health Education from the University of Michigan, she has experience planning and implementing health education and outreach initiatives for adolescents and young adults.  Current projects include the Peer-to-Peer Depression Awareness Project, a peer-based mental health program for middle and high school students; Athletes Connected, an initiative to support student athletes; Campus Mind Works (, a website and outreach program for U-M students; and the annual National Depression on College Campuses Conference. She has been collaborating with SMTD to offer microgrants in support of SMTD student mental health with the help of a generous gift by Alex Fox and Family.


Kristen Schuyten, PT, DPT, MS, CSCS, is a physical therapist through MedSport at Michigan Medicine.  She is a Clinical Specialist, Coordinator of the Performing Arts Rehabilitation Program and is Board Certified in Sports as a Clinical Specialty.  Kristen has been working with the School of Music, Theatre and Dance for nearly 10 years through injury risk screening, exercise instruction and physical therapy.  Kristen has personal experience with injury recovery as a performing artist as a former dancer and coronet player. Kristen is also on the Team USA Medical Team for US Figure Skating and coordinates treatment coverage for UMS events on campus.

Megan Mahoney received her B.A. in Athletic Training from Capital University and M.A. in Sport Science and Pedagogy from Gardner-Webb University.  Currently, Megan works for Michigan Medicine as an outreach Athletic Trainer covering sporting events at Father Gabriel Richard High School. Megan’s interest in performing arts stems from her years of competitive figure skating. She provides First Aid/CPR/AED Training and Certification for SMTD students, faculty, and staff. 

Physical Medicine & Rehabilitation

Lexie Muir-Pappas, OT, CHT, is an occupational therapist through Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation at Michigan Medicine. She is a certified hand therapist and clinical specialist with 27 years of experience. Along with treating a variety of upper extremity problems, her expertise and interest is in prevention and treatment of overuse injuries in performing artists. She has presented on this topic to students at both U of M and EMU music studios, Michigan Medicine Hand Symposium, and the Performing Arts Medicine and Rehabilitation Symposium.

Vocal Health Center

Norman D. Hogikyan, MD, FACS, is a laryngologist, and is recognized nationally as an expert in the medical and surgical treatment of voice disorders in occupational and professional voice users. He founded the U-M Vocal Health Center in 1996, and was a pioneer in the area of interdisciplinary voice care. The U-M Vocal Health Center represents a longstanding collaboration between Michigan Medicine and the SMTD, and includes the disciplines of laryngology, speech pathology, and vocal pedagogy in clinical care programs. Dr. Hogikyan is an active participant in both the educational and healthcare elements of the SMTD Wellness Initiative. He is the Director of the Vocal Health Center and Professor and Associate Chairman of Otolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery.

Marci Daniels Rosenberg, BM, MS CCC, is a singer, and a speech language pathologist at The University of Michigan, Vocal Health Center. A clinical Singing Voice Specialist, Ms. Rosenberg works clinically to rehabilitate injured singers and actors.  She teaches workshops and lectures nationally in the area of vocal health, performance voice, and managing vocal injuries. Ms. Rosenberg is a featured guest faculty at The New CCM Summer Pedagogy Institute at Shenandoah. She is co-author of The Vocal Athlete, now in its 2nd edition (Plural Publishing, 2019). She maintains a private voice consulting studio. She currently serves as Vice President of the Pan American Vocology Association.

Wellness Coaching

Amy West currently holds the position of LEO Lecturer II in the Department of Dance and is the Health and Wellness Coach for the School of Music, Theatre & Dance at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor. She is a Mayo Clinic-certified and National Board-certified Health and Wellness Coach and an American Council on Exercise (ACE) certified Personal Trainer. She is also a Master Coach Instructor through ACE. This past year, Amy has been an on-ice coach, ballet instructor, and Health and Wellness Coach for the Michigan Ice Dance Academy.

Wellness Courses

As an alumna of the SMTD’s Musical Theatre department, Catherine Matuza (500 RYT, Urban Zen Integrative Therapist) has a unique and targeted perspective of just how important self care can be in the life of a creative artist.  Drawing from her years of experience on and off stage, and her knowledge of yoga, restorative yoga, breath awareness, meditation, essential oils and Reiki, creative movement and dance, she works to combine an emphasis on alignment and awareness to guide her students to greater ease and creative productivity.  In her current role as lecturer for Yoga for Performers, she introduces students to realistic and accessible yoga practices to empower them to combat tension, stress and burnout throughout their careers.

Michelle Obrecht has been an Alexander Technique teacher for over 25 years. She began teaching musicians and actors in U-M’s Residential College in 1999 and in 2003 began offering private lessons at the SMTD. In 2016 small-group classes were created, as part of the newly formed Wellness Initiative, to give students a taste of what Alexander Technique can offer the performing artist. The curriculum emphasizes understanding how anatomy, thought processes, movement coordination, and breathing re-education form a gestalt within the human body that can either hinder or enhance artistic expression. The class reflects her years of study of the scientific, emotional, and spiritual components of the mind-body relationship.

SMTD Wellness Program Manager

Paola Savvidou

Paola Savvidou, DMA, NCTM, serves as Wellness Initiative Program Manager and Lecturer at SMTD. She develops partnerships within the University of Michigan health services and beyond to provide education, injury-preventive services and recovery support for students, faculty and staff. She also teaches the Wellness for the Performing Artist course. Dr. Savvidou frequently presents research on the intersection of wellness and pedagogy at prominent conferences including the MTNA National Conference, the International Society for Music Education Conference, the European Association for Schools of Music Conference, College Music Society’s International Conference, and the European Piano Teachers Association. Most recently she presented research on preventive education with her U-M MedSport and Audiology colleagues. Her work has won Article of the Year three times through the American Music Teacher (2015) and the MTNA eJournal (2016 and 2022). Her book “Teaching the Whole Musician: A Guide to Wellness in the Applied Studio,” was published with Oxford University Press in 2021.