Onaga, Esther E. Ph.D.


Esther E. Onaga, Ph.D.

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Retired Faculty

After Esther received her doctoral degree she became a project manager for a series of national experiments on social change of mental hospitals and universities funded by National Institutes of Mental Health. Her research focused moved from innovation diffusion to implementation. Her multi-year project on Supported Employment for the State of Michigan resulted in a dissemination of on-going training for staff providing employment supports for people with disabilities. With funding from the Flinn Foundation she began a multi-year study of Michigan psychosocial clubhouses.
In her teaching assignments she provided faculty support on the use service learning with their courses on diversity. In the summer she is the faculty for the Hawaii Study Away and Internship program where service learning plays a central role in educating students about the ethnic diversity in Hawaii. In 2008 she received the All University Excellence in Diversity Award from Michigan State University and the College of Social Science Curricular Service-learning and Civic Engagement Award.

She has a number of current outreach and research endeavors. She directs the Family Impact Seminars, one of 22 network sites, for state policymakers. With funding from the Michigan Department of Community Health, she is working on fidelity and implementation of clubhouses in Michigan and initiating the use of a longitudinal data gathering of all 44 clubhouses as a tool to promote program quality across the state. She is also co-PI on Youth Education and Support Plus funded by the Gerstacker Rollin Foundation. She is PI on a 3 year project on the Family Impact Seminar funded by the Kellogg Foundation through the Policy Institute for Family Impact Seminars. She is on the editorial review board for Excellence and Equity in Education. She is a reviewer for the National Institute on Disability and Rehabilitation Research. Her most recent focus is in the creation of inclusive healthy communities with a focus on people with disabilities.