Drs. Starnes and Emshoff lead a team of highly skilled and experienced professionals. Together the research team designs, implements and analyzes programs, products and strategies. From a project’s inception to its final report, EMSTAR personnel have assisted large and small organizations in accomplishing their goals through well-defined objectives and effective task management.

EMSTAR Research, Inc. was founded in 1988 by two evaluation experts, Debi M. Starnes, Ph.D., President and James G. Emshoff, Ph.D., Vice President/Director of Research. Individually, they have impressive track records serving local, state and federal agencies, non-profit organizations and private enterprises. Dr. Starnes has extensive consultation experience in both the public and private sectors, and served as Policy Advisor to Atlanta's Mayor Shirley Franklin. Dr. Emshoff also holds a retired faculty position at Georgia State University, where he taught community psychology for over 25 years.


Debi M. Starnes, Ph.D.

Dr. Starnes received her BSW and MA in clinical psychology from East Tennessee State University and her Ph.D. in community and organizational psychology, in 1987, from Georgia State University. Her professional work has concentrated on designing and evaluating programs in such diverse areas as substance abuse prevention, child abuse prevention, childhood immunizations, volunteer programs for cancer patients, violence prevention programs with teens, community outreach health programs, after-school programs, training programs for state agencies and many others.

Dr. Starnes also served on the Atlanta City Council for 12 years, from 1994 through 2004 and served as Policy Advisor to Atlanta’s Mayor Shirley Franklin. In addition, she serves on several corporate and non-profit Boards.


Jim Emshoff, Ph.D.

Dr. Emshoff holds retired faculty positions of Associate Professor of Psychology and Director of the Community Psychology Program at Georgia State University. He also founded and serves as Director of Research at EMSTAR. He has directed research projects funded by a variety of federal agencies focused on health and well-being. He has received many honors, including the American Medical Association Substance Abuse Prevention Award. Dr. Emshoff has conducted evaluation research focused on substance abuse, violence, HIV/AIDS, child abuse, mentoring, delinquency, and health promotion programs at the local, state, and national levels and provides technical assistance in prevention and evaluation to many organizations. Much of his current work concerns dissemination and implementation issues, including a focus on fidelity in evidence-based programs. He serves on the Board of Directors or Executive Committee of several national organizations. Approximately 200 of his publications and professional presentations focus on a variety of prevention and evaluation issues.


Stephen Erickson, Ph.D.

Dr. Erickson, a Georgia native, spent the first decade of his career as a service provider and administrator in Georgia's public mental health system. During his doctoral studies at Georgia State University he developed research and management skills working at the Centers for Disease Control and Emory University, first as a research assistant and then as a project manager. Since joining EMSTAR in 1990 he has specialized in the evaluation and development of public and private, non-profit organizations. Issues addressed by these organizations include child and family wellness, maternal and child health, teen parenting, alcohol/tobacco/other drug abuse, adolescent sex offending, racism, community collaboration, historic preservation, caretaking, and consumer satisfaction, among others.


Kimberley Broomfield-Massey, Ph.D.

Kimberley Broomfield-Massey has worked as a program evaluation consultant with EMSTAR since 1998. With degrees from the University of Central Florida and Georgia State University, Dr. Broomfield-Massey completed her doctoral work in the field of Community Psychology, with a focus in program evaluation. Although her primary research interest is in positive youth development, her work with the Georgia Campaign for Pregnancy Prevention (GCAPP) and the Center for Black Women’s Wellness sparked an interest in issues around perinatal health. She currently evaluates the Atlanta Healthy Start Initiative; a federally funded program implemented by the Center for Black Women’s Wellness, Inc. whose goal is to address disparities in perinatal health by removing barriers to adequate health care for pregnant women and parenting mothers with infants under the age of two. In addition to her work around youth development and perinatal health, she has also worked with such organizations as Tapestri, Inc., the American Cancer Society, and the United Way. Dr. Broomfield-Massey’s academic and occupational experiences continue to fuel her passion for working with community-based organizations and desire to empower disenfranchised communities.


Michelle DiMeo-Ediger, Ph.D.

Michelle DiMeo-Ediger completed her Ph.D in Community Psychology at Georgia State University. Her dissertation focused on the benefits youth and parents receive through participation in after-school programs. Her work is guided by the principles of community psychology and focuses on primary prevention and promotion efforts to support healthy youth development. Michelle is currently a Project Director at EMSTAR Research, evaluating Lookout Mountain Care Management Entity which offers community-based services for youth with serious emotional disorders. While at EMSTAR, Michelle has also worked on the evaluation of Georgia’s Care Management Entities, the Shepherd Center's Brain and Spinal Cord Injury Prevention Curriculum for youth, the South Carolina Communities that Care youth substance use survey, Gateway 24/7 Center, Project LYNX System of Care, Kids NET Douglass System of Care, Kids NET Savannah System of Care, and the Northwest Georgia System of Care Primary Prevention Program. Previously Michelle has worked as a part of the National Evaluation Team for the Comprehensive Community Mental Health Services for Children and Their Families program. Additionally, Michelle has been involved in several research/ evaluation studies including the assessment of: Calhoun City Schools, the After-School All-Stars Atlanta after-school program, the Boys & Girls Clubs of Metro Atlanta, and the Cool Girls Inc. after-school program. Michelle has expertise in quantitative and qualitative research methods and data analysis, program evaluation, and program consultation.


Zuri Murphy, LMSW

Zuri Murphy received her MSW from Georgia State University with an emphasis in community partnerships and is a state licensed therapist.  She began evaluating programs for non-profits such as United Way and 100 Black Men while earning her graduate degree and went on to be the director of two mental health organizations.  Her areas of expertise include program evaluation, trauma-informed care, and restorative justice.  She began her career with EMSTAR evaluating system of care interventions and currently she is providing training and evaluation for three state-wide prevention projects in Georgia and South Carolina. When she is not working on these projects she serves on the board of the Restorative Justice Center in Atlanta and teaches life skills to first time offenders.



Debra Hughes, M.Ed

Debra Hughes received her Bachelor’s Degree in Science Education from East Tennessee State University and her Master's in Education in Science Education from Georgia State University. During her 34 year tenure as an educator, Debra has been named Teacher of the Year as well as STAR Teacher. In addition to teaching, Ms. Hughes has worked as a content specialist for Georgia Public Broadcasting and a curriculum content writer for the Department of Juvenile Justice. She joined EMSTAR in 2011, and is working as a Data Manager for a state-wide curriculum program. Debra ensures the data quality and integrity of more than 100 sites across Georgia.