2016 Spring Student Scholars

Recognition of Spring 2016 Scholars in Aging 

Presenters: Marc Molea and Amy Plant

Recognition-of-Spring-2016-Scholars-in-Aging-opt

Nichole Davenport Bowling Green State University
Tiffany Epps The Ohio State University
Daniel Farley Shawnee State University
Rebecca Fensler Wright State University
Dana Hinebaugh Shawnee State University
Morgan Liddic Miami University
Lois Robinson Ohio University
Karis Rooney John Carroll University
Erin Scott Cedarville University
Evan Shelton Cleveland State University
Todd Simmons Cleveland State University
Jordan Stengel Kent State University
Antoneia Ward Sinclair Community College
Claire Wilt Sinclair Community College

Experience Papers, Spring 2016 Ohio Scholars in Aging Program

Tiffany Epps, The Ohio State University

In my last semester as a Nurse Practitioner student, I completed seven weeks in an outpatient neurology clinic. The majority of hours were completed in the neurology clinic and where I completed the internship project. The second seven weeks were in home health care. Both placements were set through the College of Nursing at The Ohio State University.

For my project, I researched sleep disorders among the multiple sclerosis (MS) population. It was meant to be educational to health care providers and show that sleep disorders are more prevalent, yet underdiagnosed among MS patients. Sleep disorders that go untreated can lead to more health problems. I recommended a six question screening tool to be administered every year and when someone is diagnosed with MS. The neurology clinic was interested in this topic because MS is a neurology disorder treated in the clinic. It reinforced patient centered care and quality of life, which are two fundamental concepts in health care. The biggest challenge I faced was determining what recommendations to make to the clinic. The next step, I would trial the screening tool in a clinical setting to assess if screening improved or not.

I am very happy that I participated in the Ohio Scholars in Aging program and hope more people in the health care field get involved. I learned about a number of programs offered through the Ohio Department of Aging that I will recommend and discuss with patients regardless of where I practice. Steady U, Healthy U and nutrition programs are a few of the programs I discussed with patients in home health care. I plan to apply for an NP job in a long term care setting. I will reach out to family members and caregivers to assist and make them aware of resources through the Department of Aging.

Daniel Farley, Shawnee State University

My name is Daniel Farley, and I conducted my internship at Kingsbrook Lifecare Center. Being accepted into the Ohio Scholars of Aging was an honor and an overall great experience. I highly recommend anyone in the aging field to apply to this program. You will meet great people, make connections in the field, and learn new things at each meeting. I am an Administrator in Training at Kingsbrook. My internship thus far has led me to numerous departments and learning how each part of a facility operates. So far I’ve had the luxury of being with Medical Records, Admissions, Dietary, Environmental Services, Finance, Social Services, and Activities. Each department is an integral part of a nursing home, and it is an amazing experience to be involved with it. The Ohio Scholars in Aging program has made me aware of so many more topics in the aging community than I thought possible. I have been fortunate to learn all of these new topics so that one day when I am an administrator of a nursing home, I can implement them. Not only will I be able to implement such things, but just having the knowledge that such programs exist is invaluable.

To anyone that has any interest in the aging community or is looking for a career in the field, I implore you to join the Ohio Scholars in Aging. The information you will learn is invaluable, not to mention all of the great people you will meet.

Dana Hinebaugh, Shawnee State University

It has been such a privilege to be a part of such a great organization and I am very thankful for the opportunity. I have learned a lot about myself, the Ohio Department of Aging, and the dire need for change in regulations and policies directly affecting the rapidly aging population. Through the Ohio Scholars in Aging Program, I have learned how the Ohio Department of Aging is multi-faceted, and has various divisions within the organization, which are responsible for seeing that the older adult population is receiving and has access to the services they so desperately need. I also met so many great people who share the same passion I have for older adults. Those relationships have been so important to me and will last the rest of my life. From this experience, I am considering ways in which I can get involved in advocating for and representing older adults, whether it be working for ODA, AAA etc.

From my clinical experiences, I have learned the value of and importance of what I was doing at each different site. I think my experience has been especially unique because of the area and population I served. The population I served was in the rural Appalachia region of southern Ohio. It is a very underserved and impoverished area. I feel very fortunate to provide free, yet necessary, services. It has been a very rewarding yet challenging experience. From the multiple experiences I had, I learned the importance of communication and teamwork across various settings in which older adults reside. These included older driver safety and community mobility, fall prevention, home modification, aging in place, and dementia care. From participating in my clinicals as well as the Ohio Scholars in Aging Program, I have learned valuable information which I will carry with me throughout my career and the rest of my life.

Morgan Liddic, Miami University

My internship took place at the Butler County Care Facility in Hamilton, OH. My focus there was to implement an activity program that would specifically target the residents living in the memory care unit. Due to the shortage in activity staff and the age of the facility, innovation and creativity were extremely important when choosing an activity for these residents. This led me to the certified Music & Memory program where I took the initial steps in introducing the program at the facility. I contacted the Music & Memory Program, attended webinars, interviewed residents, reached out to community groups for iPod donations, downloaded music onto computers, and created a resource binder with information to help maintain the program. Butler County Care facility was interested in bringing Music & Memory to its facility because they wanted to have a special program dedicated to their memory patients. They also realized the effect that music therapy can have on those who are cognitively impaired and wanted to hopefully improve the quality of life for some of their residents. The project stayed very consistent throughout my internship. I did face an initial obstacle with difficulties contacting the Music & Memory program. After those were resolved I also was disappointed that I couldn’t interview more residents and that iPod donations that were requested were never actually brought in.

The work I’ve done on the project has enabled me to enhance my professional development skills, become more comfortable working with residents of all abilities, and become a quick problem solver. Along with being able to present at the OAGE conference, I have been able to showcase myself to graduate school programs as someone who has hands-on experience and a great work ethic. What I learned the most about participating in my internship with Music & Memory was that even those with significantly low cognitive or physical abilities can find meaningful activities to fill their life. While listening to music seems like a simple task, it is a wonderful tool to stimulate brain activity and decrease depression in those with dementia. My internship and the Ohio Scholars in Aging program have really taught me how to work with diverse groups of people and how to present myself as a passionate gerontologist.

Nichole A. Davenport, Bowling Green State University

I completed my internship in Toledo, Ohio with the Alzheimer’s Association, Northwest Ohio Chapter. The Alzheimer’s Association is a phenomenal non-profit organization that provides services to those affected by Alzheimer’s disease or other related dementias. Throughout my internship experience, my project was to work in the marketing department and work on the Spring Gala. The agency was interested in me working on the Gala because they wanted me to gain marketing experience aside from my current caregiving role, and be able to help them with this event in the future. This project to work on the Gala required me to contact various businesses and companies via email and telephone to ask for donations for our silent auction at the Gala. This experience helped me gain communication skills with other professionals as well as gain professional confidence. Aside from contacting these businesses, I also had to fill out necessary paperwork, track all the donations coming in and their values, update the paperwork daily, arrange and put together donated baskets of goods, and of course, attend and work the event. Not only was the event a great experience for me professionally, but I also had a wonderful time. It was so rewarding to see how great the Gala turned out and knowing that I played a major role in the success. Because of my hard work and professionalism, I was complimented by my colleagues and those who attended the event, and I was asked to join the Chapter’s Walk and Gala committees to help them with these events in the future.

Participating in the Ohio Scholars Program was such an honor. It was a great networking opportunity, resume-builder, and learning experience for all involved. I would highly recommend this program to other students as it will truly be beneficial to one’s future.

Lois Robinson, Ohio University

Firstly, I would just like to say thank you to the Ohio Department of Aging, the Ohio Association of Gerontology, Mr. Marc Molea, and to the various other support staff who made this amazing opportunity possible for the other scholars and me. I think that I can speak for everyone and say that we are all very grateful to have had the opportunity to participate in such an enlightening, and informational Internship during the spring semester. I really enjoyed learning about the many aspects of aging, and I think that it was very cool to have what we have learned about in our academic careers be applied to everyday life. I think that while learning about something is fun, it becomes more real when you have the opportunity to visually see, and discuss with professionals in the field of Gerontology like we did over the course of our internship.

While the connections that I have made are very valuable within the program, the biggest thing that I take away from our internship experience is the friendships that I have made within the Ohio Scholars in Aging program. My major is Long Term Care Administration, and it is a very small major so it was just so heartwarming to know that there are other people out there who have the same passion for the elderly as I do. While I am sad that the program has ended, I will always appreciate the knowledge and friendships that I have made as a 2016 Spring Intern.

Karis Rooney, John Carroll University

I completed my semester’s work at a local agency called Senior Citizen Resources, Inc. (SCR). The agency is located in the Old Brooklyn neighborhood, right outside the city of Cleveland. SCR is a community-based senior center that provides a variety of resources to older adults to help them live independently for as long as possible. Services like transportation, social services, home-delivered meals, congregate meals and social activities are provided to seniors at low costs.

My focus this semester was primarily on SCR’s annual Senior Olympics event. Every year, SCR collaborates with community partners to schedule, plan and host a local Senior Olympics. Both regular and seated games are played, and seniors can choose to compete in any and every event they choose. Other than being a fun event, the Olympics encourages physically active lifestyles and healthy, successful aging. Physical activity in older adulthood is just one of many steps older adults can take to remain independent in their communities, so the Olympics is just one of many activities encouraging Old Brooklyn’s seniors to remain physically active and healthy.

I mainly worked on the administrative side of the Olympics. A few of the issues I encountered were related to information flow, unfamiliarity with the event and communication with community partners/volunteers to help make our event a success. Despite communication difficulties and busy schedules, I was able to learn a lot about the Old Brooklyn neighborhood through the partnerships and support provided by local partners. One of my main goals with both my internship and participation in the Ohio Scholars in Aging program was to determine if the aging field is a setting I would like to focus my long-term career goals around. Not only was I able to confirm my long-term goals, but I have been able to meet many dedicated people who share my passion for connecting with and serving the older adult community.

Erin Scott, Cedarville University

As an undergraduate intern at the Alzheimer’s Association Miami Valley Chapter, I was able to participate in many different ways. I was involved with the 24/7 helpline and care consultation levels 1 and 2. I represented the chapter at health fairs, compiled program information, researched intergenerational programming, and participated in advocacy and fundraising.

Specifically as a helpline volunteer, I answered calls, provided assistance to families and triaged cases to pass on to the full time social workers or the graduate student interns. I received many of my own cases from answering helpline calls. I also documented these calls in the Association’s database.

As a care consultant, I worked closely with families and their loved ones. I provided supportive listening, and helped assess what assistance the family may need. I also assisted with problem solving, goal setting and met with entire families to discuss their situation.

I had the opportunity to attend multiple health fairs and represent the Alzheimer’s Association. It was a wonderful way to interact with community members and explain what services are available. During health fairs, I was able to talk one on one with individuals and learn more about their connection to the disease. I also had the opportunity to share some of the statistics on Alzheimer’s.

Dementia Q&A is a newer education program at the Association. It is a free event for community members to ask questions they have about Alzheimer’s disease. I helped record the questions asked and assisted in compiling them to determine what was asked most frequently.

In addition, I was able to advocate for individuals with Alzheimer’s throughout my time at the Association. I wrote a letter to the state legislators to explain what services we provide for their constituents. I also helped gather support through signature cards so the Association could show congressmen how important finding a cure for Alzheimer’s disease is to their voters.

This semester, I researched the topic of intergenerational programming. I also visited a local program in Yellow Springs. With the knowledge I gained about intergenerational programming, I wrote a short article for the Miami Valley Chapter weekly newsletter.

Finally, I had the opportunity to learn how a non-profit is funded. I worked during one of the largest fundraisers for the Association: The Walk to End Alzheimer’s. Recently, I talked with several store owners about participating in the Longest Day fundraiser which is held in June. It has been a valuable learning experience to see how important it is to build meaningful relationships with individuals and organizations.

My internship at the Alzheimer’s Association was an incredible experience. I was able to be involved in many different aspects of the organization and gained experience working with seniors and their loved ones. This experience confirmed my love for the senior population and their unique generational needs. As a result, I am looking forward to pursuing a career in gerontology.

I found the Ohio Scholars in Aging program to be a tremendous opportunity to gain knowledge about polices that affect seniors. I learned about both statewide and local programs available for seniors and their families. The program enabled me to grow as a student and gave me key experience in networking. This experience will be helpful as I consider pursuing a career in advocacy. I am so grateful for the opportunity to be a part of the Ohio Scholars in Aging program and would highly recommend this program to any student who is interested in gerontology.

Evan Shelton, Cleveland State University

During the Spring 2016 semester, I had the opportunity to work at the Center for Research and Education at Benjamin Rose Institute on Aging. Having completed my coursework in the Adult Development and Aging PhD program at CSU, Benjamin Rose offered me this fellowship as an opportunity to engage in applied research in aging while working on my dissertation. During this fellowship, I worked on three projects: SHARE, Heart Health, and Music & Memory. Each of these projects is in a different stage of the research process, and engaging in the different developmental and dissemination tasks within each project has been valuable in learning about the applied research process as a whole.

The SHARE project is in the dissemination phase. I have had the opportunity to write a manuscript, and co-author a second manuscript based on the findings from the SHARE Project. SHARE is a care planning intervention for persons with dementia and their family caregiver. The intervention aims to open a dialogue about care values and preferences between care partners, provide education about what to expect over the course of the disease, and to assist dyads with finding resources that might be beneficial to them. The manuscript that I am writing uses baseline data to examining the psychosocial ramifications of incongruent care preferences across the dyad. There are some especially interesting findings with regard to actual incongruences compared to perceived (i.e., the caregiver’s belief that his/her preferences are different from the person with dementia’s) preferences. I was able to present this research at the Cleveland State University Research Day conference.

The Heart Health project is moving from a pilot study phase to a second study. The goal of the Heart Health program is to provide quality education and behavior change opportunities to low income older African Americans attending two urban senior centers. This population is at a substantially greater risk for heart disease and related disorders. This intervention aims to prevent/delay the onset of these chronic conditions by promoting heart-healthy behavior. I had the opportunity to co-author a feasibility/acceptability paper, collect T2 data from participants, and I am currently helping to revise the study materials and design for the next iteration of the Heart Health program.

The Music & Memory program is a program aimed at using personalized music to improve the lives of persons with dementia living in the community. Benjamin Rose received a grant through the ODA to roll-out this program in the community, and asked me to be involved. I felt that the program would be a great fit for my dissertation research, and have been undertaking the task of proposing a dissertation to my committee at Cleveland State. The goal of my dissertation would be to apply a rigorous methodological approach to evaluating the effects of music and memory on the quality of life, behaviors, engagement, and care relationship of the person with dementia. This study would be a randomized-controlled trial that would hopefully fit within the timeframe of the ODA grant deadline and provide an opportunity to inform the non-pharmacological intervention in dementia literature about the value of personalized music in dementia.

Todd Simmons, Cleveland State University

This semester, I am completing the Master’s in Social Work program at Cleveland State University. My field practicum has taken place at the Benjamin Rose Adult Day Program, which provides adult day services for older persons with Alzheimer’s, dementia, and other cognitive and functional impairments. Activities include arts and crafts, current events, fine and gross motor activities, games, horticulture, and musical activities.

Although my area of concentration is gerontology, and despite my extensive work and volunteer experience with older adults, this was my first opportunity to engage with this segment of the elder population. Beginning fieldwork required considerable research, and I tried to learn as much as I could about persons with Alzheimer’s and dementia, as well as the symptoms and stages of various cognitive impairment. The majority of social work literature involves practice with the caregivers of these individuals, as their role will take on growing importance as the disease and symptoms progress.

Early on, caregivers became the focus of my internship. My role at the agency provided some newfound flexibility, and my field instructor, Crystal Wallace, ADP Assistant Director, was eager to reconnect with the caregivers of the clients at the Day Program. In recognition of November as “National Alzheimer’s Disease Awareness Month” and “National Caregivers Month,” my planned project became to help resurrect the Day Program’s caregiver support group. This initiative involved creating a monthly caregiver newsletter, as well as other various outreach efforts.

One significant obstacle proved to be that the time clients spend at the program serves as a time of respite for the caregivers. My involvement with support group activities was limited due to my restrictive hours at the internship, which took place during regular business hours. Common feedback from caregivers was they would have liked to be more involved, but their respite time was necessary to take care of chores and errands, or simply time to take care of themselves.

Among the numerous opportunities was attending a caregiver conference at Benjamin Rose. This provided me with valuable information and ideas on how to engage and intervene with caregivers. As coursework influenced fieldwork, and vice versa, I was able to share my experiences and newly gained knowledge with my fellow students. The launch of the “Music & Memory” pilot program provided another opportunity, as caregiver involvement is necessary and crucial. I must also credit my field instructor for informing me about the Ohio Scholars in Aging program. The benefits of which are too vast to list, yet involvement in the group reinforced how important inter-professional collaboration is to the field of aging. It has also demonstrated the attention given to issues of “Caregiver Awareness” and “Music & Memory” at the state, county, and local levels.

Jordan Stengel, Kent State University

I completed my Ohio Scholars in Aging internship at Jennings Center for Older Adults as part of an Administrator-in-Training program. During my internship I completed a variety of projects and worked in every department to get a feel for all the roles that are associated with running a nursing home. In addition to the nursing home I participated in the operation of home health, hospice, independent living, assisted living, and our adult day center. This has been a rewarding experience and ultimately led to my employment with Jennings at the end of the internship.

The most rewarding project I’ve worked on at Jennings has been our Small House project. Small House is both an architectural style of facility and a philosophy that makes long term care feel less institutional by creating an environment that feels like home. This philosophy is consistent with the person centered mission of the organization and so we’re constructing three Small House memory care assisted living homes near Chardon, OH. My biggest role in their development has been in maintaining the integrity of the concept. The idea was in place before I arrived, but my role in the project began with researching the concept and then selling it to the administration. I’ve done this by arranging meetings with providers who have already chosen this method for their own organizations, recruiting a consultant to help with implementation, finding funding for the initial start-up costs, and creating an ideal staffing model based on published research as well as the advice of experts in the field. As a result of these efforts we plan to break ground on the Small Houses in summer 2016 and have them open by summer 2017.

Thanks to the long struggle of other providers to get the Small House model approved by the state, I was fortunate not to have to lobby for a change in the code, but Ohio Scholars in Aging has given me a unique perspective on state government and a better appreciation of how policy is created.

Jennifer Bechtel serves as the Program Manager for the Ohio State University College of Medicine’s Office of Geriatrics and Gerontology.

She has worked in the field of aging services for over 17 years helping to provide professional development and resource connection to aging services providers and caregivers across Ohio. She earned her certificate of specialization in grief recovery and is passionate about using bibliotherapy principles as conversation starters with individuals, families and professionals to bridge the gap in healing.

Cheryl Conley, MA, LSW, is the director of social services at MemoryLane Care Services in Toledo. MemoryLane provides adult day services and wrap-around services, such as dementia care coaching, counseling, community and caregiver education, and social programs.

Cheryl is a licensed social worker and has worked in the field of aging for more than 35 years. She earned a Masters in Counseling and a Graduate Certificate in Aging from Bowling Green State University. She graduated with a Bachelor’s degree from Lourdes College with majors in Gerontology, Art, and Psychology. Cheryl coordinated the Geriatric Education Center at Bowling Green State University and was on the part-time and full time faculty at BGSU in Gerontology, with part time appointments in Biological Sciences, and Family Sciences. Cheryl has also worked as social services director for Wood County Committee on Aging and as program director for the Alzheimer’s Association before joining MemoryLane Care Services.

Christine Raber, PhD, OTR/L, is a Professor in the Department of Rehabilitation Sciences, at Shawnee State University in Portsmouth, Ohio.

In addition to teaching gerontology and research content within occupational therapy graduate programs, she has served in various leadership roles in her 28 years at SSU including interim program director (occupational therapy), interim Associate Provost, and Provost Fellow. Effective July 1, 2023, she will serve as the interim Dean of the College of Professional Studies at SSU. Her clinical and research activities focus on the facilitation of positive engagement in daily life for older adults, particularly those living with dementia.

Cheryl Kanetsky has 31 years of experience working with older adults in various community-based and care settings.

She has been with the Alzheimer’s Association since 1999 and is currently the Director of Operations & Grant Administration for the state of Ohio. Cheryl is responsible for a growing portfolio of grant revenue in support of the programs and services of the Alzheimer’s Association chapters across the state. She works closely with the Director of State Public Policy on special projects that strive to improve the lives of those living with Alzheimer’s disease, other dementias, and their care partners across the state. Cheryl is a licensed social worker and holds a Masters Degree in Business Administration from Tiffin University.

Donna Alexander, LNHA, MBA, CDP

As the Long-Term Care Administration (LTCA) Program Coordinator, I teach courses in the nationally accredited Nursing Home Administration program at both Kent State University and Kent State at Stark. My role also involves coordinating the internship class, placing students in a two-semester 1,000-clock hour internship, preparing students for the national and state examinations, maintaining the LTCA program’s national accreditation, advising, as well as administrative duties as a Program Coordinator at the University. Upon appointment to the Ohio Board of Executives of Long-Term Services & Supports (NHA license board - BELTSS), I serve as the Academic representative in the State of Ohio, and I chair the Continuing Education Committee. Appointments as the Convener of the Academic Forum and voting member on the Education Committee with NAB (National Association of Long-Term Care Administrator Boards) provides Kent State University and the State of Ohio with representation on the national level. Upon graduating from Kent State University's Gerontology/Nursing Home Administration program, passing the Social Work exam and passing both the NHA national and NHA state nursing home administration examinations, I began working for a national chain of Long-Term Care (LTC) facilities.

During my career as a Licensed Nursing Home Administrator (LNHA) I successfully operated senior living facilities both nonprofit and for-profit organizations, ranging in size from 25 beds to 250 beds including board and care homes, assisted living, independent living, subacute and skilled nursing facilities. Having held as many as five different state licenses for Nursing Home Administration (NHA), I have operated facilities throughout Ohio, in Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, and Nebraska. My roles as a Regional Director of Operations and Vice President of Operations led me to pursuing a master’s degree in business administration (MBA). My academic career started at Stark State College in 2008 managing a Department of Labor (DOL) grant in the Health and Human Services (HHS) Division. At the conclusion of the DOL grant, the HHS Division Dean retired, and I was appointed the Interim Dean for a year and a half. As a NAB accredited Site Visitor, I utilize my knowledge of current state and national trends in Long Term Care. In 2016 I earned my Certified Dementia Practitioner (CDP) certificate and we have added this certificate training to the LTCA program. Graduates of the program now earn their CDP during their internship.

Dr. Tina L. Dothard Peterson is a tenured Associate Professor and the Director of the Aging Education Initiative in the School of Social Work in the College of Allied Health Sciences at the University of Cincinnati.

Her research expertise focuses on the intersection between aging, intergenerational caregiving, and health inequities. She has developed three primary research studies: Needs Assessment of Schools Serving Rural Custodial Grandparents in South Central Kentucky, Caregiving in Later Life by Grandparents Raising Older Grandchildren, and Self-management of Hypertension in African American Women Family Caregivers. As an alum of two doctoral fellowship programs, the Southern Regional Education Board’s Doctoral Scholar Program (2005-2010) and the Council on Social Work Education’s SAMHSA Minority Fellow Program (2008-2010), she is committed to mentoring learners, junior faculty, and others involved in interprofessional education. She has taught a range of undergraduate and graduate social work courses.

Jennifer Wagner received her Certification as a Health Services Executive (HSE) in 2018 and as a Certified Executive of Assisted Living (CEAL) in 2017. Jennifer has been a licensed Nursing Home Administrator in the state of Ohio since 1996, a Certified Long Term Care Ombudsman Associate since 2005, a Medicare Counselor with the Ohio Senior Health Insurance Information Program since 2013, and Director of the Optimal Aging Institute at BGSU.

Jennifer has spent the last twenty years at BGSU as a self-proclaimed jack-of-all-trades, master of all paperwork. She began as administrative staff overseeing the Geriatric Education Center (GEC) and added in adjunct teaching responsibilities. When the GEC grant ended, she became the continuing education coordinator for the College along with adjunct teaching responsibilities. Currently, Jennifer is an Associate Practitioner Professor who teaches undergrad and graduate courses in gerontology. Jennifer oversees the student internships and is the liaison with the state and national licensure boards for long-term care administration.

Jennifer serves as a member of the National Association of Long-Term Care Administrators Boards (NAB). As a member of the NAB, Jennifer has been an item writer for the federal nursing home administrator licensure exam, is a continuing education program reviewer, academic accreditation site reviewer, and member of the education committee.

Prior to joining BGSU, Jennifer held positions as a nursing home administrator in hospital based and free-standing nursing homes and as the executive director of a multi-purpose senior center.

Patrick Mese is currently a master's student in Gerontological Studies at Miami University, Oxford.

He earned a Master of Social Work degree from the University of Ibadan, Nigeria. He worked with vulnerable groups as a professional social worker in areas of health and social welfare in Nigeria. His interests in the field of gerontology as a young researcher are in Aging Policy, Dementia, Caregiving, Technology, Health, and Social Care access in Sub-Saharan Africa.

I am an Assistant Professor of Social Work at The Ohio State University. I am committed to understanding the strengths and challenges of grandfamilies in order to create and deliver interventions that encourage self-care, communication, and empowerment.

My research focuses on building resilience in grandfamilies. I have worked with grandfamilies for over 13 years through community service and research. In this time, I have studied influences of culture on the experiences of grandparents; the relation between grandparents & social network and their resilience; I have conducted an environmental scan; helped create, implement, and evaluate the GRANDcares Project (GC) and expanded the GC intervention, which is currently being implemented in Franklin County, OH. The GC is a strengths-based intervention designed to provide education, support, and mentorship to grandfamilies and service providers. It includes three components; a grandparent caregiver component, a youth component for children who are being raised by grandparents and are between the ages of 9-12, and webinars for service providers. The expanded GC program is called GRANDcares Plus (GC+) and includes the original GC curriculum plus two educational workshops. The workshops provide educational information to grandfamilies (both grandparents and grandchildren) about opioids and trauma. These workshops were incorporated into the intervention to meet the specific preferences of grandfamilies in central Ohio. The current project builds logically on to this work. In addition to intervention research, I have built strong relationships with many community members (i.e., grandparents raising grandchildren and service providers).

Ken Wilson has 30 years of experience working in senior services. He has worked at Council on Aging of Southwestern Ohio since 1994 where he is Vice President of Program and Business Operations.

He is responsible for a $102 Million budget delivering an array of services to over 30,000 seniors that enable them to remain independent at home. He administers 4 senior service levy programs, and has led more than 15 successful campaigns to raise local funding for home and community based services. Ken works with regional health systems to support smooth and safe transitions of care from hospital and nursing home back to home. Ken is experienced with public policy advocacy work at the local, State and Federal levels. He is an adjunct instructor at Miami University’s Scripps Gerontology Center. He volunteers his time for a variety of community organizations including as Board member for the Hamilton County Board of Developmental Disability Services, and the Ohio Association of Gerontology and Education.

He received his Masters degree in Gerontological Studies from the Scripps Gerontology Center at Miami University. Ken is a recipient of the W. Fred Cottrell Distinguished Alumni Award from the Miami University Scripps Gerontology Center.

Harvey L. Sterns, PhD, Serves as Chair City of Akron Commission on Aging and Co-Chair of Age Friendly Akron/Summit County.

He was in the Transition After Retirement Program, and is professor emeritus of psychology and director emeritus and life fellow of the Institute for Life-Span Development and Gerontology at The University of Akron. He is research professor of gerontology in Family and Community Medicine at the Northeast Ohio Medical University. He has been a faculty member in both the Psychology of Adult Development and Aging and Industrial/Organizational Psychology graduate programs, and chaired the specialization in Industrial Gerontological Psychology.

He has published extensively on cognitive intervention, work and retirement, career development, training and retraining, and self-management of career and retirement. He is a licensed psychologist in Ohio and is a fellow of the Gerontological Society of America, American Psychological Association, Association for Psychological Science, and Association for Gerontology in Higher Education. He has served as president of Division 20 Adult Development and Aging of the American Psychological Association, Association for Gerontology in Higher Education, and Sigma Phi Omega National Academic and Professional Society in Gerontology. He is a past board of trustees member of the American Society on Aging. Sterns was inducted into the Ohio Senior Citizens Hall of Fame in 2014. He is the author of over 120 journal articles and book chapters.

Vivian J. Miller, PhD, MSSA, LSW is an Associate Professor in Social Work, Bowling Green State University and Licensed Social Worker (LSW).

Vivian has practice experience working with older adults across the care continuum. Vivian’s research extrapolates on her practice experience with a focus in gerontology and social work across three areas:  (1) various factors that facilitate social connection among older adults, such as technology and transportation, (2) social work and social policy to promote the well-being of vulnerable, marginalized older adults (e.g., residents of nursing homes, caregivers, low-income older adults, racially and ethnically diverse older adults), and (3) gerontological- social work education.

Jennifer Westfall, Aging and Disability Director for Buckeye Hills Regional Council (BHRC), a designated Area Agency on Aging for Region 8 in southeast Ohio, is a graduate of Ohio University with a Bachelor's in Community Health and holds a Master's in Public Health from Southern New Hampshire University.

Through its home and community-based programs, BHRC's division of Aging serves more than 5,000 older southeast Ohioans annually.  Jennifer serves on the board of the Ohio Association of Gerontology and Education as a representative of rural Ohio and serves as Secretary on the Ohio Association of Area Agencies on Aging Executive Board. In her role at Buckeye Hills Regional Council, Jennifer advocates for legislation and home and community-based services that support the well-being of individuals in Southeast Ohio. Jennifer resides in Marietta with her husband Brian and son Camden.

Jennifer Carlson serves as the Assistant Director of the Ohio Department of Aging.

In this role, she drives the development of innovative policy and programs to improve the health, wellness, and safety of older Ohioans. Carlson also serves as chief advisor to the department's director, Ursel J. McElroy. A graduate of The Ohio State University, Carlson has over 30 years of experience in government relations, health policy development and advocacy for Ohioans.

Marc Molea retired from the Ohio Department of Aging (ODA) in 2019.

At ODA he served as Chief of the Older Americans Act Programs and Strategic Partnerships Divisions for 24 years. Prior to coming to ODA, he held various planning and economic development positions in Ohio.

Currently he serves on various the boards, councils and committees, including Board Chair for Prevent Blindness, Ohio Affiliate, Advisory Committee Member for National Center for Vision and Population Health, Dean’s Advisory Committee for Ohio University College of Health Sciences and Profession, and Emeritus Board Member for Ohio Association of Gerontology and Education.

He has Bachelors of Business Administration and Masters of Health Administration from Ohio University, and a Masters of City and Regional Planning from The Ohio State University. He is a member of the American Institute of Certified Planners (AICP).

He is recipient of the Soar Award, VANTAGE Aging (2019); Lifetime Achievement Award, Ohio Association of Gerontology and Education (2018); Charles B. Jenkins Legacy Award, Employment for Seniors (2017); and Muriel Bertsch Award, Ohio Association of Senior Centers (2013). He was an Ohio delegate to the 2005 White House Conference on Aging.

Raymond C. Matura, Ph.D. Professor Emeritus, University of Rio Grande and Board Emeritus of OAGE.

Doctorate from University of Florida. One of two remaining Board members who were founders, with Dr. Harvey L. Sterns, of OAGE predecessor organization ONECA. Research interests are: Gerontological Policy, Political Gerontology, Family Issues, and History of the Field. Former office holder in OAGE and ONECA.

Morgan Minyo is a PhD candidate in Adult Development and Aging at Cleveland State University.

Morgan’s research focuses on understanding and identifying unmet needs and support services for vulnerable aging populations as well as the development and testing of evidence-based programs. Along with her position as a PhD candidate, Morgan is a Research Analyst and Applied Aging Research Fellow in the Center for Research and Education at the Benjamin Rose Institute on Aging.

Amanda MacNeil is a 5th year Ph.D. Candidate in Adult Development and Aging at Cleveland State University.

Amanda's research focuses on the connection between various aspects of the illness experience of dementia and well-being outcomes to bolster the ability to live well. Through teaching, research, and advocacy, Amanda is passionate about serving the community of older adults and their caregivers.

Dabney K. Conwell is the Vice President and Executive Director of Rose Centers for Aging Well at the Benjamin Rose Institute on Aging.

She is responsible for the oversight of all nutrition and socialization programs within seven senior centers and four home delivered meals programs. To address food insecurity and social isolation amongst older adults living with chronic diseases Ms. Conwell designed Cuyahoga County’s first medically tailored meals program.

Dr. Van Dussen holds a master's degree in sociology with a focus on aging and medical sociology from the University of Akron.

He also holds a PhD in Gerontology from the University of Maryland, Baltimore County with a focus on health, medical, and policy aspects of gerontology. His research foci include attitudes and knowledge of hospice and end of life care, predictors of recovery from fractures, and aging related work force issues. He is the Frank and "Nugie" DePizzo Endowed Chair of Gerontology and leads the master of health and human services and long-term care administration program at Youngstown State University.

Dr. Victoria Steiner is an Associate Professor in the Public Health and Health Education Programs, as well as the Administrative Director for the Center for Successful Aging, at the University of Toledo.

She did her graduate work in Human Development and Family Studies at the Pennsylvania State University with a focus on adult development and aging. Dr. Steiner is interested in how individuals cope with the challenges they encounter in their lives as they age, including functional decline, chronic illnesses such as Alzheimer's disease and stroke, and caregiving.

Judge Robert N. Rusu, Jr. is the 20th Probate Judge of Mahoning County.

He was appointed as the Mahoning County Probate Judge by Governor Kasich on July 8, 2014 and won election to the bench in the November 2014 general election. Judge Rusu brings more than 27 years of Probate experience to the bench. Prior to becoming the judge, he practiced exclusively in the area of Probate Administrations, Guardianships, Estate Planning, Medicaid, and issues regarding aging.

Judge Rusu is very active in his community. Judge Rusu has served on the “Alzheimer’s Assistance and Referral Network”, the “Mahoning Valley Campfire Council” and past president of the “Canfield Baseball Club” and in 2018 was awarded the “Practitioner of the Year Award” by the Ohio Association of Gerontology & Education. In addition, Judge Rusu is also active as an executive officer with the Ohio Probate Judges Association.

Meredith Pitt is an assistant professor at The University of Findlay, teaching all courses within the gerontology minor/certificate program.

Meredith is a licensed social worker in the state of Ohio, focusing her attention on the field of behavioral health. Meredith has three children, is married to her husband, Patrick, and lives in Findlay, Ohio with her two corgis and chihuahua.

Richard Meeker MSW, LISW-S is currently employed at Area Agency on Aging as a Community Living Supervisor where he supervises the Adult Protective Services program.

He also works part time in private practice in partnership with Mindful Life in Action as a Mental Health Therapist. Richard earned a Masters Degree in Social Work at the University of Akron and earned a Bachelors Degree of Science from Ashland University.

Chih-ling (Ling) Liou is an associate professor in the Department of Human Development and Family Studies at Kent State University.

Dr. Liou’s research interests are aligned with two primary lines of inquiry: (1) community services for older adults and (2) aging attitudes among college students. She has been conducting and publishing research related to adult day service (ADS), one of the community-based services for people with dementia. In addition to ADS, she is interested in understanding college students’ attitudes on aging in order to attract and equip them to serve the growing population of aged individuals.

Jessica Krok-Schoen is an Assistant Professor in the Division of Health Sciences, School of Health and Rehabilitation Sciences at The Ohio State University's College of Medicine.

Dr. Krok-Schoen's research focuses on geriatric oncology, cancer survivorship, symptom management, and behavioral interventions among diverse, older adults. She has been a proud member of OAGE since 2017.

Dr. Katherine S. Judge is a Professor of Psychology and Director of the Adult Development and Aging Doctoral Program in the Psychology Department at Cleveland State University.

She also is an Adjunct Senior Research Scientist at the Center for Education and Research at Benjamin Rose Institute on Aging. Dr. Judge's program of research focuses on: understanding the illness experience associated with cognitive impairment; developing, implementing, and testing non-pharmacological interventions for individuals with dementia, stroke, and traumatic brain injury and their caregivers; and translating evidence-based intervention and research protocols to fit within existing health care and social service organizations. Dr. Judge teaches a wide range of undergraduate and graduate courses, including Introduction to Psychology, Memory and Cognition, Health Psychology, Mental Health and Aging, Dementia and Caregiving, and Psychology of Aging.

Shannon E. Jarrott, Ph.D. is a professor of social work at The Ohio State University.

She specializes in community-based services, therapeutic programming, and research strategies involving older adults with diverse abilities. Current research focuses on intergenerational community building strategies, for which she has received federal funding.

Since 2016, Salli has been the Executive Director of MemoryLane Care Services, a non-profit organization providing respite and supportive services to families caregiving for older adults and individuals living with memory impairment.

Salli holds a master’s degree in Social Work and a Certificate in Aging from the University of Michigan and bachelor’s degree in Social Work from the University of Toledo. She has practiced as a social worker in long term care, hospital, mental health and community- based settings. Salli has experience delivering respite care services, implementing and evaluating evidence-based programs, serving in leadership roles in non-profit organizations and as an advocate for caregivers and older adults. She has attended ASA previously.

As Chief Executive Officer of Western Reserve Area Agency on Aging (WRAAA), Dr. E. Douglas Beach has empirical leadership experience and expertise at the federal, state, and local levels.

Nurtured in an agrarian environment it naturally followed Dr. Beach would pursue a doctorate in agricultural economics. From North Carolina State University’s campus culture, Dr. Beach returned to Ohio to care for his ailing father; a situation that elicited a newfound passion in a curiously, opposite career discipline: the senior population.

Dr. Beach had years’ experience advocating for seniors as Ohio Department of Aging's Deputy Director of Programs, when Congressman David L. Hobson (R-OH) engaged him as staff economist to draft major, long-term care insurance legislation. In September of 1999 Dr. Beach became CEO of the Senior Resource Alliance, Florida's most prominent and industrious area agency on aging, prospering the Orlando-based organization's budget from $16 to $25 million. The Senior Resource Alliance became Florida's first Aging and Disability Resource Center (ADRC) and was simultaneously honored as one of the nation's top 10 Information & Referral Systems (IR&S). Opportunity knocked on the door in February 2007 when Governor Charlie Crist tapped Dr. Beach to be Secretary of the Florida Department of Elder Affairs. Although rough economic times ensued, the Department's budget matched in equal measure to meet Florida senior citizens community and healthcare needs.

In June 2021 Dr. Beach took the helm of Florida’s premier aging provider, the Council on Aging of Volusia County (COA), providing its consumers with traditional Older Americans Act (OAA) services while emphasizing private pay and in-home Medicare services. The Fall of 2014 rounded this illustrious, performance history with CEO acceptance to Ohio’s WRAAA, largest of the state’s 12 area agencies on aging. Dr. Beach’s incisive business acumen, extensive leadership, and in-grained respect for older adults attest to WRAAA’s transformation of an agency on the edge to Ohio’s largest, minority-dominated Area Agency on Aging.

Tiffany F. Hughes, PhD, MPH is Associate Professor at Youngstown State University.

She enjoys teaching and researching ways that older adults can maintain brain health and well-being through an active and engaged lifestyle. In addition, she is interested in intergenerational programs that can increase college student interest in working with the aging population. Her work is funded and supported by academic/NIA and community collaborations.

Joseph Rossi has been Chief Executive Officer of Direction Home of Eastern Ohio, Inc. (DHEO) serving Ashtabula, Columbiana, Mahoning, and Trumbull County since 2010.

Mr. Rossi holds a bachelor’s degree from Youngstown State University and a master’s degree from The Ohio State University. Mr. Rossi lives in Salem, Ohio with his wife Susan and daughter, Alexis. His wife Susan has a PhD in Higher Education Administration and is an Assistant Dean at Kent State University (Columbiana County). His daughter, Alexis is a junior at Loyola University Chicago studying Biology/Pre-Med.

Jennifer Kinney, PhD, is a Professor of Gerontology in the Department of Sociology and Gerontology and a Research Fellow with the Scripps Gerontology Center at Miami University.

Her primary research interests are gerontological pedagogy and how to foster quality of life among people living with dementia. She has taught undergraduate and graduate gerontology courses for over 30 years. Recent course offerings include perspectives in gerontology and a course on gerontological writing for masters and doctoral students.

Kate de Medeiros, PhD., is the O'Toole Family Professor of Gerontology at Miami University, Oxford, Ohio.

She is the author or co-author of over 50 peer-reviewed journal articles, four books, and numerous book chapters. She has over 20 years of experience in the field of aging with a special focus on the topics of ageism, living alone, and dementia.