McKenna McClellan

McKenna McClellan

McKenna McClellan

Bowling Green State University

Summer 2016

“The Ohio Scholars Program allowed me to not only share what I learned, it also allowed me to hear what others learned through their internships.”

I had the pleasure of working at Brookdale Senior Living in Bowling Green, OH for my internship. I assisted the activities department with planning for both the assisted living section and the memory care section of their facility. In total the facility can hold about 70 residents between the two sections.

I helped to implement such programs as the Memorial Day Service event. Brookdale puts on an event each year to remember the residents who are no longer with us. They say a couple of poems during the ceremony and at the end they have a butterfly release! I was the photographer for the event and the pictures turned out pretty well! The ceremony was followed by dinner in the dining room of the assisted living section. I also spent time with the residents and helped with daily programs such as crafts, outings and musical entertainment.

Working at Brookdale helped me to learn that in order to provide person centered care you must get to know your residents. I have taken this lesson into my current job as an activity director in Napoleon, OH. I look forward to advancing in my position and implementing all of the knowledge learned from my internship.

The Ohio Scholars Program allowed me to not only share what I learned, it also allowed me to hear what others learned through their internships. It was very interesting to see how studying aging can lead people on many different career paths.

Nathan Sheffer

Nathan Sheffer

Nathan Sheffer

Miami University

Summer 2016

“I highly recommend the Ohio Department of Aging Scholars in Aging program to anyone seeking professional development and professional networking with knowledgeable professionals and experts in aging.”

My summer internship was spent working at the Alzheimer’s Association Northwest Ohio Chapter located in Toledo, OH. My previous work experience at an Alzheimer’s focused nursing home led me to choose the Alzheimer’s Association in order to experience serving community based adults with Alzheimer’s disease or other forms of dementia. Our chapter serves 24 of the 88 counties in Ohio and works closely with the Area Agencies on Aging and the Ohio Department of Aging. The Alzheimer’s Association provides many services and programs to older adults with Alzheimer’s or related dementias and their family members. I had the experience of working in various areas of the association, including but not limited to; early stage programming, professional education, respite services, health fairs, Walk to End Alzheimer’s fundraising, care consultation, helpline, and support groups. The professional staff at the Northwest Ohio chapter is very experienced and willing to help students who are eager to learn.

One of the most rewarding aspects of my internship has been the relationships I have fostered with my coworkers and other professionals in Northwest Ohio. I was given the opportunity to network and meet a variety of professionals in the aging community, all of whom have been unpredictably supportive and willing to assist in my learning experience and career development. The professionals in the aging community of Northwest Ohio truly work hard and support one another to provide the best services and care to older adults in the area. The relationships I fostered and the treatment I received will not be forgotten, and will be passed along to future scholars.

Ohio Department of Aging Scholars in Aging program is an excellent program for anyone who wants to learn from experienced professionals in the field of aging. The program allowed me to network with other students who were completing internships and learn about other organizations and agencies serving older adults. The program also allows scholars to network with ODA staff and learn about innovative programs and services, as well as best practices in a changing aging environment. I highly recommend this program to anyone seeking professional development and professional networking with knowledgeable professionals and experts in aging. I thank the Ohio Department of Aging and OAGE for the opportunity to participate this summer!

Margaret Rusnak

Margaret Rusnak

Margaret Rusnak

Ohio State University

Summer 2016

“Respecting patients as unique individuals rather than mere to-do items on a task list is a lesson that I will take with me into my professional life and apply to my clinical practice for years to come.”

Edith* is an 83 year old woman admitted to the hospital for abdominal pain. Upon evaluation, the occupational and physical therapists learned that Edith also presented with balance issues while walking, although Edith claimed that she did not need a walker or other support to get around her home. Edith lives alone with her cat in a home that had 5 steps to enter and her closest family lives more than one hour away. Because of Edith’s risk of falling, the therapists recommended that Edith be discharged to a SNF (skilled nursing facility), where she could receive daily therapy to address increasing her standing tolerance and endurance during functional activities of daily living (ADLs).

But Edith had other plans. Edith refused to even consider going to a SNF. When the healthcare providers couldn’t easily convince Edith to discharge to a SNF, they labeled her as difficult.

However, when I spent a few minutes talking with Edith I discovered that Edith was afraid to go to a SNF because she was afraid of losing her independence. She’d stayed at a long-term care facility previously and she didn’t want “sick people staring at [her]” all day. Plus, she worried about the welfare of her cat, who was her friendly companion. Edith asked about home health services but her insurance wouldn’t cover the 24-hour supervision that the therapists believed Edith needed in order to be safe. Because the only other choice offered to her was untenable, Edith decided to return home upon discharge and take her chances with a potential fall.

She asked me, “Am I being difficult? Why is everyone pushing me to go to a nursing home?”

As an occupational therapy intern at a rural hospital, I saw cases like Edith’s many times. A healthcare provider who was well-intentioned would push an agenda that did not take into account the feelings or needs of the patient. Because the average hospital stay is 1-3 days, the provider needs to accomplish many tasks for patient care and sometimes the task list seemed to be more important than the patient’s understanding of the process.

By taking a few minutes to talk with Edith (and other patients like her), I realized that many of these so-called “difficult” patients were reacting from places of fear or ignorance. A few minutes spent to discuss the medical process with them resulted in allayed fears and informed healthcare consumers. The patients were then more likely to comply with plans of care if they felt that their needs were attended to and that their wishes were respected.

Respecting patients as unique individuals rather than mere to-do items on a task list is a lesson that I will take with me into my professional life and apply to my clinical practice for years to come.

* All patient identifying information has been changed to protect confidentiality.

Anastasija Petrovska

Anastasija Petrovska

Anastasija Petrovska

Kent State University

Summer 2016

“The Ohio Department of Aging, through this program has offered me opportunities to network with peers, professionals and policy makers in the Aging field.”

I am a senior at Kent State University and will be graduating with a Bachelor of Science degree in Human Development and Family Studies, Lifespan Development and Educational Sciences, with a Nursing Home Administration concentration in December 2016. Over the Summer 2016 semester I had the exceptional opportunity to do my Administrator in Training (AIT) practicum at Jennings, located in Garfield Heights.

On the Jennings’ campus, just outside of Cleveland, full continuums of care service are offered for older adults. Jennings offers a person-centered environment, with the goal of ensuring “Life, as it should be,” for older adults. Some of the supportive services provided include: Adult Day Services, Alzheimer’s/Memory Care, Apartments with Services, Assisted Living, Home Care, Hospice, Long-term Care, Respite Care, Short-term Skilled Nursing and Rehabilitation, lavish independent living villa homes, as well as Child and Infant Care, allowing for intergenerational interactions and enrichments. Inspired by the Sisters of the Holy Spirit and the Catholic Diocese of Cleveland, Jennings embraces the spiritual dimensions of all individuals and offers a spectrum of spiritual care. Being able to learn from all of the different services offered that benefit the lives of elderly, will eventually allow me to be a very well rounded Nursing Home Administrator as I advance in my career.

My philosophy for this Administrator in Training practicum has been that “Walking in other people’s shoes puts us on a path of understanding.” Jennings has allowed me to explore this philosophy throughout my AIT journey. I have had the chance to work hands on with every department within the facility; culinary services, maintenance, nursing department, admissions, social services, hospice care, marketing, human resources and the wellness center. This has led me to a more profound understanding of the roles of all staff within a department in the long-term care setting. In my practicum I have developed a functional knowledge of applicable laws and regulations in most of the departments and I look forward to further exploring the rest of them as my practicum continues through December 2016.

During my practicum experience with Jennings, I have been working on a variety of quality assurance projects; with the ultimate goal of advancing top quality care for older adults, in order to maintain a longer autonomous life. The main project I have begun working on over the semester is developing and adapting an Acuity Based Staffing Model. As I have moved along with this project, I have learned from and worked closely with my preceptor, Colleen Lavelle, LNHA, Chief Planning Officer at Jennings, who has been guiding me through my project’s progress. This project’s development consists of creating an Index Tool that measures the residents’ complexity and independence in Activities of Daily Living (ADL). In order to cultivate a more accurate measuring tool of the resident’s acuity, I generated a more precise Index Tool, adapted from both the KATZ Index Tool of Independence in ADL’s and Mary Potter’s Hospice Nursing Acuity Tool. This project is in further development as I am working on arranging a proper Matrix for Acuity Based Staffing. Taking both the acuity and complexity of the residents into account when making nursing staffing assignments will maximize the clinical benefits and assure that top-quality care is provided, within the budged constrains. Proper Acuity Based Staffing can significantly impact the quality of care delivered and subsequently the resident’s outcomes. Acuity Based Staffing can ensure that residents are provided with person centered care through their decline, due to Dementia and Alzheimer’s Disease.

Ultimately, this Acuity Based Staffing Project’s Outcome will entail five strategic steps. First the Acuity Index Tool Measure will determine the resident’s current acuity. Second, an analysis of possible changes will be made, determining whether the resident’s acuity has increased or decreased. Third, the staffing needs will be identified. Next, referring to the Acuity Based Staffing Matrix will allow the determination of the right number of staff, with the right skills, at the right location, at the right time and with the right assignment. Lastly, after the needed changes are implemented and the adequate staffing is adjusted, a re-evaluation through staff feedback will allow determination if the staffing changes are working and if there is an additional need for the resident’s acuity measure to be performed; if so, looping back to the first step.

Although I am enthusiastic about the development of my Acuity Based Staffing Project, there are some obstacles that I have encountered. The use of my Acuity Based Staffing Measuring Index Tool and Matrix for Acuity Based Staffing by Jennings can be challenging as I have constructed them and there is no research or evidence support for the actual outcomes from using this exact Acuity Based Staffing Model. However, Jennings has been an exceptional learning ground for my AIT experience and I am eager to see the outcomes of this project development and gain knowledge as I continue my AIT practicum over the next few months.

Being a member of the Ohio Scholars in Aging Program, Summer 2016, has enhanced my AIT practicum journey, through providing me opportunities for exposure to understanding the side of Ohio’s aging policy and regulation creation. The Ohio Department of Aging, through this program has offered me opportunities to network with peers, professionals and policy makers in the Aging field. This has allowed me to be more aware of the state’s involvement in long-term care practices. Being able to attend meetings filled with well-informed presentations and field trips have given me a deeper view of both the current and future aging generations. I am honored to have been selected as a member of the Ohio Scholars in Aging Program, as it has shown me the challenges that long-term care facilities and the older population face, and also provided me with hands-on networking experiences that I will be able to use in the future, as I strive to enhance personal care and services delivery to older adults.

I am remarkably grateful to both Jennings and the Ohio Department of Aging for giving me these excellent opportunities that have helped me develop deeper knowledge of the long term care field. I look forward to completing my AIT experience with Jennings and beginning my carrier. My mission as a future Nursing Home Administrator is to provide outstanding healthcare and supportive services to older adults, while retaining employees, in a safe, productive and positive long-term care environment.

Karlissa McDonald

Karlissa McDonald

Karlissa McDonald

Kent State University

Summer 2016

“My experience this summer, with both my practicum at Green Hills Community and the Ohio Scholars in Aging program, provided wonderful opportunities to develop and enhance the necessary skills and abilities I will need to become a nursing home administrator in Ohio.”

This summer, I had the opportunity to begin working as an Administrator in Training at Green Hills Community in West Liberty, Ohio. Green Hills is a nonprofit retirement community that is supported by area churches. I am also a student at Kent State University majoring in Human Development and Family Studies with a concentration in Nursing Home Administration.

Throughout the course of my practicum, I have had the opportunity to experience many different aspects of long-term care. I have spent time working in several of the departments at the facility and will continue to work with others as my practicum will continue through December of this year. Green Hills has given me the opportunity to see person directed care implemented not only with residents but also with the staff and families.

I am grateful for the opportunity I had to participate in the Ohio Scholars in Aging program this summer. I was able to network with professionals from the Ohio Association of Gerontology and Education, the Ohio Department of Aging, and the Board of Executives of Long-Term Services and Supports. I was also able to interact with other students that are emerging professionals in the field of aging. I learned about many of the initiatives and programs that are beginning at the Ohio Department of Aging. My experience this summer, with both my practicum at Green Hills Community and the Ohio Scholars in Aging program, provided wonderful opportunities to develop and enhance the necessary skills and abilities I will need to become a nursing home administrator in Ohio.

Karin Himstedt

Karin Himstedt

Karin Himstedt

Kent State University

Summer 2016

“By observing all departments and by engaging in their activities I not only gained an appreciation for the efforts of employees, but I also realized the value of their contributions to a smoothly running, long-term-care organization.”

During spring 2016 and summer 2016 I absolved my Administrator-in-Training practicum at a large skilled nursing facility in the Canton-Akron area.

During my practicum I did not just focus on a project but I was exposed to all functions and departments of a long-term-care facility, ranging from activities, housekeeping, dietary, and laundry, to social services, admissions, marketing, business, and nursing.

By observing all departments and by engaging in their activities I not only gained an appreciation for the efforts of employees, but I also realized the value of their contributions to a smoothly running, long-term-care organization: the washer who sorts soiled laundry and begins its cleaning and sanitation process at 3 a.m. is just as critical to the organization as the nurse who monitors a resident’s well-being, as well as the nurse aide, who assists the resident with those tasks they cannot do for themselves anymore.

I also learned that passion for high-quality person centered care must be accompanied by a keen sense of business practices. Only when a long-term-care facility is also fiscally successful and sustainable will it be able to provide high-quality care for its residents, as well as a place of employment for its workforce. An administrator is required to seek a healthy and suitable balance of all these aspects.

I very much value that this practical, hands-on learning was accompanied by the OAGE Summer Scholarship program. I have gained from the deeper and broader insight into elder care in the State of Ohio and the many, many resources that are available. And, contrary to popular opinion, throughout these experiences I have found that people everywhere, who are involved in elder issues, care passionately and deeply about elders, their families, and their aging experience!

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.