Harper Smith

Harper Smith

Harper Smith

Bowling Green State University

“I created the Otterbein Bins program which provides structured activities, resident recommendations, and communication tips that are personalized to the resident population. ”

My experience as one of the Ohio Scholars in Aging has been truly life changing. Through the multiple meetings in Columbus, I was able to better determine the career path I intend to take in order to best serve older adults. Without the opportunities provided by Ohio Scholars in Aging, I would not understand my role in the gerontology field. My social work philosophy has benefitted from exposure to Dementia legislation, the Village Model, and the Age Friendly Columbus project. I am now able to clearly articulate the ways in which I will help older adults and respect the choices they make. My philosophy reads, “It is my calling to provide compassion and empowerment during the process of aging. I place significance on the experience of individuals and will do all in my power to honor their wishes throughout the aging process. I value dignity of the individual, consensus in decision making, and promotion of the least restrictive environment for older adults. I can be expected to hold space for those whose voices are not being heard through active listening and shared responsibility in the relationship. I will provide the necessary knowledge and resources to individuals and their social support networks to empower them to make informed choices based upon personal values.” I hope to start a Village during my career to further implement my philosophy; an idea I would not have developed without the Ohio Scholars in Aging program.

My internship at Otterbein, Pemberville has given me a clear picture of what management of a Continuing Care Retirement Community can look like and I am grateful for the time I have spent there. Determining a need within the facility was a challenge and took many different project ideas, but eventually I identified a project pulling from my volunteer experience at other facilities. Often, volunteers are made to figure it out as they go with little support from staff. While I didn’t feel this way at Otterbein, I wanted to relieve some of the work that supporting a volunteer takes. I created the Otterbein Bins program which provides structured activities, resident recommendations, and communication tips that are personalized to the resident population. A volunteer can pick from 4 boxes with different crafts or activities and take it back to the assisted living wing. The program is intended to increase volunteer hours from BGSU students and help them better understand how to lead activities with residents afflicted by dementia.

I want to thank the staff at the Ohio Scholars in Aging program for changing my career path for the better. I will forever look back on the experiences I gained and be grateful for the professional development they provided. Future Scholars, remember to take notes and get business cards! You’ll never know how important the connections you make here will be later in your career.

Abigail Sabo

Abigail Sabo

Abigail Sabo

Shawnee State University

“The program allowed me to network with professionals and students in the field, meet with senators and policy makers, and attend the OAGE conference to learn about and discuss issues in aging.”

This semester I was lucky to be involved with a new initiative between Shawnee State University’s Master of Occupational Therapy program and Southern Ohio Medical Center’s inpatient hospice unit, called the Making Days Meaningful program. As an occupational therapy (OT) student trained as a volunteer in the hospice unit, I spent time working directly with respite patients and indirectly with social services and nursing staff. While working with respite patients, many of whom had dementia, my goal was to engage them in activities that were meaningful during their short term stay.

I talked with the patients/staff to develop an occupational profile to determine their background, activities they enjoy, and their functional skills. After getting to know the patients, my group and I were assigned to create two sensory boxes to help get the patients engaged and promote meaningful conversations. I was also assigned to work the patients on the It’s Never 2 Late (IN2L) computer program, which is a touch screen device that has several categories of activities that can be used with patients. While working with the IN2L, I found it to be a very beneficial activity because it engaged the patients in something they personally enjoyed or found meaningful in their life. I also created a quick reference tool for the staff to use to help them effectively incorporate the IN2L when possible.

The Ohio Scholars in Aging (OSA) program has provided me with amazing opportunities to further my knowledge in the field of aging. The program allowed me to network with professionals and students in the field, meet with senators and policy makers, and attend the OAGE conference to learn about and discuss issues in aging. I am so thankful to have been selected to participate in the OSA program, as it has motivated me to continue to learn and grow in the fields of OT and gerontology. I will continue to advocate for older adults and OT’s role in improving quality of life for individuals with dementia by engaging them in meaningful activities. I highly encourage future students interested in the older adult population to apply for this opportunity, as you will learn and have experiences that will make a lasting impact on your life.

Emily McLewis

Emily McLewis

Emily McLewis

Youngstown State University

“Following my internship, I was offered a position as the facilities HMO Case Manager and transportation coordinator for resident’s medical appointments.”

To further my career in Long Term Care Administration at Youngstown State University, I completed an Administrator in Training (AIT) Internship with Briarfield Health Care Centers. Throughout my 1,380-hour internship, I spent time in an assisted living facility as well as two skilled nursing facilities.

In the beginning of my AIT, I learned a lot about what it is like to run an assisted living facility. I submitted their general ledgers weekly and monthly to the corporate office, helped hire qualified employees, and most importantly, learned who the residents were before they chose to reside in that facility. The most challenging part of my time at the ALF was when the Executive Director stepped down and a new Director was hired. It was challenging at first, but quickly became a good learning experience as I witnessed firsthand what it may be like when I take over my first building as either a director or administrator. My favorite part of being in the assisted living facility was spending time with the residents during their activities. Many of them lived for their bingo nights and card games and it was very rewarding to see the enjoyment on their faces.

For the second half of my AIT, I moved over to the skilled nursing side of long-term care where I worked along side the social worker for admissions and safe discharge planning practices. I then learned more about the nursing side of patient care in the nursing home facility and how state and federal regulations play a large role in daily operations in the facility. Lastly, I spent much of my time with MDS and Managed Care where I learned about the impact that the different types of insurances have on the skilled nursing facility. The most challenging part of my AIT in the skilled nursing facilities was that I had no prior experience with anything nursing; therefore, I had to quickly learn about the different types of isolations, diseases, and precautions that are taken for each individual in the nursing home. My favorite part of being in this nursing facility was the fast-paced movement of all operations. I enjoy being challenged and I was without a doubt challenged with something new every day.

Following my internship, I was offered a position as the facilities HMO Case Manager and transportation coordinator for resident’s medical appointments.

Through my time as a Scholar, I learned a lot about the different types of services offered through Area Agency on Aging and how beneficial these programs are to the older adults that live in Ohio. If it was not for this program, I may never have visited the State building or had the opportunity to meet with a Senator or someone from the House of Representatives. My experiences will follow me all throughout my professional career and I am excited to see where all of this will take me.

Barbara T. Hodgdon

Barbara T. Hodgdon

Barbara T. Hodgdon

Ohio State University

“As an Ohio Scholar in Aging, I created “Play-On,” a leisure-based nutrition education activities hub to enhance intergenerational connection between older adults and preschoolers.”

As a doctoral candidate in the Human Development and Family Science program at The Ohio State University, I am committed to studying the factors that influence the wellbeing of individuals in midlife and late adulthood. One area of my research focuses on promoting social connectedness and psychological well-being through leisure-based education programs. As an Ohio Scholar in Aging, I created “Play-On,” a leisure-based nutrition education activities hub to enhance intergenerational connection between older adults and preschoolers. This interdisciplinary project partners with agencies and institutions across Franklin County (Worthington Christian Village: Lauren Feyh, LNHA, Shannon Erskine, M.S., R.D., L.D., Kat Nielsen-mayer, BSW; the Department of Human Sciences: Jen D. Wong, Ph.D, Rama Kilani, Anna Legue, and Ashlyn Pissini).

Play-On is composed of a series of leisure-based nutrition education activities. Activities including food bingo, food relay races, and a food scavenger hunt were used to build relationships between older adults (aged 65 and older) and preschoolers (aged 3-4). The Play-On program also capitalized on college student volunteers to facilitate relationships between older adults and preschoolers. These activities fostered intergenerational relationships in which older adults and preschoolers bonded with each other and served as a transformative experience that cut across the lifespan. In addition, I created the Play-On activities hub for the Worthington Christian Village. This activities hub is a compilation of all the intergenerational activities that have been used and are being used at the center. The purpose hub is to promote the sustainability of the intergenerational program at the Worthington Christian Village. The activities hub includes all of the materials necessary to implement the activities. The Worthington Christian Village can also manage and update the activities to reflect the needs of the residents.

Through the Ohio Scholars in Aging Program, I partnered with individuals who are passionate about advancing the quality of life of older adults in Ohio. Through this experience, I built partnerships across Franklin County and effectively designed a program to be used in the community. Being a part of the Ohio Scholars in Aging Program fit well with my professional goals to advance the well-being and health of individuals in midlife and late adulthood.

Courtney Gerten

Courtney Gerten

Courtney Gerten

University of Toledo

“The Ohio Scholars in Aging program was a great networking opportunity which allowed me to form connections with professionals in the field and learn so much more about the resources available within the community.”

During the spring semester of 2019, I completed a Capstone experience, which is one unique aspect of the occupational therapy doctorate program. Through this experience, I was able to create a program modification to the current discharge planning process at the Meadows of Ottawa, a skilled nursing facility. A needs assessment was conducted with key stakeholders at the facility (i.e., Occupational Therapist, Social Worker, Home Health Nurse, & MDS Coordinator) and clients who received therapy services. Through interviews and written surveys, I found that there was a need for a program modification to the current discharge planning process due to weaknesses in the discharge planning process (i.e., ineffective communication, no set protocol, and not always having enough time to plan the discharge) and a need for more education/community resources.

The program modification called Safe Transitions was created and helped to set new protocols into place, integrate occupation-based interventions, open lines of communication between disciplines (beyond the therapy department including nursing and social work), create interdisciplinary collaboration for medication management, provide education/resources to patients, and establish a form of communication for patients to contact their therapists following discharge. The aim of this modification was to allow patients to return home while reducing their chance of being re-hospitalized.

Participating in this Capstone experience and being involved with the Ohio Scholars in Aging program have both been wonderful opportunities that have allowed me to learn more about the aging population and their specific needs. The Ohio Scholars in Aging program was a great networking opportunity which allowed me to form connections with professionals in the field and learn so much more about the resources available within the community. As a future clinician, these resources will be valuable to the population I intend on working with. We also had the opportunity to meet with legislators to discuss current issues being discussed in legislation. This was an eye-opening experience which showed how truly passionate so many others are toward the aging population. I have been given hope that legislation will be passed that will help protect and provide better quality services to the aging population.

Barbara T. Hodgdon

Chrisse Edmunds

Chrisse Edmunds

Ohio State University

“Moving forward, I hope to have a greater policy focus in my research and to work more closely with groups outside of academia. This program has given me the knowledge and social network necessary to better meet the research needs of policymakers and community leaders.”

Participating in the Ohio Scholars in Aging Program was an important and informative experience in my academic career. Meeting with state legislators and members of the Ohio Department of Aging opened my eyes to how policymakers think about aging. I was encouraged to see their enthusiasm for aging-related issues. Meeting with local groups who work intimately with the older adult population in Columbus, Ohio opened my eyes to the short- and long-term needs of older adults as well as the types of services and programs currently available to them. I appreciated the opportunity to ask questions to our policymakers and community leaders. We covered topics related to housing maintenance and insecurity, food insecurity, transportation, social networks, families, health, advocacy, and medical insurance. This program has provided me with a well-rounded introduction to the complex policies, services, and trends related to aging in Ohio.

I completed my research practicum on a team of interdisciplinary scholars at The Ohio State University. Using six waves of the Health and Retirement Study, we examined the relationship between housing and food insecurity for older adults. Previous research shows that home ownership and housing wealth are associated with food insecurity. Our study identifies mortgage borrowing as an explanatory mechanism in this relationship between housing and food insecurity. Mortgage borrowing is significantly associated with decreased levels of food insecurity. We contribute to the literature suggesting that housing wealth provides a buffer for older adults. Moreover, we find that for older adult homeowners, borrowing against your mortgage can be an effective way to meet basic needs during time of income or health hardship.

The Ohio Scholars in Aging program was informative to me as I move in to my dissertation research, a mixed-methods study of the effect that caregiving for parents has on the economic security of adult children. Through experiences in this program, I learned more about what options are available to adult children who provide care to their parents. Moving forward, I hope to have a greater policy focus in my research and to work more closely with groups outside of academia. This program has given me the knowledge and social network necessary to better meet the research needs of policymakers and community leaders.

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.