Susan Booher

Susan Booher

Susan Booher

Ohio State University, 2020

“This was a great learning experience that carried me out of the classroom and into the community which supports the aging population of Ohio.”

With the privilege to participate in the Ohio Scholars in Aging program of 2020, I met many professionals that are making positive impacts on Ohio’s aging population. These advocates come from different professions and community agencies but share a common interest of serving and protecting Ohio’s older adults. I learned from several legislators about the areas of interest they are continuing to build or improve upon with policies to positively affect the older adults. They shared their own interests as well as those of their district’s constituents. Through efforts and education, the Ohio Department of Aging and the Ohio Association of Gerontology and Education are preparing student scholars to continue the motion of being future advocates to promote the wellbeing of Ohio’s older adults.

My research began at Senior Star’s Dublin Retirement Village during my participation in the Ohio Scholars in Aging program. I collaborated with this community while developing my thesis as an MFA Candidate in Design Research and Development with General Interdisciplinary Specialization in Aging at The Ohio State University. I developed relationships with the caregiving staff and residents at Dublin Retirement Village prior to beginning my research in their community. The caregiving staff shared their successful approaches, which included sensorial stimuli to get residents with dementia to complete their activities of daily living (ADL) (e.g., dressing, bathing, eating, etc.) or to calm individuals who were agitated.

My research is investigating biophilic elements that could be used as interventions to improve moods, behaviors and activities of daily living (ADL) of persons with dementia. Biophilic design brings elements of nature into the built environment where they are sensorially experienced by the individual within the space through visuals, sounds, scents or textures. Interventions are activities that may be used to change a person’s mood or behavior (e.g., playing the person’s favorite music on their headphones, feeding the person chocolate, massaging the person’s hands with scented lotion). The participants in the original study were individuals diagnosed with dementia living in Dublin Retirement Village’s Memory Support care. Their formal caregivers volunteered to assist on my study by observing the participants, then rating their moods and behaviors before and after receiving stimulation experienced through their senses (e.g., sight, hearing, smell, feel, taste).

In response to our current situation with the Coronavirus pandemic, my interaction with participants with dementia was indefinitely delayed, so I pivoted my study to be conducted with caregivers (i.e., paid nurse aides and family members caring for loved ones). Because my original participants are not able to take part in the study remotely, I will work with caregivers to continue my efforts in investigating biophilic interventions to improve moods and behaviors of persons with dementia.

Through the Ohio Scholars in Aging program, I met fellow students from a variety of areas around Ohio who shared common interests of advocating for Ohio’s older adults. This was a great learning experience that carried me out of the classroom and into the community which supports the aging population of Ohio. It is my desire to consider the needs and voices of any intended user in design decisions, thus making the end results more valuable to them. My future goals are to co-design with older adults and their caregivers through problem solving, research and development.

Celeste Zeigler

Celeste Zeigler

Celeste Zeigler

Kent State University


“The Ohio Scholars in Aging Program has guided me further into the field of gerontology, and I am so grateful with the experience it presented me and how I will be able to utilize it in both my future internships and my own career as a nursing home administrator.”

I am extremely humbled and honored to have been given the opportunity to be a part of the Ohio Scholars in Aging Program. This experience gave me insight about our aging population during the final semester of my college career and guided me toward moving forward to my professional career. It was a very invaluable experience meeting with the state legislators and hearing their perspective on our aging population. With this experience, not only did I listen and meet professionals that work with the aging population, but I gained knowledge regarding all the resources and services that are provided to older adults in Ohio.

I am also extremely lucky to have been able to do my Administrator In Training internship at Crown Center at Laurel Lake Retirement Community. I was able to learn the different aspects of customer care, supports, and services, human resources, finance, management and leadership, and the environment. This experience was extraordinary, and I am grateful to have been trained by well-experienced aging professionals. As I am working towards my professional career to be a Licensed Nursing Home Administrator, I will value both of these experiences and utilize the information that I learned to be successful.

Madison Williams

Madison Williams

Madison Williams

Shawnee State University

“The Ohio Scholars in Aging Program has guided me further into the field of gerontology, and I am so grateful with the experience it presented me and how I will be able to utilize it in both my future internships and my own career as a nursing home administrator.”

While I have only been in college for two years, I have devoted as much of my undergraduate career to working with older adults as much as possible. Due to my personal and professional experiences, I have seen the challenges the aging population faces, and it has motivated me to do my best with making a difference in the lives of older adults as a nursing home administrator. The Ohio Scholars in Aging Program has aided in my motivation and has supplied me with much-needed career skills.

During the first year of my journey with health care administration, I was given the opportunity working as an Ombudsman Associate with the Area Agency on Aging District 7 in Wheelersburg, Ohio. Through my internship with the Ombudsman, I witnessed problems and setbacks faced within long-term care facilities. One extreme situation I saw was the immediate shut-down of a nursing home, and residents of the home being forced to leave the night the closure was announced. Despite the closure, I was able to form bonds with residents and connect with them. By the end of the internship, I saw I helped solve a lot of problems with those living in long-term care facilities, and it empowered me to know I could assist them. The internship also allowed me to gain insight on how I could prevent issues as an administrator.

After my internship ended with the Ombudsman, I began another internship through the Give Back Go Forward program with my college, Shawnee State University, which I am completing. Through Give Back Go Forward, I have been able to meet and connect with low-income seniors living in Portsmouth, Ohio. Through our encounters, the main goal is to promote healthy eating and exercise by encouraging their attendance of a weekly congregate meal. In addition, I have bonded with the residents through bingo games, movie nights, holiday meals, etc. Being part of the program strengthened my desire to form emotional bonds with my residents and get to know them, which will be a crucial part of being an administrator; it is important for your residents to trust you as you are one of the main individuals responsible for ensuring they are happy in their final stage of life.

While I thought my experiences with the Give Back Go Forward program would be cut short due to the outbreak of COVID-19, I was able to challenge myself to continue finding ways to communicate with the residents I made bonds with. Currently, I am writing letters to residents and making weekly phone calls to check in with them, ask if there is anything they need, and, ultimately, be someone they can talk to and continue connecting with.

Similarly, my time with the Ohio Scholars in Aging Program has shown me how to overcome challenges, as well. When I was first accepted into the program, there was a set schedule to be followed to ensure we would learn and participate with as much as we could. The first meetings provided me with a better understanding of various facets of caring and advocating for the well-being of older adults. Further, the meetings presented with me opportunities to meet and speak with health care professionals through speed-networking, and I was able to connect with many of the individuals on the social media platform LinkedIn and communicate even more. Once the COVID-19 outbreak happened, our meetings changed to online, but, even then, I connected with those who shared the same desire for promoting the quality of life for older adults and their value in the world. The Ohio Scholars in Aging Program has guided me further into the field of gerontology, and I am so grateful with the experience it presented me and how I will be able to utilize it in both my future internships and my own career as a nursing home administrator.

Susan Booher

Tasneem Shalash

Tasneem Shalash

Ohio State University

“The Ohio Scholars of Aging Program equipped me with invaluable knowledge that I will use to the advantage of those with whom I will work throughout the duration of my career.”

The population of aging individuals is ever-growing. The need for competent practitioners in the aging field continues to increase as modern technology continues to advance. I am proud to say that I intend on serving the aging population throughout my career as a social worker in a healthcare environment. My experience as a social work intern at the Columbus Free Clinic (CFC) has fostered my interest to pursue gerontology as an area of focus. The CFC is an interprofessional healthcare, student-run free clinic that provides healthcare services for community members in need. Through my role, I was able to interact with a large population of aging individuals and assess their direct social and mental health needs. This unique opportunity granted me the experience of establishing close bonds with the patients I helped serve.

To ensure that patients, particularly older adults, received the resources they requested at the time of their visit to the CFC, another undergraduate social work intern and I established an assessment tool that allowed us to further connect individuals to resources and services provided outside of the clinic. To achieve this objective, we followed up with patients through a phone-call program to verify whether they had experienced any barriers that prevented them from accessing and utilizing local community resources. We tracked reported barriers and worked diligently to find alternatives for individuals who were unable to employ the resources provided or helped them navigate various challenges. Following up with patients after their visit provided the social work department with a valuable understanding of client challenges. Consistently, we have found that lack of appropriate access to resources often disproportionately impacted marginalized demographics and underprivileged communities.

This initiative has been extremely effective in identifying barriers and has improved our knowledge of client demands and concerns. Additionally, it increased the rapport we were able to establish with both patients, as well as our collaboration with the medical providers. Based on the feedback we received, this project has positively impacted individuals and helped improve the overall patient experience. This opportunity has been rewarding and allowed us to focus on the social determinants of health in addition to the unforeseen challenges of resource utilization within our community.

The Ohio Scholars of Aging Program equipped me with invaluable knowledge that I will use to the advantage of those with whom I will work throughout the duration of my career. I had the great opportunity to meet like-minded and goal-oriented individuals from different academic and professional backgrounds. The aging community requires special considerations and support. I feel more prepared to go forward with the new set of skills I have learned, which I plan to implement accordingly in my future endeavors. This program has empowered me with a heightened sense of personal responsibility for the quality of care older adults receive. I am optimistic and excited to be a part of the movement to address aging concerns on both a micro and macro scale.

Susan Booher

Rachel Scrivano

Rachel Scrivano

Ohio State University

“The connections I made through the Scholars in Aging program are extremely valuable as I continue working toward my career in researching ways in which older adults can be socially included in society.”

As a current PhD student in the College of Social Work at The Ohio State University, one of my main research interests include tackling loneliness and social isolation within the older adult community. Although I had not participated in an internship or practicum like many of the other Scholars in this year’s cohort, I was privileged with the opportunity to work on a research project called Food for a Long Life under the supervision and mentorship of Dr. Shannon Jarrott. The Food for a Long Life project allowed me to gain valuable research skills related to data collection, management, and analysis while learning how important it is for researchers to involve stakeholders, community members, and participants within all aspects of a community-level research project.

Closely related to my research interests, the Food for a Long Life project is a 5-year USDA CYFAR funded research project that uses intergenerational approaches to increase food access, consumption, and education within locations that have been found to lack access to healthy foods. Due to the project’s depth, I have been able to explore different avenues related to older adult wellbeing, including the opportunity the project provides for older adults to give back to younger individuals during nutrition programming in preschool classrooms. However, due to COVID-19, this aspect of the project has been put on hold due to social distancing, but more importantly because of the project’s main initiative to assist the current needs of the community related to healthy food access and consumption. This time in history has been a learning experience of its own; I am continually learning how community-level research projects can and should adapt to focus its efforts on assisting those who need it most.

The Scholars in Aging program itself has also been eye-opening. One of the most valuable experiences included learning about a community initiative called Village Connections, where volunteers strive to assist older adults to stay connected and stay socially active within their community. Similarly, through the program’s Speed Networking event, I was able to learn about other intergenerational programs in place within the community that aim to increase social opportunities for older adults. The connections I made through the Scholars in Aging program are extremely valuable as I continue working toward my career in researching ways in which older adults can be socially included in society. Moreover, this program allowed me to understand how important interdisciplinary work is; I was able to learn from the other Scholars in the program who had different experiences and knowledge than myself. The Scholars in Aging program provided us with a social community of our own, one that I hope to continue growing with future connections I plan to make.

Susan Booher

Alec Rhodes

Alec Rhodes

Ohio State University

“My experience in the Scholars in Aging program contributed to my professional development and supplemented my academic training as a sociologist.”

Hunger is a widespread and growing form of economic hardship experienced by older adults in the United States. In 2016 around 13.6% of the population aged 60 and older were food insecure, an increase of 27 percent since 2001. (1) Prior research indicates that lack of wealth is a key barrier to food security and is more strongly associated with food insecurity than income among older adults. (2) I spent my semester in the Ohio Scholars in Aging program investigating the causal mechanisms underlying the relationship between food insecurity and housing wealth, the primary source of wealth among older Americans.

I completed a research-based practicum at the John Glenn College of Public Affairs and College of Education and Human Ecology at The Ohio State University, under the mentorship of Drs. Cäzilia Loibl, Donald Haurin, and Stephanie Moulton. We used data from the Health and Retirement Study to document trends in food insecurity and housing wealth and debts among older adults from 2000-2016; to identify the causal effects of changes in housing wealth and new mortgage borrowing on food insecurity; and to simulate how realistic policy changes might impact rates of food insecurity in the older adult population. In addition, we examined whether inequalities in housing wealth and access to credit contribute to disparities in food insecurity by race. Our project was funded with a grant from the University of Kentucky Center for Poverty Research.

Our preliminary results suggest that older adults draw on housing wealth through new mortgage borrowing to address food insecurity. We find that new mortgage borrowing reduces the probability of food insecurity among older adult homeowners. However, the effects of new mortgage borrowing on food insecurity are stronger among white than black homeowners, likely due to racial disparities in income, home equity, and financial wealth. (3) The results underscore the critical role of housing wealth as a buffer against economic hardship in late adulthood, and highlight the importance of policies that promote access to housing wealth and credit.

My experience in the Scholars in Aging program contributed to my professional development and supplemented my academic training as a sociologist. First, my practicum offered opportunities to conduct myriad forms of statistical analysis, improve my data management skills, and learn how to participate in interdisciplinary research. My practicum also exposed me to innovative methodological approaches, including causal identification using instrumental variable approaches. The monthly sessions with aging professionals at the Ohio Department of Aging contextualized my research within the broader context of issues around aging, well-being, and public policy in the State of Ohio. I aim to incorporate these new perspectives on policy issues into my research on aging and economic insecurity going forward.


1 Ziliak, J.P., Gundersen, C., 2018. The state of senior hunger in America 2016. Chicago, IL: Feeding America.
2 Ziliak, J.P., Gundersen, C., Haist, M., 2008. The causes, consequences, and future of senior hunger in America. Lexington, KY: University of Kentucky, Center for Poverty Research.
3 Rugh, J.S., Massey, D.S., 2010. Racial Segregation and the American Foreclosure Crisis. American Sociological Review 75, 629-651.

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.