Adrienne Garrett-Dismuke

Adrienne Garrett-Dismuke

Adrienne Garrett-Dismuke

Fall 2013

“At the end of my internship I had several positive comments from the writers. Some reported feeling less lonely and more confident while some were just grateful to be able to document parts of their lives so that they may share them with family members.”

For my internship, I was working on a writing workshop for older adults designed by Dr. Kate De Medeiros of Miami University. Combines academic research and the “usual” reminiscence discussion group I facilitated this workshop at a local nursing home in Oxford, Ohio.  This facility is committed to incorporating intergenerational programming into the lives of the residents, so the administration and staff was thrilled on have a new workshop run by college students takings place.  Each week, I met with a group of residents where we worked on self-stories and used different genres of writing including poetry, first person narratives and others.  The residents had the opportunity to share their stories with the group and receive positive feedback on their writing.  Throughout the course the semester, we encountered a number challenges. Some residents were reluctant to participate because of their past educational attainment.  They were not confident that they could carry out the tasks in the workshop because they had never finished high school.  I addressed the issue by creating a supportive environment where they knew that their writing was not being graded.  I assured them that “this is NOT high school English class.  If you want to use “ain’t” in your writing, that is fine by me”.   I wanted to preserve any cultural meaning that language used may have, even if it was not Standard English.  I also wanted them to know that it was alright to be themselves.  Another barrier was hearing impairment.  Like many facilities, hearing loss is a struggle among members of the community.   In response, I did everything I could to accommodate including making additional handout so that all instructions I gave during the sessions were written down as well as arranging seating for maximum effectiveness.

The workshop was designed with several goals in mind such as providing a pathway for relationship/friendship formation, improvements in participant memory and improvements in perceived feelings well-being.  At the end of my internship I had several positive comments from the writers.  Some reported feeling less lonely and more confident while some were just grateful to be able to document parts of their lives so that they may share them with family members.  Everyone felt they had benefited from being a part of the group in one way or another.

Katie Gabriel

Katie Gabriel

Katie Gabriel

Fall 2013

“My main goal is to gain insight into as many positions as possible, and to be a helping hand for anyone.”

I am so excited and looking forward to shadowing you at the Ohio Department of Aging. I am very interested in shadowing as many positions as possible, so that I am able to narrow down what I would like to do with my gerontology degree. I am very interested in advocacy for older adults, and would love to be involved with that as much as possible. I am also very interested in the treatment and care for older adults with the diagnosis of Dementia or Alzheimer’s.

For my time spent at the ODA, I would be thrilled to be involved as much as possible, whether that is attending meetings, or helping out where needed. My main goal is to gain insight into as many positions as possible, and to be a helping hand for anyone.

I am very interested in shadowing positions that are held by employees who either solely have a gerontology degree or are in a position that would lend itself to one with a gerontology degree.  I know that this shadowing experience through the ODA will be very rewarding, and I hope that I can help out as much as possible with my time spent there over break.

Bethanie Cole

Bethanie Cole

Bethanie Cole

Fall 2013

“I was empowered to learn more about my personality and be more confident in the unique quirks of my personality while also respecting and being thankful for the unique personalities of others.”

I completed my internship at Trumbull Correctional Institution (TCI), which is a state prison in Leavittsburg, OH. At TCI, I am an intern who sees inmates for counseling. I also complete segregation rounds, which is when I walk down the three ranges of the segregation unit and ask each inmate if they are in need of any mental health services. This activity was set in place to reduce the suicide attempts, because when one is in segregation, the risk of suicidal ideation becomes much higher. Last, but not least, I complete suicide assessments when someone claims to be suicidal. When this happens, the inmate is placed on “watch” until he can guarantee his safety.

My project is currently titled “Positivity and Antisocial Personality Disorder.” It is the project I will be using for my dissertation at The University of Akron. For this project, I will be collecting data from approximately 100 inmates. These inmates will most likely be divided between younger and older adults, although I am not sure of the age cut-offs yet.  Perhaps I will collect data from three age groups: younger adults, middle-aged adults, and older adults. I need an age range because I will be testing Socioemotional Selectivity Theory’s (Carstensen, 1991, 1993) positivity effect, which postulates that older adults pay more attention to positive stimuli in their environment than younger adults. In other words, older adults regulate their mood by an automatic preference for positive information (over negative information) in the environment. Examples of something positive would be a smiling face, a baby cooing, or a couple holding hands. Examples of negative information would be an angry face, a funeral, or a couple arguing. In the research, neutral stimuli are also analyzed: examples of neutral stimuli would be a toaster, a tree, or a car. For my project, I will use positive, negative, and neutral pictures as my stimuli, and the inmates’ will be asked to rate the picture according to the mood it invokes when they look at it. The inmate’s mood will be recorded with a 7-point likert-scale (self-report).


This project is important because no previous research has examined the positivity effect within individuals who have been diagnosed with antisocial personality disorder (ASPD). Individuals with ASPD have deficits in mood and emotion regulation, making it possible that such individuals may have a different manifestation or development of the positivity effect. It is my hypothesis, however, that the positivity effect will indeed be present in this population. This hypothesis is based on the diversity of populations for which previous research has found support for the positivity effect.

TCI is interested in having me complete this project because one of the current “hot topics” in corrections research is the ability to approve a safe “early-release” for individuals with ASPD. If it is found that older adults with ASPD become more positive with age, research can then be done on the impact of such positivity on recidivism and the individual’s dangerousness. Another “hot topic” in corrections research is the unique needs of older adult inmates. If the positivity effect is found to occur in this population, this could impact the treatment(s) which could be effective, inmates’ adjustment to correctional institutions, and interactions with staff and other inmates.

The evolution of my project has been interesting. At one point my advisor and I were considering measuring the impact of the severity of ASPD traits on the level of positivity that can be attained. Thankfully, it shifted to the current focus recently, which—instead of assuming the positivity effect occurs—goes back to testing to see if the positivity effect is indeed present in this population.

Obstacles which I have faced and/or will face in the future include the IRB process in the prison. Not only do I have to complete the IRB process at The University of Akron, but the process for approval through the IRB process at the prison could take up to one year to complete. Additionally, the older adult population at TCI is not large. It is possible that I will be required to travel to other institutions in Ohio in order to collect the amount of data I need. Last but not least, narrowing the focus of this project was a challenge. I read hundreds of articles, and wrote multiple drafts of this project before it began to take its current shape. It was frustrating, but the closer I come to gathering data, the more excited I get.

Opportunities I was awarded with due to this internship experience include learning more about gerontology theories, being given an opportunity to bridge a gap in psychological literature, and working with several different professionals throughout Ohio. Through the networking provided, I will also have the opportunity to attend policy meetings at correctional institutions. Last but not least, I learned to defend my ideas through the rigorous process of presenting my project and being peppered with questions by my peers.

This experience was very beneficial to me. I learned how to organize my ideas in a fashion which is understandable to others, how to advocate for myself, and how to share my enthusiasm for research with other professionals. I was empowered to learn more about my personality and be more confident in the unique quirks of my personality while also respecting and being thankful for the unique personalities of others. I was given the opportunity to explore new ways to present my experience on my resume, and challenged to explore alternative options when completing my project.

I am very thankful for the opportunities I was given. Not all were comfortable, but I have realized that growth is not always an enjoyable process. Due to the openness and friendliness of the OAGE and ODA, I look forward to meeting new people and widening my professional network. I know that even though my internship is at its end, Sara and the rest of the ODA team would not hesitate to help me in the future if I needed it.

Andrea Brooks

Andrea Brooks

Andrea Brooks

Fall 2013

“I learned that hard work does pay off and can make a difference. Since completing this project, I am able to meet the needs of individuals who call into the AAMVC and happen to need names of transportation agencies that can assist them or their loved one. “

My internship for Fall Semester 2013 with the Greater Miami Valley Joint MASW Program in Dayton, Ohio was with the Alzheimer’s Association Miami Valley Chapter (AAMVC) located at 31 W. Whipp Road in Kettering, Ohio.  The project that I worked on with the Alzheimer’s Association was a transportation project, where I would update information about all the transportation agencies serving older adults in the Miami Valley area.  The nine counties that I covered were Miami, Montgomery, Preble, Shelby, Darke, Greene, Logan, Clark and Champaign.  This project also focused on finding out information about scheduling and evaluation processes and how accessible transportation programs were to individuals with early onset dementia and those with early stage dementia.

The AAMVC was interested in having me complete this project because it would become a useful resource at the agency and it would bring attention to the needs of individuals with early onset dementia who are under the age of 65, but due to the disease and its symptoms effect on individuals driving abilities, find it difficult to continue driving and need alternative transportation resources to fill the gap.  The details of the project changed a few times through the course of the internship, but the overall focus did not change.  Instead of just compiling a list of names of agencies and their contact information, I also included personal stories of those living with dementia at an early age, in my PowerPoint presentation.  This allowed them to have a voice in the making of this project and offered a different point of view, since they are the ones who would be utilizing the services.

The largest obstacle faced was getting a hold of the agencies.  Some places would answer right away and provide the information I asked of them, but I had to leave voice messages on many others and wait for their phone calls.  I was playing phone tag many of the days.  Another obstacle was compiling all of the information.  It was a lot of information to organize. I went from using Microsoft Excel Software to making a transportation directory on Microsoft Word.  While calling the transportation agencies, I received invitations from other mobility managers to attend their meetings and present this project to them.  I also was given the opportunity to present this information to the AAMVC as a resource and also to disseminate the information to all of the agencies that I spoke with.  I learned that hard work does pay off and can make a difference.  Since completing this project, I am able to meet the needs of individuals who call into the AAMVC and happen to need names of transportation agencies that can assist them or their loved one.  This internship with the ODA and OAGE gave me the opportunity to pursue this project and also to learn more about advocacy at a public policy level.  I was very blessed to have this opportunity and recommend it highly.

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.