Joseph Voytek

Joseph Voytek

Joseph Voytek

Youngstown State University
Department of Gerontology

Spring 2013

“Through the research and planning I found not only that I am capable of doing more than I thought I was capable of and that my best talent was being able to communicate effectively with everyone that was a part of developing this pilot program.”

I was one of the first interns to be involved in this new internship program. I really didn’t begin this internship with a defined role for the program. I worked with a representative from ODA named Tiffany Dixon. Her and my professor Dr. Van Dussen served as my site supervisors for the project in the Fall 2012 semester. We worked jointly with the Area Agency on Aging 11 who governs Ashtabula, Trumbull, Mahoning, and Columbiana Counties. Our contact for AAA11 was Chief Operating Officer, Tony Cario. Tony eventually became my site supervisor for the Spring 2013 semester. I am still on the project maintaining the contacts between schools, volunteer organizations, and our project group through the summer. The other organization involved with the project was NEO HealthForce, which is part of the Mahoning County One Stop Ohio. The contact from that organization was NEO HealthForce Coordinator, Ronald Shadd.

The primary goal of this project was to work collaboratively with our group members to establish afterschool or during school tutoring and mentoring programs in our local school systems with our retired older adult population serving the roles as tutors/mentors to young students. Not only was it our primary goal to involve our large population of older adults but we wanted these programs to be sustainable and to hopefully grow into a vast network of successful older adult tutoring programs. We aimed to specifically focus on the Ohio Department of Education’s Third Grade Reading Guarantee. This program identifies students behind in reading skills from kindergarten through third grade. Schools are required to hold back those students who test below standard reading levels at the end of third grade.

My responsibilities within the group were mostly as a mediator of meetings and contacts for the project. I have helped set up meetings with local contacts to help establish community partnerships with local organizations and volunteer sources. I also did extensive research on other schools using an intervention program that has been proven successful in numerous schools across the state called Project MORE. Project MORE is a low cost and easily sustainable, 1:1 reading intervention program that has been supported by the Ohio Department of Education and the Ohio Department of Aging. It was our hope that we could use this program as a base for the reading intervention pilot programs.

Our group has met via conference calls and personal meetings to outline ideas and structure a plan to start pilot programs in local schools. The primary goal was to have a pilot program started in at least one local school district by the beginning of 2013. Unfortunately we were unable to do so, but we have made several contacts with Youngstown City Schools and Struthers school district. Struthers Elementary School is supporting our efforts to start a pilot program in their school by Fall of 2013. I helped to establish a Project MORE training session for the interested schools districts to attend so that we can begin planning for the implementation of these tutoring programs. We have also developed a relationship with our local YMCA. This branch has a large number of active older adults who have expressed interest in programs such as these. We hope plan to train volunteers this summer and prepare them for tutoring in the fall.

This internship has really opened my eyes to what I am capable of. Not only did I help develop the initial stages of a program that has the chance to impact the community in many ways, but I did this with no experience or idea of what it takes to develop a program of this caliber. By no means did I accomplish this on my own. I was surrounded by a great supporting cast of individuals from diverse backgrounds that really helped to shape and mold my ideas. This was the great opportunity that I had been waiting for all of college. Without this opportunity, I would have never met or worked with many of the people and agencies that I did.

In a sense, this internship project is a reflection of myself. When I started this internship I really had no direction or idea of what it was that I really I truly wanted to do. As I helped develop and plan this program I was also developing and planning my future self. The more communication I had with my group and outside sources the more I was able to develop my thoughts and goals into practical ideas. I really began to see a future for myself as I began to see I real future for this program. With the guidance and advice from Dr. Van Dussen and Tony Cario, I have developed a love for organizing projects like this and would love to oversee or help develop more programs. Through the research and planning I found not only that I am capable of doing more than I thought I was capable of and that my best talent was being able to communicate effectively with everyone that was a part of developing this pilot program. I enjoyed every second I spent on this project and I look forward to seeing this develop into a successful community program.

Cynthia McQuown

Cynthia McQuown

Cynthia McQuown

University of Akron
University of Akron Practicum Advisor: Dr. Harvey L. Sterns

Spring 2013

” I believe that older adults have been overlooked in regards their vulnerability in this area and healthcare providers also do not routinely provide the needed information, and even if they do, substance use treatment services specific to aging adults are the exception, rather than the rule.”

I had the good fortune to participate in the Ohio Department of Aging’s innovative internship program in collaboration with the Ohio Association for Gerontology in Education this spring.  The agency that I worked with is the HANDS Across Medina County Foundation, an organization whose mission is to improve the quality of life for older adults in Medina County.  The HANDS Foundation has its office in Brunswick, but true to its vision:  The HANDS Foundation shall be an instrument for the improvement of senior issues through education, community resources and community partnerships; the majority of what this organization does is out in the community of Medina County.  My site supervisor, Cindie Schneider, is the executive director of the organization and I have collaborated with her for the past 10 years on issues related to behavioral health and well being in the aging population in Medina County.  The project that I was involved with, Making Prevention Work for Older Adults is in its 10th year.  This project focuses on increasing older adults and care providers’ awareness about the unique vulnerability that aging adults face regarding medication and alcohol related problems.  This project has had many avenues to carry the message that older adults are uniquely vulnerable to problems with medications and with alcohoI, from seminars for medical professionals, Brown Bag seminars where older adults could meet one on one with a pharmacist to review their medicines, to co-sponsoring drug disposal efforts, to training emergency professionals and providing Lifepouches to store medical information in a magnetized red pouch and prominently display for emergency service professionals to quickly access in a home.  For my internship, I examined how to increase the effectiveness of one of our most promising programs, Prevention BINGO, which is an educational game specific to the content of alcohol and medication related risks in aging adults.  The development and refining of this intervention has been a continued work in progress.  Many challenges come from simply getting large enough sample sizes to compare pre to post test change.  I have also wanted to gather data that would demonstrate the difference between groups receiving the intervention versus not receiving the intervention.  My focus during my internship was to work closely with Dr. Sterns and edit our pre and post test to best evaluate what we are wanting older adults to learn.  Specifically, items were edited to be more clearly stated, and item scales were changed from a dichotomous, yes/no format, to a Likert scale, which has the advantage of identifying degrees of change.  Ideally, I wanted to end up with at minimum of 30 participants for an intervention and no intervention test condition.  We have had several Prevention BINGO games scheduled and then rescheduled, due to circumstances beyond our control.  The events that we have scheduled in Senior Housing complexes have been the most successful, as residents do not need to travel to participate.  The event is held right in their own community room in their apartment building.

Intervention History and Development of Prevention BINGO intervention 

Prevention BINGO (PB) includes information about older adults and polypharmacy, and alcohol use risk associated with aging.  Research-based educational facts were organized into teaching points to create a BINGO game. An image or icon related to the fact or information content was assigned to each teaching point.  The PB program consists of BINGO playing cards. The cards have 10 randomly assigned presentations of the teaching point images/icons.  The presenter uses a master set of educational cards   that   contains   the image/icon found on each player’s BINGO play card. The master set of educational cards shows the image/icon on the front of the card and lists the educational content on the back. In this way, the presenter  may hold the card for  all  players  to  see, while reading  the  educational information  from  the  back  of  the  card.   Each test question is highlighted on the back of the educational cards, so that the presenter may clearly state that information to the players. Information printed on the back of the master set of educational cards also aids in maintaining continuity between presenters, because the information is presented consistently. Players place tokens on the image/icon on their playing card, one at a time, after each image/icon is presented from the educational master   card.   Participants play   actual BINGO   for small prizes while learning   about   the topics.  Even  though  BINGO  may  be  called  early  in the  game,  play  proceeds  until  all  educational  image cards   are   presented.    The   pre-test    administration occurred before the first card is drawn.  The post-test administration occurred   immediately   following   the game play. The program can be administered in approximately one hour.  The PB program  was first introduced  in June 2007 to  groups  of  older  adults  (60 and  older)  in  Medina County  simply  as an  effort  to  increase  awareness  of the risks related to polypharmacy and alcohol use. Attendance increased; participants enjoyed the program and awareness seemed to increase.  As requests for   the   program   grew, developers   decided   it was important to evaluate the effectiveness of the program. Older adults in Medina County were recruited to participate. Interested groups were able to contact the presenters and schedule the program.

The  process  of  playing  PB  began  with  providing information  on   the   purpose   of  the   program   and obtaining   informed   consent   for  data   collection   on program   effectiveness.  Presenters then explained the game play and provided participants with a pre-test. The PB instructor showed each of 27 icon/image cards and read the information on the back of each one to the participants. Once the post-tests were collected, the presenter reviewed the post-test with the participants, so that they could hear the correct answers. The participants were also provided with a list of test questions and correct answers to take with them. Small prizes were presented during the game play to the first five participants who showed a ‘BINGO’   on their playing cards.


Participants were recruited through local centers for older adults.  Advertising was done through the Helping HANDS quarterly newsletter and through fliers posted at the Centers for Older Adults in Brunswick, Wadsworth, and Medina.  Only the Brunswick centers events were scheduled within the time frame of the current study.  A total of 3 events were scheduled.  The first event was established at a center that regularly played bingo and bingo was held as usual for this group, with an explanation of the voluntary participation in completion of the pre and post test for this study.  The “no intervention” group played regular BINGO and completed the pre and post test.  Of a group of 15, seven agreed to participate.  Two other events were scheduled as intervention groups to play Prevention BINGO.  The first event included 19 participants who agreed to play Prevention BINGO and complete the pre and post test, while the second event was cancelled due to a very low number of preregistrations and will be rescheduled.  A total of 26 older adults participated in this study.


Prevention BINGO is an educational intervention designed to raise awareness about aging adults’ unique vulnerability to problems with alcohol, medications, and harmful interactions between the two through play.  This intervention has been developed over the course of eight years, through the work of Hands Across Medina Foundation and Cornerstone Wellness and funding through a Medina County Drug Abuse Commission grant.  The goals of this educational game to increase aging adults’ knowledge about their unique vulnerability to problems associated with their medications, alcohol and drug interactions and to raise awareness about the importance of sharing their lifestyle choices with their physicians. To date, the intervention has been played with over 750 participants since it was first launched in June of 2007.  The initial game included a post test only and over trial and error, a pre, post and follow up test have been developed and refined.  Previous versions of the test used dichotomous response sets with some knowledge content remaining difficult to discern for the adults participating.  The present study has revised the pre and post test to more clearly represent knowledge content and to refine ability to detect knowledge gain through the use of a 5 point likert scale.  Likert scales have the advantage of being relatively easy to construct, it takes little time to construct the scale, and it can be easily used in seeking participant responses to stimuli, and is considered more reliable.  The disadvantage of a likert scale is that the space between positions on the scale may not be equal.


A total of 19 adults participated in the intervention and 7 participated in the no intervention condition.  Low turnout and one event cancellation resulted in smaller numbers of participants than is idea to evaluate the effectiveness of the intervention.  Of the total group, 61.5% had never played Prevention BINGO before while 38.5% reported playing previously.  All were included in the analysis.  The group consisted of 22.2% male and 77.8% female participants ranging in age from 60 to 84 years old.  Seventy-one percent of the no intervention group and seventy-five percent of the intervention group were between 70 and 84 years of age.   In both groups, 100% of participants indicated that their race was Caucasian.  In the no intervention group, 71.4% reported income of $24,999 and below, while in the intervention group 100% of the participants reported incomes of $ 24,999 or below.    While 42.9% of the no intervention group were married, only 20% of the intervention group reported that they were married and a larger number of the intervention group were widowed, 55%, and divorced, 20% compared to only 28.6% widowed and 28.6% divorced in the no intervention group.  Paired t-tests were performed and 7 of the 12 knowledge items showed significant increase in knowledge from the pre to post test.

I continue to learn, each time I lead a program of Prevention BINGO-last week a participant noted on one of the items that it didn’t say what kind of drinkwe were asking about (the item asks: in the past 30 days have you had 5 or more drinks on any one occasion and the preceding item asked the participant to respond to the item:  how often do you have a drink containing alcohol).  In my reading and re-reading the survey, it was clear to me that I meant how many drinks of alcohol, but the item didn’t specifically state alcohol in that item-another lesson learned!    It is my goal to submit the intervention to the National Registry of Evidence Based programs, and hopefully see it be utilized by others who seek to raise awareness amongst adults over 60 and care providers about the unique vulnerability that older adults face regarding their medications and alcohol.  I am also hoping to gather more cohort specific data this year, regarding Baby Boomers perceptions of harmfulness about marijuana to develop items in Prevention BINGO that are also cohort specific.  I am so very grateful for the opportunity to work with the HANDS Foundation and for Dr. Sterns’ wisdom and guidance throughout this project.  It has been a great privilege to get out of my office and be able to meet everyone at the Ohio Department of Aging.  I would welcome any input from everyone at the Department about this intervention and would love to have the opportunity to lead the program outside of Medina County.  I believe that older adults have been overlooked in regards their vulnerability in this area and healthcare providers also do not routinely provide the needed information, and even if they do, substance use treatment services specific to aging adults are the exception, rather than the rule.  I am invested in seeing this change and this internship experience is affording me that opportunity to carry this message further.

I would welcome inquiries about leading a Prevention BINGO event from any of the other interns from this years program, or from anyone at the Ohio Department of Aging, as it would afford me the opportunity to try the intervention with different demographic areas.

Joseph Voytek

Amy Plant

Amy Plant

Youngstown State University
Benjamin Rose Institute on Aging

Spring 2013

“I have experienced not only a behind-the-scenes glimpse of how summits and conferences are organized, but have also gained first-hand knowledge of some of the preparations and collaborations necessary to organize such an endeavor and research project involving multiple organizations and data collection sites.”

The purpose of my ODA/OAGE internship was to assist Gerontology Director and Coordinator, Dr. Daniel J. Van Dussen with the planning, implementation and coordination of the 2013 Youngstown Regional Respite Summit. This summit, which was held on March 21, 2013 at Youngstown State University, was a networking and information-gathering event that included a wide range of shareholders in respite across the lifespan. The purpose of this summit was to address key respite concerns, including the successes and challenges of respite care, as well as the major barriers of service.

Following the summit, priorities were set for future work to be done in our area of the state. Our findings were then coordinated with prior summit information gathered by the Ohio Respite Coalition as they continue to develop a lifespan respite system across the state of Ohio. Findings from the summit were also shared with the ODA and the Benjamin Rose Institute on Aging (BRIA), and suggestions were made regarding ways to coordinate care more effectively.

Through further collaboration through BRIA, we were also able to expand our project and access the raw data and findings from various other summit locations throughout the state of Ohio. By obtaining this information, we were able to pull keywords, concepts and themes to compare and integrate with our findings and develop a rubric system for the analysis of both the qualitative and quantitative respite data from each summit location. Ultimately, our aim is to not only compare our regional findings to the rest of the state, but to compare our findings from the state of Ohio to other state respite initiatives. Our findings are expected to be presented both at conferences and hope to be published in the future.

Over the course of this project, my involvement and knowledge in respite research has continued to increase, and I have been fortunate to have made several new contacts through my endeavors as an ODA/OAGE intern. I have experienced not only a behind-the-scenes glimpse of how summits and conferences are organized, but have also gained first-hand knowledge of some of the preparations and collaborations necessary to organize such an endeavor and research project involving multiple organizations and data collection sites. I have also had the privilege to oversee and manage multiple student volunteers. Some of our greatest obstacles involved encouraging stakeholders to participate in the summit and receiving necessary information and timely responses from various organizations.

Alyson Jurcenko

Alyson Jurcenko

Alyson Jurcenko

Ohio State University
Ohio Department of Aging

Spring 2013

“I learned that improving an area for the people really takes a long time and you have to be persistent but in the end it’s completely worth it knowing you helped make someone’s life better in some way.”

The internship that I worked with and still am currently involved with took place in the German Village area in Columbus Ohio, not too far from The Ohio State Univerity which is where I go. Some people aren’t familiar with the German Village area but there are a lot of elder people that live there and the surrounding area but the community itself is not older people, or anybody who uses a stroller, biker, etc., friendly. The roads are brick allowing for the historical aspect of the area to be present but the bricks are in terrible shape making it hard for people to get around. The sidewalks are awful and hard to walk on without tripping especially if walking is hard enough for a person. So the point of this project is to help have the city realize that the streets need some help, more benches placed throughout the roads, have maybe other entrance points to places for people who can’t use stairs, etc. For the elderly living there, being able to walk around is a way of keeping their independence and really maintaining a healthy lifestyle. The project didn’t get as far as we wanted during the school year as we want to get a focus group together to see what the people who live down there think about what could potentially be made better to better suit their lifestyle. Going through the IRB took awhile to get everything approved in order to even have the focus group but right now we are working on getting people to attend the focus group. The agency was interested in having this project completed because being able to comfortably walk around to get to places is a very essential way for elders to maintain a healthy, physical and independent lifestyle. Through this internship and project I was able to go to the Ohio Department of Aging and meet tons of people for networking purposes and more importantly to see how other projects were approached and what they did in their project. I learned that improving an area for the people really takes a long time and you have to be persistent but in the end it’s completely worth it knowing you helped make someone’s life better in some way.

Nicole Dawson

Nicole Dawson

Nicole Dawson

Benjamin Rose Institute on Aging

Spring 2013

“I look forward to continuing a lifelong relationship with these organizations and researchers.”

Being given the opportunity to participate in the Ohio Internships in Aging Program during the Spring Semester certainly provided me with an invaluable experience for networking with experts in aging as well as for building a stronger foundation for applied research in aging.  I had the privilege of completing my internship with Dr. Heather Menne at the Margaret Blenkner Research Institute of the Benjamin Rose Institute on Aging in Cleveland.  During my time with Dr. Menne, I assisted with analysis of data collected during the Ohio Replication of the Reducing Disability in Alzheimer’s disease intervention.  Reducing Disability in Alzheimer’s Disease (RDAD) is an evidenced-based intervention for individuals with dementia and their family caregivers aimed at improving physical performance of the IWD as well as reducing psychosocial strain of the caregiver.  There have been manuscripts published reporting the successful results in terms of individuals’ subjective functional improvements using caregiver-based reports.  However, no statistical analysis has been published utilizing the objective physical performance measures (walking speed, functional reach, balance) or falls.

Throughout the semester, previous literature and theoretical consideration guided several iterations of statistical analyses of these physical performance outcomes to ensure inclusion of important predictor variables as well as necessary covariates regarding efficacy of the exercise portion of RDAD on these measures.  Time was the most limiting factor during the semester as in-person meetings were most effective in discussing statistical and theoretical concerns although much of the analysis was able to be completed via teleconferencing or electronic communication.

Many opportunities have arisen from my participation in this internship.  Dr. Menne and I have collaborated on a presentation for the OAGE annual conference in the spring.  We have also submitted abstracts for 2 national conferences including the Gerontological Society of America’s annual conference and the national Physical Therapy conference.  A manuscript is also in preparation at this time which will be completed by the end of the calendar year as I have been preparing for my comprehensive examination this summer.  Additional opportunities currently being discussed are potential grant applications to further test validity of physical assessment tools in individuals with dementia as well as further collaboration on exercise interventions with older adults with dementia.

I would like to express my sincere gratitude to the leaders in the ODA and OAGE along with Drs. Heather Menne and Katherine Judge for this great opportunity.  I look forward to continuing a lifelong relationship with these organizations and researchers.

Annie Cleary

Annie Cleary

Annie Cleary

Miami University

Spring 2013

“Every week, students met one on one with elders, who experienced autonomy through their ability to create beautiful art pieces. OMA is an organization that I believe deserves to be promoted as it has played a special role in the lives of all involved.”

This semester, I interned for the Opening Minds through Program (OMA). OMA is an intergenerational program that brings together elders living with dementia and Miami University students. Every week, students met one on one with elders, who experienced autonomy through their ability to create beautiful art pieces. OMA is an organization that I believe deserves to be promoted as it has played a special role in the lives of all involved. Therefore, for my internship, in addition to volunteering as a student leader, I designed a line of OMA t-shirts. This project was relevant to the organization in order to spread the word about OMA, as well as act as a fundraiser for the organization. This was an opportunity for me to put my own creativity to use in the designing of the t-shirt. Also, I interacted with both OMA leaders as well as the company that printed the t-shirts. Because of this, I learned how to work with both a non-profit organization as well as a for profit company. From this experience, I learned that while the actual program is very important, it is also essential to have financial resources to sustain. My favorite aspect of interning with OMA was working one on one with my elders. However, I think I was able to leave a lasting impact through the design of these t-shirts. My internship was a very rewarding experience, and I am happy to have had the chance to be a part of a program as unique and meaningful as OMA.

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.