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Working towards optimal health for all older adults

2019 NHCGNE Leadership Conference Speaker Information

Lisa Abdallah


Lisa Abdallah, Ph.D., RN, CNE, is Chair & Professor in the Susan & Alan Solomont School of Nursing, University of Massachusetts Lowell. She is a John A. Hartford Institute Geriatric Nursing Scholar. For over 20 years Lisa has been working as a nurse educator preparing the future generation of nurse professionals.

Lisa L. Barnes


Lisa L. Barnes, PhD is the Alla V. and Solomon Jesmer Professor of Gerontology and Geriatric Medicine in the department of Neurological Sciences at Rush University Medical Center, and a cognitive neuropsychologist in the Rush Alzheimer’s Disease Center. Dr. Barnes received her PhD from the University of Michigan and completed an NIH-sponsored post-doctoral training program in cognitive neuroscience at the University of California, Davis, before joining the faculty at Rush Medical College in 1999. Her research focus is on racial disparities in chronic diseases of aging. She is the Principal Investigator of three community-based cohort studies of older African Americans, and has published extensively on aging-related conditions in older African Americans, including cognitive decline, Alzheimer’s disease, and the intersection of HIV and aging. She is an advocate for recruitment of older minorities into clinical research and does extensive education in the community on awareness of Alzheimer’s and other dementias. She has received numerous awards and fellowships, and serves on several national committees.

Robin Barr

D. Phil

After some funding from the National Institute on Aging to support research on attention and aging, Dr. Barr joined the Institute in 1987 and became a program administrator in the Behavioral and Social Research Program (now Division of Behavioral and Social Research During that time, he helped both to establish the NIA Roybal Centers of Research on Applied Gerontology and to develop the Institute's initiative examining cognitive interventions to improve functioning in older adults (ACTIVE).  From 1994 to 2006 he was Deputy Head of the Division of Extramural Activities ‑ contributing to policy development and coordination at the NIA ‑ and the NIA Training Officer. In this latter capacity he had particular responsibility for overseeing training initiatives, for anticipating the need for new kinds of training and for working with the National Institutes of Health in shaping overall research training policy. He brought the Beeson program to NIA with ample help from AFAR. After working with the Jahnigen and Williams Scholars’ programs for physician and surgeon junior faculty to gain experience in aging research, he helped create the successor GEMSSTAR program at NIA.

In April 2006, Dr. Barr became Acting Director of the Division of Extramural Activities, NIA and was appointed Director of the Division in June 2007.  Since that time, he has worked at the NIH level to help shape NIH’s policies towards new and early stage investigators. His leadership role at NIA includes managing the National Advisory Council on Aging and advising the Director, NIA on all extramural activities of the Institute.


Marie Boltz


Dr. Marie Boltz is the Elouise Ross Eberly Chair Professor at Penn State University College of Nursing.  Dr. Boltz is a board –certified gerontologic nurse practitioner who teaches nursing at the undergraduate and doctoral level at Penn State.  Over her ten year tenure as NICHE (Nurses Improving Care for Healthsystem Elders) as Practice Director she worked with over 300 organizations to develop and implement aging services programs in their acute and post-acute affiliate settings and authored, co-authored, or edited more than 40 evidence-based, field-tested teaching tools / resources for clinicians, administrators, patients and families. She has served on several local, regional, national, and international advisory boards and work groups.   Her areas of research, funded by NIH and several foundations, are the geriatric care environment including measures of quality, dementia-capable and family-centered interventions, and the promotion of physical and cognitive function in persons with dementia. She has presented nationally and internationally, and authored and co-authored numerous journal publications, organizational tools, and book chapters in these areas. She is the lead editor of Evidence-Based Geriatric Nursing Protocols for Best Practice and Dementia Care: An Evidence-B​ased Approach.  Dr. Boltz is a fellow in the American Academy of Nursing and the Gerontological Society of America.

Pamela Z. Cacchione


Dr. Pamela Z. Cacchione, PhD, CRNP, BC, FGSA, FAAN is the Ralston House Term Chair in Gerontological Nursing and Associate Professor of Geropsychiatric Nursing at the University of Pennsylvania School of Nursing.  She has a clinical role as a Nurse Scientist at Penn Presbyterian Medical Center where she engages in research and facilitates nursing research and dissemination of nursing research.  Dr. Cacchione’s research in delirium identified a need to address sensory impairment in older adults.  Prior to this she practiced as a Gerontological Nurse Practitioner at a Program for All-inclusive Care for the Elderly focusing on meeting the Geropsychiatric needs of the participants. Her research in sensory impairment led to the development and testing of the Individualized-Sensory Enhancement for the Elderly (I-SEE) an evidence-based intervention for sensory impairment in older adults in long-term care. Her work in sensory impairment has led to her engagement in human factors research addressing designing technology for older adults.

Fawn Cothran


Dr. Fawn Cothran is an Assistant Professor in the Family Caregiving Institute at the Betty Irene Moore School of Nursing at UC Davis. Her research focuses on the health of African-American dementia family caregivers. Through collaborations with interdisciplinary experts across academic and community-based settings, she seeks to develop and test culturally tailored behavioral interventions for African-American dementia caregivers to promote healthy physical and mental well-being, as well as enhance quality of life. Prior to her appointment at UC Davis, she was an assistant professor at Rush University College of Nursing in Chicago. Cothran earned a Bachelor of Science in Nursing from Howard University in Washington, D.C. She completed a Master of Science in Nursing with an emphasis in Gerontological Nursing and a Doctor of Philosophy in Nursing, both from the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor. She was a 2013-2015 Claire M. Fagin Fellow with the National Hartford Centers of Gerontological Nursing Excellence

Peggye Dilworth-Anderson


Peggye Dilworth-Anderson, PhD, is professor of Health Policy & Management at the Gillings School of Global Public Health, University of North Carolina- Chapel Hill.  Her research focus is on health disparities and Alzheimer’s disease with an emphasis on building knowledge for the scientific and lay community to inform conducting culturally relevant research and disseminating information about Alzheimer’s disease and related disorders in medically underserved diverse populations.

In recognition of her research in aging, Dr. Dilworth-Anderson received the Pearmain Prize for Excellence in Research on Aging from the University of Southern California (USC) Roybal Institute on Aging. This award exemplifies outstanding contributions to the field of translational aging research and its import to issues directly relating to older people. UNC awarded her the University Diversity Award in recognition of her commitment to diversity and inclusion in research, teaching and leadership. She received the Ronald & Nancy Reagan Alzheimer’s Research Award for her research contributions on Alzheimer’s disease in medically underserved populations from the Alzheimer’s Association.

Fayron Epps


Dr. Fayron Epps is a nurse with over 18 years of experience and is currently serving as an Assistant Professor at Emory University, Nell Hodgson Woodruff School of Nursing. Dr. Epps is an active member with numerous professional organizations, including the Gerontological Society of America and the Southern Gerontological Society. She currently serves on the Board of Directors for the National Hartford Center of Gerontological Nursing Excellence, Southern Gerontological Society, Alzheimer’s Association Georgia Chapter, and Meals on Wheels Atlanta. Her career goal as a nurse scholar is to promote quality of life for families affected by dementia through nursing research, education and service. Her program of research involves evidence-based practices for promoting quality of life for African Americans with dementia and their family caregivers.

Elena M. Fazio


Dr. Elena Fazio is a Program Director in the Division of Behavioral and Social Research at the National Institute on Aging (NIA). She works primarily on projects supporting the goals of the National Alzheimer’s Plan of Action (NAPA), including serving as the program official for grants related to long-term supports and services for older adults and promoting the success of the upcoming 2020 National Research Summit on Care, Services, and Supports for Persons with Dementia and Their Caregivers. Prior to joining the NIA, Dr. Fazio worked for the U.S. Administration for Community Living (ACL), where she led a wide variety of research and data projects focused on services and supports provided to older adults and persons with disabilities. She initiated a redesign of the National Survey of Older Americans Act Participants and managed improvements in data collection and reporting for ACL’s State Program Reports. Dr. Fazio has planned workshops, written issue briefs, and led task forces on topics such as the workforce for community care, chronic disease self-management, advance care planning, dementia care interventions, and improving outcomes for carers and persons living with Alzheimer’s disease and related dementias. Before joining NIA and ACL, she was staff director for the Federal Interagency Forum on Aging-related Statistics. As a post-doctoral fellow, she served as project director for the NIA-funded Aging, Stress and Health program. Her published research deals with stress, mental and physical health, and health disparities in late life.

Catherine L. Gilliss


Catherine L. Gilliss, PhD, RN, FAAN, dean of the UCSF School of Nursing, one of the preeminent graduate nursing schools in the nation, is our Mary Starke in Leadership awardee. With backgrounds in psychiatric and primary care, Gilliss’ research has examined the impact of behavior on the recognition and management of illness. Her work currently focuses on the family as a complex system and its response to and role in shaping the course of chronic illness. For her research efforts, she received the 2007 Distinguished Contribution to Family Nursing Research Award.

Jennie Chin Hansen

MSN, RN, FAAN, DNS (Hon. 2008)

Jennie Chin Hansen is the immediate past CEO of the American Geriatrics Society the largest national inter-professional membership organization of physicians (primarily geriatricians), geriatrics nurse practitioners, pharmacists and other health professionals committed to the care of older adults with care complexity.

Prior service includes nearly 25 years with On Lok, Inc., a nonprofit family of organizations providing integrated, globally financed and comprehensive medical and community-based services for frail older people in San Francisco. On Lok's groundbreaking global capitated payment, integrated and coordinated service delivery became the prototype for the 1997 federal law that incorporated the Program of All Inclusive Care to the Elderly (PACE) into the Medicare and Medicaid programs. PACE now operates in 31 states.

Mary Beth Happ

PhD, RN, FAAN, F GSA (Professor and Associate Dean for Research & Innovation)

Dr. Mary Beth Happ is a NIH-funded critical care and aging researcher. With more than 22 years of external funding support, Happ’s research focuses on improving care and communication with communication impaired patients, families and clinicians during hospitalization and at end of life.  Topical areas include symptom management, family caregiving, and treatment decision making. She developed and tested the SPEACS-2 online training program and toolkit for use with ICU patients and collaborates with Vidatak, LLC on testing a touch pad communication tool application, VidaTalk™. Her team demonstrated acceptability and usability of the communication device with critically ill older adults as well as older adults in the community. Dr. Happ co-led an interdisciplinary team at The Ohio State University to explore adult day services as a care site for older adults with dementia who are newly discharged from hospital. Other gerontology research includes collaboration as co-investigator on NIH-funded studies of (a) treatment decision making in the ICU among older adults, (b) medication taking for persons with dementia who are living at home, and (c) social networks among caregivers of cognitively impaired older adults with end-stage renal disease.

She is a fellow in the Gerontological Society of America and the American Academy of Nursing. She served on the board of directors for the National Hartford Center for Gerontological Nursing Excellence (20 – 2018), and was an author and presenter for the Geriatric Nursing Education Consortium on “Care of the Critically Ill Older Adult.” Dr Happ co-writes a feature column, “Acute Care for the Elderly,” for Geriatric Nursing, serves on the editorial board for the Journal of Gerontological Nursing, and has authored more than 170 journal articles, editorials, invited papers, published abstracts, and book chapters. She presented a NINR Director’s Lecture (September, 2017).

J. Taylor Harden


J Taylor Harden is the Director Emeritus of the National Hartford Center of Gerontological Nursing Excellence with headquarters in Reston VA. Prior to assuming this role she served as Assistant to the Director for Special Populations at the National Institute on Aging (NIA) at the National Institutes of Health (NIH). Dr. Harden completed a tour of service as the Acting Deputy Director of NIA in 2008. Prior to joining the NIH in 1994, she was a tenured associate professor at the University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio. Dr. Harden was the co-chair of the American Academy of Nursing (AAN) Expert Panel on Aging, and other past positions include founding chair of the AAN/ Hartford Nurse Leader in Aging Award Committee, convener of the Gerontological Society of America (GSA) Nursing Care of Older Adults Formal Interest Group, National Secretary, Society of Urologic Nurses and Associates, and Board Member American Nurses’ Credentialing Center, Board on Certification for Gerontological Nursing Practice. She has received many honors, including the New York University College of Nursing Helen Manzer Award, GSA Outstanding Mentorship Award Task Force on Minority Issues; and three times she received the National Institutes of Health Director’s Award for (1) leadership in strategic planning and (2) mentorship. She has served on advisory boards for University of California, Davis, Betty Irene Moore School of Nursing, University of Michigan Office of Healthy Equity and Inclusion, AAN Building Academic Geriatric Nursing Capacity Initiative, Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, Office of Diversity, and Brown University Program in Public Health. Dr. Harden has wide-ranging research and administrative exper­tise in aging research with emphases in clinical interventions, risk and resilience in older women, minority health/health disparities, women’s health, mentoring, and related research subjects. Dr. Harden is a Fellow in the Gerontological Society of America and American Academy of Nursing, a member of the New York Academy of Medicine, has been honored as Distinguished Alumna by the University of Texas at Austin and is a member of Sigma Theta Tau, International Honor Society of Nursing. Dr. Harden is a graduate of the University of Texas at Austin School of Nursing (PhD, 1989).

Tracie Harrison


Dr. Tracie Harrison received her BSN from The University of Texas at Austin and her MSN and FNP credentials from Texas A&M Corpus Christi. She received her PhD from UT Austin where she focused on aging among people with childhood onset disabilities. Dr. Harrison was trained as a pre- and post-doctoral fellow in gerontological nursing through the Hartford Foundation. She also received training in health policy as a health and aging/APSA congressional policy fellow from the Atlantic Foundation and the Administration on Aging.

Conference Co-Chair

Patricia C. Heyn


Dr. Patricia C. Heyn has been involved in applied gerontology and rehabilitation research for over 20 years.  Her investigations related to (1) promoting healthy lifestyle behavior; (2) preventing or delaying the onset of neurodegenerative disease with exercise and/or cognitive training; (3) evaluating protective/risk factors associated to cognitive decline; and (4) cognitive frailty association to physical frailty syndrome has been funded by the National Institutes of Health, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Administration for Community Living, Coleman Institute, and the NIH.  She has distinctive knowledge in evidence-based methodologies and clinical guideline practices. Her meta-analysis study on the effects of exercise training for individuals with dementia is recognized as one of the most cited articles from the Archives of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation and is highly scored in Altmetric.  She is well-known for developing effective mentored evidence-based clinical scientist training programs (i.e. PMID: 26472583, PMID: 24569702 and PMID: 30605502, PMID: 29568518 ) and she received several awards and honorable mentions for her mentoring.

Currently, Dr. Heyn’s research is impacting clinical research and practice for individuals growing older with pediatric-onset disabilities (i.e. PMID: 30663044, PMCID: PMC6227293) with the goal to improve the person’s healthspan, everyday function, quality of life and societal engagement as they grow older.  She has extensive expertise in designing behavioral randomized trials for individuals with complex health conditions, including from minority and underserved backgrounds. She has published more than 80 peer-reviewed papers, abstracts, and book chapters and she has mentored more than 50 trainees.  Her investigations include mix-methods and longitudinal design as well as person-centered health outcomes with the investigators from the University of Colorado School of Medicine, Children’s Hospital Colorado, Rocky Mountain Alzheimer’s Disease Clinical and Research center and the newly formed Rocky Mountain Affiliated Cochrane Center.

Ladson Hinton


Ladson Hinton is a geriatric psychiatrist and Professor in the Department of Psychiatry at the University of California, Davis.  He is a clinician-scientist with formal research training in both medical anthropology and health services research who has conducted interdisciplinary research (both observational and interventions) with a major focus on family caregiving, dementia and diverse populations over the past 25 years in the US and in Asia.  From 2014-16 he was a member of the National Academies of Science, Engineering and Medicine ad hoc Committee on Family Caregiving (Report title: Families Caring for an Aging America).  He led the outreach and recruitment core for the NIA funded UC Davis Alzheimer’s Disease Center from 2005-2017 and directed the UC Davis Resource Center for Minority Aging Research (RCMAR) from 2012-2019.  He currently serves as associate director for research of the Family Caregiving Institute in the School of Nursing.  

Claudia K. Y. Lai


Claudia Lai is an Honorary Professor at The Hong Kong Polytechnic University (PolyU). She has practiced nursing in Hong Kong, Canada, and England, and worked briefly as a volunteer nurse in India. She has two main research programs – the care of people with dementia and their families, and the care of frail older people. She focuses on interventional and implementation research, aiming to make an impact on the health and wellbeing of humankind through changes in practice. In 2010, she established the Health and Cognitive Assessment Service at PolyU to advance scholarship on practice. In 2012, she led her team in founding the Centre for Gerontological Nursing (CGN) at PolyU, and became a member of the Global Ageing Research Network (GARN) of the International Association of Gerontology and Geriatrics (IAGG) in the same year. Under her leadership, the CGN, PolyU, became a member of the NHCGNE in 2014. She has published widely and won a number of research awards for her work on health promotion, knowledge dissemination, and dementia care. She serves as an honorary advisor to many NGOs and professional associations. A member of the Honor Society of Nursing, Sigma Theta Tau International (Sigma) since 1994, she actively participates in various task forces and was elected Sigma’s first Regional Coordinator for the Asia Region (2011-2015). Over the course of her career, she has volunteered her time in local and international professional initiatives. She is a fellow of the American Academy of Nursing (2015), and was inducted into the International Nurse Researcher Hall of Fame, Sigma (2018). Presently she is on the Board of NHCGNE and Sigma’s Asia Global Regional Council.

Allison Lindauer


Dr. Allison Lindauer is a nationally-certified gerontological nurse practitioner with a PhD in gerontological nursing.  Over the last 20 years, she has focused on providing high quality, culturally-relevant care to older adults.   Her clinical work involves caring for those with dementia Oregon Health & Science University’s Layton Aging and Alzheimer’s Disease Center.   Dr. Lindauer is the Outreach, Recruitment and Education Leader at the Layton Center, one of 31 NIA-funded Alzheimer’s Research Disease Centers in the nation.  Dr. Lindauer’s research focuses on using technology to advance caregiving science using telehealth.   Dr. Lindauer serves on national (Gerontological Society of America) and international (Alzheimer’s Association International Conference, Professional Interest Area: Technology) committees.

Ellen McCreedy


Ellen McCreedy is interested in improving the quality of remaining life for people with advanced dementia. Her research goals are to reduce the amount of futile and burdensome care received at the end of life; and to provide comfort, meaning, and moments of joy to people living with dementia and their families. Dr. McCreedy received her MPH in Global Health from the University of South Florida, her PhD in Health Services Research from the University of Minnesota, and completed a postdoctoral research fellowship at Brown University, Center for Gerontology and Healthcare Research. Dr. McCreedy is directing a pragmatic trial of a personalized music intervention to reduce agitation and isolation in nursing home residents with dementia.

Toni Miles


Toni Miles, MD, PhD is a Professor of Epidemiology at University of Georgia with experience in diverse sectors including non-profits, healthcare, and multiple levels of government. Currently, she is a member of the Georgia Lt. Governor’s Taskforce for Healthcare Access and Quality.  

Dr. Miles’ research measures the effects of loss and bereavement on population health. The project is called Public Health Consequences of Loss and Grief in a Longevity Society. It provides evidence that bereavement poses a health risk for surviving friends and families leading to increased rates of chronic disease, excess healthcare utilization, and risk of dying. The project also tests strategies – quality bereavement care - to reduce these risks. Simply stated, quality bereavement care increases individual resilience. Currently, two active projects are underway. One is supported by the CMS Civil Monetary Penalty Program. Using a newly developed toolkit, it is designed to train residents of and staff working in 250 long term care facilities to deliver bereavement care. The other is a statewide survey – items added to the Georgia Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance Survey (BRFSS). The BRFSS work is supported by the Retirement Research Foundation. BRFSS data is used by all states to develop public health interventions to improve population health. She has more than 120 publications, a book, and a blog on LinkedIn.  On Friday, November 15th, Justin Ingels (her PhD student), will present a late breaker poster ‘Loss Negatively Impacts Healthy Life Expectancy in US Adults’.

Scott Emory Moore


Scott Emory Moore, Ph.D., APRN, AGPCNP-BC is an assistant professor at the Frances Payne Bolton School of Nursing (FPBSON) at Case Western Reserve University (CWRU). He earned his doctorate from Clemson University where he had pre-doctoral training support as a Patricia G. Archbold Pre-doctoral Scholar for the National Hartford Center of Gerontological Nursing Excellence (2014-2016), and the Oliver Kent and Bettye C. Cecil Fellowship in Geriatrics and Genetics. He then completed post-doctoral training  funded by the National Institutes of Nursing Research T32 at FPBSON at CWRU. His program of research and scholarship focuses on improving quality of life and aging outcomes among marginalized populations with a specific focus on people living with HIV and sexual minorities. Dr. Moore’s clinical background as an Adult-Gerontological Primary Care Nurse Practitioner (AGPCNP-BC) has included care for vulnerable populations in rural and urban settings in the southeastern US. Additionally, his practice focused on providing affirming care for LGBTQ adults, and he continues to provide guest lectures for health professions students related to culturally-sensitive care for this population across settings. As an early career nurse scientist, Dr. Moore currently has ongoing research funding from the Center for AIDS Research examining symptom experiences among women who are living with HIV.

Adrianna Perez


Adrianna Perez, PhD, CRNP, ANP-BC, FAAN, FGSA, is an Assistant Professor and Senior Fellow, at the Leonard Davis Institute of Health Economics at the University of Pennsylvania, School of Nursing. As a current RCMAR Scientist at Penn’s Center for Improving Care Delivery for the Aging (CICADA), her research is focused on the influence of community level factors and resource utilization on the well-being of home dwelling, multi-ethnic older adults with dementia.

Karen Rose


Dr. Karen Rose is Professor and Director of the Center for Healthy Aging, Self-Management, and Complex Care at the College of Nursing at The Ohio State University. She received her BSN degree from Shenandoah University in Winchester, VA., her MSN from Virginia Commonwealth University in Richmond, VA., and her PhD from the University of Virginia.  She received both pre and post-doctoral funding through the John A. Hartford Foundation. Dr. Roses’ program of research is focused on interventions to support healthy aging, including those that enhance quality of life in persons with Alzheimer’s disease and related dementias and their family caregivers. She has received state, foundation, and federal extramural support from both the National Institute for Health and the National Science Foundation for her research. She has current funding from the National Science Foundation in which she co-leads a project that is using in-home technology monitoring to assess family caregiver and dementia care recipient communication dynamics and targeted approaches to decrease stress in these interpersonal relationships. She serves on the Editorial Boards of the Journal of Gerontological Nursing and Research in Gerontological Nursing.  Dr. Rose was inducted as a Fellow in the American Academy of Nursing in 2013, where she served as the co-convener for the Expert Panel on Aging from 2015-2018, and as a Fellow in the Gerontological Society of America in 2014, where she currently serves as the representative from the Health Sciences section on the Committee for Health Policy.

Tiffany Ricks


Dr. Ricks received her PhD in Nursing from the University of Texas at Austin in 2013. Her research interests are focused on health disparities and the health promotion experience of young African Americans over the life course. She currently works as a research scientist for the Seton Healthcare Family where she supports executive nurses, network nursing leaders, and nursing staff in developing relevant research, evidence-based practice, quality improvement, and process improvement initiatives. 

Lisa Skemp


Dr. Skemp currently serves as Professor and Department Chair of Health Systems,Leadership and Policy with Loyola University Chicago’s Marcella Niehoff School of Nursing.Dr. Skemp’s teaching expertise is in Qualitative Research (doctoral students from nursing, medicine, global health, social work and women’s studies), Community/Public Health Nursing, Global Health, and gerontology. She worked closely with Dr. Jean Wyman and team to develop the gerontological nurse educator competencies, and is currently the Chair of the NHCGNE Education Committee. This committee developed the application and review process for the Distinguished Educator in Gerontological Nursing Program.

Sandra Lee Spoelstra


Sandra Spoelstra is an Associate Professor in Kirkhof College of Nursing at Grand Valley State University and Adjunct at John Hopkins University and University of Toronto Schools of Nursing. Sandra is a PhD RN and Fellow in the American Academy of Nursing and Gerontological Society of America. Sandra is a behavioral scientist who designed, tested, and implemented aging and cancer interventions; and is NIH trained in both mHealth and Implementation Science as well as a John A. Hartford Change Agent and Scholar in Intervention Science. Sandra has completed over 40 clinical trials and disseminated broadly with 38 peer reviewed publications and 139 abstracts. She has influenced policy locally in Michigan Medicaid program and globally in Ireland where an interventions prompted use of advance practice nurses. Sandra is focused on education and training of the next generation of nurse scientist, pursue teaching excellence and finds mentorship to be the key, recently publishing two articles on effective mentor-mentee relationships.

Caroline Stephens


Dr. Stephens is an Associate Professor at the University of University of Utah College of Nursing. As a PhD-prepared Gerontological Nurse Practitioner and Geropsychiatric Advanced Practice Nurse, Dr. Stephens has strategically improved the health and health care of vulner­able older adults with complex physical and mental health needs. Her contributions include high impact, clinically-driven, interdisciplinary, policy-relevant research; leadership for geriatric health systems improvement; 15+ years of pioneering integrated clinical practice; and enriched nursing and interpro­fessional training in aging, dementia and mental health. She forges connections between and among these building blocks for change, strategically enhancing their impact. As a national expert and scholar in gerontological and geropsychiatric nurs­ing, she has authored book chapters in leading geriatric clinical medicine and award winning nursing health policy textbooks and given over 100 invited national and international clinical and research lectures, presentations and workshops. She has developed geropsychiatric nursing curricula for the AACN which have been disseminated nationally to all US schools of nursing. She has further taught several thousands of learners across the U.S., ranging from police officers and elder law attorneys, to all levels of interdisciplinary health professions students and practicing clinicians across universities, colleges and state and local community-based agencies. As a 2007-2009 NHCGNE Pat Archbold Building Academic Geriatric Nursing Capacity Predoctoral Scholar and 2010-2012 NHCGNE Claire M. Fagin/Atlantic Philanthropy Postdoctoral Fellow, Dr. Stephens is honored to serve as the Chair of the 2017 NHCGNE Leadership Conference.

Janiece L. Taylor


Janiece L. Taylor, Ph.D., RN is an Assistant Professor in the Johns Hopkins School of Nursing and principal faculty in the Johns Hopkins Center of Innovative Care in Aging. Her research focus is on identifying and addressing disparities in disability and pain outcomes among minorities and women as they age. Dr. Taylor received her MSN and PhD from the University of Texas at Austin School of Nursing. Her dissertation work focused on predictors of disability among older African American women with osteoarthritis, which was funded by NIH/NINR (1F131NR014399-01) and the National Hartford Center of Gerontological Nursing Excellence Scholars program.  She completed a two-year postdoctoral fellowship in the Johns Hopkins University Interdisciplinary Training Program in Biobehavioral Pain Research. Dr. Taylor also completed the Johns Hopkins Building Interdisciplinary Research Careers in Women’s Health (BIRCWH) K12 program. She is currently funded by the Robert Wood Johnson Harold Amos Medical Faculty Program and the Johns Hopkins Claude D. Pepper Older Americans Independence Center, to test an intervention addressing pain and depressive symptoms in older African American women with physical function limitations and frailty. 

Ramesh Vemuri


Dr. Vemuri is the Chief Officer of the Scientific Review Branch at the National Institutes of Health, where he is responsible for the over­sight and direction of the scientific review activi­ties assigned to NIA. His office serves as the NIA contact with the extramural community for grants, contracts, research programs as well as individual and institutional train­ing awards. As a Scientific Review Officer (SRO) he has orga­nized “Special Emphasis Panel” review meetings to evaluate the scientific merit of the applications submitted to NIA mainly in response to RFA. For the last ten years, he has overseen a team of professionals, providing guidance and ensuring that the applications are reviewed in a fair and equitable basis.

Mary K. Wakefield


Mary K. Wakefield PhD, RN, FAAN is a Visiting Professor at Georgetown University, Washington, D.C. and the University of Texas at Austin.  Prior to these positions, Dr. Wakefield was appointed by President Obama to the position of Deputy Secretary, the second most senior position in the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.  She was the first nurse to hold this position and the highest-ranking nurse in the U.S. Government.  She was responsible for overseeing management of HHS, a department with a $1 trillion budget and 80,000 employees. In addition, she led strategic Department-wide initiatives in key health policy areas, with particular focus on vulnerable populations.

Prior to this, President Obama appointed her to lead the $10 billion Health Resources and Services Administration. The first nurse in this position, she led program improvements to strengthen the health care workforce, build healthier communities, increase health equity, and provide health care services to geographically isolated, economically or medically vulnerable populations.  Dr. Wakefield’s public service career also includes over eight years working in the United States Senate.

Dr. Wakefield is a member of the National Academy of Medicine and a fellow in the American Academy of Nursing. She currently serves as the Co-Chair of the National Academy of Medicine’s Committee on the Future of Nursing, 2020-2030. 

Margaret I. Wallhagen


Dr. Wallhagen is a Professor of Gerontological Nursing and a Geriatric Nurse Practitioner in the School of Nursing, University of California San Francisco (UCSF), and Director of the UCSF John A. Hartford Center of Geriatric Nursing Excellence (HCGNE).As a researcher, educator and clinician committed to geriatric nursing, Dr. Wallhagen’s major contributions fall within three major areas: 1) understanding the demands experienced by caregivers; 2) documenting and minimizing the impact of hearing loss on older adults; and 3) supporting excellence in geriatric nursing. She has worked nationally and internationally on issues related to care giving, has served as PI on a longitudinal study exploring the experience of hearing impairment in older adults and their partners, and is currently PI for a study assessing the impact of integrating a concise, easily implemented hearing screening and education protocol in primary care. Additionally, she is interested in the impact of hearing loss on the provision of palliative care. As Director of the UCSF/HCGNE, Dr. Wallhagen works to achieve its mission to prepare a cadre of nurses with the expertise needed to meet the needs of the growing population of older adults.

Joan Weiss


Joan Weiss is an adult and gerontological nurse practitioner who serves as the Senior Advisor in the Division of Medicine and Dentistry at the Health Resources and Services Administration. She is the primary advisor to the Director on geriatrics-related issues and all phases of management responsibilities for the Division of Medicine and Dentistry. Her experience in interprofessional practice and education spans 30 years. She is the Designated Federal Official for the Federal Advisory Committee on Interdisciplinary Community-Based Linkages. She is the HRSA representative on the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ (HHS) Advisory Council on Alzheimer’s Disease Research, Care, and Services; the Family Caregiving Advisory Council; and the Grandparent Advisory Council. She also serves on HHS interagency workgroups on palliative care, elder justice, and caregiving. She advises on the development of performance measures for HRSA’s geriatrics education programs. She has served in many leadership positions at HRSA including Director of the Division of Public Health and Interdisciplinary Education and Acting Director of the Division of Nursing. She is the recipient of the 2015 Secretary’s Meritorious Group Award for taking important steps to find a cure and improve care for people with dementia. She is the recipient of the 2011 University of Pennsylvania School of Nursing Outstanding Nursing Alumni Award and numerous Public Health Service awards. She was inducted as a Fellow into the American Academy of Nursing in 2013. 

Keith E. Whitfield


Dr. Keith Whitfield is the Provost and Senior Vice President for Academic Affairs and a Professor of Psychology at Wayne State University. He received his B.A. degree in Psychology from the College of Santa Fe and M.A. and Ph.D. degrees in life span Developmental Psychology from Texas Tech University. He also completed post-doctoral work in quantitative genetics at the University of Colorado-Boulder. He has held positions at McNeese State University, Penn State University, and Duke University.

In his current role, he is responsible for faculty hiring, promotion and tenure, faculty development, and budget and policies relevant to the more than 2600 faculty and staff.  The deans of the 13 schools and colleges report to him. He is also responsible for student affairs including student success, curriculum, the dean of students, and housing for the more than 27,000 students.

Monique Williams


Dr. Monique Williams is a graduate of Washington University with an AB in Biology and French, MD, and MS in Clinical Investigation. She completed her residency and fellowship at Barnes-Jewish Hospital. She joined the faculty at Washington University School of Medicine. Williams was, a clinician Director of the African American Outreach Satellite at the Knight Alzheimer’s Disease Research Center until 2012. Williams served as Associate Professor and Interim Chief of the Division of Geriatrics and Palliative Care at Texas Tech University Health Science Center. She also served as the Director of Geriatric Outreach and Education at the Texas Tech Garrison Center on Aging. Her research focuses on minority aging, minority research participation, Alzheimer’s disease, bioethics, and health disparities. Williams served as the Washington University site PI for a study in collaboration with Tuskegee University improving dissemination of research results in minorities communities, enhancing cultural humility and awareness of bioethics for researchers, and defining facilitators of minority research participation.

She was appointed to the Gerontological Society of America Biological Sciences Executive Committee and Committee on Minority Issues in Gerontology.

Williams returned to St. Louis as medical director for VITAS Healthcare. Currently, she is a primary care physician at BJC Medical Group. She is involved in community, clergy, and health professional education and outreach.

Bo Xie


Bo Xie, PhD, is Professor in the School of Nursing and School of Information at the University of Texas at Austin. Her research focuses on aging, health informatics, and eHealth literacy interventions for older adults, reflecting her highly interdisciplinary training in medicine, psychology, and science and technology studies.