The AgeWell team‘s administrative core are leaders in the interdisciplinary field of aging and are dedicated to developing evidence-based programs, research, policy, and educational offerings to facilitate healthy aging. Our Student Network is composed of current students with a strong interest in working with older adults and thinking about the type of community in which they, themselves, want to age.
Laura N. Gitlin, PhD, FGSA, FAAN
Dean and Distinguished University Professor
Laura N. Gitlin, PhD, FGSA, FAAN, an applied research sociologist, is the dean of the College of Nursing and Health Professions at Drexel University. Gitlin is nationally and internationally recognized for her research on developing, evaluating and implementing novel home and community-based interventions that improve quality of life of persons with dementia and their family caregivers, enhance daily function of older adults with disability and address mental health disparities. She is a well-funded researcher, having received continuous research and training grants from federal agencies and private foundations for over 35 years.
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Rose Ann DiMaria-Ghalili, PhD, RN, CNSC, FASPEN, FAAN, FGSA
Professor of Nursing
Associate Dean for Interprofessional Research and Development
Doctoral Nursing Department, Nutrition Science Department, CNHP
Affiliated Faculty, School of Biomedical Engineering, Science, and Health Systems
Associate Dean for Interprofessional Research and Development, Professor
Rose Ann DiMaria-Ghalili, PhD, blends her passion for nursing, the older adult, and nutrition into a strong body of interdisciplinary research which impacts practice. DiMaria-Ghalili’s efforts are recognized nationally across disciplines (nursing, nutrition, medicine, and engineering) and contexts (research, practice, and policy). Her research focuses on the impact of nutrition and use of cutting-edge technology on recovery, quality of life, and health outcomes in older adults with acute and chronic conditions. Recognizing the need to improve the measurement of nutritional intake, DiMaria-Ghalili led a team of engineers on the research and development of a patented wireless device to track and monitor fluid intake. She is also a member of an interdisciplinary team of engineers and physicians developing and testing therapeutic ultrasound and diffuse correlational spectroscopy to monitor and treat chronic wounds. During 2007-2009 DiMaria-Ghalili was a Claire M. Fagin Fellow in the John A. Hartford Foundation Building Academic Geriatric Nursing Capacity program.
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Kate Clark, MPA
Director of Strategic Initiatives
Kate Clark, MPA, is director of Strategic Initiatives for Drexel University’s College of Nursing and Health Professions (CNHP) and the Associate Director of the AgeWell Collaboratory. In both of these positions, she leads the development and implementation of new efforts that align with the goals of the College and expand CNHP’s community-based partnerships. From 2008-2017 Clark was planner for Policy and Program Development at Philadelphia Corporation for Aging (PCA), where she worked to develop two nationally award-winning and replicated programs: Age-friendly Philadelphia and GenPhilly (Generation Appreciation Philadelphia). For this work she was awarded a 2018 Healthy Communities Innovator award by the Philadelphia Social Innovations Journal. Prior to moving to Philadelphia, she initiated and managed the City of Syracuse’s first public art program; directed the City of New York’s Historical Signs Program; and conducted research as a Fulbright Scholar on public-private partnerships and public space management. From 2013-14 Clark completed a Hartford/Atlantic Philanthropies Health and Aging Policy Fellowship, advising the Surgeon General of the United States on healthy aging issues related to the Affordable Care Act’s National Prevention Strategy.
Sokha Koeuth, MPH
Sokha Koeuth has more than 10 years of experience in higher education with extensive interprofessional and aging project experience. She began her career at the Jefferson Interprofessional Education Center working with faulty, students, and community volunteers living with chronic conditions and impairments at Thomas Jefferson University. She has first-hand experience with the coordination of building learning modules and debriefing experiences to improve communication and teamwork. Learning modules included but not limited to wellness history, home safety hazards, medication assessments and more.
From there she gained experience in planning, implementing and evaluating an evidence-based program such as New Ways for Better Days (Tailored Activity Program) for persons living with dementia and their caregiver and managed the annual Summer Research Institute on Behavioral Interventions at Johns Hopkins University. She continues to work closely with a wide variety of change agents to help older adults age in place.
Nicole Bouranis, PhD
Research Project Manager
Research Project Manager
Nicole Bouranis, PhD is a Research Project Manager at the AgeWell Collaboratory and oversees the WeCare Advisor study. She recently completed her Health Systems and Policy doctoral degree at the OHSU-PSU School of Public Health, where she identified strategies to improve dementia research participation in the Portland, OR area. In addition to study recruitment, her research interests include working with community members to design studies and materials that best fit their interests and needs.
Executive Assistant to the Dean
Rachel Barnett is the Executive Assistant to Dean Laura Gitlin for the College of Nursing and Health Professions (CNHP). In this role she assists with the administrative functions of all projects coming out of the Dean’s Office. Prior to joining the Dean’s office staff, she served as a Program Coordinator for CNHP’s Accelerated Career Entry (ACE) Bachelors of Science in Nursing Program. She holds a BA in Psychology from Chestnut Hill College in Philadelphia, PA.
Melinda Webster is the project coordinator for the AgeWell Collaboratory at Drexel University’s College of Nursing and Health Professions. Prior to joining the AgeWell Collaboratory, she was a clinical research coordinator for the Department of Neurology in Drexel University’s College of Medicine. She brings a wealth of experience in working directly with persons with dementia, their caregivers and families in a clinical setting—particularly in managing industry-sponsored clinical trials and conducting neuropsychological batteries for studies. During this time, she gained firsthand insight into the daily struggles and questions persons with dementia and their families experience in attempting to navigate education, resources and healthcare while acclimating to their new “normal.” In addition to her professional experience, while achieving her Bachelor of Science in Psychology from Drexel University, she worked with Philadelphia’s homeless veteran community to conduct suicide risk assessments and interventions. She continues to aim to improve quality of life and overall wellbeing in diverse, underserved populations with her work.
Elizabeth Yutzey, MFA
Elizabeth Yutzey is the research assistant for the AgeWell Collaboratory at Drexel University College of Nursing and Health Professions. She holds an MFA in Dance Science from Trinity Laban Conservatoire of Music and Dance (London, England), where she specialized in the physiological, biomechanical and psychological aspects of dance, including the impact of dance for non-dance populations, such as older adults. Yutzey has engaged in a range of research projects including “The Evaluation of Gender-Specific Dance Classes;” “Making Music: The Physical and Mental Demands of Practicing and Performing;” and her own research, “A Mixed-Methods Analysis of Existing Creativity Measures.” While at Trinity Laban, Yutzey experienced community dance programs for various populations, such as older adults and adults with Parkinson’s disease. This involvement sparked her interest in pursuing research on aging populations. Additionally, Yutzey is the chair for the International Association for Dance Medicine and Science Student committee, and a member of One Dance UK and the National Institute for Dance Medicine and Science.
Project Manager, Interprofessional and Collaborative Research
Zach Hathaway is a Project Manager for Interprofessional and Collaborative Research in the College of Nursing and Health Professions at Drexel University, assisting in coordination and administrative functions of the AgeWell Collaboratory, and the Cell2Soceity Aging Research Network. In addition to managing and coordinating efforts for a variety of interdisciplinary research projects, he currently serves as a member of the Drexel University Institutional Review Board. Prior to joining the staff, he served for over two years as an IRB Coordinator in the Drexel University Office of Research & Innovation and is a Certified IRB Professional (CIP).
Maria Dellapina, MS
Maria Dellapina, MS, is a research assistant for the Dean of the College of Nursing and Health Professions and the AgeWell Collaboratory. As a research assistant, Dellapina bolsters the forward movement of grants supporting the well-being of older adults and their caregivers. Prior to coming to Drexel, Dellapina directed evaluations at Local Matters, a non-profit in Columbus, Ohio focused on food education, access and advocacy. With a background in education, research and evaluation, she has experience engaging older adults through art therapy, cooking and community gardening. Dellapina holds a Master of Science in Environmental Studies with a concentration in environmental education from Antioch University New England and a Bachelor of Science in Biology from Miami University in Oxford, OH.
The AgeWell Collaboratory at the College of Nursing and Health Professions, Drexel University is recruiting students from all disciplines and colleges to serve on a student advisory committee. Appointments are for a one-year period. Dr. Laura N. Gitlin, dean of the College of Nursing and Health Professions (CNHP), established the AgeWell Collaboratory in 2018 as a center without walls to house Drexel’s aging activities that bring together faculty, students, researchers, clinicians and community-based organizations to innovate around aging issues.
The AgeWell Student Advisory Committee emerged to engage with Drexel students and build interest in aging through education, research and community engagement. In addition to providing leadership experience, students who join the Student Advisory Committee will have the opportunity to:
- provide feedback on student offerings presented by the AgeWell Collaboratory.
- brainstorm new ideas for student engagement.
- participate in the quarterly AgeWell Organizational Partner Meetings, including:
- networking with faculty and other community-based organizations engaged in health aging work.
- reporting on student interests.
- offering feedback on projects presented by faculty, staff and organizational partners.
- advise on college and university efforts, such as future CNHP curriculum, research and practice in aging, and the Age-friendly Drexel initiative
- work on projects related to student offerings such as: promoting events, representing the AgeWell Collaboratory at campus gatherings, visiting classrooms to promote aging work or intensive courses abroad, etc.
In order to serve on the AgeWell Student Advisory Committee, you must be currently enrolled as an undergraduate, graduate, online or on-campus student. Additionally, members of the committee should be able to commit to one 1-hr meeting per month (either in person or zoom) and to attending AgeWell Collaboratory quarterly organizational partner meetings and events. Our first meeting is October 6, 2020 from 8:30–10:00 a.m. (most likely online; if you cannot attend due to your class schedule we will send you the recording to review).
Additional benefits of being a Student Advisory Committee member:
- Add your experiences to your resume or curriculum vitae.
- Learn real-world transferable skills.
- Learn how to problem solve among student ambassadors with different career goals and backgrounds.
- Gain knowledge and understand how to navigate university operations.
For more information, please refer to our Dragon link.