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Our Team

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.

Our Leadership


Laura N. Gitlin, PhD, FAAN, dean and distinguished university professor

 Laura N. Gitlin, PhD, FGSA, FAAN

Executive Director
Dean Emerita 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-agewell-headshotRose Ann DiMaria-Ghalili, PhD, RN, FASPEN, FAAN, FGSA

Senior Associate Dean for Research
Professor of Nursing
Doctoral Nursing Department, Nutrition Science Department, CNHP
Affiliated Faculty, School of Biomedical Engineering, Science, and Health Systems


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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Sokha Koeuth, MPH

Project Manager

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 headshot in front of a grey backgroundNicole Bouranis, PhD

Research Project Managerr

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.

Taylor Sivori, OTD, OTR/L

Research Project Manager

Taylor Sivori, OTD, OTR/L, is a research project manager at Drexel University’s College of Nursing and Health Professions. Sivori is involved in the advancement and coordination of evidence-based programs including the Tailored Activity Program (TAP) and Care of Older People in their Environment (COPE). For the WeCareAdvisor study, Sivori will be involved in recruitment, interviewing, data analysis and other administrative needs of the study. Prior to joining the AgeWell Collaboratory, she was a clinical research coordinator at Thomas Jefferson University’s Department of Occupational Therapy in the Autism Center of Excellence and has overseen multiple projects from ideation and development through implementation and dissemination.

Rachel Barnett HeadshotRachel Barnett

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

Project Coordinator

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.

nullZachary Hathaway

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).

AgeWell Collaboratory Student Advisory Committee

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.