Medical and Nursing Advisory Board

In our effort to develop the most comprehensive and conversational educational materials possible, based on current scientific research, ARARF has assembled a group of diverse professionals with a wide range of skills, knowledge, and expertise in Alzheimer’s disease, dementia, education, communications, and technology. We’ve gathered professionals who have dedicated their careers to researching, learning and teaching others about Alzheimer’s disease and dementia, as well as directly serving individuals with Alzheimer’s disease and their families. These award-winning nurses, doctors, university professors, scientists, researchers, and authors—most with PhDs—develop content, consult, and advise ARARF on the accuracy, relevance, and clarity of its educational caregiver guides.

Janet D. Allan, PhD, RN, FAAN
Ruth Covell, MD
Linda Davis, PhD, RN
Debra Fetherston MD, FACP
Mary Guerriero Austrom, PhD
Beverly Hall, PhD, RN, FAAN
Marcia K. Hall
Karen S. Kauffman, PhD, CRNP, BC
Sharon Lewis, PhD, RN, FAAN
Adrianne Dill Linton PhD, RN
Laura Martinez, PhD, RN
Melvina McCabe, MD
Brian D. Mulligan, MD
Edwin J. Olsen, MD, MBA, JD
Martha Pelaez, PhD
Linda R. Phillips, PhD, RN, FAAN
Dianna Shomaker, PhD, RN, FAAN
Barbara Smith, PhD, RN, FACSM, FAAN
Janet K. Specht, PhD, RN, FAAN
Wendy Wood, PhD, OTR/L, FAOTA
Lena Smith, PhD, MA, LBSW, LNHA


Janet D. Allan, PhD, RN, FAAN, is currently Dean and Professor at the University of Maryland School of Nursing. She received her BS degree from Skidmore College in Saratoga Springs, New York; her Master’s degree and certification as an Adult Nurse Practitioner form the University of California, San Francisco; and her PhD in Medical Anthropology from the University of California at Berkeley and San Francisco. She came to the University of Maryland from the University of Texas Health Science Center in San Antonio where she was Dean of the School of Nursing. Previously, she was a Full Professor in the School of Nursing at the University of Texas at Austin. In her national role, Dr. Allan represents the American Association of Colleges of Nursing on the Healthy People Curriculum Task Force (2004-2010) and serves as the AACN Maryland Grassroots liaison. She is currently a member of RWJ Advisory Council on the five-year project, “Prescription for Health.” She was recently appointed to the Advisory Board of the Institute for Health Protection and serves on Congressman Ben Cardin’s Health Advisory Committee.

Dr. Allan was Vice-Chair of the 15-member U.S. Preventive Services Task Force from 1998 to 2004. She served as the spokesperson for the Task Force when Tommy Thompson, Secretary of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, announced new federal recommendations on breast cancer screening and more recently was the major spokesperson for the Task Force’s obesity recommendations.

Dr. Allan is a past member of the Board of Directors of the American Academy of Nursing. Dr. Allan has been president of the National Organization of Nurse Practitioner Faculties and the Southern Nursing Research Society (SNRS). In 1996, she had a USPHS Primary Care Policy Fellowship. She has received numerous awards including the Nursing Excellence Award for Service to the profession from Nurseweek magazine, the NONPF Lifetime Achievement Award and the SNRS Researcher Award.

Dr. Allan is a nationally recognized scholar in the area of women’s health, specifically weight management among multi-ethnic populations of women. She has published more than 150 articles, book chapters and abstracts and currently serves on various editorial boards and panels.

Ruth Covell, MD, is Associate Dean for Programs and Policy for the School of Medicine and Clinical Professor of Family and Preventive Medicine. She has been very closely involved in the planning for the School of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences as well as the planning for the Pharmaceutical Sciences Building. Dr. Covell is responsible for the Introduction to the Health Care System Course which is required of 2nd year medical students. Students in the School of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences will also be enrolled in this course beginning in 2003-2004. Dr. Covell earned her undergraduate degree from Stanford University and her MD degree from the University of Chicago where she also completed a Residency in Medicine. Following completion of her residency, she served as a Medical Officer for the Division of Medical Care Administration, the Program Planning and Evaluation Office of the Surgeon General of the United States Public Health Service and the Office of the Assistant Secreatry for Planning and Evaluation of the Department of Health and Human Services. She joined the faculty at UCSD in 1970. She has been involved in numerous campus and university committees and task forces and on committees of state, local and national professional associations.

Linda Davis, PhD, RN, an expert in informal family caregiving for the elderly, is a Professor at the Duke School of Nursing (DUSON). A member of the NIH/NINR Study Section on Adults/Older Adults, Dr. Davis has led DUSON’s successful standing committee conducting faculty searches. As of July 1, 2006, Dr. Davis has been named the Ann Henshaw Gardiner Professor of Nursing. (Ann Henshaw Gardiner was the first faculty member appointed to the school, working closely with Dean Bessie Baker to create the beginnings of the Duke School of Nursing, which celebrated its 75th anniversary in 2006.) Before joining DUSON, Dr. Davis served 15 years as a Professor at the University of Alabama, Birmingham where she also held the positions of Associate Dean for Undergraduate Programs and Associate Dean for Research Affairs. Dr. Davis was a Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Nurse Faculty Fellow in Primary Care, which influenced and shaped her scholarship and research program around aging, chronic illness, and family caregiving in community-based settings. Her contributions to nursing science have been around issues of caregiver stress and coping with chronic illness. Dr. Davis is currently principal investigator for a 5-year, National Institute of Nursing Research funded, clinical trial of interventions designed to improve physical, psychological, social and economic outcomes for caregivers of elders with Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s disease. Dr. Davis has published more that 50 refereed papers and book chapters on conceptual and methodological issues around family caregiving. She is a manuscript reviewer for various nursing and interdisciplinary journals on topics related to families, chronic illness and caregiving across the lifespan and is a current member of the National Institutes of Health Study Section on Adults and Older Adults research. Dr. Davis received her PhD in Nursing from the University of Maryland in 1985.

Debra Fetherston, MD, FACP, Senior VP, Medical Education and Research, is board certified in Internal Medicine and Geriatrics. She is a Fellow of the American College of Physicians. She has written a chapter on Geriatric Medicine for Appleton and Lange publications in 1995 for their book Primary Care of Women. She has served on the faculty of Johns Hopkins University in the Division of Geriatrics and Gerontology (1988-1991). She was the Assistant Medical Director of Charlestown Retirement Community and Medical Center in Catonsville, MD (1989-1991). (A life care community which had over 2000 members at the time of her service). Her focus here included clinical care of residents; management of the extended care and assisted living facility; regular patient forums on education and Johns Hopkins University Medical Resident (PGY-1) education rotations in Geriatric Medicine. Over the last 15 years has been an active Instructor in Medicine at the University of Washington Medical School (providing medical student elective rotations in Geriatric and Internal Medicine) and Virginia Mason Medical Center in Seattle Washington providing educational opportunities for PGY-1 through PGY-3 residents.

Beverly Hall, PhD, RN, FAAN, is Professor Emeritus, University of Texas at Austin, School of Nursing. Previously, she was Professor and Chair, Department of Mental Health, Community, and Administrative Nursing, University of California, San Francisco. Dr. Hall is a psychiatric nurse and medical sociologist. She is the author of more than 70 articles and book chapters in the area of health, and has published 3 books: Mental Health and the Elderly, Surviving and Thriving After a Life Threatening Diagnosis, and The Art of Becoming a Nurse Healer. The latter book was awarded first place in the 2006 American Journal of Nursing Book of the Year Awards. Her professional work is aimed at maintaining mental, spiritual, and physical health in patients who have life threatening illnesses. She also presents classes, workshops, and public lectures on various topics of patient care, including human spirituality, caring, and human relationships.

Marcia K. Hall began her career with Sharp HealthCare in 1987 and has extensive experience in progressive hospital management. Prior to her appointment as CEO of Sharp Coronado in 1995, she served as Vice President of Quality and Clinical Systems for Sharp Memorial, Cabrillo, and Mary Birch Hospitals; as System Director of Surgical Care Services for all Sharp Hospitals; Associate Administrator of Sharp Cabrillo Hospital; Director of Pharmacy Services at Sharp Cabrillo Hospital; and Inpatient Pharmacy Supervisor at the University of California at San Diego (UCSD) Medical Center.

She received the TWIN Award (Tribute to Women in Industry) from the YWCA, a commendation award for “High Performing Team Building” from Sharp HealthCare, and a Superior Performance Award for “Quality of Management Skills” from UCSD. She has held adjunct/associate professorships with University of the Pacific and University of California at San Francisco Schools of Pharmacy. She is a Registered Pharmacist and graduate of Oregon State University.

Dr. Karen S. Kauffman is a board certified Gerontological Nurse Practitioner and President of Life Passages Care Consultants, Inc. She is also Associate Professor at the University of Maryland School of Nursing and serves as Chair of the Department of Family and Community Health. Formerly, Dr. Kauffman was Assistant Dean for Masters Studies and Program Director of Community/Public Health Nursing. With Life Passages Care Consultants, Dr. Kauffman provides long term care consultation for older adults and their families living in the community, most of whom are struggling with Alzheimer’s disease. She has extensive experience providing education about Alzheimer’s disease and related dementias to other long-term care professionals, including Judges in the Circuit, District, and Orphan’s Courts, elder law attorneys, financial planners, long term care insurance agents, and primary health care providers. She was named One of Maryland’s Top 100 Women for 2004 and Who’s Who Among Executives and Professionals for 2005.

As Associate Professor, Dr. Kauffman teaches Program Planning and Evaluation to Community/Public Health graduate students and Masters in Public Health (MPH) students and was selected to Who’s Who Among American Teachers. She is a member of the Work and Health Research Center, the first Center of Excellence at School of Nursing, and of the developing Center of Excellence in Palliative Care Across the Lifespan. She has numerous publications in national and international peer reviewed journals on older adult populations, including an article on Alzheimer’s disease and public policy. Dr. Kauffman was appointed by the Secretary of Maryland Department of Health and Mental Hygiene to serve on the Advisory Committee for Community Choice, a proposed mandated managed care program for all people in Maryland who are eligible for both Medicare and Medicaid.

Additionally, she is a Governor-appointed member of the State Advisory Council on Quality Care at the End of Life and has led the initiative to improve care for people with Alzheimer’s disease. From 2001 – 2003, Dr. Kauffman sat on the workgroup of the U.S. Senate Special Committee on Assisted Living representing the National Conference of Gerontological Nurse Practitioners. She is a member of several professional organizations, including the American Nurses Association, the American Public Health Association, the Gerontological Society of America, and the National Association of Professional Geriatric Care Managers. She sits on the State and National Boards of Directors of the Alzheimer’s Association. She earned her PhD in Nursing with emphases in Nursing, Gerontology and Sociology from the University of Pennsylvania in 1992. Dr. Kauffman is a caregiver for her mother with Alzheimer’s disease.

Sharon Lewis, PhD, RN, FAAN, is a Professor at the University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio, Texas in both the School of Nursing and in the Division of Geriatrics and Gerontology in the Department of Medicine. Dr. Lewis is also a Clinical Nurse Scientist at the Geriatric Research, Education, and Clinical Center, for the South Texas Veterans Healthcare System in San Antonio. She has conducted studies and written journal articles on subjects including blood, renal, and dialysis issues. She has also presented on topics such as stress and health problems faced by family caregivers of individuals with Alzheimer’s disease. Dr. Lewis has been recognized as a Distinguished Writer (1999-present) and Lecturer (1994-present) by Sigma Theta Tau and was a fellow with the American Academy of Nursing in 1992 among other honors. She received her PhD in Immunology/Pathology in 1985 and completed Postdoctoral work in Renal Immunopathology in 1987.

Adrianne Dill Linton, PhD, RN, is a Professor of Nursing at the University of Texas Health Center at San Antonio. She is committed to research in the management of behaviors in adults with dementia and has presented and published her findings extensively. Dr. Linton has served on the Advisory Board of the Alzheimer’s Association of San Antonio and has been awarded both the Dr. Rosemary Kerr McKevitt Memorial Research Award (1994) and the Army Nurse Corps Scholars Award (1995) for her work. She received her PhD at the University of Texas at Austin in 1989.

Laura Martinez, PhD, RN, is Associate Professor Emerita at the University of New Mexico College of Nursing. As Coordinator for the Collaborative Mexico/CON MSN Program she worked with thirty-seven faculty members from Universidad Autonoma Nacional de Mexico (UNAM), Universidad Autonoma de Estado de Morelos (UAEM), and Universidad Autonoma de Chihuahua (UACH). She provided on-site instruction and supervision of required coursework in Mexico at the three sites and planned, implemented, and evaluated the program, as well as translated articles, coursework, course syllabi, and other instructional materials and provided simultaneous translation for onsite courses. Dr. Martinez will contribute her expertise in Gerontology as a consultant to ARARF, in addition to coordinating Spanish translation services.

Melvina McCabe, MD, has been dedicated to medicine and furthering the field of Geriatric health for over 20 years. She currently serves as Chairperson of Geriatrics in the Department of Family Medicine in Albuquerque, New Mexico, Medical Director of the Horizon Health Care Center, and an Associate Professor at the University of New Mexico in Family Medicine/Geriatrics. Dr. McCabe is Director of the Geriatric Education Center, and was appointed by the Governor to serve on the NM Health Policy Commission. She is also a grant reviewer for the Alzheimer’s Association and an active member of the Association of American Indian Physicians, the American Geriatric Society and the American Medical Association. As an enrolled member of the Navajo Nation, Dr. McCabe has made major contributions to understanding health attitudes among elderly Native Americans through research, publications, and many lectures on subjects such as Alzheimer’s in general and in Native American populations, as well as diversity issues in health care. She received her Doctor of Medicine from the University of New Mexico School of Medicine in 1984 and has a Certificate of Added Qualifications in Geriatrics.

Brian D. Mulligan, MD, is an Assistant Professor of Radiology at the University of Illinois  School of Medicine in Chicago. Dr. Mulligan has been Board Certified in Diagnostic Radiology by The American Board of Radiology for 27 years. He has practiced the sub specialty of mammography for the past 10 years. Dr. Mulligan’s experience in the field of mammography includes multiple academic positions including Acting Director of Breast Imaging and Assistant Professor of Radiology at the University of Chicago, Director of Breast Imaging and lead radiologist at the Ellis Fischel Cancer Hospital at the University of Missouri in Colombia, Chief of Interventional Breast Procedures at Cook County Hospital, Chicago, and Chief of Angiography and Interventional Radiology at Westside Veteran’s Administration Hospital, Chicago. During this time Dr. Mulligan has developed a comprehensive mammographic teaching library which enabled him to educate other radiologists, medical students, residents, and technicians in the principles of mammography. He also presents a series of lectures annually to the residents in training at the University of Illinois to prepare them for their specialty board examinations. Dr. Mulligan has also been a guest lecturer at numerous conferences in both the United States and abroad that provide continuing medical education courses to physicians in practice. Dr. Mulligan also had a Private Practice of Family Medicine for 9 years. He received an MD from the Loyola University Stritch School of Medicine in 1972.

Edwin Olsen, MD, MBA, JD, has made major contributions to the field of medicine, specifically to the area of Gerontology, throughout his 30-year career. Areas of specialty include Geriatric psychiatry, health policy, and general adult psychiatry. He serves as Professor of Clinical Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences, Vice Chairman of the Department of Psychiatry, Chief of the Division of Geriatric Psychiatry, and Associate Director for Education with the Center on Adult Development and Aging, among other roles at the University of Miami School of Medicine. He is also Chairman of the Department of Psychiatry with Mount Sinai Medical Center in Miami Beach, Director of a Miami Area Geriatric Education Center and Associate Chief of Staff at V.A. Medical Center Psychiatry Service. Dr. Olsen has lectured nationally and internationally, led funded research efforts, and published books and articles on a range of topics in the area of Gerontology. He is a member of the American Geriatrics Society and the Association for Gerontology in Higher Education and serves on the Editorial Board of the Gerontologic  Society of America. Dr. Olsen received his MD from the Ohio State University College of Medicine in 1968 and an MBA and JD from the University of Miami in 1995.

Martha Pelaez, PhD, recently retired as Regional Advisor on Aging and Health at the Pan American Health Organization/World Health Organization (PAHO/WHO). In this capacity, she pioneered a multi-country population study of older adults, developed a Latin American Academy of Medicine of Aging and implemented multiple health promotion programs in primary health care settings in Latin America. For many years prior to joining the World Health Organization, Dr. Pelaez headed the education and training activities of the Southeast Florida Center on Aging at Florida International University.

Throughout her 23-year career in the field of aging and health, Dr. Pelaez has served in leadership positions with a number of national and international organizations, including the National Council on Aging, the American Society on Aging, the National Hispanic Council on Aging, the International Association of Gerontology and Geriatrics and Help Age International. She now consults and volunteers with numerous local, national and international organizations. She has published numerous articles on Latin American and Caribbean aging and health and on ethics and aging.

Linda R. Phillips, PhD, RN, FAAN, is Professor and Audrienne H. Moseley Endowed Chair in Nursing, University of California at Los Angeles. She was formerly Professor of Nursing, Associate Dean of Research for the College of Nursing and Co-Director, Arizona Center on Aging at the University of Arizona, Tucson. She received her master’s degree from the University of Pittsburgh and her doctoral degree from the University of Arizona in 1980. Dr. Phillips has written about and conducted research on aging and taught courses in nursing and gerontology since 1982. Her research, which focuses on elder abuse, family caregiving for frail elders, and nursing interventions for frail elders with dementia, has been funded by the National Institute of Nursing Research, the National Institute of Aging and the Alzheimer’s Disease and Related Disorders Association. In the past years, she has been an invited member of a number of federal expert panels on aging including: the National Institute of Nursing Research Expert Panel on Long-term Care, the Agency for Health Care Policy and Research Panel on Dementia Screening, and the Agency for Health Care Research and Quality Panel on Community-based Long term Care. She is a Fellow in the American Academy of Nursing and the Gerontological Society of America as well as a Distinguished Practitioner in the National Academies of Practice.

Dianna Shomaker, PhD, RN, FAAN, is Professor Emerita of the University of New Mexico College of Nursing. Her expertise reflects a deep appreciation for and understanding of cross-cultural issues and an interest in translating culturally specific aspects of dementia and caregiving. Dr. Shomaker served as Director of the University of New Mexico (UNM) Graduate Centers at Santa Fe, Taos, and Los Alamos; Interim Associate Dean for Community Partnerships and Distance Education (UNM); and a Professor at the College of Nursing (UNM). She has been recognized extensively with fellowships, honors, and awards for outstanding achievements in nursing, research, and teaching. Dr. Shomaker is a Fellow of the American Academy of Nursing and a member of numerous professional organizations including the American Nurses Association and Sigma Theta Tau. She has written widely on the subjects of cross-cultural Gerontology. Dr. Shomaker received her PhD in Anthropology from the University of New Mexico and completed post-doctoral work in Geriatrics at the University of Birmingham, UK and the University of Warwick, UK.

Lena Smith, PhD, MA, LBSW, LNHA,has twenty-four years of experience working with seniors and an expertise in long-term care, dementia care programs and facility design. Lena’s experience has included direct medical social work, facility management, and program design for numerous facilities and levels of care within the long-term care continuum. Lena was the founder and managing partner for The Cottages of Albuquerque, New Mexico’s first specialty care facility for moderate and advanced dementia residents. This facility received the AHCA’s Quality Award and was the first assisted living facility in the country to have this distinction. Lena also teaches at the University of New Mexico and Webster University, Albuquerque, in the area of gerontology & family science. Lena’s dissertation research includes the topics of aging, dementia, coping strategies, agitation, quality of life, and spirituality. She has been asked to present on these topics for numerous organizations including the national Alzheimer’s Association, numerous state affiliates of the American Health Care Association, National Association of Professional Geriatric Case Managers, and The National Council on Aging and American Society on Aging joint conference.

Janet Specht, PhD, RN, FAAN, Associate Professor, University of Iowa College of Nursing. Dr. Specht’s research interests include practice models to promote professional nursing; diagnosis, interventions and outcomes for older persons with urinary incontinence; and care of persons with dementia and their families. Dr. Specht has a grant through the Administration on Aging and the Iowa Department of Elder Affairs for a demonstration project to increase access to, and use of community based dementia- specific services in rural Iowa. The proposed model includes the use of Nurse Care Managers to deliver direct services to persons with dementia and their caregivers, and a community development program to involve the community in identifying and developing needed services. The grant provides rich opportunities to increase services as well as influence policy at the state and national level.

Wendy Wood, PhD, OTR/L, FAOTA, received a Bachelor of Science in Occupational Therapy from Tufts University in 1975. Inspired by her clinical work with frail elders, she went on to earn a post-professional Master of Arts in Occupational Therapy in 1988 and a PhD in Occupational Science in 1995, from the University of Southern California. Her doctoral research investigated how the psychological being of zoo chimpanzees could be enriched by access to ‘chimpanzee occupations.

After completing her PhD, Dr. Wood joined the faculty in the Division of Occupational Science and Graduate Program in Occupational Therapy at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, where she remained for 9 years. While at UNC-Chapel Hill, her research increasingly focused on the everyday quality of life of older adults with dementia. In 2004, she became an Associate Editor of the American Journal of Occupational Therapy, a position she still holds. Also in 2004, Dr. Wood moved to New Mexico to take a position as Associate Professor in Occupational Therapy at the University of New Mexico, School of Medicine.

She has recently refashioned her career around three core commitments: clinical practice, research and writing. Toward these ends, Dr. Wood became a home health occupational therapist at Presbyterian Health System in March 2007. Also in 2007, she became a Research Associate Professor in the Center on Aging, Division of Geriatrics, within UNM’s School of Medicine. Dr. Wood has published extensively in the field, and continues to find writing one of her most rewarding occupations. In addition to her publications, she has extensively presented her work in occupational therapy, occupational science and gerontological conferences in the United States and internationally.

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