Skip to content

Our Committees

We’ve established seven working committees (and a Steering Committee) to represent the various stakeholders in and around nursing home life. 

We’re also building a network of passionate advocates, subject matter experts, residents, and family members. We’re working to build a community that can collaborate to develop, test and promote solutions along with our core committees.

Committee Work: A Four-Phased Approach

Committee work spans four phases – from identifying priority initiatives to testing action plans in partnership with Nursing Home providers and/or policymakers over the next two years.

Co-Chairs & Members

Our committees represent diverse stakeholders in nursing home life, work, and policy. In fact, each committee includes nursing home residents and Certified Nursing Assistants (CNAs), operators, administrators, policymakers, advocates, researchers and other subject matter experts. We spoke with over 250 individuals from more than 50 organizations nationwide to build a Coalition of a variety of perspectives, backgrounds, and areas of expertise.

Each committee is led by co-chairs, selected with input from national leaders in aging. Expand the committee tabs below to learn more.

Our Steering Committee – which includes many of the experts, practitioners and advocates who helped write the NASEM report – will bring context, continuity, and leadership to the Coalition’s work. The Steering Committee will help guide the direction of the Coalition, consult with its members on challenges and best practices, and assist in the promotion of its vision and action plans.

Most important, the Steering Committee will develop a sense of shared purpose across the Coalition and ensure that the work of the seven committees is unified and mutually reinforcing. Along with one co-chair from each committee, the steering committee will also include nine members-at large:

Barbara Bowers

Barbara Bowers

Chair, Advancing Excellence in Long Term Care Collaborative

Holly Harmon

Holly Harmon

Sr. Vice President, Quality, Regulatory & Clinical Services, American Health Care Association

Christopher Laxton

Christopher Laxton

Independent Consultant, Aging Services

Anne Montgomery

Anne Montgomery

Principal, AHM Enterprises

Tina Sandri

Tina Sandri

CEO, Forest Hills of DC

Deke Cateau

Deke Cateau

CEO, A.G. Rhodes

Ruth Katz

Ruth Katz

Senior Vice President of Public Policy/Advocacy, LeadingAge

Lori Porter

Lori Porter

Cofounder & CEO, NAHCACNA

Lori Smetanka

Lori Smetanka

Executive Director, National Consumer Voice for Quality Long-Term Care

Jeanette Sullivan-Martinez

Jeanette Sullivan-Martinez

President Emeritus, Connecticut Coalition of Resident Council Presidents

Milta Oyola Little

Milta Oyola Little

AMDA – The Society for Post-Acute and Long-Term Care Medicine

Margaret Barajas

Margaret Barajas

Pennsylvania Ombudsman for Long-Term Care

Alena Goergen

Alena Goergen

Director of Nursing, Miller Pointe

NASEM Goal: Deliver comprehensive, person-centered, equitable care that ensures residents’ health, quality of life, and safety; promotes autonomy; and manages risks.

Committee Co-Chairs

Susan Ryan

Susan Ryan

Senior Director, The Green House Project

Penny Cook

Penny Cook

Former President & CEO, The Pioneer Network

Tetyana Shippee

Tetyana Shippee

Associate Professor, University of Minnesota School of Public Health

Committee Members

Christina Ramsey

Gerontological Nurse Practitioner, GAPNA
Owner/Operator, CE Ramsey Resources, LLC

Laci J. Cornelison

PEAK 2.0 Coordinator, Kansas State University Center on Aging

Tonya Roberts

Associate Professor and Karen Frick Pridham Professor in Family-Centered Care, University of Wisconsin – Madison, School of Nursing

Peter J. Illig

CEO, National Certification Council for Activity Professionals

Barry Barkan

Co-Founder, Live Oak Project

Charelle Barber

Human Resources Executive Assistant, AG Rhodes

Anna Fisher

Director-Education & Quality, Hillcrest Health Services

Julie Britton

Senior Clinical Officer, Genesis HealthCare

Charles P. Sabatino

Aging and Law Consultant

Jennie Chin Hansen

Independent Consultant, former CEO, American Geriatrics Society

Megan Hakanson

Student, University of Minnesota

Sacasha Brown

Senior Director of Health Services, East Ridge Retirement Village Inc

Mary Lou Ciolfi

Senior Program Manager, University of Maine Center on Aging

Nancy Kusmaul

Associate Professor, University of Maryland Baltimore County School of Social Work

Liza Behrens

Assistant Professor, Ross and Carol Nese College of Nursing, Penn State University

Rachel Broudy

Lead Faculty Eldercare, Ariadne Labs

Jamie Sanford

Administrator, Aldersbridge Communities

Kealohaku’ualohaku’upoki’i “Poki’i” Balaz

Kōkua Kalihi Valley Comprehensive Family Services Health Center, DNP Geriatric and Memory Clinic; Board Member, Alzheimer’s Association

Caroline Madrigal

Nurse Scientist, VA Boston Healthcare System Geriatrics & Extended Care

Addie M. Abushousheh

Organizational & Environmental Gerontologist, Research Associate, The Center for Health Design

Paige Yontz

State Advocacy Manager, AARP Iowa

Acacia Herndon

Nurse, Medstar Southern Maryland Hospital

Michael K. Lin

Senior Scientist, Telligen

Alisa Tagg

Association Director, The National Association for Activity Professionals (NAAP)

NASEM Goal: Ensure a well-prepared, empowered, and appropriately compensated workforce.

Committee Co-Chairs

Jasmine Travers

Jasmine Travers

Assistant Professor, New York University Rory Meyers College of Nursing

Kezia Scales

Kezia Scales

Senior Director of Policy Research, PHI

Committee Members

Marissa Bergh

Graduate Student, NYU Meyers College of Nursing

Joan Weiss

Deputy Director, Division of Medicine and Dentistry, Health Resources and Services Administration

Nicole Howell

Health and Aging Policy Fellows

Dennis Short

Senior Policy Analyst, 1199SEIU United Healthcare Workers East

Sam Brooks

Director, Public Policy, The National Consumer Voice for Quality Long-Term Care

Corinne Eldridge

President & CEO, Center for Caregiver Advancement

Elizabeth White

Assistant Professor of Health Services, Policy, and Practice, Brown University School of Public Health

Susan Mullaney

Vice President, Center for Clinician Advancement, United Health Group

Margarite Grootjes

Nursing Home Resident, Ohio

Faith Wiggins

Director – Long Term Care, Community Based Organizations and Pharmacy Sectors, 1199SEIU Training and Employment Funds

Jennifer L. Smeltzer

Nursing Home Administrator, Marquis Mill Park

Hannah Maxey

Associate Professor and Director, Indiana University Bowen Center for Health Workforce Research and Policy

Deanna Duffey

Director of Nursing Assistants, Redstone Highlands

Michelle Dionne-Vahalik

Associate Commissioner for Long Term Care Regulation, Texas Health and Human Services

Dana Ritchie

Associate Vice President of Constituency Services & Workforce, American Health Care Association

NASEM Goal: Increase the transparency and accountability of finances, operations, and ownership.

Committee Co-Chairs

Joe Angelelli

Joe Angelelli

Senior Advisor, UPMC Center for Social Impact, UPMC Health Plan

Nicholas Castle

Nicholas Castle

Professor, West Virginia University

Committee Members

Lizett Leandro

Director of Clinical Services & Quality, Episcopal Communities and Services Member, National Association of Hispanic Nurses

Claudia Balog

Lead Researcher, 1199SEIU United Healthcare Workers East Maryland/DC

Michael Wasserman

Chair, Public Policy Committee,
California Association of Long Term Care Medicine

James McGregor

Director of Research, 1199SEIU United Healthcare Workers East

Martin D. Allen

Vice President, Reimbursement,
ProMedica Senior Care

Eric Carlson

Director, Long-Term Services and Supports Advocacy, Justice in Aging

Jeff Jerebker

Co-Founder, Live Oak Project
BOD Member, Kallimos Communities
BOD Member, Hover Senior Living (CCRC)

Mary Kaschak

CEO, Long-Term Quality Alliance & National MLTSS Health Plan Association

Cheryl Phillips

Senior Program Consultant, The John A. Hartford Foundation

Stephen J. Shields

CEO, Action Pact Holdings

David G. Wolf

Professor & Program Coordinator, Healthcare Management, Lynn
University – College of Business & Management

Nancy D. Zionts

Chief Operating Officer and Chief Program Officer, Jewish Healthcare Foundation

Mark Aaron Unruh

Associate Professor, Division of Health Policy and Economics, Weill Cornell Medical College

Betsy Rust

EVR Advisory; Retired Partner, Plante Moran, PLLC

Charlie Galligan

Private Investigator & Caregiver, Essential Caregiver Movement

Bobbie Gray

VP Care Communities, Presbyterian SeniorCare Network


NASEM Goal: Create a more rational and robust financing system.

Committee Co-Chairs

David Grabowski

David Grabowski

Professor of Health Care Policy, Harvard Medical School

Marc Cohen

Marc Cohen

Co-Director, LeadingAge LTSS Center @UMass Boston Research Director,
Community Catalyst

Committee Members

R. Tamara Konetzka

Louis Block Professor, The University of Chicago, Department of Public Health Sciences | Department of Medicine

Suzanne E. Messenger

WV State Long-term Care Ombudsman, NASOP

Diane Carter

Founder and Previous CEO, American Association of Post-Acute Care Nursing

Joanne Lynn

Health and Aging Policy Fellow Clinical Professor of Geriatrics and Palliative Care, The George Washington University

Nora Super

CEO, NS Ideas, LLC

Paul Saucier

Director, Office of Aging and Disability Services, Maine DHHS

Ramona Souza

Resident, Linn Health & Rehabilitation

Mary K. Ousley

Chief Strategy Officer, PruittHealth

Richard Gamache

CEO, Aldersbridge Communities

Rachel M. Werner

Professor of Medicine and Executive Director, Leonard Davis Institute of Health Economics, University of Pennsylvania

Sheena Bumpas

CNA, Vice-Chair, NAHCA Board of Directors

Dave Sneddon

Licensed Nursing Home Administrator

NASEM Goal: Design a more effective and responsive system of quality assurance.

Committee Co-Chairs

David Stevenson

David Stevenson

Professor, Vanderbilt University School of Medicine

Douglas Pace

Douglas Pace

Senior Director, Long-Term & Community-Based Care, Alzheimer’s Association

Committee Members

Edward Mortimore

Consultant, formerly with CMS

Joanne Rader

Co-founder, Pioneer Network Member, Live Oak Project

Marilyn Rantz

Curators’ Professor Emerita, MU Sinclair School of Nursing

April Diaz

Vice President, Clinical Services, Marquis Companies

Rowena Sheppard

CNA, Member, NAHCA

Kathy Bradley

Founder and CEO, Our Mother’s Voice

Beverley Laubert

National Ombudsman Program Coordinator, Administration for Community Living (ACL)

Jane C. Pederson

Chief Medical Quality Officer, Stratis Health

Sharon Wilson

Chief Clinical and Compliance Officer, Cassia

Merle Houston

Nursing Home Resident, A.G. Rhodes Cobb

Heidi W. Steinecker

Global Healthcare Epidemiology DrPH Candidate, Medical College of Wisconsin & Associate Director of Public Health Government Consulting, EY

Alex Federman

Professor of Medicine, Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai

C. Lynn Ruppersberger-Swisher

Senior Health Care Consultant, Saxton & Stump

Shannon Gadd

Senior Director, Collaborative Safety, LLC

Hawley Hunt, MBA, MHA

LNHA Director, Regulatory and Quality Services, American Health Care Association

NASEM Goal: Expand and enhance quality measurement and continuous quality improvement.

Committee Co-Chairs

Tara McMullen

Tara McMullen

Adjunct Faculty, Georgetown University Master’s of Aging and Science Program

Anna Fisher

Anna Fisher

Doctorate in Health Administration,
Certified Dementia Care Practitioner,
QAPI Certified Professional

Committee Members

Ione Ashworth

Resident, Cedarburg Health Services

Joseph E. Gaugler

Robert L. Kane Endowed Chair in Long-Term Care & Aging, Professor, University of Minnesota, School of Public Health

Ann M. Kolanowski

Professor Emerita, Penn State, Ross and Carol Nese College of Nursing

Kim Bergen-Jackson

Administrator, Oaknoll Retirement Residence; Adjunct Assistant Professor, University of Iowa, College of Nursing and School of Social Work

Mairead Painter

Connecticut State Long-Term Care Ombudsman First Vice President, NASOP

Adrianna Nava

President, National Association of Hispanic Nurses

Jordi Luke (they & he)

CEO, Haus of Transcendent

Greg Arling

Professor, Purdue University, School of Nursing

Amelia Smith

Graduate, Masters in Aging and Health, Georgetown University

Christine Mueller (she/her)

Professor, University of Minnesota, School of Nursing

Kate McEvoy

Executive Director, National Association of Medicaid Directors

Peter Yearwood

Reality Poets Manager & Co-Producer of Fire Through Dry Grass, OPEN DOORS

Karren Ganschinietz

CNA, NAHCA Board of Directors

Mamata Yanamadala

Assistant Professor, Duke University School of Medicine

Cecilia Y. Cai

Medical Director, FutureCare Health and Adjunct Faculty, Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine

Christine E. Bishop

Atran Foundation Professor of Economics, Brandeis University Heller School for Social Policy and Management

Crystal Bowens

Vice President, Regulatory & Clinical Services, American Health Care Association

NASEM Goal: Adopt health information technology in all nursing homes.

Committee Co-Chairs

Terrence O'Malley

Terrence O’Malley

Corresponding Faculty, Harvard Medical School

Gregory Alexander

Gregory Alexander

Helen Young Alumni Professor, Columbia University

Committee Members

Cynthia Morton

Executive Vice President, National Association for the Support of Long-Term Care (NASL)

Maria D. Moen

Senior Vice President, Innovation & External Affairs, ADVault, Inc.

Peter B. Schuna

CEO, Pathway Health

Genice Hornberger

Director, Regulatory Affairs – Skilled Nursing, PointClickCare

Christina Caraballo

Vice President, Informatics, Healthcare Information and Management Systems Society

Robert “Bob” Latz

CIO, Trinity Rehab Services

Michelle Dougherty

Senior Manager, Health Information Technology Policy, Center for Health Informatics, RTI International;
Convener, LTPAC Health IT Collaborative

Aysha Kuhlor

Chief Clinical Advisor, Institute of Post-Acute Care

Lisa Morris

Executive Director of Clinical Services, Consana

Se Hee Min

Postdoctoral Research Fellow, Columbia University School of Nursing

Gesila Loquellano Koven

Director of Clinical Reimbursement, A.G. Rhodes

Emily Nelson

Vice President, Healthcare Transformation, MetaStar

We’ve encountered more enthusiasm and willingness to get involved – from residents to staff to policymakers – than we could have ever imagined. It’s been amazing! Over the next two years we will be promoting different ways to join, collaborate with, and support the Coalition.

Alena Goergen

Alena Goergen, RN-BC, BSN, CDONA, RAC-CT, is currently the Director of Nursing at Miller Pointe, where she has served in this capacity for over 13 years. She began her career in long-term care in high school as a Certified Nursing Assistant. In 2006, she received her BSN from University of Mary. Before returning to long-term care, she worked for four years in Neuro and General Surgery and Trauma at a Level 2 hospital, and was a PRN flight nurse as well. She currently serves as President of The National Association of Directors of Nursing Administration in Long Term Care’s North Dakota Chapter.

Margaret Barajas

In her role as the State Ombudsman, Margaret promotes and protects quality of life for older adults and individuals with disabilities across the continuum of long-term care communities, while engaging in systems advocacy to influence policies and laws that promote person-centered care.

She serves over 140,000 individuals receiving services in skilled nursing facilities, personal care homes, assisted living communities, older adult daily living centers, LIFE centers, and domiciliary care homes in PA.

Margaret brings over 30 years of experience in program development, constituent advocacy, and aging services to her position with the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania where she has served since 2015.

Milta Oyola Little

Dr. Milta Oyola Little, DO, CMD is an Associate Professor of Geriatric Medicine at Duke University. She joined the Duke Department of Medicine, Division of Geriatrics in 2019 from St. Louis University, where she completed her fellowship training and started her academic career. She has extensive experience in Post-Acute and Long-Term Care, including serving as attending physician in five skilled nursing facilities and as medical director for three nursing homes, an assisted living, a home care agency, and a hospice agency. She is the current medical director for The Forest at Duke Continuing Care Retirement Community and the North Carolina state medical director for Longevity Health Plan, an Institutional Special Needs Plan. Dr. Little is the current President for AMDA: The Society for Post-Acute and Long-Term Care Medicine (2023-2024) and is on the editorial board for the Journal of the American Medical Directors Association. Her primary scholarly interests are interprofessional education, deprescribing initiatives, and implementation of Dementia-Friendly and Age-Friendly Health System programs across settings of care.

Jeanette Sullivan-Martinez

Jeanette Sullivan-Martinez is President Emeritus of the Statewide Coalition of Presidents of Residents Councils of the State of Connecticut Long Term Care Ombudsman Program and served as President from 2014 to 2021, representing nursing home residents at State meetings. She has been President of the Residents Council of Pendleton Health and Rehabilitation Center since 2010.

Jeanette Sullivan-Martinez is a voice for nursing home residents and nursing home reform at state and federal legislative hearings and in interviews in local and national newspapers and on television programs including 1A on National Public Radio.

She has been a resident of Pendleton Health and Rehabilitation Center since 2008 and is the proud mother of three and a grandmother.

Anna Fisher

Anna Fisher serves as the Hillcrest Health Services education, quality, and regulatory expert for assisted living, memory care, adult day services, in-patient rehabilitation, outpatient therapy, home health care, private duty, telehealth, palliative, hospice, and skilled nursing care. Dr. Fisher is also an adjunct professor in the College of Arts and Sciences at Bellevue University, a board member of the Hillcrest Health Services Foundation, Bellevue Public Schools Foundation board member and officer, and producer of the WOWT-NBC television program series, Now What?, about elder care and dementia. She continues to serve as a Clinical Practice Committee member, Emergency Preparedness Committee member, and Quality Award Senior Examiner for the American Health Care Association (AHCA) and National Center of Assisted Living (NCAL). Dr. Fisher is Chair of the Omaha-Metropolitan Healthcare Coalition (OMHCC) Non-Hospital Healthcare Workgroup, the Nebraska Culture Change Coalition, and was recently appointed as a working group member of the National Advisory Committee on Seniors and Disasters (NACSD).​ 

Gregory Alexander

Dr. Alexander has a broad background in human factors, informatics, gerontology, patient safety and quality measures. Dr. Alexander is a Fulbright Scholar Ambassador. He is a Fellow in the American Academy of Nursing, American College of Medical Informatics, and International Academy of Health Sciences Informatics. He is currently completing a second national study assessing the impact of information system maturity on nursing home quality measurements. Dr. Alexander recently served on the national advisory council for AHRQ. He is the author of the first book for information technology implementation in long term care titled: An Introduction to Clinical Health Information Technology for Long Term/Post-Acute Care Healthcare, 2018.

Terrence O'Malley

Dr. O’Malley is a retired internist/geriatrician who specialized in the care of nursing home patients. He graduated from Amherst College and Cornell University Medical College. After completing his training in Primary Care Medicine at Massachusetts General Hospital, he joined the faculty at MGH and Harvard Medical School, where he provided clinical care, supervised trainees, and conducted research on improving transitions of care and the exchange of clinical information at transitions. Over the course of his career, he has provided medical care in nearly all settings from ICU to home, in the ED and primary care office. He has also been a medical director for a primary care practice, a hospice, a home health agency, a skilled nursing facility and a post-acute care network. As a result, he has acquired a deep understanding of the requirements of care across episodes involving multiple teams and sites.

He was a Lead on the Longitudinal Coordination of Care work group within the ONC S&I Framework which developed the data set which serves as the national standard for transitions of care and the exchange of longitudinal care plans, and a Lead on the eLTSS (electronic Long-Term Services and Supports) work group which developed standards for the exchange of an LTSS care plan. He recently served as a member of the NQF Care Coordination Steering Committee for the Care Coordination Measure Endorsement Maintenance and co-chaired the USCDI Task Force as a member of the ONC HIT Advisory Committee. He currently serves on the Board of Directors of the Long-Term Quality Alliance, is a member of the LTPAC HIT Collaborative, and participates in PACIO, Gravity, and 360X. His current project is to develop a shared, semantically interoperable vocabulary for transitions of care across the care continuum.

Tara McMullen

Dr. Tara McMullen is the Associate Director for Opioid Safety for the Pain Management, Opioid Safety, and PDMP program in the Veterans Health Administration. Dr. McMullen also serves as an adjunct faculty for the Georgetown University Master’s in Aging and Health Program. Dr. McMullen is a gerontologist focused on quality measurement, policy, post-acute and long-term care, and staffing. Dr. McMullen was formerly the Technical Advisor for the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services leading the work focused on standardizing quality measures under the Improving Medicare Post-Acute Care Transformation Act of 2014 (the IMPACT Act), and a Presidential Management Fellow for the Veterans Health Administration under the National Opioid Initiative, Enterprise Opioid Strategy Team.

Kate McEvoy

Kate McEvoy is a program officer for the Milbank Memorial Fund. In this capacity, she leads the Fund’s state leadership programs and network and guides the Fund’s healthy aging work. Ms. McEvoy was previously director of health services in the Connecticut Department of Social Services, where she oversaw care delivery and payment reform work in Medicaid, CHIP, and long-term services and supports.

She is a former president and vice president of the National Association of Medicaid Directors Board of Directors and served on the steering committee of the Reforming States Group, the predecessor to the Milbank State Leadership Network. She also contributed to state health reform initiatives as assistant comptroller for the State of Connecticut.

An elder law attorney by training, Ms. McEvoy spent her early career working for a regional Agency on Aging and as a legislative liaison for the Connecticut Association of Area Agencies on Aging. She is a past chair of the Elder Law Section of the Connecticut Bar Association, is the author of a treatise on elder law, and led several major coalition-based projects around advance directives. She has a JD from the University of Connecticut School of Law and a BA in English and Economics from Oberlin College.

Douglas Pace

Doug Pace is the Senior Director of Long-Term & Community-Based Care with the Alzheimer’s Association. In this role, he provides strategic leadership in quality, person-centered dementia care in long-term and community-based care settings, including co-leading the development of the Association’s Dementia Care Practice Recommendations published in a special supplement of The Gerontologist. Previously, Doug was the Executive Director of the Advancing Excellence in Long-Term Care Collaborative (AELTCC). The AELTCC’s major initiative was the Advancing Excellence in America’s Nursing Home Campaign, a national campaign to improve the quality of life and quality of care for the country’s 1.5 million nursing home residents. Prior to AELTCC, Doug was the Executive Director of the Long-Term Quality Alliance (LTQA). Before joining the LTQA, Doug was the Director of the Long-Term Care Solution Campaign at Leading Age in Washington, DC. He returned to LeadingAge in March 2008 after 18 months as the Executive Director of the National Commission for Quality Long-Term Care at The New School in New York, NY. Before joining the Commission, Doug was the Vice-President for Culture Transformation and the Director of Assisted Living and Continuing Care with LeadingAge. Prior to joining AAHSA in June of 2001, Doug was the President of LeadingAge Tennessee in Nashville, TN. He is a licensed Nursing Home Administrator who ran a 210 bed multi-level facility including a SNF, NF, a secured Alzheimer’s unit and assisted living before joining LeadingAge TN.

David Stevenson

David G. Stevenson, Ph.D. is currently a professor of health policy in the Department of Health Policy at Vanderbilt University School of Medicine. Dr. Stevenson’s primary research interests are long-term care and end-of-life care. His previous work has focused on a broad range of topics in these areas, including the evolution of Medicare’s hospice benefit, the role of ownership in the provision of resident and patient care, and quality assurance in the nursing home and hospice sectors. Dr. Stevenson received a B.A. from Oberlin College, a S.M. in health policy and management from the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, and a Ph.D. in health policy from Harvard University. His previous faculty appointment was in the Department of Health Care Policy at Harvard Medical School. 

Marc Cohen

Marc A. Cohen, Ph.D. is a Professor of Gerontology at UMass Boston.  In his role at UMass, Dr. Cohen is the Co-Director of the LeadingAge LTSS Center @UMass Boston and he also serves as a Research Director at the Center for Consumer Engagement in Health Innovation at  Community Catalyst.  Prior to joining UMass in the fall of 2016, Dr. Cohen served as the Chief Research and Development Officer and former President and co-founder of LifePlans, Inc., a long-term  care research and risk management company.

Over his career, Dr. Cohen  has conducted extensive research on public policy issues affecting the financing and delivery of long-term care services (LTSS).  He has testified before Congress, the Bipartisan Policy Center, and other organizations, served on Governor Patrick’s Task Force on LTSS Financing for Massachusetts, was a Steering Committee member of the  Long-Term Care Financing Collaborative, and served as a Chair for a National Academy of Social Insurance Study panel on Designing State-Based Social Insurance for LTSS. More recently he has been examining ways to improve person-centered care, add services to senior housing, and address issues related to caring for individuals dually eligible for Medicaid and Medicare.

Over the years, his work has been quoted extensively and he has been interviewed by the New York Times, Wall Street Journal and Time Magazine as a thought-leader on elder care financing issues. Dr. Cohen received his Ph.D. from the Heller School at Brandeis University and his Master’s Degree from the Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University.

David Grabowski

David Grabowski is a professor of health care policy at Harvard Medical School where he studies long-term care and post-acute care. He has published over 200 peer-reviewed studies. He is a current member of the Medicare Payment Advisory Commission (MedPAC). He has also served on several CMS Technical Expert Panels, and he was a member of the CMS Nursing Home Coronavirus Commission. He has testified to the US Congress four times. Recently, he was a member of the National Academies Sciences Engineering and Medicine (NASEM) committee that recommended a series of nursing home reforms.

Nicholas Castle

Nicholas Castle PhD, M.H.A., FGSA, is a Professor at the University of West Virginia, in the Department of Health Policy & Management & Leadership. Dr. Castle’s research has examined the quality of long-term care settings (including, nursing homes, assisted living facilities, and elderly high rises). He currently has over 200 publications in peer-reviewed journals and has served as PI on 14 grant funded initiatives.

Much of Dr. Castle’s has specifically examined staffing issues in long-term care. This includes the impact of staffing levels, turnover, stability, agency staff use, and consistent assignment. As part of this research he has worked with numerous long-term-care facilities and workers and over the past 20 years has surveyed by mail, more than 50,000 long-term care facilities, 300,000 discharged residents, and has interviewed, face-to-face, more than 500 caregivers. His survey activities include working as the prime developer of the nursing homme and assisted living CoreQ surveys.

Dr. Castle serves on six journal editorial boards, including The Gerontologist, and is a Fellow of the Gerontological Society of America. Recently, he was appointed as the International Editor for The Gerontologist. As a result of his work on nursing home quality, Dr. Castle was awarded the American College of Health Care Administrators Long-Term Care Research of the year award (2001), the Public Health Service Award in (2011), and the GSA Brody Thought Leader award (2016).

Joe Angelelli

Joe Angelelli is a senior advisor for Age-Friendly Health and Well-Being in the UPMC Center for Social Impact. Dr. Angelelli is a gerontologist and health services researcher whose responsibilities including advising teams across UPMC in efforts to address social isolation and loneliness, housing stability, food security and workforce development. Dr. Angelelli has been a faculty member at Brown, Penn State, and Robert Morris, and has worked as the Pennsylvania State Director for the Paraprofessional Healthcare Institute (PHI) and the Director of Networking and Development for Pioneer Network, two national non-profits focused on transforming long-term services and supports.

Kezia Scales

Kezia Scales, PhD, is the Senior Director of Policy Research for PHI, a national organization committed to promoting quality direct care jobs as the foundation of quality long-term care for older adults and people with disabilities. In her role, Kezia leads PHI’s strategy for building the evidence base on policies and practices that improve direct care jobs, elevate this essential workforce, and strengthen care processes and outcomes. For more than a decade, Dr. Scales has been studying and advocating for person-centered, high-quality long-term care services with a focus on the direct care workforce.

Jasmine Travers

Jasmine L. Travers is an assistant professor of nursing at NYU Rory Meyers College of Nursing. Her career is dedicated to designing and conducting research to improve health outcomes and reduce health disparities in vulnerable older adult groups using both quantitative and qualitative approaches. Her current work focuses on mitigating disparities in appropriate access and use of in-home and facility-based long-term care for older adults (i.e., home & community-based settings, nursing homes, and assisted living). Dr. Travers has published widely on the topics of aging, long-term care, health disparities, workforce diversity, vaccinations, and infections. She has presented her work at regional and national health services research, gerontological, nursing, and public health conferences and most recently sat on the National Academies of Science Engineering and Medicine Committee on the Quality of Care in Nursing Homes. 

Tetyana Shippee

Dr. Shippee is a social gerontologist with a Dual-Title PhD in Sociology and Gerontology. She is a tenured Associate Professor in the Division of Health Policy and Management at the University of Minnesota, School of Public Health, and Associate Director for Research at the Center for Healthy Aging and Innovation. She spent two years living in a long-term care facility to better understand factors that impact quality of life for older adults in long-term care settings. Her work aims to eliminate racial/ethnic disparities in access to and use of long-term services and supports and improve quality of life for older adults. She was recognized as the University of Minnesota President’s Community-Engaged Scholar for Public Health and has a broad network of community collaborators and partners, including the state chapter of MN Diverse Elders Coalition. She leads multi-million dollar projects to address equity and quality of life in long-term care, funded by the Agency for Healthcare Research Quality, the National Institutes of Health, MN Department of Human Services,and other funders. She was elected to serve on the advisory Board of the Gerontological Society of America (GSA) and is the Vice Chair-Elect of the GSA’s Section on Research, Policy and Practice.

Penny Cook

Penny is the President and CEO of Pioneer Network, a non-profit organization dedicated to changing the culture of aging and empowering a network of senior living and care communities by fostering person-directed practices and environments.  For 30 years Penny has provided education, training, and advocacy related to the care and support of older people. She worked with the Long-term Care Ombudsman Program in the Denver region, Telligen, the Quality Improvement Organization for Medicare beneficiaries in Colorado, and Colorado Access, a Colorado-based non-profit health plan. With Pioneer Network, she is working to fulfill her life-long goal of changing the culture of care and support for people as we all grow older. 

Susan Ryan

Susan Ryan serves as senior director of The Green House Project, leading the non-profit on its mission to fundamentally transform eldercare in America and around the world. As a member of the Green House team since 2008, Ryan has become an internationally recognized leader in long-term care reform – with a particular focus on the organization’s vision for small-home eldercare communities that provide person-directed alternatives to traditional nursing homes.

Lori Smetanka

Lori Smetanka is the Executive Director of the National Consumer Voice for Quality Long-Term Care, the leading national nonprofit advocacy organization representing consumers receiving long-term care and services in nursing homes, assisted living facilities, and home and community-based settings.  She is a nationally recognized expert on nursing home and long-term care policy and has a long history advocating with and on behalf of individuals receiving long-term care and services.  Lori has testified before Congress, served on numerous federal task forces and technical expert panels, and works closely with federal agencies on long-term care policy. For twelve years, she served as the Director of the National Long-Term Care Ombudsman Resource Center. 

Lori Porter

Lori Porter started her career in long term care in 1980 as a dietary aide then became a CNA, nursing home administrator, and an operations director. In 1995 she cofounded the National Association of Health Care Assistants (NAHCA), to honor and recognize CNAs and other frontline care providers who serve our nation’s frail, elderly and disabled. NAHCA has grown to a membership of more than 26,000 members nationwide and partners with more than 600 nursing facilities across the country. Lori is recognized within the senior housing industry as an innovative CNA workforce design leader.

Ruth Katz

Ruth Katz is Senior Vice President for Public Policy at LeadingAge, where she is responsible for leading strategy on public policy and advocacy to advance the nonprofit’s public policy agenda. She is driven to make the country a better place to grow old for all of us. She works with LeadingAge leadership, state affiliates, members, and other partners to solve policy challenges and find solutions that maximize deliver equitably, high quality services to older people. The policy office works on affordable housing, health care quality, managed and integrated care, survey and certification issues, elder justices and other important concerns.  Since the beginning of the pandemic, Ruth has led an outward facing, member-focused response with daily/biweekly Coronavirus Update Calls (each drawing 500 plus callers), direct technical assistance to members and state partners, a robust and successful advocacy program, and tools and resources for members.  Prior to joining LeadingAge, Ruth was a longtime senior executive at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) in the Office of the Assistant Secretary for Planning and Evaluation (ASPE).  As Associate Deputy Assistant Secretary, she led a group that focused on the development and execution of policy research and analysis for programs in aging, long term care and disability.  The Advisory Group for the National Alzheimer’s Project Act is led within this group.  Over many years, Ruth’s group initiated and led  programs, surveys, and initiatives, including serving as the initial lead on CLASS implementation (and the lead on its conclusion), the Cash and Counseling Demonstration (the first consumer directed long-term care program), the only nationally representative survey of CNAs, the caregiver supplement to the National Health and Aging Trends Survey, and the development of a model for estimating participation in and costs of long-term care reform proposals.

Deke Cateau

Deke Cateau is the Chief Executive Officer at A.G. Rhodes, a nonprofit organization providing therapy and rehabilitation services, short-term recovery, and long-term care at three metro Atlanta locations. Deke is responsible for an operating budget of approximately $45 million and approximately 500 employees. A.G. Rhodes accommodates more than 400 residents at any given time.

Deke has worked in the long-term care industry for more than 20 years. Prior to becoming the CEO, he served in various roles at A.G. Rhodes including Chief Operating Officer and Chief of Strategic Implementation, and he was the Administrator for seven years at the organization’s flagship location in Grant Park. Before working at A.G. Rhodes, Deke worked at Five Star Quality Care, Inc., a national senior living communities and services provider, where he served in many different capacities.

As a leader in the fields of health care and aging, Deke educates the community – through robust outreach and speaking engagements with local, national, and international audiences – about the complex issues surrounding aging and long-term care. In 2021, Deke published his first book: Brush Fire: COVID-19 and Our Nursing Homes, which quickly became an Amazon best seller. The book gives an open and honest account of the pandemic’s impact on A.G. Rhodes and on the nursing home industry as a whole. Dedicated to unsung health care heroes, Brush Fire is a book of inspiration and hope. Deke has also published previous articles on long-term care.

In addition to being a Licensed Nursing Home Administrator, Deke is a certified dementia care practitioner, trainer, and educator. He is also a recognized advisor to organizations and leaders on industry topics related to person-directed care, leadership, workforce development, strategic planning, and governance.

Deke serves on the Board of Directors for several organizations including LeadingAge, The Eden Alternative, Georgia Health Care Association, the I’m Still Here Foundation, and the Georgia Center for Nursing Excellence. He also serves on the member committee for the Advancing Excellence in Long-Term Care Collaborative and the Kaiser Permanente’s Executive Employer Advisory Council. He is a Leadership Atlanta class of 2019 graduate.

In 2021, the Georgia Health Care Association (GHCA) recognized Deke with its “Leadership in Public Confidence” award. In 2020, the Eden Alternative recognized Deke with its “Tenacious Leader” award, and in 2019, Deke was awarded LeadingAge Georgia’s “Award of Honor,” which is the association’s highest award presented to a distinguished individual who has provided outstanding leadership, exemplary service, and commitment to enhance the aging services field. Deke has also earned the American College of Health Care Administrators Facility Leadership Award, and the GHCA’s Leadership Excellence Award.

Deke holds a Bachelor’s degree in History and a Post Graduate Diploma in International Relations from the University of the West Indies St. Augustine Campus where he graduated as Valedictorian in 1997, and a certification in Global Leadership Development from the University of the Virgin Islands.

Tina Sandri

Tina Sandri, MHSA, LNHA, QCP, RYT-200 is CEO of Forest Hills of DC, a continuum of senior living services that has served residents for 135+ years, including assisted living, memory care, long- and short-stay skilled care, respite, and hospice care. Her healthcare career began when she volunteered in a nursing home and Howard Univ Hospital, a top HBCU, while in high school.  She has led in for-profit, non-profit, chain, and free-standing healthcare environments, to also include hospitals and CCRCs.  Sandri currently serves on the AHCA national Board of Governors.  She is the Immediate Past Chair of DCHCA, the DC affiliate of AHCA/NCAL, and has served on the Board of Leading Age DC.  She is currently pursuing her 500-hour certification as a yoga instructor and integrates her yoga practice into her leadership style. Past successes with her teams include achieving the 4th Magnet/Pathways to Excellence certified nursing home in the USA, introducing a robot to a senior living community that became a Time Magazine cover story about resident engagement, and being awarded global Ambassador of the Year by Aging2.0 for mentoring entrepreneurs at the intersection of aging and innovation. Her team’s person-centered approach to employee vaccinations has been featured on the front page of The New York Times, CNN, Becker’s Hospital Review, McKnight’s Senior Living, and Spain’s #1 Public TV broadcast station. Her passion for workforce solutions incorporates a mind/body/spirit approach to optimize resilient teams as we all make our way past the Covid-19 pandemic. A QAPI certified professional, she is focused on teaching positive process change management.  As an AIT preceptor, she has trained diverse leaders to become NHAs in senior living.  Her love for #OldPeopleAreCool is consistent with her cultural values as an Asian-American, as she was taught to always respect and care for her elders anywhere and everywhere.  Sandri’s personal and professional mission is to do good, create abundance, and have some fun along the way.

Anne Montgomery

Anne Montgomery, Principal, AHM Enterprises, is an experienced health care analyst and quality improvement researcher. Ms. Montgomery has extensive experience at the national level working in the legislative branch, including the House Ways & Means Committee, the Senate Special Committee on Aging, and the Government Accountability Office. She specializes in long-term care and eldercare, and has variously led research projects, written federal legislation and published articles on PACE, nursing homes, the Aging Network, health information technology and more. Ms. Montgomery serves on various national commissions and enjoys providing strategic advice to individuals and organizations who are aiming to help the U.S. health care system adapt to meet the challenges of a large, long-lived population that needs both medical and person-centered long-term care.

Christopher Laxton

Christopher Laxton is a career association professional with over 40 years of experience in healthcare nonprofit leadership, governance, and strategy.  Mr. Laxton was appointed Executive Director of AMDA – The Society for Post-Acute and Long-Term Care Medicine (AMDA) in February 2013, a post he retired from in May 2023. 

Mr. Laxton serves as Vice-Chair of the Center for Excellence in Assisted Living, a program of the University of North Carolina (CEAL@UNC), and is a past Chair of the Advancing Excellence in Long-Term Care Collaborative, where he continues to be active.  He is a consultant on the CDC-funded AMDA Moving Needles immunization project.

From 2008 until 2019, Laxton served as a National Examiner for the Malcolm Baldrige National Quality Award, the nation’s highest award for organizational performance excellence. He was designated a Master Examiner and appointed to the Judges’ Panel for the Baldrige Award in 2019 and completed his term as a Baldrige Judge in 2021. He now serves on the Board of Overseers for the American Health Care Association’s Baldrige-based National Quality Award.

Holly Harmon

Holly Harmon, RN, MBA, LNHA, FACHCA brings both passion and a wealth of practical, real-world, clinical and operational experience to her role as Senior Vice President, Quality, Regulatory & Clinical Services at American Health Care Association (AHCA). Her extensive service in a wide array of settings including post-acute care, long term care, residential care, assisted living, independent living, a psychiatric hospital and occupational health have provided her with insights, knowledge, skills and innovative ideas which she exuberantly shares with others.

At AHCA she oversees the quality, regulatory and clinical efforts. In this role, she has led AHCA’s national quality initiative that identified national priority goals and developed tools and resources for providers to achieve these goals.  She designed and launched AHCA’s  infection preventionist certificate program, that has trained over 4,000 individuals nationally. In addition, she coordinates the development of staff training modules in AHCA’s online learning management system, which includes training of over 200,000 individuals as temporary nurse assistants during the pandemic. She also led AHCA’s advocacy and feedback to CMS and CDC on how clinical guidance needs to pay attention to the resident’s quality of life.

In addition to her vast clinical experience, Ms. Harmon has put her dynamic energy into leading the statewide Maine Culture Change Coalition/LANE as President, the Maine Partnership to Improve Dementia Care in Nursing Homes as Co-Chair, Vice-President of American College of Health Care Administrators, Maine Chapter and the Maine LANE Co-Convener for the national Advancing Excellence in America’s Nursing Homes Campaign. She also served as the Director of Quality Improvement & Regulatory Affairs at the Maine Health Care Association.

She puts her boundless energy and warm and energetic personality into training, education and presenting both, nationally and locally. She has made simplifying the complex world of long term and post-acute care policy and practice an art.

Barbara Bowers

Barbara Bowers is current chair of the Advancing Excellence in Long Term Care Collaborative. She has been an educator and researcher in long-term care for over 30 years focusing on workforce development.  She has published articles related to workforce development, the impact of organizational design and public policy on long-term care quality, and culture change. Dr. Bowers has evaluated the implementation of Person First, the Wellspring Model, and the Green House programs.  She has served on multiple state and federal workgroups and TEPs related to workforce development and care quality initiatives across long term care settings.

Skip to content