National Collaboratory to Address Elder Mistreatment 2023–2024 Mentorship Program Cohort

About the Program

As the nation’s health system expands its focus on and commitment to improving care for the growing population of older adults, the National Collaboratory to Address Elder Mistreatment (NCAEM) recognizes that improving elder mistreatment identification, intervention, and prevention requires supporting people with a broad range of interests and careers. We are pleased to support this talent pipeline with the annual NCAEM Mentorship Program. Please feel free to contact us ( with questions, scroll down to meet the 2023–2024 NCAEM Mentorship Program Cohort, and meet our 2022–2023 cohort here

Meet the 2023–2024 NCAEM Mentorship Program Cohort

We are excited to welcome the new cohort of the NCAEM Mentorship Program. This year’s cohort is composed of professionals from a diverse array of clinical, practitioner, and research backgrounds who are dedicated to addressing elder mistreatment through their work.

Lauren Bangerter is a health service researcher and gerontologist. She currently serves as the director of the Health Economics and Aging Research Institute at MedStar Health. The goals of her research are to understand and optimize the experience of older adults as they transition from independence to a greater need for support and caregiving. Much of her work focuses on formal and informal care for people living with dementia. In the NCAEM Mentorship Program, Ms. Bangerter will expand this focus to address health care provider mistreatment of people living with dementia in the health care setting.

Lisa Boris is an LISW-S at the VA Healthcare System in Cleveland, Ohio. She has been a social worker for more than 25 years, practicing in multiple settings, and teaches social work part time at the University of Akron. She has worked at the VA in home-based primary care conducting home visits with veterans for five years. Ms. Boris is a member of the National Tiger Team Elder Abuse Committee as well as the Plans to Address Racism Committee with the Cleveland VA and chairs the book club within that committee.

Jaime Halaszynski, LCSW, is a clinical social worker at the Veterans Health Administration. She is the assistant chief of social work at the Butler VA Health Care System, a facility-based project assistant for the National Social Work in Patient Aligned Care Teams Staffing Program, and the lead of the National Social Work Elder Abuse Tiger Team. Ms. Halaszynski enjoys assisting veterans in aging with dignity and supporting the professional development of staff and students. 

Maurice Haskins, MSW, LCSW-C, is an experienced clinical social worker at Inova Fair Oaks Hospital’s Emergency Room and a 2022-2023 American Society on Aging RISE Fellow. Throughout his career, he has been committed to helping individuals and families navigate the complexities of the health care system while supporting them in dealing with the challenges of aging and illness. His extensive clinical experience across diverse health care settings and populations, such as in traumatic brain injury and Alzheimer’s disease, has equipped him with exceptional skills to offer comprehensive and compassionate services to patients, families, and communities. Mr. Haskins obtained his Bachelor of Sociology and Master of Social Work degrees from Morgan State University and is now working toward his doctorate in clinical social work at the University of Pennsylvania. His research is centered on older adults, aging, and intergenerational caregiving.

Felicia Lauritsen received her social work degree from Portland State University. In the past, she worked for small nonprofits, including the YWCA and Edgefield Children’s Center. She currently works for Kaiser Permanente of the Northwest and has a small private practice for seniors in intermediate care facilities. She has worked with the geriatric population for over 20 years, starting with Adult Protective Services. Since then she has worked in hospice and palliative care in homes and in the hospital, as well as a medical social worker in the hospital. Felicia is a member and a delegate of National Association of Social Workers (NASW). She is also on the WA NASW legislative board as she values advocacy for her patients on both the micro and macro levels.

Sarah Marrs is an assistant professor in the Department of Gerontology and the director of research for the Virginia Center on Aging. She teaches statistics and research methodology courses and oversees CIRCAA—a faculty and clinician professional development program focused on interprofessional geriatrics. Her research interests focus on the impact of ageism on health care, professionals’ recognition of and response to abuse in later life, and geriatrics workforce enhancement through interprofessional training. She is the principal investigator of the Virginia HEAR project, a federally funded project awarded by the Administration for Community Living. Ms. Marrs’ scholarly activity includes peer-reviewed publications and presentations using quantitative, qualitative, and mixed methodologies.

Kayla Reynolds is a registered nurse at the Martinsburg VA Emergency Department with 11 years of experience. She is the department’s geriatric nurse champion and is strengthening processes to ensure improved geriatric patient care. She has specialized in emergency nursing, cardiology (cardiac catheterization lab), and nursing education with a certification in cardiovascular nursing. She enjoys using her knowledge, skills, and enthusiasm to educate and support nurses and staff. Ms. Reynolds has her Master’s Degree in Nursing Education from Western Governors University and her Bachelor’s Degree in Nursing from Towson University.  

Dr. Amy Restorick Roberts, FGSA, MSW, LSW, is an associate professor of social work at Miami University and a Research Fellow at the Scripps Gerontology Center. Since joining the faculty at Miami University in 2013, she has brought together research in the fields of social work and gerontology to improve the quality of life of older adults. To date, Dr. Roberts has published over 30 peer-reviewed journal articles; co-edited one book; authored over 15 reports; and made over 75 regional, national, and international peer-reviewed presentations. She was recently recognized by the Association for Gerontology Education in Social Work through the Rose Dobrof Award for the Best Article in 2021 published in the Journal of Gerontological Social Work. Dr. Roberts is interested in research that examines how the issue of elder abuse, neglect, and exploitation can be addressed.

Demitria Sawelson, MD, is a family medicine resident at Temple Northwest Family Medicine. She has experience in leading nonprofit organizations that serve vulnerable populations, recruiting participants in her community, and developing educational materials to preserve patient autonomy. During her first year as a resident physician, her passion for treating and advocating for the elderly grew as she began to experience first-hand elderly mistreatment in the medical setting. Dr. Sawelson’s areas of interest include the retention of elderly patient autonomy during end-of-life care, advanced planning initiatives, and implementation of elderly abuse screenings on hospital admissions. 

Adrianne Smiley, EdD, OTD, OTR/L, is a rehabilitation science PhD student at the University of Pittsburgh where she was awarded the Prestigious K. Leroy Irvis Fellowship. Prior to beginning her doctorate in rehabilitation science, she worked as a geriatric occupational therapist for seven years in home health care and long-term care, specializing in neurological movement disorders and cardiometabolic rehabilitation. Ms. Smiley holds a Doctor of Education (EdD) and Occupational Therapy (OTD) from the University of St. Augustine for Health Sciences and a Master of Science in Occupational Therapy from the University of Alabama at Birmingham. She was chairperson of the American Occupational Therapy Association’s (AOTA) Diversity, Equity, Inclusion Task Force (2020–2021), and currently serves on AOTA’s Volunteer Leadership Development and Political Action Committees.

Dr. Charlene Whitaker-Brown, a clinical associate professor at the University of North Carolina at Charlotte, has over 20 years of health care expertise. Dual-certified as a family nurse practitioner and psychiatric mental health nurse practitioner, she transitioned from treating heart failure patients in acute and outpatient settings to focusing on mental health. In 2023, she established the MindHeart Institute and Wellness Center, her private mental health practice in Charlotte, North Carolina. Her research focuses on translating knowledge into practical solutions, particularly for chronic diseases such as cardiovascular issues in heart failure patients and mental health. Inspired by personal family experiences, she expanded her work to include Alzheimer’s disease and elder mistreatment and prevention. As a UsAgainstAlzheimers Nurse Fellowship inaugural cohort member, Dr. Whitaker-Brown now mentors the second cohort.

Dr. Maciej Witkos is a Veterans Affairs (VA) emergency medicine physician and an assistant professor of emergency medicine at Loma Linda University. Since starting at the VA two years ago, he has been involved in improving elder care in the emergency department (ED). The ED was awarded the American College of Emergency Physicians (ACEP) Geriatric Emergency Department designation. Dr. Witkos is excited to join this year’s cohort and looks forward to working with the program to improve elder care.

Wei-Lin Xue is currently a PhD student in nursing and gerontology at Purdue University. Before the doctoral program, she was a nurse in Taiwan and worked in the palliative and hospice ward for about four years. While caring for older patients, Wei-Lin realized that there are many care issues for older adults as well as a lack of resources. Her journey continued as she pursued her Master’s Degree in Health Administration at Purdue University Fort Wayne. Wei-Lin attained advanced care planning facilitator certification at Parkview Health and interned at Premier Hospice & Palliative. These experiences galvanized her interest in enhancing the quality of life for older adults and safeguarding vulnerable older adults from potential harm. The focal point of Wei-Lin’s doctoral dissertation is understanding the interplay between older adults’ relational dynamics and the risk of initial elder mistreatment and its recurrence.

Meet the 2023-2024 NCAEM Mentors

We are grateful for the time and dedication of our group of mentors who are experts in their respective areas of practice and research. Please learn more about them below.

Jason Burnett, PhD, is an associate professor with the McGovern Medical School at UTHealth, Houston, and the director of the Texas Elder Abuse and Mistreatment Institute. His work includes studying risk factors and designing and evaluating interventions and public health programs to facilitate community-based agencies with identification and long-term positive outcomes of elder mistreatment and self-neglect. Dr. Burnett serves on several national advisory boards and research committees for elder mistreatment.

Alyssa Elman, LMSW, is the supervising social worker for the Vulnerable Elder Protection Team (VEPT) at the New York-Presbyterian Hospital/Weill Cornell Medical Center. She was integral to the development of this program, which aims to better identify, treat, and care for victims of elder abuse in the emergency department (ED) or hospital, while also providing an opportunity to gather forensic evidence. Alyssa also assists with research pertaining to elder abuse and the role of health care in identification and intervention. She has contributed to 18 peer-reviewed articles on the topic. Alyssa received her BS from the University of Wisconsin-Madison and MSW from Rutgers University.

Gary Epstein-Lubow, MD, EDC distinguished medical scholar and geriatric psychiatrist, is a national leader in dementia-related research and policy. Epstein-Lubow’s work focuses on enriching the lives of people living with dementia and their family members by improving the quality of dementia care and expanding access to care through workforce development and health care system transformation. His work also includes a focus on advancing health equity for groups disproportionately negatively affected by dementia due to race, ethnicity, poverty, and other factors.

Kathy Greenlee is the senior director for Elder Justice Programs at ADvancing States, the national membership association of state agencies on aging, disability, and Medicaid home and community-based services. From 2009 to 2016, she served as the U.S. assistant secretary for aging, a position to which she was appointed by President Barack Obama. Prior to leaving for Washington, D.C., Kathy worked 18 years in the Kansas government. She was the Kansas secretary for aging for Governor Kathleen Sebelius and served as the state long-term care ombudsman. Kathy is the board chair for the National Council on Aging. She is a University of Kansas graduate with Bachelor of Science in Business Administration and Juris Doctor from the School of Law. Kathy lives in Lenexa, Kansas.

Mark Lachs, MD, is an American physician, scientist, and popular author specializing in the field of aging. He is the Irene and Roy Psaty Distinguished Professor of Medicine at Weill Medical College of Cornell University in New York City, and the director of Geriatric Medicine for the New York-Presbyterian Healthcare System. Dr. Lachs is also the immediate past president of the American Federation for Aging Research (AFAR). An internationally recognized authority on the field of elder abuse, he has authored over 100 articles on the subject and other areas of gerontology and conducted important research on the topic. He is also a founder of the New York City Elder Abuse Center and the not-for-profit charity

Kristin Lees Haggerty, PhD, leads Education Development Center’s (EDC) work in elder mistreatment prevention and management. Dr. Lees Haggerty is the principal investigator on a grant from the RRF Foundation for Aging to develop and test the Elder Mistreatment EMS Training Curriculum (EM-ETC) and a grant from the National Institute of Justice to research policies and practices related to communication between Adult Protective Services and reporters of elder abuse. Additionally, Dr. Lees Haggerty works on the dissemination of the UCLA Alzheimer and Dementia Care program, a successful comprehensive dementia care model that is being prepared for implementation in health care practices across the United States.

Charles Maddow, MD, is an associate professor in emergency medicine at the University of Texas Houston, and the director of Emergency Geriatrics at Memorial Hermann-Texas Medical Center (TMC). He has led the charge for the American College of Emergency Physicians Geriatric Emergency Department Accreditation at Memorial Hermann-TMC and at LBJ and is leading the pursuit of Institute for Healthcare Improvement’s Age Friendly Health System designation at each site. He cultivates residency vice-chairs in geriatrics and collaborates with colleagues in the Division of Trauma Surgery, Memorial Hermann-TMC hospitalists, the UT Health School of Biomedical Informatics, and the Cizik School of Nursing on research projects and quality improvement initiatives aimed at improving the patient care and treatment outcomes for the hospital’s older patients.

Laura Mosqueda, MD, is a professor of Family Medicine and Geriatrics at the Keck School of Medicine (KSOM) of the University of Southern California. She is a widely respected authority on elder abuse and care of the elderly and underserved. Since joining KSOM, her roles have included chair of the Department of Family Medicine, associate dean of primary care, and dean. She is the principal investigator of a National Institute on Aging (NIA)-funded R01 study to understand the causes of the abuse of people with dementia and is the director of the National Center on Elder Abuse. As a clinician, researcher, educator, and academic administrator, she has a unique perspective that is informed by her extensive experiences in the community, including her role as a volunteer long-term care ombudsman.

Bonnie Olsen, PhD, is a clinical psychologist with extensive experience as a geropsychologist. She provides cognitive assessment and short-term mental health treatment in a collaborative geriatric primary care setting. As the vice-chair of Academic Affairs in the Department of Family Medicine at the Keck School of Medicine at the University of Southern California (USC), Dr. Olsen is involved in several research and program grants that focus on interprofessional geriatric education and elder abuse education and prevention. She is particularly interested in elder mistreatment as it occurs in the context of dementia caregiving and understanding decisional capacity.

Tony Rosen, MD, MPH, is a researcher in elder abuse and geriatric injury prevention at Weill Cornell Medical College and a practicing emergency physician at New York-Presbyterian Hospital. He received his MD from Weill Cornell Medical College and MPH in epidemiology from the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA). He has assisted in the development and evaluation of clinical protocols in ED assessment and management of agitated delirium and appropriate use of indwelling urinary catheters. Dr. Rosen’s research focuses on improving identification, intervention, and prevention of elder abuse in the ED and other health care settings. His research has explored forensic injury patterns in physical elder abuse, identifying specific clinically detectable differences between unintentional injuries and those from abuse.

Theresa Sivers-Teixeira, MSPA, PA-C, is a physician assistant specializing in geriatrics. She is an education advisor and professional educator for the National Center on Elder Abuse and a faculty member at the Keck School of Medicine of USC. Research projects include California APS Interview for Decisional Ability RCT, funded by ACL; National Collaboratory to Address Elder Mistreatment, funded by The John A. Hartford Foundation; Abuse Intervention Prevention Judicial Project funded by the Department of Justice; and the Geriatric Workforce Enhancement Project funded by the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA).

Meredith Troutman-Jordan, PhD, RN, PMHCNS-BC, is an American Nurses Credentialing Center-certified psychiatric mental health clinical nurse specialist. She has experience overseeing research assistants, recruiting participants in the community, and facilitating psychoeducational groups with older adults. Her current research involves refinement and testing effectiveness of caregiver guides to support Spanish-, Mandarin-, Tagalog-, and English-speaking caregivers of persons living with dementia.