CARE Affiliates

Research Faculty

Barbara Bowers

Position title: Professor Emerita, CARE Founding Director

Barbara Bowers, PhD, RN, FAAN conducts research with frail older adults in both community and residential settings. She is interested in how nursing staff and long-term care systems impact quality of life and quality of care. In her dual capacity as a professor at UW–Madison School of Nursing and Founding Director of the Center for Aging Research and Education, she has worked with state and federal government bodies to develop, implement, and evaluate public policies affecting older adults. (Academic Bio) (Profile)

Lisa Bratzke

Position title: Associate Professor, Associate Dean for Academic Affairs

Lisa Bratzke, PhD, RN, ANP-BC, FAHA studies cognitive impairment of patients with coronary heart disease, who, according to health data, suffer from concentration or memory difficulties. With coronary heart disease on the rise—40 percent of the U.S. population is projected to have some form of it by 2030—she is examining ways to slow deteriorating cognitive function in this population, thereby improving quality of life for individuals with chronic heart failure. (Academic Bio)

Andrea Gilmore-Bykovskyi

Position title: Assistant Professor

Andrea Gilmore-Bykovskyi, PhD, RN focuses on health service delivery, health disparities and outcomes for persons with neurodegenerative dementia by developing, testing and translating into practice interventions to improve identification of dementia and individualized care during high-risk points in the care continuum. (Academic Bio)

Barbara King

Position title: Associate Professor, CARE Executive Director

Barbara King, PhD, RN, APRN-BC, FAAN is a former special advanced fellow at the William S. Middleton Memorial Veterans Hospital Geriatric Research, Education, and Clinical Center (GRECC) in Madison. Her primary research examines the functional decline and loss of independent ambulation in older adults during hospitalization. Her second line of research focuses on older patients’ transitional care from hospital to nursing home. She is the Executive Director for CARE. (Academic Bio)

Wan-chin Kuo

Position title: Assistant Professor

Wan-chin Kuo, RN, PhD seeks to understand how stress influences middle-aged and older adults’ 24-hour activity cycle and cardiometabolic health. Her research expertise includes meta-analysis, mediation/moderation analysis and cohort studies. Her recent findings highlight the ongoing sleep and sedentary problems in older adults living with financial disadvantage during the COVID-19 pandemic and suggest that optimizing the sleep-wake cycle and physical activities is a crucial step to alleviate stress-driven metabolic health disparities in the post-COVID-19 era.

Maichou Lor

Position title: Assistant Professor

Maichou Lor, PhD, RN earned her BS, MS, and PhD degrees in Nursing from the UW–Madison. She recently completed a postdoctoral fellowship at Columbia University. Her research focuses on improving data collection for research and patient provider communication in health care delivery settings among vulnerable populations, including Hmong elders, using applied informatics.

Kristen Pecanac

Position title: Assistant Professor

Kristen Pecanac, PhD, RN conducts research into how conversations between healthcare professionals, patients and their families shape treatment decision-making. Her goal is to reduce stress and suffering for patients and their family members by improving communication. (Academic Bio)

Tonya Roberts

Position title: Associate Professor

Tonya Roberts, PhD, RN conducts research to help improve the quality of life for frail older adults who require long-term care. She is particularly interested in enhancing the personalization of care in ways that allow older adults to achieve their individual life and care goals, and in developing interventions that activate and engage older adults in their own care and long-term care environments. (Academic Bio)

Megan Zuelsdorff

Position title: Assistant Professor

Megan Zuelsdorff, PhD is a social epidemiologist and an Investigator in the Inclusion of Underrepresented Groups Core of the Wisconsin Alzheimer’s Disease Research Center. Her research focuses on social determinants of later-life cognitive health, including Alzheimer’s disease and related dementias. She approaches cognitive aging and dementia research from a public health and equity perspective, conducting research that is inclusive, accessible and responsive to the concerns of community stakeholders. (Academic Bio)

Clinical Faculty

Liz Collins

Position title: Clinical Instructor

Liz Collins, MSN, RN, CNE worked as a staff nurse at Duke University in the Medical Intensive Care Unit and then later practiced as a traveling nurse in Minneapolis, Dallas, Washington DC, and Florida. She worked in the Surgical Intensive Care Unit @ Landstuhl Army Medical Center in Germany. She is a Certified Critical Care Registered Nurse (CCRN) and Certified Nurse Educator (CNE). Liz enjoys teaching in programs such as the UW–PEOPLE Program that supports broadening diversity in the nursing workforce.

Sarah Endicott

Position title: Clinical Professor

Sarah Endicott, DNP, PMHNP-BC, GNP-BC is a board-certified psychiatric-mental health nurse practitioner and geriatric nurse practitioner with experience in adult medicine and memory diagnostic centers. Her current clinical practice is Independent Psychiatric Consultants. She teaches in the Doctor of Nursing Practice program at the UW–Madison School of Nursing and serves as a preceptor for primary care students. Her interests include advanced care planning and the education and support of caregivers for people living with dementia. She serves as the faculty liaison to the CARE Steering Committee. (Academic Bio)

Paula Jarzemsky

Position title: Clinical Professor, Emerita

Paula Jarzemsky, RN, MS taught first-year nursing students on a busy surgical unit serving patients at UW Hospital. In recognition of the increased number of older adults in all health care settings, Paula engaged an inter-professional faculty group to offer an annual falls prevention program for seniors in the Madison community. She is a fellow of the Minnesota Hartford Center Facilitated Learning to Advance Geriatrics Program.

Sarah Kruger

Position title: Clinical Professor, Emerita

Sarah Kruger, DNP, RN focuses on older adults, including those with diabetes and those with neurological conditions. She is interested in developing different teaching modalities for students. She is an advanced practice registered nurse.

Stacy Schmitt

Position title: Clinical Instructor II

Stacy Schmitt, MSN, RN teaches in the undergraduate program at the UW–Madison School of Nursing. She has professional experience in school, parish and long-term care nursing. Schmitt has also worked with Aging and Disability Resource Centers and other partners to foster awareness and support of people living with dementia.

Paula Woywod

Position title: Clinical Assistant Professor

Paula Woywod, DNP, MSN, RN has taught as a clinical instructor for medical-surgical, and cardiac and thoracic surgery, heart and lung transplant units. Her focus includes best practices in older adult care and transitions of care. She partners with the Goodman Center Older Adult Program to enrich nursing students’ educational experience. (Academic Bio)

Adjunct Faculty

Lauren Bishop

Position title: Assistant Professor, School of Social Work

Lauren Bishop, MSW, PhD has a program of research that aims to characterize health disparities in and improve the health and well-being of adults with autism spectrum disorder and other developmental disabilities. Her research uses both prospective data and large, administrative data sets to test mechanisms underlying health disparities in adults with autism spectrum disorder and other developmental disabilities. The overall goal of this research is to find the best ways to help adults with autism spectrum disorder and other developmental disabilities live long, healthy, and self-determined lives in their communities.

Jillian Bodden

Position title: Doctor of Nursing Practice in Adult-Gerontology Primary Care

Jillian Bodden, DNP, AGPCNP-BC, APNP is a board-certified adult and geriatrics primary care nurse practitioner.  She works as a nurse practitioner in a geriatrics primary care clinic.  Jillian also supports the research of CARE director, Barbara King. Her primary career objective is to serve and advocate for patients and healthcare providers, as well as promote quality healthcare and system change through the translation of research into practice.

Alexis Eastman

Position title: Clinical Associate Professor, Division of Geriatrics and Gerontology in the Department of Medicine

Alexis Eastman, MD provides medical care for older adults in inpatient and outpatient settings, both in primary care and in memory care. She serves as Co-Director of Clinical Operations for Primary and Specialty Care in the Division of Geriatrics and Gerontology, and as Medical Director of the Badger Prairie Health Center in Verona, Wisconsin. As a medical educator, Dr. Eastman provides classroom and clinical instruction to residents and fellows and continuing medical education instruction about topics in geriatric medicine to practicing providers. She is also active in medical student education and serves as the Assistant Block Lead for the UW School of Medicine and Public Health MD curriculum. She is a member of the Wisconsin Association of Medical Directors, the American Geriatrics Society, and the Society for General Internal Medicine. Her scholarly publications have focused on initiatives to promote interprofessional learning in geriatric medicine and facilitate effective transitions of care.

Michal Engelman

Position title: Associate Professor, Sociology

Michal Engelman, PhD MHS is the Director of the Wisconsin Longitudinal Study and the Director of Training for the Center for Demography of Health and Aging. She studies the dynamics of population aging and health across the life course, with particular emphasis on early and mid-life factors that influence health disparities at older ages. Her research agenda links individual health patterns with aggregate demographic trends within three lines of inquiry: (1) health and inequality across the life course; (2) global aging, migration, and health; and (3) the formal demography of longevity.

Beth Fields

Position title: Assistant Professor, Occupational Therapy Program, Department of Kinesiology

Beth Fields, PhD, OTR/L has a program of research that examines animal-assisted approaches for aging adults with chronic conditions, and systems and methods designed to improve person and family-centered geriatric care. She hopes to grow her interdisciplinary collaborations to help transform quality geriatric service delivery. As a post-doctoral fellow at the University of Pittsburgh, Fields was an affiliate of their Center for Caregiving Research, Education, and Policy.

Carey Gleason

Position title: Associate Professor, Department of Medicine, Division of Geriatrics and Gerontology

Carey Gleason, PhD, MS is a researcher and clinician interested in improving timely identification of and intervention for memory disorders in underserved communities. Ultimately, she seeks to identify targets to modify risk for Alzheimer’s disease in African Americans and Native Americans, groups traditionally under-represented in research. She serves as leader of the Inclusion of Under-Represented Groups Core at the Wisconsin Alzheimer’s Disease Research Center and is principal or co-investigator on numerous research projects examining modifiable risk factors, including cardiovascular disease, emotional health, and social context.

Blair Golden

Position title: Assistant Professor (CHS), School of Medicine and Public Health

Blair Golden, MD, MS is a hospitalist physician and health services researcher. Her research interests involve patient-physician-caregiver communication and improving caregiver engagement during hospitalization events for older adults.

Hossein Khalili

Position title: Director, Center for Interprofessional Practice and Education

Hossein Khalili, PhD is the Director of the UW–Madison Center for Interprofessional Practice and Education (CIPE). His research and scholarship focuses on designing, implementing, and evaluating interprofessional education and collaborative practice initiatives, including simulations and patient engagement and partnership. He co-founded and co-leads InterprofessionalResearch.Global, an international network advancing interprofessional knowledge, theories and research.

Kristin Litzelman

Position title: Associate Professor, Human Development and Family Studies

Kristin Litzelman, PhD is an Assistant Professor in Human Development and Family Studies at the UW–Madison School of Human Ecology and a State Specialist with UW Cooperative Extension’s Family Living Programs. Her research centers around how illness impacts families, primarily through the lens of family caregiving. She is particularly interested in the ways that caregivers and care recipients influence one another’s health and well-being, and how we can help caregivers take care of themselves so that they can take care of their loved ones.

Kimberly Mueller

Position title: Assistant Professor, Communication Sciences and Disorders

Kim Mueller, PhD researches the neural mechanisms and behavioral aspects of speech and language changes across the spectrum of normal aging, preclinical Alzheimer’s disease, Mild Cognitive Impairment, Alzheimer’s disease, and other forms of dementia. Her work utilizes naturalistic speech-language samples as one means of analyzing and understanding subtle changes to communication. She is also interested in the design and testing of identification methods of early cognitive change in the presence of AD biomarkers, and multimodal therapeutic interventions to address cognitive-communication difficulties in MCI and dementia due to neurodegenerative disease.

Susan Passmore

Position title: Assistant Director for Community Engaged Research, Collaborative Center for Health Equity

Susan Passmore, PhD is an anthropologist with many years of experience working public health. She has contributed to discussions about how to improve communication and understanding between patients and providers regarding a range of health disparities, especially those impacting African Americans. Most recently, Dr. Passmore has been working to improve rates of underrepresented racial/ethnic (UR) group participation in health research via the Building Trust educational programs and through her own research to explore ways to incorporate the principles of community based, participatory methods into recruitment practices of larger studies and clinical trials.

Kristen Pickett

Position title: Assistant Professor, Occupational Therapy Program

Kristen Pickett, PhD focuses on collaborative and community-based research methods aimed at positively impacting health outcomes for older adults, especially those with Parkinson disease (PD), who have limited access to effective forms of physical activity. Her Sensory Motor Integration Lab delivers physical activity interventions in-home via telehealth and through group classes held at community-based facilities. She works with community partners to conduct research for individuals with PD, as well as rural-dwelling and other under-served older adults, who lack access to facilities for physical activity.

Tracy Schroepfer

Position title: Professor, School of Social Work

Tracy Schroepfer, MSW, PhD researches strategies for meeting the psychosocial, cultural and spiritual needs of terminally ill elders, as well as strategies for reducing health disparities faced by medically underserved communities in Wisconsin. Her current projects include: 1) developing an instrument to assess the psychosocial, cultural and spiritual needs of terminally ill elders, 2) gaining a deeper understanding of the wish to hasten death (WTHD), 3) determining the role control plays in the dying process of terminally ill elders, and 4) exploring the barriers and facilitators regarding the participation of Wisconsin African American, Native American and Latino communities in biomarker research.

Jung-hye Shin

Position title: Associate Professor and Chair, Design Studies Department in the School of Human Ecology

Jung-hye Shin, PhD focuses on aging in place in her research and teaching, mainly the accessibility issues in residential and community buildings. The importance of the physical environment at home and the surrounding community has been well demonstrated but has not been well integrated into the existing body of literature about aging in place. Her current project involves developing an app that allows experts and laypeople to evaluate the home environment for various functional limitations and issues of aging in place and further provide guidelines on potential action items. Dr. Shin is also the Faculty Director of Design Thinking with the Center for Design and Material Culture.

Sue Wenker

Position title: Assistant Professor, School of Medicine and Public Health

Sue Wenker, PT, PhD, MS, is a geriatric certified specialist, an assistant professor with the UW–Madison School of Medicine and Public Health and a faculty associate with the Doctor of Physical Therapy Program. Clinically, she has been a member of interprofessional teams in both community settings and hospital and skilled nursing facilities. Wenker is currently conducting research focused on teaching and learning interventions for physical therapy students regarding dementia and related diseases.

Nicole Werner

Position title: Associate Professor, Department of Industrial and Systems Engineering

Nicole Werner, PhD is a Human Factors Engineer who is interested in modeling the sociotechnical systems in which medically complex patients and their network of informal caregivers perform the “work” of healthcare. Her research seeks to (re)design those systems toward a human-centered, smart and connected patient journey. Her current work focuses on designing and implementing health information technologies as interventions to support medically complex patients and their network of informal caregivers in performing healthcare “work” in the home and as they transition across healthcare settings, with the overall goal of improving patient safety, care quality and well-being.

Ju Young Yoon

Position title: Visiting Scholar, School of Nursing

Ju Young Yoon, PhD is an Associate Professor of Community Health Nursing at the Seoul National University College of Nursing in South Korea and an alumna of the UW–Madison School of Nursing. Her research interests include care for vulnerable populations in the community, long-term care systems and policy, the development of innovative small-scale nursing home models, and person-centered care.

Student Scholars

Laura Block

Laura Block, BS, BSN, RN is a PhD student at the University of Wisconsin—Madison School of Nursing with a focus on long-term care and cognitive aging among older adults with serious mental illness. Her role as a Registered Nurse in a skilled nursing environment, with added pressures during the COVID-19 pandemic, has deepened her commitment to dementia-focused research in post-acute and long-term care settings. She also works as a Project Assistant for Dr. Andrea Gilmore-Bykovskyi, supporting research studies focused on promoting effective and equitable care and research for persons living with and at risk for Alzheimer’s disease and related dementias.

Hyojin (Jina) Choi

Hyojin (Jina) Choi is a doctoral student in the UW–Madison School of Human Ecology’s Human Development and Family Studies program. Jina’s work focuses on the life changes of family caregivers. She is interested in examining the factors that impact families experiencing caregiving and developing policy to support them in their roles. She is especially interested in the factors that contribute to resilience for family caregivers who are able to handle this role of caregiving and its accompanying stress while maintaining healthy relationships.

Laura Andrea Prieto

Laura Andrea Prieto is a doctoral student in the UW–Madison Kinesiology department, focused on the role of caregivers in promoting physical activity for older adults. She is especially interested in working with older adults with disabilities and neurodegenerative conditions such as Parkinson’s disease. Laura has done research on the experiences of older adults and caregivers in a dance setting, and wants to understand how dance and physical activity interventions can influence the quality of life of older adults and their caregivers. She is also exploring how caregivers and older adults of Hispanic heritage navigate the caring relationship within a U.S. and non-U.S. context.

Angela Van De Wettering

Angela Van De Wettering, BSN, RN-BC is a DNP-FNP graduate student and Nursing Clinical Instructor at the University of Wisconsin Oshkosh. She has worked with the aging adult population as a bedside registered nurse for the last three and a half years and enjoys learning from their diverse backgrounds, experiences, and stories. She works to prioritize the health and wellbeing of this population while also considering their unique needs. While pursuing her Doctorate of Nursing Practice (DNP) degree, she is interested in researching and implementing new and innovate ways to improve the quality of care and quality of life for older adults in Wisconsin.

Gracie Venechuk

Gracie Venechuk is a third year PhD student in the University of Wisconsin–Madison Department of Sociology and a trainee with the Center for Demography of Health and Aging. Her research focuses on addressing disparities in later-life health and well-being; and engaging directly with the population of interest to clearly represent their interests, concerns, and experiences. She previously engaged older adults regarding their health as part of multidisciplinary research on advanced heart failure.