CARE Staff

Barbara Bowers

Position title: Founding Director

Barbara Bowers, PhD, RN, FAAN is an emeritus professor of the University of Wisconsin–Madison School of Nursing and the Founding Director of the Center for Aging Research and Education. Dr. Bowers has conducted research with frail, older adults in order to examine how nursing staff and long term care systems impact quality of life and quality of care, and worked with state and federal government bodies to develop, implement, and evaluate public policies affecting older adults. (Profile)

Dana Decker

Position title: CARE Adult and Student Services Coordinator


Dana Decker supports initiatives to increase opportunities for Nursing students to learn about older adult health. She also promotes evidence-based tools and programs for the eldercare workforce that were developed by CARE and our School of Nursing colleagues. Dana has worked in long-term care, hospital, and clinic settings as a respiratory therapist, staff educator, and nursing home administrator. She has experience with Quality Assurance Process Improvement and a passion for improving older adult health and well-being.

Diane Farsetta

Position title: CARE Manager and Senior Outreach Specialist


Diane Farsetta, PhD facilitates collaboration among researchers, clinicians, students, service providers, and community members with an interest in older adult health. Diane helped design and is the community partner liaison for “Community supports for people with dementia” (Nursing 511) and co-authored the Dementia Friendly Toolkit for campus and community audiences. She produced content for and managed development of Agefully, an online tool for family caregivers of older adults. She serves on the Governing Board of the Area Agency on Aging of Dane County and on the Board of Directors for the Capitol Lakes Foundation. Diane has biology research, teaching, journalism, and nonprofit leadership experience.

Barbara King

Position title: Executive Director


Barbara King, PhD, RN, APRN-BC, FAAN is a Professor at the School of Nursing and the Executive Director of the Center for Aging Research and Education. She works with CARE to develop, implement, and disseminate programs supporting older adult health. Barbara’s 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 a former special advanced fellow at the William S. Middleton Memorial Veterans Hospital Geriatric Research, Education, and Clinical Center (GRECC) in Madison. (Academic Bio)

CARE Advisory Committee

Jonette Arms

Jonette N. Arms is an Assistant Administrator with the Division of Public Health of the Wisconsin Department of Health Services. She previously served as the Executive Director of the Aging and Disability Resource Center of Central Wisconsin, which serves Marathon, Langlade, Lincoln and Wood counties; was Interim Executive Director for the Milwaukee County Department on Aging; and led the Alliance for Strong Families and Communities’ efforts to inspire human service professionals to serve, work with, and value the contributions of older adults.

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.

Sarah Endicott

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)

Liz Jensen

Liz Jensen, MSN,RN,RN-BC is the Clinical Director with Direct Supply, Inc. She works with senior care providers, product managers and engineers to translate evidence-based research, regulations and risk management strategies into practical processes, technology and applications for clinicians and frontline care providers in senior care. Liz’s prior experience as a nurse executive, business owner, educator, program developer and direct care nurse informs her nursing practice in this unique role. She currently serves as Co-Chair of the Innovation Platform Advisory Council for AMDA/The Society for Post-Acute and Long-Term Care; is a member of the AHCA Clinical Practice Committee; serves on the Argentum Quality Standards Committee and is a frequent speaker at national and local conferences on advancing innovation in senior care through collaboration.

Christine Klotz

Christine Klotz, MS has advised and led projects to improve the health and care of older adults, to support family caregivers and to expand the geriatric curriculum at nursing schools. She began her career as an occupational therapist and later earned a degree in health care administration. She has been the Director of Marketing for National Jewish Hospital, was chief executive in the start-up of two Programs for All-Inclusive Care for the Elderly (PACE), and was CEO of Senior Health Partners of New York City, a partner with Mt. Sinai Hospital. Christine authored “All-In Caregiving: A Guide for the Care of Aging Parents.” She also serves on the boards of the Wisconsin Institute for Healthy Aging and Sharing Active Independent Lives in Madison.

Sue Konkel

Sue Konkel is a retired nurse with a passion for public health, dementia-friendly communities, and program development. Her experience includes working with local communities as Wisconsin’s Healthy Brain Initiative Project Coordinator and authoring the Wisconsin Department of Health Services’ Tool Kit for Building Dementia Friendly Communities. She also developed dementia curriculum with the UW Oshkosh Center for Community Development, Engagement and Training; helped create Jefferson County’s Dementia Care Specialist Program; chaired the Public Health Advisory Committee in Waukesha County; and launched the Parish Nurse Program for Oconomowoc Memorial Hospital.

Edith Lawrence-Hilliard

Edith Lawrence-Hilliard recently retired from the Goodman Community Center. She serves on the Board of Directors for Olbrich Botanical Gardens, Life Center Madison and Friends of Monona Terrace, where she is a volunteer docent. Edith sings with the Precious Memories Choir, which includes people with memory loss and current or former family caregivers. (Edith was her mother’s caregiver, when her mother was living with dementia.) Edith has been honored with the Dane County Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Recognition Award, Meriter Hospital Spirit of Women Award, YWCA Women of Distinction, and Outstanding Service Award, Ebony Expressions. She worked with Wisconsin Power and Light Company–Alliant Energy, Dr. Floyd Rose and MPI International LLC, in addition to founding her own business. Edith has tracked her family’s history back to 1747 and played her great-grandmother Cynthia Owens in a living history tour.

Angie Li

Angie Li is a senior undergraduate student at the University of Wisconsin—Madison School of Nursing. She is president of the student Geriatric Interest Group. Her experiences growing up as a child of immigrants in the United States and helping her parents and grandparents navigate the confusing U.S. health care system motivate her to pursue a geriatric nursing career. She is especially interested in providing culturally relevant care to diverse older populations.

Jacqueline Olen

Jacqueline Olen is a junior undergraduate student at the University of Wisconsin—Madison School of Nursing. She has a degree in Neurobiology and is interested in implementing neuroscience research into healthcare practices. She has worked as a CNA for over four years, in skilled nursing facility and hospital settings. She wants to work with older adults and especially to support the health and wellness of those without the resources to advocate for themselves.

Geana Shemak

Geana Shemak PhDc, ATC is the Community Coordinator/Educator for the Iowa County Healthy Aging in Rural Towns (HeART) coalition. She supports the efforts of HeART Iowa County coalition members, leads monthly meetings and tracks the progress and outcomes of wellness and inclusion programs. Geana works with towns throughout Iowa County to explore ways to address unmet needs of older adults and their family caregivers. She is working on her PhD in Health Promotion and Wellness. She previously taught in the Kinesiology Department and worked as the Clinical Coordinator for the Athletic Training Program of Colorado Mesa University in Grand Junction. She enjoys helping individuals improve and enhance their wellness and sees practicing wellness as a lifestyle.

Lisa Thomson

Lisa Thomson is the Chief Marketing and Strategy Officer at Pathway Health Services. She has over 25 years’ experience in the post-acute and long-term care setting as well as other healthcare settings. She has had extensive experience in leadership and oversight of daily operations of numerous health care organizations in the Post-Acute Care Continuum. As a Chief Executive Officer, Vice President, Executive Director, Administrator, Marketing, Director, and Director of various IDT departments, she has been instrumental in supporting leadership teams (from all levels) through a number of organizational changes to establish regulatory compliance, standards of practice, operational strategies as well as Joint Commission Accreditation. She has been voted as a “Top Female Healthcare Executive” and serves as a mentor for health care leaders across the nation.

Deanna Truedson McKillips

Deanna Truedson McKillips, MSW, CAPSW is a palliative care social worker with Agrace Hospice and Palliative Care. She works with an interdisciplinary team to assess patient and family caregiver needs, identify supports, provide emotional support and facilitate connection to community resources. She is a member of the Healthy Aging in Rural Towns (HeART) Iowa County coalition. She also leads Healthy Living with Chronic Pain classes and is a leadership team member of the Care in the Community workgroup of the State of Wisconsin’s Dementia Plan. She previously worked with the Alzheimer’s & Dementia Alliance of Wisconsin, providing services and programs in Iowa, Lafayette and Green counties.

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.

Mike Wallace

Mike Wallace joined Fort HealthCare as President & Chief Executive Officer in June 2006. He is a graduate of the University of Pittsburgh, where he received a Master of Health Administration degree. Mike has achieved Fellow status with the American College of Healthcare Executives (ACHE) and is Board certified in HealthCare Management. Mike served on the Wisconsin Hospital Association Board of Directors from 2011 to 2017, serving as Board Chair in 2016. He is also a member of the Glacial Heritage Economic Development Board, the Rural Wisconsin Health Cooperative Board, and the Fort Atkinson Rotary Club. He also facilitates a leadership development class with the local Chamber of Commerce. He is committed to the concept of community health improvement and has organized Fort HealthCare within the community to help facilitate this outcome. In five years, Jefferson County, Wisconsin, has improved its county health ranking from 32/72 to top 10 status.