An Interdisciplinary Approach to Aging and the Built Environment

I-70 Participant Bios

Deborah AltusDEBORAH ALTUS, PhD, is Professor of Human Services at Washburn University and teaches courses in the Gerontology area of emphasis.  Her research has examined shared housing for older people, including senior housing co-ops, intergenerational home-sharing, congregate living, Green Houses, and senior cohousing.  She is a Fellow of the Gerontological Society of America. Contact at





Paul AtchleyPAUL ATCHLEY, Ph.D., is a Professor of Psychology at KU and currently serves as the Dean's Project Leader Online Program Development in the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences.  His research is on attention with an emphasis on driving and the impact of technology.  Contact at  See





Ruth Ann AtchleyRUTH ANN ATCHLEY, Ph.D., is an Associate Professor of Cognitive/Clinical Psychology and Chairperson of the Department of Psychology at the University of Kansas.  She engaged in both psychophysiological and behavioral research designed to test neurolinguistic theories of language comprehension. Her recent work in focuses on the effects of nature on creativity.  Contact





Marla Berg-WegerMARLA BERG-WEGER, PhD., LCSW, is a Professor at the Saint Louis University School of Social Work and serves as the Executive Director of the Geriatric Education at the School of Medicine. Her area of scholarly interest is driving and mobility related to older adults and family caregiving. Contact at See





Katie J. BoyerKATIE J. BOYER, LMSW, co-owner of Telecare Global, is a graduate of medical and geriatric studies from two universities.  She has had numerous leadership and consulting positions, launching and growing hospices, home care agencies, assisted living facilities, skilled nursing and healthcare technology companies. She is co-owner and co-developer of technical patents including touchscreen technology, telecare and telehealth integration, artificial intelligence, and automated personal mobility both pending and issued worldwide.



Cathy Boyer-ShesolCATHY BOYER-SHESOL, MPA, is the Project Manager for KC Communities for All Ages, an initiative with the Mid-America Regional Council (MARC). Prior to joining MARC, she was a Program Officer with the Jewish Heritage Foundation and directed the Older Adult Grantmaking Program. Contact at See






Robert BuchananROBERT BUCHANAN is the New Cities photographer and video master.  Contact:






Nicole CastroNICOLE CASTRO, is a second year graduate student pursuing a Ph.D. in Psychology and Gerontology at the University of Kansas. She is interested in how aging impacts speech perception and language production in older adults. Contact:






Rosemary ChapinROSEMARY CHAPIN, PhD, is the founding Director of the Office of Aging and Long Term Care and Professor in the KU School of Social Welfare. She is a nationally recognized leader in applied research to improve practice and policy with older adults and has pioneered the strengths based approach to increase resiliency in work with older adults. Contact    and visit





Greg CorpierGREG CORPIER is lead developer and co-owner on worldwide technical patents pending and issued related to telehealth and telecare integration, artificial intelligence and automated personal mobility.  Developed an Artificial Intelligence based personal management system using natural language voice control.  Developed voice controlled intelligent wheelchair.  Modified numerous telecare and telehealth products from European vendors for American and Canadian markets. Contact:




George ChronisGEORGE CHRONIS, Ph.D., is CEO of ProactiveSense in St. Louis, Missouri. He is also owner of CyberSense, LLC, a company specializing in software development and IT solutions. He has worked at the University of Missouri in the past. Contact:





Dan DePardoDAN DEPARDO is the Director of Radio Frequency (RF) Design and Evaluation Facilities at the University of Kansas Information and Telecommunication Technology Center (ITTC).   Dan has a military electronics background, with extensive test and measurement, circuit design, and prototype fabrication experience.  His accomplishments include the proposal, design, construction, and successful demonstration of electronics systems supporting of a variety of DoD, NASA, NSF, and NIH sponsored projects.  He is a Senior Member of the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE), with a wide range of technical publications. Contact:




Gayle DollGAYLE DOLL, Ph.D., is Assistant Professor in the College of Human Ecology and Director of the Center on Aging at Kansas State University.  Doll is active in community and state programs that promote successful aging. She is an expert of aging and sexuality.  She has received a Commerce Bank teaching award and speaks extensively in state and national forums. Contact:






DENNIS DOMER, Ph.D., is the Director of the New Cities Initiative at KU and co-PI for the I-70 Corridor research grant. Domer is an architectural historian. He has taught at the University of the Philippines, Baker University, the University of Kansas, the University of Hong Kong, and the University of Kentucky.  He retired in 2006 as a distinguished professor of historic preservation.  Contact at  See



David EkerdtDAVID EKERDT, Ph.D., is Professor of Sociology and Director of the Gerontology Center at the University of Kansas.  He conducts research on the transitions of later life—the ways that people form and act upon expectations for the future in such settings as retirement, making final arrangements, and residential moves.  David is one of the four workshop leaders in the I-70 conference. Contact:





Colleen GalambosCOLLEEN GALAMBOS, Ph.D. ACSW, LCSW, LCSW-C is Professor and Director of the Graduate Certificate in Gerontological Social Work at the University of Missouri, where she is also a Fellow, Interdisciplinary Center on Aging and Member, Center for Eldercare and Rehabilitation Technology. She is CO-I on several grants that examine the benefits of elder technology, transitional care, aging-in-place, care coordination, and transdisiciplinary team work. She has also conducted research and published on curriculum development and competency based education. Contact at




Nelda GodfreyNELDA GODFREY, RN, ACNS-BC, Ph.D. is Clinical Professor and Associate Dean for Undergraduate Programs in the School of Nursing at the University of Kansas Medical Center.  Currently, she is the principal investigator on a multi-site, two-state study examining how professional identity is formed in pre-licensure nursing students, and the strategies faculty use to foster professional identity formation.  Contact:





Jay GubriumJAY GUBRIUM, Ph.D., is professor and chair of the Department of Sociology at the University of Missouri.  Contact at







Jason HarrisJASON HARRIS, Senior Network Infrastructure Engineer for Keystone IT Consulting in St. Louis, has over a decade of “hands on” experience in network IT.  Jason has focused much of this time on the design and deployment of Secure Wide Area Networks in Healthcare IT and EMR (Electronic Medical Records) solutions.  Contact:




John HatcliffJOHN HATCLIFF, Ph.D., is University Distinguished Professor of Computing and Information Sciences at Kansas State University.  His research focuses on safety-critical systems, medical application platforms, high-assurance middleware for medical system integration, security, tools for static analysis and formal verification, standards and regulatory issues for medical device interoperability. Contact:






DEON HAYLEY, D.O., is Associate Professor of General and Geriatric Medicine, Department of Internal Medicine, at the University of Kansas Medical Center Landon Center on Aging.  She has dedicated her career to caring for the frail older adults and teaching about that care. Her clinical areas of expertise include Dementia, Home care and Palliative care.  Contact:





STEPHANIE HERBERS, MSW/MPH, is Center Manager, Harvey A. Friedman Center for Aging at Washington University.  Her recent research deals with capacities of public health programs, perceptions of risk among smokers, and building university partnerships in gerontological social work research.  Contact:




Robert HoneaROBERT HONEA, Ph.D., the first director of the Transportation Research Institute at the University of Kansas. Dr. Honea, a geographer, had been a director of the Transportation Technology Center and National Transportation Research Center at Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL) before leaving in 2001 after 30 years of service.  Contact:





David JohnsonDAVID JOHNSON, Ph.D., is Associate Professor of Psychology and Associate Scientist in the Gerontology Center at the University of Kansas.  His primary interest is in clinical research that identifies cognitive and emotional processes that characterize healthy aging and dementia.  His research explores neuropsychological changes in aging and how these changes impact thinking and emotion.  Contact:





Sharmin KaderSHARMIN KADER is a Ph.D. student in architecture at the University of Kansas who is especially interested in design for aging, health care design, wellness, and historic preservation.  Sharmin won the 2013 natonal AIA Arthur N. Tuttle, Jr. Graduate Fellowship for her work, “Development of Professional Environmental Assessment Protocol (PEAP) for Hospice: A Post Occupancy Evaluation Tool.”




Jessica Kalender-RichJESSICA KALENDER-RICH, MD, is an Assistant Professor at University of Kansas School of Medicine specializing in Geriatric Medicine, Palliative Medicine, and Internal Medicine. She represents the Landon Center on Aging and directs the Grayhawk Database of older adult subjects. Research interests include educational innovations, transitions of care, frailty, and end-of-life care. Contact at See




Mark KaufmanMARK KAUFMAN, Ph.D., is Associate Professor of Social Work, Chair of theDepartment of Social Work at Washburn University. He is a licensed specialist clinical social worker and a licensed clinical marriage and family therapist. His research interests include evolutionary psychology and social work practice, multicultural social work practice, and legal and ethical issues in social work practice.  Contact:





Susan KemperSUSAN KEMPER, Ph.D., is Roy A. Roberts Distinguished Professor of Psychology and Senior Scientist in the Gerontology Center at the University of Kansas.  Her research interests cover the life span, focusing on the role of working memory in language processing by young and older adults and language acquisition by children.  Kemper’s "The Language Across the Lifespan Project" addresses how aging affects the processing of spoken and written language and includes comparative studies of healthy older adults and adults with Alzheimer's disease.  She is a leader in Workshop 2.  Contact:




Kim HeejungHEEJUNG KIM, Ph.D., is Assistant Professor of Nursing in the School of Nursing at the University of Kansas.  Her research interests center on the development of gerotechnological nursing interventions that improve the health and well-being of older adults with cognitive impairment and their family caregivers.  In her ongoing pilot study she is developing a PC tablet training protocol for adults with MCI in order to enhance their participation in physical and cognitive activities in home settings. Contact:





Gregory KingGREGORY KING, Ph.D., is an Assistant Professor of Mechanical Engineering at the University of Missouri - Kansas City (UMKC), with an appointment in the Department of Civil and Mechanical Engineering. Dr. King’s research is focused on human musculoskeletal biomechanics, with particular emphasis on kinetic and kinematic characterization of human balance.  Contact:




Catheryn KossCATHERYN KOSS, JD, is a Gerontology graduate student at KU. Prior to starting the PhD program, she practiced elder law for the non-profit organization Senior Law Resource Center in Oklahoma City.  Contact:







Tracey LaPierreTRACEY LAPIERRE, Ph.D., is Associate Professor of Sociology at the University of Kansas.  She specializes in family studies, life course/aging and medical sociology.  Her research projects include investigating the role of non-kin in providing informal care to older adults, examining the relationship between marital status and depression, and exploring various aspects of custodial grandparent families.  Contact:





Cheryl LesterCHERYL LESTER, Ph.D., is Associate Professor of English and American Studies at KU. Her teaching and research focus on the role of U.S. literature and culture in the process of social change from the 20th century to the present. She currently teaches undergraduate courses on aging in literature and film. Contact at See





Magdalena LeszkoMAGDALENA LESZKO is a Ph.D. student and a Fulbright Scholar at the University of Kansas. Her research interests are focused on early diagnosis of Alzheimer's Disease. She holds a MS degree in clinical psychology.  Contact at






Joan McDowdJOAN MCDOWD, Ph.D., is a Professor of Psychology and Director of the Experimental Health Psychology Program at the University of Missouri, Kansas City.  Her interests are in cognitive aging, particularly in attention and memory processes, and inhibitory function as it relates to selective attention and the complex control processes called “executive function”.   Contact:

Thomas MeuserTHOMAS MEUSER, PhD, directs the Gerontology Graduate Program in the School of Social Work at UMSL. Tom is a clinical psychologist by training, but functions more as an applied gerontologist these days. His current research focuses transitions in aging (particularly in the area of mobility) and medical fitness to drive. He’s an active volunteer with the Alzheimer’s Association and expert trainer for the Older Drivers Project of the AMA. Contact: Also see



HARRY (RICK) MOODY, Ph.D., retired as Director of Academic Affairs of AARP.  He is known nationally for his work in older adult education.  He is also been active in the field of biomedical ethics.  Rick consults around the United States on aging.  He is our keynote speaker and commenter.  Contact:

Jim PetersJIM PETERS, J.D., is the Director of the Osher Lifelong Learning Institute and Statewide Outreach at the University of Kansas. He received his bachelor’s degree in government from Southern Illinois University and his law degree from the New England School of Law. Jim previously served as Director of Academic and Professional Programs for KU Continuing Education. Contact: (785) 864-9142.




Rebecca PetersonREBECCA PETERSON, Ph.D., is Director of Research Collaborations in the KU Innovation & Collaboration unit at the University of Kansas.  Rebecca has been working with the New Cities on identifying foundations that align with our research interests and priorities.  She works with individual faculty and interdisciplinary teams of researchers to prospect and connect with corporate and private foundations that fund higher education, basic science, and community-based research.  Contact:






Marilyn RantzMARILYN RANTZ, RN, PhD, FAAN, Curators Professor, Sinclair School of Nursing, University of Missouri, is an international expert in the care of older adults, quality measurement, and technology development to enhance aging in place for older people. She is the Director of AIP at TigerPlace and Associate Director of the MU Interdisciplinary Center on Aging. Contact at See and




Mahrub RashidMAHBUB RASHID, Ph.D., is a Professor of Architecture at the University of Kansas and a registered architect in Georgia, USA. He is also the coordinator of the PhD Program in Architecture at KU. Dr. Rashid is an expert in theories and methods of architectural research inquiry. He uses innovative methodologies and methods of space syntax, social network analysis, fractal, and statistical modeling to study the effects of built form and space on human behavior, psychology, society and culture. Contact:





Robert RummerROBERT RUMMER, Ph.D., is Director of Research Development in Research and Graduate Studies at the University of Kansas.  Dr. Rummer has been working with the New Cities Initiative on funding sources.  Contact:



Dory SabataDORY SABATA, OTD, OTR/L, SCEM, is a clinical assistant professor in the KU Department of Occupational Therapy Education.  Sabata's clinical experience focused on older adults, home assessment, population-based falls risk reduction and caregiver support. She has also been involved in policy and administrative roles related to rehabilitation services.  Contact:





RANDY SCHWERING, Ph.D., is Associate Professor Management at Rockhurst University.  Randy's research interests lie in leadership and planned change, environmental and social sustainability, information technology and technology evolution, innovation and cognitive sciences, and learning theory.  Contact:





Steve ShieldsSTEVE SHIELDS is CEO of Action Pact Development.  Previously Steve served as the President and CEO of Meadowlark Hills Retirement Community.  Steve is an international leader in the creation of the Household Model and provides consulting and education to providers on the model and its application.  Contact:





John ShreveJOHN SHREVE, MAUD, M.A., AIA/AICP, is a Ph.D. student in American Studies at the University of Kansas, and Principal of Commons Development Company in Overland Park, Kansas.  John has been a practitioner of architecture, planning, and urban design for 23 years, working with a wide range of clients in various U.S. and international cities. His doctoral work focuses on the intersections between aging research, sustainability, and urban design.  Contact:




Suzanne Siepl-CoatesSUSANNE SIEPL-COATES, MARCH, is Professor of Architecture at Kansas State University.  Her teaching focuses on the exploration of the relationships between the built environment and human health/well being. Recently she has been teaching an architecture design studio on intergenerational community design.  Contact:




MARJORIE SKUBIC, Ph.D., is a Professor in Electrical and Computer Engineering and Director of the Center for Eldercare and Rehabilitation at the University of Missouri, Columbia.  Her research interests include sensory perception, pattern recognition, and human-machine interaction. Her current eldertech research projects are focused on in-home sensing for early detection of health changes. Marjorie is a Workshop Leader for Workshop 1.




David SlackDAVID SLACK is a Principal of ARI, Aging Research Institute.  David provides consulting services to retirement community board and senior staff leaders related to strategic planning, financial projections, operational, managerial, and development services. Prior to joining ARI, David was President of three senior living management and development companies and he has financed CCRCs. Contact:





ERIN KATE SMITH, MS, is a Doctoral Candidate in Gerontology at the University of Kansas and a Senior Research Analyst at Zillner, a Marketing and Advertising Agency in Lenexa, Kansas focused on senior consumers. She is interested in independent living retirement communities, amenity relocation among older adults, and marketing to older adults. Contact her at




Ryan SpauldingRYAN SPAULDING, Ph.D., is Associate Vice Chancellor for Community Engagement at KUMC, and coordinates clinical, educational and community research across the institution and state. Contact:



Kent Spreckelmeyer

KENT SPRECKELMEYER, DARCH, FAIA, is Professor of Architecture in the School of Architecture, Design, and Planning at the University of Kansas.  His research focuses on planning and programming projects in a variety of healthcare settings. Kent has worked with Frank Zilm& Associates, Inc. on numerous projects over the past ten years, including the development of the Space Planner Toolkit, planning studies at St. Joseph Medical Center (South Bend), BJC System (St. Louis), and Summa Health System (Akron, Ohio).  Contact:



J.T. ThompsonJ. T. THOMPSON is the Chief Technical Officer (CTO) with Keystone IT Consulting in St. Louis.  Keystone IT is focused primarily on IT for Healthcare.  Thompson worked with Enterprise IT with a focus on Infrastructure Architecture before assuming his position with Keystone. Contact:





Jeffrey S. VitterJEFFREY S. VITTER, Ph.D., is the provost, executive vice chancellor, and Roy A. Roberts Distinguished Professor at the University of Kansas. As provost, Dr. Vitter is the chief academic and operations officer for the Lawrence and Edwards campuses. He oversees strategic planning and implementation, geared toward KU's vision as a top-tier public international research university.  Contact:






Russell WaitmanRUSSELL WAITMAN, Ph.D., is Associate Professor of Internal Medicine, Director of Medical Informatics, and Assistant Vice Chancellor for Enterprise Analytics at the University of Kansas Medical Center.  Waitman helped develop the HERON system, a vast information repository that merges medical and billing records with health outcomes information that doctors, researchers, students, and KUMC staff can access.  Contact:





MARY BETH WARREN, MS, RN, is executive director for the University of Kansas Medical Center’s Area Health Education Centers (AHECs) throughout the state of Kansas. Previous positions include staff nurse, management and administrative positions in rural hospitals. Contact at  See




AMBER WATTS, Ph.D., is Assistant Professor of Clinical Psychology at the University of Kansas.  Her research investigates health behaviors, prevention strategies, and bio-behavioral processes associated with cognitive decline & dementia. My current research projects focus on the effect of physical activity on health and cognitive function in older adults with and without Alzheimer's disease.  Contact:





SARA WILSON, Ph.D., is Associate Professor of Mechanical Engineering and academic director of the Bioengineering Graduate Program at the University of Kansas.  She conducts research in the neuromuscular control of human motion using engineering principles from control theory and dynamics. She has studied the effects of occupational exposures such as vibration on the lumbar spine and low back disorders and is also involved in the development of medical devices used in physical therapy, obstetrics and internal medicine.  Contact:



Kelli WrightKELLI WRIGHT, M.A., is Assistant Director of the Center for Aging in Community at the University of Missouri, Kansas City (UMKC).  Kelli is a co-founder and coordinator of UMKC’s Consortium on Aging – a university-wide, multidisciplinary, faculty endeavor to promote quality research, education, and scholarly engagement in gerontology and aging studies.  Contact:




Brenna Buchanan YoungBRENNA BUCHANAN YOUNG, M.A., is a Ph.D. student in architecture and gerontology at the University of Kansas.  Her graduate work in architecture was primarily in the area of historic preservation and material culture.  She has been an active team member of the New Cities Initiative since its inception.  Contact:



Frank ZilmFRANK ZILM, DARCH, FAIA, FACHA, is the Chester Dean Lecturer on Health Care Design at the University of Kansas and a regular lecturer at Harvard University.  He is the principal of Frank Zilm and Associates located in Kansas City, Missouri, a planning firm focused on helping health and educational institutions make the right decisions about space and buildings.  Zilm’s experience in over 300 studies, combined with his unique analytical skills and information systems, provides his clients with a broad base of ideas and tools.  Contact:

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