Christine DiLeone, PhD, RN
Assistant Clinical Professor
School of Nursing, University of Connecticut (UConn)
Dr. DiLeone is an assistant professor at UConn's School of Nursing and teaches within undergraduate, as well as, graduate programs. Further, she serves the School and University in various roles, such as class advisor, Student Nurses Association advisor and faculty advisor for the UConn Alzheimer’s Association student club. Christine received her PhD at UConn's School of Nursing and her MSN and BSN at the University of Hartford. With research interests focused on family caregivers caring for loved ones with Alzheimer’s Disease, she serves the Connecticut Chapter of the Alzheimer’s Association on the education and policy committees. Christine has appeared on Better Connecticut as an advocate for the yearly fundraising walks to end Alzheimer’s.
Expert Guest Speakers
Richard Fortinsky, PhD (5105 & 5106)
Professor of Medicine, UConn Center on Aging
School of Medicine, UConn Health
Richard H. Fortinsky, PhD, is a professor at the University of Connecticut School of Medicine, where he is a core faculty member at the UConn Center on Aging and holds the Health Net, Inc. Endowed Chair in Geriatrics and Gerontology. For more than 30 years, Dr. Fortinsky has collaborated with colleagues from a wide range of scientific disciplines, and with numerous healthcare system and community-based organization partners, to design and carry out studies intended to improve healthcare and optimize health-related outcomes for community-dwelling older adults living with Alzheimer’s disease and AD-related dementia and their families. Presently, he serves as principal investigator for studies funded by the National Institute on Aging (NIA) and the Patient-Centered Outcomes Research Institute designed to test in-home, team based interventions targeting older adults with cognitive vulnerability due to dementia, depression, and/or a history of delirium.
Ann L. Fowler-Cruz (5106)
Principal, Cohen and Wolf, P.C.
Certified Elder Law Attorney
Ann has been a staunch advocate for the elderly and the disabled for more than a decade. She has the distinction of being a Certified Elder Law Attorney (CELA) by the National Elder Law Foundation* and is accredited to practice before the Department of Veterans Affairs. Her extensive knowledge in the area of elder law enables her to assist the elderly and the disabled in realizing the very best quality of life. Her elder law practice focuses on long-term care planning, asset preservation strategies, Medicaid applications, disability planning, utilizing conservatorships/guardianship and special needs trusts.
Gloria C. Ramsy, JD, RN (5106)
Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion
Gloria Ramsey promotes and strategically furthers the school’s values of diversity and inclusion by bolstering JHSON’s excellence, innovation, and impact within education, practice, and the profession. She has been a nurse and attorney engaged in interdisciplinary research/scholarship related to bioethics, end-of-life care, and advance care planning for more than two decades (Hastings Center, American Nurses Association, American Bar Association). She provides leadership to national projects focusing on end-of-life care and advance care planning for African-American patients/families and persons with disabilities. Ramsey is an advocate for engaging racially and ethnically diverse populations and faith communities for participation in research and partnering/collaborating on community-based health disparity interventions. She has taught bioethics, research, public health, military ethics, and health policy to DNP and PhD nursing students and interprofessional graduate students. She is a Distinguished Practitioner of the National Academies of Practice, immediate past member of the Diversity Advisory Council of the National Hospice and Palliative Care Organization, and a member of the American Academy of Nursing Cultural Competency and Health Equity and Bioethics expert panels.
Dorothy Wholihan, DNP, AGPCNP-BC, ACHPN, FPCN, FAAN (5106)
Director: Palliative Care Specialty Program
NYU Meyers College of Nursing
Dorothy is the director of the Advanced Practice Palliative Care Specialty Sequence Program and a clinical associate professor at NYU Rory Meyers College of Nursing. She is a palliative care nurse practitioner with over 30 years of nursing experience. She has practiced as an oncology and pain management clinical nurse specialist and is actively practicing as a nurse practitioner in palliative care. Her practice and research interests include spiritual aspects of care, teaching communication skills, and the care of veterans at end of life.
Wholihan received her DNP from George Washington University, MSN from Yale University, and BSN from the University of Pennsylvania. She also holds a Post-Master's Certificate from Christian Specialty, General Theological Seminary, and a Post-Master's Certificate ANP from Uniformed Services, University of the Health Sciences.
Kristina Zhandy's (5105)
Chief, Division of Geriatric Psychiatry and Behavioral Health
at The University of Connecticut School of Medicine
Dr. Kristina Zdanys earned her undergraduate degree with Honors in Cognitive Science as well as her MD from Yale University. She completed a residency in Adult Psychiatry at New York University School of Medicine / Bellevue Hospital and a fellowship in Geriatric Psychiatry at Yale. She is an Associate Professor in the Department of Psychiatry at the University of Connecticut School of Medicine where she teaches medical students and other trainees and serves as co-director of the James E.C. Walker M.D. Memory Assessment Program. She is chief of the UConn Division of Geriatric Psychiatry and Behavioral Health and the program director for the University of Connecticut-Hartford Hospital Geriatric Psychiatry Fellowship Program. Dr. Zdanys is also a member of the CT Alzheimer’s Association Medical and Scientific Advisory Committee (MSAC) and Board of Advisors. She was awarded the Hartford-Jeste Award for Future Leaders in Geriatric Psychiatry by the APA in 2020.
Adrianne DeVivo (5105)
Dementia specialist with Hartford HealthCare Center for Healthy Aging
Dementia specialist with Hartford HealthCare Center for Healthy Aging,As a dementia specialist, she provides assessments (in person, over the phone and in home) to establish connections for older adults and families with essential community services, organizations, programs and medical services. In this role she develops effective strategies for caregivers and persons with dementia/Alzheimer’s disease to improve the quality of life through effective care plans, follow-up and support.
Associate Professor of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation at the University of Colorado Anschutz Medical Campus
Dr. Patricia C. Heyn, PhD, FGSA, FACRM is the Founding Director of the Marymount Center for Optimal Aging at the Marymount University. She also is an Associate Professor of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation at the University of Colorado School of Medicine. She is an elected fellow of the American Congress of Rehabilitation Medicine (ACRM), Gerontological Society of America (GSA), and serves as a senior faculty mentor for the NIH NIDDK The Network of Minority Health Research Investigators (NMRI). She has been involved in clinical health sciences research for over 22 years. She has a PhD in Applied Exercise Physiology/Gerontology followed by two post-doctoral fellowships in 1) neurologic and cognitive rehabilitation supported by the National Institute on Disability, Independent Living, and Rehabilitative Research (NIDILRR), and 2) geriatric medicine research with emphasis in clinical trial design supported by the National Institute on Aging (NIH). Her investigations have the goal to improve the person’s healthspan, everyday function, and quality of life by evaluating early detection methods and intervention approaches that target key risk factors associate to the early onset of common geriatric and chronic diseases. Her research program has three focus areas: (1) evaluate patient-reported health outcomes methods with a focus on underrepresented populations; (2) evaluating the association between metabolic syndrome, diabetes, and dementia as well as preventing or delaying the onset of these conditions with exercise prescription; and (3) investigating premature aging marker models and frailty characterization in individuals aging with pediatric onset disabilities. Her research has been funded by the National Institutes of Health, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Administration for Community Living, and Coleman Institute.
Christine Cusato, (5105)
Director of Communications | Alzheimer's Association Connecticut Chapter
Kristen spent more than 20 years as a television journalist, in New York, Texas, Connecticut and California. Her mother’s diagnosis of Lewy Body Dementia in 2009 changed everything. Kristen moved from San Diego to New York to help her best friend – her Mom – on this difficult journey. Kristen worked for the Connecticut chapter of the Alzheimer’s Association while her Mom was ill, sharing what she was learning as a caregiver, and teaching people about this disease. Now she is Director of Communications for the chapter. Her goal is to spread awareness and share her caregiver hits and misses, in the hopes that her stories can help make the journey a tad bit easier for others.
Danielle Tolton, DO (5105)
Geriatric Psychiatry Fellow
Originally from Pennsylvania, Dr. Tolton attended Lock Haven University, double majoring in biology and psychology. She completed medical school at Lake Erie College of Osteopathic Medicine and recently finished her psychiatry residency at UConn. She is currently a geriatric psychiatry fellow at Weill Cornell Medical College at New York Presbyterian Hospital. Her professional interests include dementia, including Lewy Body Dementia and Alzheimer's disease, as well as palliative care. On a personal note, she recently got married in May after postponing a year due to Covid. She has been enjoying spending time with her husband and Covid dog they rescued in 2020 named Sedona.
Dr. Richard Marottoli (5105)
Medical Director of the Dorothy Adler Geriatric Assessment Center at Yale–New Haven Hospital
Richard is the Medical Director of the Dorothy Adler Geriatric Assessment Center at Yale–New Haven Hospital. He is a former recipient of a Donaghue Foundation Investigator Award, VA HSR&D level I and II Career Development Awards, and a Paul Beeson Physician Faculty Scholars in Aging Research Award. He is a 2009-2011 Health and Aging Policy Fellow. He was the first graduate of the Yale Fellowship in Geriatric Medicine and Clinical Epidemiology. He is also past chairperson of the Committee on the Safe Mobility of Older Persons of the National Research Council’s Transportation Research Board.
Chiadikaobi Uchendu Onyike, M.B.B.S., M.D. (5105)
Director, Frontotemporal Dementias Program
Associate Professor of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences
Expertise in Adult Psychiatry, Alzheimer's Disease (AD), Behavioral Disorders in Dementia, Behavioral Medicine, Cognitive Disorders, Creutzfeldt-Jakob Disease, Dementia, Disorders of Executive Function, Disorders of Social Cognition, Frontotemporal Dementias, Geriatric Psychiatry, Neuropsychiatry, Primary Aphasias, Prion Diseases, Psychiatry, Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences, Young-Onset Dementias. His RESEARCH INTERESTS include Phenomenology; neuropsychiatry; neuropathology; epidemiology; measurement and management of neurodegenerative disorders (including frontotemporal dementias, young-onset Alzheimer disease, Lewy body disease and other parkinsonian dementias, cerebrovascular dementias, prion disease, leukodystrophies); treatment development and clinical trials for neurodegenerative disease.
Christianne (Christy) Kovel (5105)
Director of Public Policy
Alzheimer's Association, Connecticut Chapter
Christy is the Director of Public Policy for the Alzheimer’s Association Connecticut Chapter and the New England Region Policy Lead. In this role Christy works to advance the association’s federal and state policy priorities with grassroots advocates and partners with state agencies overseeing efforts on initiatives that support elements of the Healthy Brain Initiative Road Map. Additionally, she collaborates with and supports the public policy staff team in New England.Christy previous experience includes roles in long-term care facilities and the Connecticut General Assembly. She received her master’s degree in Human Development/Gerontology from the University of Saint Joseph.
Kristopher Sortwell, MSW, CBIS (5105)
Eastern Region Director of Education and Outreach,
Alzheimer's Association Connecticut Chapter
Kris has a Master’s in Social Work, a BA in Psychology, is a certified Person-Centered Program Facilitator, and is a Certified Brain Injury Specialist. He is a graduate of the Leadership Development Roundtable for emerging leaders in the non-profit sector. Kris continues to play a lead role, in communities throughout CT, regarding education around Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion. He has over 18 years’ experience in leadership positions in the non-profit, education, and human services fields. He has over 8 years of administrative board experience; 2 of which he was the Chair of the Traumatic Brain Injury Advisory Board of Connecticut. He has over 11 years of experience developing, managing, and providing professional trainings across multiple settings which include, but are not limited to; local colleges, conferences, and non-profit organizations. He also specializes in leadership develop and training for professionals of all levels.
Anne Kenny, M.D. (5106)
Anne is the director of Faculty Development and chair of the Faculty Development Advisory Committee. She contributes to planning and is a presenter of faculty development training offered by the Office of Faculty Affairs.
Anne completed her Internal Medicine residency and fellowship in Geriatric Medicine here in 1992, and following a distinguished career as an active and well-appreciated clinician, teacher and mentor, retired from UConn Health in 2016. During her tenure, Anne was continuously funded for her clinical research in aging, frailty and osteoporosis, and served on countless committees, including Research Council and Dean’s Council. Among her notable accomplishments, Anne is credited with developing the Master of Science in Clinical and Translational Research program, and serving as its director from 2008-2016. She also served as associate program director for the Clinical Research Center from 2005 to 2016, and has led the Academic Leadership program for the Center on Aging.
In her role, Anne is responsible for conducting faculty development workshops and mentoring faculty regarding their academic advancement. She is the author of Making Tough Decisions about End-of-Life Care in Dementia
Eilon Caspi PhD (5106)
Eilon Caspi PhD is a Gerontologist and dementia behavior specialist. He currently works as an Assistant Research Professor at University of Connecticut. He started working in the aging field 28 years ago as a nurse aide in a nursing home where his grandfather lived. Since then, he worked as a social worker in a nursing home, consultant, applied researcher, author, documentary film director, and care advocate. In recent years, he conducted several studies to improve understanding and the prevention of various forms of elder mistreatment (e.g., injurious and deadly neglect of healthcare, fatal resident-to-resident incidents, financial exploitation, and thefts of opioid pain medications) in long-term care homes. He serves on the board of Elder Voice Family Advocates (Minnesota) and Long-Term Care Community Coalition (NYC). In his free time, he enjoys carving wood and recently completed hand carving brain hemispheres and educational signs such as SEE ME Not My Dementia and Justice for Elders.
Caregiver Guest Speakers
Armen will share their experiences caring for their dad with Alzheimer’s Disease.
Lauren will share her experiences caring for her mom with Parkinson’s dementia.
Carolyn will share their experiences caring for their dad with Alzheimer’s Disease.
Julia will share their experiences caring for their dad with Alzheimer’s Disease.