Robin McAtee, PhD, RN, FACHE, Assistant Professor and AGEC Director

Ronni Chernoff, PhD, FAND, FASPEN, AGEC Associate Director

Laura Spradley, MS, Outreach Coordinator

Leah Tobey, PT, DPT, Clinical Coordinator

Whitney Thomasson, MAP, Research Assistant

Renee Steed, Program Coordinator

For general inquries and questions, email


Meet Our 2020 Geriatric Fellows

Robin McAtee, PhD, RN, FACHE, Director and Ronni Chernoff, PhD, FAND, FASPEN, AGEC Associate Director are pleased to announce awardees for the 2020 Junior Faculty Fellowships in geriatrics at the Donald W. Reynolds Institute on Aging at UAMS. Obioma Nwaiwu, MD, PhD and Stephanie Trotter, PhD, RN were notified of the decision in June 2020. The fellowship program objective is to support the career development of professionals who want to specialize in academic and clinical geriatrics. The award includes $30,000 in salary support and supported attendance for each at (1) national geriatric conference.


Obioma Nwaiwu, MD, PhD

Obioma Nwaiwu, MD, PhD obtained his medical degree from University of Ibadan, Nigeria, a PhD in Health Services Research from Texas A&M Health Science Center, and completed his family medicine residency at the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences.  He was accepted into the geriatric fellowship program at UAMS in 2019 and has now joined the Department of Geriatrics as an assistant professor.  His passion for improving access to care and reducing disparity for vulnerable older adults started prior to his medical education. Over the past few years, he has been involved in multiple projects aimed at improving access and care for vulnerable older adults and he has collaborated with the community leaders in this effort. He is very interested in helping older adults to reduce their fall risk and partnered with Area Agencies on Aging in Texas to implement and evaluate falls reduction programs.  He is also an Aging Research in Criminal Justice & Health Network Scholars Awardee where he plans to evaluate the need, capacity, and interest in improving access to care of incarcerated older adults in Arkansas through provision of geriatric consultation services.​



Stephanie Trotter, PhD, RN

Stephanie Trotter, PhD, RN began a second career in 2010, when she chose nursing as a second career path.  She completed her baccalaureate nursing degree in 2012 and a PhD in nursing in 2017 both at UAMS.  She loves the diversity and limitless opportunities available in this healthcare field.  While obtaining her undergraduate degree, she was selected for the Hartford Center for Geriatric Nursing Excellence externship.  During this experience, she developed a passion for the health and well-being of Arkansas’ geriatric population and this is where her teaching and research has since focused.  Her dissertation work focused on age-specific differences in time perspectives, health beliefs, and behaviors of hypertensive adults.  Dr. Trotter is a faculty member of UAMS’ College of Nursing where she strives to cultivate respect and passion for the geriatric population in undergraduate nursing students.  She feels that as a nurse educator, it is her calling to prepare the next generation of nurses to care for older adults.  In her free time, she enjoys family time, including her four-legged family members, and home improvement projects. ​


Meet Our 2020 Geriatric Student Scholars

Abbey Belote, Second-Year College of Health Professions student
Caitlyn Crowder, Second-Year College of Health Professions student
Serena Van, Third-Year College of Pharmacy student
Rebekah Ward, First-Year College of Health Professions student
Sarah Wilson, Senior, Spanish Literature and Hispanic Culture, Hendrix College student


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Abbey Belote

Abbey is in her second year of the Doctorate of Physical Therapy (DPT) program in the College of Health Professions at UAMS. She is from Springfield, Missouri and received a B.S. Degree in Exercise and Movement Science with a minor in Biomedical Sciences at Missouri State University. Her DPT curriculum is located on the UAMS Northwest Campus in Fayetteville, Arkansas. She is thankful to be chosen as one of the AGEC Geriatric Student Scholars and is eager to get started on the unique educational and professional opportunities this program offers. She became interested in working with the geriatric population through clinical and volunteer activities in the community while pursuing her career in physical therapy. During these experiences, she began to grasp the integral role physical therapists can play in improving quality of life and enabling independence throughout the aging process. Abbey is drawn to utilize their goals, experiences, and concerns to provide the best possible care as a physical therapist. However, she is also intrigued to learn better how to participate in an effective interprofessional healthcare team to develop the best patient-centered care for older adults. This AGEC Student Scholar position is an inspiring next step for her to achieve a higher level of education and appreciation for what we as healthcare providers and members of our communities can do to facilitate and enhance the aging process.


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Caitlyn Crowder

Caitlyn is a second year Doctor of Audiology student in the College of Health Professions at UAMS. She received her bachelor’s degree in Communication Sciences and Disorders at Arkansas State University. She is a native of Heber Springs, Arkansas. She became interested in audiology after having multiple family members experience hearing loss. Her interest in geriatric audiology stemmed from having a grandparent with hearing loss, and the impact on her quality of life as a result. With the aging of America, she recognizes that the number of patients in this population that are in need of Audiology services will continue to grow. She also enjoys the years of memories, wisdom and stories these patients offer and share. Working with this population has instilled in her compassion, hard work, and insight into the complex health issues of her patients and their need for a strong advocate.
In addition to being a Geriatric Scholar, Caitlyn is involved with CHP’s Student Advisory Council, UAMS Alumni Ambassador Program, Associated Student Government, and Leadership Education in Neurodevelopmental and Related Disorders (LEND).  Caitlyn volunteers at Arkansas Hands and Voices events, and in the nursery at New Life Church. In her free time, she enjoys exploring the River Market, reading, and spending time with friends and family.


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Serena Van

Serena is originally from California and graduated from UC Berkeley with degrees in Integrative Biology and Medical Anthropology. She moved to Arkansas at the beginning of P1 year to accept a scholarship from the UAMS College of Pharmacy. She served two years with AmeriCorps, which gave her the enthusiasm to improve herself by being more involved with public health. She is excited to represent the UAMS College of Pharmacy as one of the AGEC Student Scholars, and she looks forward to learning more about the geriatric community in Arkansas. In her spare time, Serena enjoys hiking and traveling. She never fully recovered after being bitten by the travel bug. Her next destination is New Zealand!


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Rebekah Ward

Rebekah was raised in Little Rock, AR and graduated from Ouachita Baptist University with a Bachelor of Science in Chemistry and Biology in 2014. She has a strong interest in research; she spent two summers in clinical research at Arkansas Children’s Hospital and one year as a research technician at UAMS. She is currently a first year student in the UAMS Physician Assistant Program. As a future healthcare provider, she wants to learn more about working with the geriatric population. This rapidly growing demographic has a soft spot in her heart because she grew up close to her grandmother, her Meemaw, who had dementia and Alzheimer’s disease.
Volunteering at the UAMS 12th Street free health clinic for over four years has further re-enforced her interest in the geriatric population. A good number of the patients at 12th Street are elderly. Learning about the several co-morbidities and polypharmacy that most older adults face provides a unique approach to patient-centered healthcare. Moreover, a dynamic collaboration between the disciplines is key. Learning and working alongside students at 12th Street from different colleges such as Medicine, Pharmacy, and Nursing have made her appreciate the values of interdisciplinary teamwork.
After going through the AGEC Geriatric Student Scholar program, Rebekah hopes to learn how to optimize the interdisciplinary team approach, gain some foundational knowledge in geriatric medicine, and implement effective public health practices in rural communities.


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Sarah Wilson

Sarah is an undergraduate senior at Hendrix College studying Spanish literature and Hispanic culture while taking the pre-matriculation requirements for medical school. She began her interests in geriatrics two years ago while completing a pilot program at Hendrix involving volunteering each week in local hospice facilities, and reflecting upon her experiences with patients while drawing upon the knowledge learned from her weekly geriatric health readings. In Hispanic populations, especially in Latin America, it is incredibly honorable to respectfully care for the elders regardless of kinship, so she wants to spend her time learning how to better care for a geriatric population while maintaining sensitivity surrounding cultural identity. Upon graduation, Sarah plans on furthering her knowledge at UAMS and later establishing a health facility for geriatric patients in rural Arkansas.


Past Geriatric Fellow Awardees

2018 Awardees

Dr. Walter

Chris Walter

Christopher Walter, PT, DPT, PhD is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Physical Therapy at the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences Northwest Campus.  He completed his PhD in Rehabilitation Sciences from the University of Utah.  He also earned a Doctor of Physical Therapy degree from the University of Central Arkansas.  Dr. Walter has extensive clinical experience treating patients following stroke and brain injury.  His research focuses on improving function and quality of life in older adults and individuals with neurological disorders by studying the interaction between cognition and motor function.

Dr. Priyambada, MD

Dr. Priyambada

Dr Priya Priyambada is originally from a naturally beautiful south Asian country, Nepal. She completed medical school from Kathmandu University School of Medical Sciences, Nepal. Dr Priyambada did her residency in Family and Preventive Medicine and later fellowship in Geriatric Medicine from University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences (UAMS), Little Rock, Arkansas. She was awarded with Physician Patient relationship award during her residency. She likes evidence-based practice and has enormous interest in clinical research. During her residency and fellowship trainings she was involved in poster presentations, Quality improvement projects and publications of her research works in journals. After her fellowship she worked in department of Family and Preventive Medicine for about one and half year and is currently working as an assistant professor at the Institute of Aging, UAMS.  She is actively involved in teaching medical students, residents and fellows during their geriatric inpatient and outpatient rotations at UAMS. Dr Priyambada continues to work in research projects and she has special interest in research works related to dementia in elderly population.

2017 Geriatric Fellow Awardees

Dr. Upendra Kar

Dr. Kar is an Assistant Professor of research in the College of Pharmacy. He received his Ph.D. degree from All India Institute of Medical Sciences in New Delhi, India and post-doctoral training from Johns Hopkins Medical Institute (JHMI) and the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA). He has extensive training in Stem Cell Biology. His research interest is to understand the molecular mechanism of stem cell exhaustion, a process known to be one of the fundamental hallmarks of aging. Using the 3D ex-vivo organoid culture system and various animal models he intends to 1) understand the underlying basis of human aging and cell death and 2) develop interventions which may enhance the life span and delay the aging process.

Dr. VanHoose

Lisa VanHoose, Ph.D., MPH, PT is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Physical Therapy at the University of Central Arkansas. She completed her Ph.D. in Rehabilitation Science and MPH from the University of Kansas Medical Center. She also completed the NHLBI PRIDE Summer Institute with an emphasis in Cardiovascular Genetic Epidemiology. Her BS in Health Science and MS in Physical Therapy were earned at the University of Central Arkansas. Dr. VanHoose’s research focuses on the incidence, prevalence, and severity of cancer-related side effects with an emphasis on the disease burden of minority and rural cancer survivors.

2016 Awardees

Dr. Price

Dr. Price is Assistant Professor, Pharmaceutical Sciences (Pharmacogenomics) in the College of Pharmacy and Assistant Professor, Genetic Counseling in the College of Health Related Professions at the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences. In addition, Dr. Price is Intermittent Pharmacist at the John L. McCellan Memorial VA Health System in Little Rock, AR. He received his PharmD degree from the Florida Agricultural and Mechanical University in Tallahassee and his PhD in Clinical Pharmaceutical Sciences from the University of Florida in Gainesville.

Dr. Vincenzo

Dr. Vincenzo is Assistant Professor in the Department of Physical Therapy at the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences Northwest Campus. She completed her PhD at the University of Arkansas at Fayetteville in Kinesiology with a graduate certificate in Educational Statistics and Research Design. She also earned a Master of Public Health from Southern Connecticut State University and a Physical Therapy degree from Quinnipiac College in Hamden, Connecticut. She is a board-certified Geriatric Clinical Specialist. Dr. Vincenzo has extensive experience in physical therapy for older adults.


Past Geriatric Student Scholars

2019 Geriatric Student Scholars (left to right)– Samantha Pennington, a third-year College of Pharmacy student; Taylor Bennett, a third-year College of Medicine student, Holly Bennett, a second-year College of Health Professions student and Larreasha Adams from the College of Nursing Adult-Geriatric Primary Care Program.