Robin McAtee, PhD, RN, FACHE, Assistant Professor and AGEC Director
Ronni Chernoff, PhD, FAND, FASPEN, AGEC Associate Director
Laura Spradley, MS, Outreach Manager
Leah Tobey, PT, DPT, MBA, Clinical Coordinator
Renee Steed, Program Coordinator
Brittani Ray, MPH, Education Coordinator
For general inquiries and questions, email email@example.com.
Meet AGEC’s 2023-2024 Geriatric Student Scholars
It is with great pleasure that the UAMS Arkansas Geriatric Education Collaborative (AGEC) announces its 2023-2024 selection for the Geriatric Student Scholars program – Melanie Beehler (College of Medicine), Margaret Boles (College of Health Professions), Holland Hardison (College of Health Professions), Lizeth Martinez-Lopez (College of Health Professions), and Jasmine Wilson (College of Pharmacy).
Melanie Beehler (Third-year Medicine student)
Margaret Boles (Second-year Physician Assistant student)
Holland Hardison (Third-year Audiology student)
Lizeth Martinez-Lopez (Third-year Doctor of Physical Therapy student, NWA campus)
Jasmine Wilson (Fourth-year Pharmacy student)
Melanie Beehler is a third-year M.D. student in the College of Medicine at UAMS. She is from Pea Ridge, AR, and attended Lyon College in Batesville, AR for her undergraduate studies. She received a B.S. in both Biology and Chemistry. Melanie is the current Secretary of the UAMS Geriatric Interest Group and is completing the Honors in Research Program. Her volunteer work with Caring Hands Hospice helped foster a deeper passion for the aging population as well as a medical interest in their wellbeing. She is grateful for the opportunity to be an AGEC Geriatric Student Scholar to get a deeper insight into the ever-expanding field of geriatrics. Additionally, she is excited to work with an interdisciplinary team to help hone her collaboration skills.
Margaret Boles is a second-year student in the Physician Assistant Program. Prior to pursuing PA studies, she worked with a variety of patients in both the outpatient and inpatient settings as a Doctor of Physical Therapy. She grew up in Northeast Texas and is a proud Texas A&M Aggie! She has seen the power of encouragement and persistence in the geriatric population as she has helped them overcome physical setbacks. Margaret has also experienced the necessity of clarity when communicating with elderly patients, and in her rotations. She has already witnessed the importance of the time and sympathy advanced-practice clinicians provide when the physician has limited time. Margaret is excited to become a better advocate for the aging population with all of you!
Holland Hardison is a third year Doctor of Audiology student at UAMS. She is from Denham Springs, Louisiana and received her Bachelor of Science in Communication Sciences and Disorders from Southeastern Louisiana University. Through her experiences in the program, she has developed a passion for working with older adults and managing their hearing loss and balance disorders. Holland’s goal is to advocate for all healthcare professionals to provide holistic patient centered care for the geriatric population. She is grateful to have the opportunity to serve as a Geriatric Student Scholar and learn how to better serve older adults. Her future endeavors include working as a clinical audiologist and continuing to advocate for holistic care for older adults.
Lizeth Martinez-Lopez is a third-year physical therapy student at the UAMS Northwest campus. She was raised in Prairie Grove, AR, and attended the University of Arkansas obtaining a Bachelor of Science degree in Kinesiology. Outside of studying, Lizeth enjoys dancing to Mexican regional music, playing with her dog named Chiquita, and you can always find her at a family event on the weekends. Growing up in a Hispanic household, Lizeth has always been accustomed to a very fast-paced lifestyle where her family tends to thrive in chaos. Lizeth is rooted in her culture, and hopes to bring light to the geriatric community, as they hold a special place in her upbringing. As a first-generation college student, Lizeth has grown a passion for underrepresented communities, and is very grateful for the opportunity to be a Geriatric Student Scholar!
Jasmine Wilson is a 4th year pharmacy student at the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences. She obtained her undergraduate education at the University of Central Arkansas with an emphasis in pre-pharmacy. Her interest in geriatrics stems from experience in her Internal Medicine rotation, which was her first time being directly involved with the care of the geriatric population. This experience reinforced to her that treatment with this special population can come with its challenges and she hopes to make an impact by advocating for geriatrics through her pharmacy knowledge. She is honored to be selected as an AGEC Geriatric Student Scholar and is motivated to learn how to provide the best quality of care as possible for these patients. On her free time, she enjoys leisurely walks in the park, discovering new food places to try, and most importantly, spending time with family and friends.
Meet AGEC’s New Junior Faculty Development Awardees
Robin McAtee, PhD, RN, FACHE, Arkansas Geriatric Education Collaborative (AGEC) Director, and Ronni Chernoff, PhD, FAND, FASPEN, Associate Director, are pleased to announce the newest awardees of the AGEC Junior Faculty Development Fellowship in geriatrics at the Donald W. Reynolds Institute on Aging at UAMS.
Caitlin Price, Au.D., Ph.D., CCC-A and Lee Isaac, Psy.D. were notified of the decision in June 2022. Dr. Price will begin her year-long program in July 2022, and Dr. Isaac will begin in January 2023. The AGEC Junior Faculty Development program objective is to support the career development of professionals who want to specialize in academic and clinical geriatrics. The award includes $25,000 in salary support and supported attendance at one national geriatric conference.
About Dr. Caitlin Price
Caitlin Price, Au.D., Ph.D., CCC-A, is an assistant professor in the UAMS Department of Audiology and Speech Pathology and is a licensed clinical audiologist with expertise in adult diagnostics, rehabilitation, and auditory electrophysiology. She has extensive clinical experience with geriatric populations and has initiated patient-driven inquiries on best practices and other clinically applicable research topics related to cognitive aging, auditory perception, and speech-in-noise processing. In her postdoctoral fellowship, she worked with interdisciplinary teams to evaluate the impact of cognitive impairment on the auditory processing of speech in older adults. Her research aims to assess individual differences that contribute to speech-in-noise deficits and develop effective clinical interventions to foster successful communication across the lifespan.
About Dr. Lee Isaac
Lee Isaac, Psy.D., is a postdoctoral fellow in Clinical Neuropsychology at UAMS and will be joining the faculty as an assistant professor in August 2022. He graduated from La Salle University in Philadelphia, PA, with a doctoral degree in Clinical Psychology, and completed his clinical internship at UAMS. He specializes in geriatric neuropsychology, and his clinical work includes neurocognitive assessment for patients with suspected neurodegenerative conditions and movement disorders. His research presently focuses on updated assessments for dementia populations and diagnostic specificity in types of dementia, particularly with the integration of technology.
Past Geriatric Junior Faculty Development Awardees
2021 Awardee (FY 2022)
David Church, PhD, CSCS*D
David Church, PhD, CSCS*D is an Assistant Professor at the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences in the Center for Translational Research in Aging and Longevity (CTRAL) in the Department of Geriatrics. He earned his bachelor’s degree from DePauw University while playing football and baseball. He attended Baylor University for his Master’s Degree in Exercise and Nutritional Biochemistry while completing a strength and conditioning coach internship with the athletic department. He completed his PhD at the University of Central Florida where he focused on skeletal muscle physiology where his love for geriatrics research began.
Currently, Dr. Church uses a variety of research methods to leverage exercise, nutrition, and pharmacological approaches to correct and enhance human physiology with an overall passion to help older adults increase their health span (the part of a person’s life when they are generally in good health). He is investigating strategies to prevent the deterioration of muscle health that occurs in old age and is exploring ways to prevent performance losses by soldiers during sustained operations using nutrients. Dr. Church aims to be an independent investigator within a collaborative interdisciplinary translational research team that is involved in educating and training the next generation of geriatric specialists. Furthermore, as an individual who grew up on a farm, he has a keen interest in addressing key health disparities of rural Arkansans.
2020 Awardees (FY 2021)
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.
Christopher Walter, PT, DPT, PhD
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. Priya 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 a fellowship in Geriatric Medicine from the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences (UAMS), Little Rock, Arkansas. She was awarded the Physician-Patient relationship award during her residency. She likes evidence-based practice and has an enormous interest in clinical research. During her residency and fellowship training, she was involved in poster presentations, Quality improvement projects, and publications of her research work in journals.
After her fellowship, she worked in the Department of Family and Preventive Medicine for about one and a half years 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 a special interest in research works related to dementia in the elderly population.
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.
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.
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 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
2023 Geriatric Student Scholars
Dhielan Bustos, Third-year Doctor of Physical Therapy student, NWA campus
Ranique Daniel, Fourth-year BSN student
Stephanie Graves, Second-year Physician Assistant student
Szarria Thomas, Second-year Pharmacy student
Julia Townsley, Second-year Medicine student
2022 Geriatric Student Scholars
Erica Dewey, Fourth-Year College of Medicine student
Anna Harrison, Second-Year College of Health Professions student
Tenia Marshall, Fourth-Year College of Nursing student
Gale Menotti, Third-Year College of Pharmacy student
2021 Geriatric Student Scholars
Anusha Majagi, Third-Year College of Medicine and College of Public Health student
Kristin Price, Third-Year College of Pharmacy student
Harper Purifoy, Second-Year College of Public Health student
Ellie Reaves, Junior, College of Nursing student
Kashti Shah, Junior, Hendrix College undergraduate student
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
2019 Geriatric Student Scholars
Samantha Pennington, third-year College of Pharmacy student
Taylor Bennett, third-year College of Medicine student
Holly Bennett, second-year College of Health Professions student
Larreasha Adams, College of Nursing Adult-Geriatric Primary Care Program