The Fellows program provides aging-related research and educational opportunities for faculty and students throughout the entire NYU campus.
Rebecca A. Betensky
NYU School of Global Public Health
Dr. Rebecca Betensky is Professor and Chair of the Biostatistics Department at the NYU School of Global Public Health. She conducts research in statistical methodology related to censored and truncated data, biased sampling, biomarkers and clinical trial design. She has collaborated with the Alzheimer's Disease Research Centers at Harvard and NYU in the development and application of statistical methods for analysis of Alzheimer's studies.
She was recently awarded an R25 from the National Institute on Aging to support a pipeline program for undergraduates from underrepresented backgrounds who are interested in MSTEM fields with application to aging studies. She received her A.B. in Mathematics from Harvard College and her Ph.D. in Statistics from Stanford University. She completed a post-doctoral fellowship at Stanford.
Abraham A. Brody
NYU Rory Meyers College of Nursing
Abraham Brody, PhD, RN, FAAN is associate director of the Hartford Institute for Geriatric Nursing and associate professor of Nursing and Medicine at NYU Meyers College of Nursing. He is also the founder of Aliviado Health and the Pilot Core Lead of the NIA IMPACT Collaboratory. His work focuses on the intersection of geriatrics, palliative care, quality, and equity. The primary goal of his research, clinical, and policy pursuits is to improve the quality of care for older adults with serious illness wherever they reside. His primary mode for doing so is through the development, testing, and dissemination of real-word, technology, and informatics supported quality improvement interventions. He is currently the principal investigator of two NIH-funded large-scale pragmatic clinical trials to improve the quality of care and quality of life for persons living with dementia and their caregivers in the community and a co-investigator on several other pragmatic trials and health services research projects in geriatrics and palliative care.
From a leadership perspective, Brody works across disciplines to help advance geriatrics and palliative care nationally. As pilot core lead of the $53.4 million nationwide Collaboratory, he is responsible for heading the pilot program, which, in collaboration with the National Institute on Aging, reviews and awards funds to help investigators prepare for large-scale pragmatic clinical trials for persons living with dementia and their caregivers. He also serves on the Steering Committee of the NINR Funded Palliative Care Research Cooperative, the policy-setting body for the organization.
In addition to his research and national leadership responsibilities, Brody is passionate about mentoring and developing a diverse nursing and scientific workforce. To this end, he developed and the Hospice and Palliative Nurses Association Leadership Development Program and is the technology core director of NYU Meyer’s P20 Exploratory Center for Precision Health in Diverse Populations, and serves on the Executive Committee of the Training, Research, and Education Core of the NYU-HHC Clinical Translational Sciences Institute. He mentors faculty, post-doctoral scholars, and PhD students across multiple disciplines and institutions. Brody also maintains an active practice in the Geriatric and Palliative Consult Services at NYU Langone Health.
Tracy Chippendale, PhD, OTR/L, is an occupational therapist whose clinical background and research interests are in geriatrics. Her research, published work, teaching and professional service investigates, assesses and promotes aging in place that is, the ability of older adults to live and remain active in their homes and communities safely, independently, regardless of age, income, or ability level. Her scholarship focuses on three key areas including: Outdoor fall prevention, promoting psychosocial well-being, and preventing loss of function. Her foundation funded research has been published in the American Journal of Occupational Therapy, Journal of the American Geriatrics Society, and The Gerontologist. She received her PhD in occupational therapy from NYU in 2011 and before joining the faculty at Steinhardt, held a position as assistant professor in the department of occupational therapy at Tufts University.
NYU Rory Meyers College of Nursing
Daniel David, RN, PhD, is an assistant professor at NYU Rory Meyers College of Nursing and National Palliative Care Center Kornfeld Scholar. His research investigates older adults and their informal caregivers in the context of serious illness. He is particularly interested in technology-based interventions that improve caregiving, communication, palliative care, and advance care planning.
David is the principal investigator of the PC-CRAFT Assisted Living Project (Palliative Care – Connecting Residents And Family through Technology), which uses video technology to support palliative care consultation between providers, residents of assisted living, and their informal caregivers.
Prior to joining the faculty at NYU, David was an adjunct assistant professor in the Department of Community Health Systems at the University of California, San Francisco (UCSF) School of Nursing and a postdoctoral fellow in the VA Quality Scholar Program in the UCSF Division of Geriatrics.
David received his PhD in nursing from Northeastern University, MS from the University of Colorado, and BSN from the University of Virginia.
NYU School of Global Public Health
Dr. Chris Dickey is an international development innovator and public health entrepreneur whose work seeks to develop sustainable public health models and to forge bonds between the academic community and practitioners in the field. He sees the challenges facing public health - vast health inequities, applied skills gaps among public health professionals, weak community health systems, and shrinking research budgets - and seeks to reimagine sustainable solutions through a multidisciplinary approach. This is reflected by the fact that he has worked in more than 20 countries with the United Nations (UN) and other agencies and co-founded a company that provides clean water and primary care in villages in India.
Dr. Dickey is developing a public health entrepreneurship program to address the demand for a new generation of public health practitioners with the skill sets and opportunities to create innovative and sustainable business models as stand-alone entities or within a larger corporation.
Through a learning model that combines lectures, group exercises, real-time simulations, and implementable course projects and in partnership with the UN and World Food Programme, Dr. Dickey leads an Applied Food System and Nutrition course in which international public health professionals and public health students learn and work together on real world problems. Additionally, Dr. Dickey coordinates the Applied Global Health and Development Lab, where have the opportunity to work on universal health coverage policy, a new data-driven decision support tool, supply chain and logistics analysis, social network and knowledge management analyses, and the development of a business model for online public health programs.
NYU Langone Health
Shannon Doherty Lyons is a New York University GSAS Alumni who has been working in the Zelikoff Lab in the Department of Environmental Medicine for the last 14 years. Shannon is currently a Research Scientist with a Master’s degree in Environmental Medicine and an NIEHS Center Grant Community Engagement Core (CEC) Associate. As a CEC Associate, Shannon has focused on outreach and engagement regarding environmental health issues in our partner communities. Most recently, she has established a partnership in the Bergen County Boro of Fair
Lawn, NJ to develop and host a community research survey with their new age friendly initiative, Fair Lawn for All Ages. She has also been working with the community of Garfield, NJ on their Age Friendly initiative, entitled Generations for Garfield. The initiative was created in 2016, following the completion of an NYULMC IRB-approved ‘Aging in Place Community Survey’, and was recently awarded membership in the AARP-WHO Network of Livable Communities. Shannon has played an integral role as community partner in the Initiative, representing the NYU Department of Environmental Medicine CEC and focusing on important environmental and public health issues for older adults.
NYU Tandon School of Engineering
Arlene Ducao (they/them/zey) is a creative engineer who develops and analyzes technologies that examine the relationship between the natural landscape, our built environments, and ourselves. They are the CEO and co-founder of Dukode's affiliate company Multimer, a spinoff from MIT Media Lab. At Multimer, they developed their invention MindRider, the geospatial brainwave-mapping system profiled in WIRED, New York Times, Discovery Channel, MSNBC, Fast Company, Science Channel, and many more. A recipient of the South by Southwest Winburne Community Service Award for their work on satellite mapping in Indonesia and Kenya, they teach at NYU and MIT, where they present a range of topics, from multidimensional data visualization to digital fabrication and its cultural underpinnings.
Their work has been published in books including Data, Architecture, and the Experience of Place (Routledge, 2019) and Instrumental Intimacy: EEG Wearables and Neuroscientific Control (JHU Press, 2017), and through scholarly outlets including the Association of Computing Machinery Digital Library. Their latest research article, on modeling neurophysiological experience in public urban space, including aging populations, is forthcoming in an Artificial Intelligence Special Edition of the International Journal of Community Well-Being (Springer). They are also active as an organizer-advocate in the Working Families Party and FUREE (Families United for Racial and Economic Equality). Arlene Ducao holds degrees from the UMD, SVA, and MIT.
Karyn E Faber
NYU School of Global Public Health
Dr. Karyn E. Faber has over 15 years of experience conducting research, teaching, and implementing policy in applied public health. Her areas of expertise are program planning, implementation, management, and evaluation in varied settings including community-based organizations and philanthropic entities. Dr. Faber earned a Bachelor of Arts in Women’s Studies from the University of California at Berkeley, a Master of Public Health in Sociomedical Sciences from the Columbia University Mailman School of Public Health, and a Doctor of Education from Teachers College Columbia University.
Dr. Faber’s research employs program development and supportive services designed to enhance the quality of life of minority elders living with chronic and/or serious health conditions. Her framework conceptualizes strengths, resiliency, and coping strategies; examines underlying cognitions that contextualize health behaviors; and investigates the mechanisms and policies that sustain disparities in health. She has conducted research with grants from the Health Resource and Service Administration Special Projects of National Significance; the National Institute of Mental Health; and the National Cancer Institute to examine the psychological, social and practical issues facing family members of individuals who are chronically and/or seriously ill or dying.
Prior to joining GPH, Dr. Faber was a Research Scientist in the Psychosocial Research Unit on Health, Aging, and the Community at the NYU College of Dentistry, where her expertise in creating and implementing health education programs for at-risk populations was instrumental in crafting a skills-training program for a cancer survivorship initiative. She also continues to engage in extensive outreach activities with community-based organizations to address health disparities in resource-poor communities, with the goal of assisting community residents with identifying and defining varied and complex reasons for health, social, and economic disparities.
NYU Silver School of Social Work
Dr. Ernest Gonzales is an Assistant Professor at NYU Silver. He is a scholar in the areas of productive aging (employment, volunteering, and caregiving), health equity, and social policy. His research advances our understanding on the relationships between healthy aging, social determinants of health, productive activities, and intergenerational/multigenerational contexts. His research has been supported by The National Institute on Minority Health and Health Disparities, National Institute on Aging, U.S. Social Security Administration, AARP Foundation, Fox and Samuels Foundation, and other public and private funders. Dr. Gonzales publishes in leading scientific journals and he is on several editorial boards.
By invitation, Dr. Gonzales serves on the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine (NASEM), Division of Behavioral and Social Sciences and Education (DBASSE), with shaping a research and policy agenda on the aging workforce and employment at older ages. He has been invited to review grants for the National Institute on Aging, as well as other international federal agencies. He is the Co-Lead of the American Academy of Social Work & Social Welfare’s Grand Challenge on Advancing Long, Healthy, and Productive Lives. He is also a Senior Fellow of the NYU Aging Incubator, a university-wide initiative bringing together faculty and students from across the University from all disciplines who are involved in the study of aging and its impact on society. He is also a member of the Sloan Research Network on Aging & Work, Society for Social Work and Research (SSWR), the Association for Latina/o Social Work Educators, and Gerontological Society of America.
Prior to coming to NYU Silver, Dr. Gonzales was an Assistant Professor at Boston University’s School of Social Work where he received the Peter T. Paul Career Development Award, a highly competitive and prestigious honor given to promising tenure-track scholars. During his doctoral studies, he received the Brown School of Social Work’s Dissertation Award and the Teaching Excellence Award for Doctoral Teaching Fellows; the John A. Hartford Pre-Dissertation Fellowship and Dissertation Fellowship; and the Washington University Chancellor’s Fellowship.
Dr. Gonzales earned his PhD from the Brown School of Social Work at Washington University in St. Louis, his MSSW from Columbia University School of Social Work, and a BA in Sociology from Hunter College at the City University of New York.
NYU Grossman School of Medicine
Simona C. Kwon, DrPH, MPH, is an Associate Professor in the Section for Health Equity, Departments of Population Health and Medicine at the NYU School of Medicine. Dr. Kwon is a social epidemiologist whose research examines the social and cultural contextual factors that influence health and health outcomes among racial and ethnic communities across the lifespan and with a particular focus on Asian Americans. Using a social determinants of health framework, Dr. Kwon engages in the implementation and evaluation of evidence-based strategies in community settings with a focus on assessing cultural relevancy and impact, and identifying innovative channels to disseminate and translate findings and outcomes for priority end-users. She works collaboratively and in partnership with multi-sectorial coalitions made up of local and national community-based organizations, governmental agencies, service delivery organizations and multi-disciplinary researchers to address community-level health disparities. Dr. Kwon directs the NIH National Institute on Minority Health and Health Disparities-funded, Center for the Study of Asian American Health and serves as the Director of the Integrating Special Populations Unit of the NYU-H+H Clinical Translational Science Institute, Associate Director of the Community Outreach and Engagement Core of the NYU Perlmutter Cancer Center, and the Associate Director of the Section for Health Equity. She was awarded her Master of Public Health in Epidemiology from Yale University, her doctorate in the Division of Sociomedical Sciences from the Mailman School of Public Health, Columbia University, and served as a W.K. Kellogg Community Scholars Post-doctoral Fellow at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health in the Department of Health Behavior & Society.
NYU Rory Meyers College of Nursing
Fidel Lim, DNP, CCRN, is a clinical associate professor and has been a faculty member at Meyers since 1996. He has worked as a critical care nurse for more than 18 years. As the faculty advisor to various student-led groups, including the Asian Pacific-Islander Nursing Students Association, Men Entering Nursing, and the LGBT-NSA group, he has, among other things, fostered salience in nursing education through high-quality extra-curricular programming. His work as a nurse educator in a magnet-designated hospital provides sustainable staff-focused educational support. He is particularly interested in bridging gaps in nurse engagement and practice excellence. Lim has published articles on an array of topics ranging from clinical practice, nursing education issues, LGBT health disparities, reflective practice, men in nursing, and Florence Nightingale among others. Lim is a faculty advisor for the Honors Program.
Lim completed his DNP at Northeastern University, MA at New York University, and BSN at Far Eastern University, in Manila, Philippines.
NYU Rory Meyers College of Nursing
Chenjuan Ma is an assistant professor and health services researcher at NYU Rory Meyers College of Nursing. Her research, which focuses on understanding how to optimize nursing care and patient outcomes, particularly in the home healthcare setting, utilizes theories and methodologies from different disciplines, including but not limited to sociology, statistics, medicine, and nursing. Ma also has expertise in large data sets and quantitative methods.
Prior to joining the NYU Rory Meyers faculty, Ma was a post-doctoral fellow in the National Database of Nursing Quality Indicators at the University of Kansas.
Ma holds a PhD from University of Pennsylvania and MSN and BSN from Xi'an Jiaotong University, China.
Donna E McCabe
NYU Rory Meyers College of Nursing
Donna McCabe is a clinical associate professor at NYU Rory Meyers College of Nursing and a Fellow in the Hartford Institute for Geriatric Nursing at NYU Meyers. She is a board-certified geriatric nurse practitioner and psychiatric mental health nurse practitioner. Dr. McCabe has spent her career working with older adults in acute care, nursing home, and community settings. Her clinical work focuses on improving the quality and safety of care for the aging and older adult population.
McCabe received her DNP from Case Western Reserve University, MA from NYU College of Nursing, Certificate in Psychiatric Mental Health Nursing from Stony Brook University and BSN from Mount Saint Mary College.
NYU School of Global Public Health
Dr. Alexis Merdjanoff is a Clinical Assistant Professor in Social and Behavioral Sciences at New York University’s College of Global Public Health. Trained as a sociologist, she explores how population health is affected by exposure to disasters, including hurricanes, floods, wildfires, and bioevents such as COVID-19. Dr. Merdjanoff is particularly interested in how social inequalities shape the impact of disasters and climate change on health, recovery, and resilience for socially vulnerable populations like older adults. To do so, she collects and analyzes qualitative and quantitative data to form a holistic understanding of how individuals and communities are affected by these events.
As Director of Research for the Population Impact, Recovery and Resilience (PiR2) research program, she is currently working on several studies, including the longitudinal Katrina@10 Program, the Sandy Child and Family Health (S-CAFH) Study, and SCALE-UP East Boston to answer questions related to improving the health and well-being of populations exposed to disasters and climate change. Additionally, as an Early Career Fellow at the National Center for Atmospheric Research, her work has explored how older adults can successfully age in high-risk coastal areas. Using in-depth interviews, she aims to identify the resources that older adults need to be resilient, including the social and physical infrastructures needed to successfully prepare for and recover from acute and chronic disasters. Her goal is to understand how older adults can successfully adapt to and prepare for coastal erosion, frequent flooding, heatwaves, and disasters.
More recently, she has been working on a research project in collaboration with the Transport Workers Union (TWU), Local 100, to examine the occupational risk, health, and resilience of New York City bus and subway workers. With a median age of 57, this older workforce has been particularly susceptible to the effects of COVID-19. Along with Dr. Robyn Gershon, they just completed data collection for their pilot study and are currently analyzing results.
Dr. Sonja Molfenter is a clinically-trained Speech Language Pathologist whose research specializes in understanding the physiological features of both normal swallowing and disordered swallowing (known as dysphagia). Swallowing function is commonly disrupted after many conditions including stroke, brain injury, head and neck cancer and spinal cord injury.
Her over-arching research goal is to produce clinically-relevant research to inform front-line clinical practice. Her research focuses on naturally-occurring muscle loss in the pharynx as the result of aging. Dr. Molfenter's work aims to understand the impact of these age-related changes on swallowing function and explore methods to prevent or reverse these changes.
NYU Grossman School of Medicine
Anna Norweg, PhD, OTR, is a Research Assistant Professor in the Department of Rehabilitation Medicine, NYU School of Medicine; and Assistant Professor, Department of Occupational Therapy, Steinhardt School, PhD in Rehabilitation Sciences Program. Dr. Norweg’s clinical and translational research focuses on the effectiveness of personalized behavioral interventions (breathing exercises with capnography-biofeedback, dance, and telehealth music and motivational interviewing interventions) on improving physical activity adherence and quality of life in older adults with chronic cardiopulmonary disease. Her research also seeks to understand the effects of breathing pattern on dyspnea and anxiety. Dr. Norweg’s research has contributed to greater conceptual clarity of the multidimensionality of dyspnea, which includes anxiety and activity avoidance domains, and the development and psychometric testing of the Dyspnea Management Questionnaire Computer Adaptive Test (DMQ-CAT). She is the principal investigator of a National Institute on Disability, Independent Living, and Rehabilitation Research (NIDILRR) Field-Initiated Program grant to test the sensitivity and responsiveness of the DMQ-CAT in a multi-center study in adults with COPD participating in pulmonary rehabilitation. She is the recipient of a NIDILRR-funded Distinguished Switzer Research Fellowship grant award to investigate the feasibility and explore the preliminary effects of a capnometry-biofeedback breathing therapy intervention for adults with COPD. She was awarded her doctorate from New York University, Department of Occupational Therapy, and completed a post-doctoral fellowship at Boston University, School of Public Health, Health and Disability Research Institute.
Glenn A. Okun
NYU Stern School of Business
Glenn A. Okun is a clinical professor of management and entrepreneurship and an adjunct professor finance at New York University Stern School of Business where he teaches courses in entrepreneurship, private equity, venture capital, investment management and corporate finance. Mr. Okun advises corporations on financial and investment matters. He was President of Mitchum, Jones & Templeton, a merchant bank and broker dealer headquartered in San Francisco, California from 1998 to 2001. He previously served as a Director of Allen & Company Incorporated in New York. Mr. Okun invested in early and later stage financings of private companies in various industries. He also ran a small cap emerging growth stock hedge fund and a special situations portfolio. Mr. Okun has advised corporate clients on mergers, acquisitions and restructurings and has underwritten public offerings and private placements of securities. Mr. Okun began his investment career at the IBM Retirement Fund where he invested in mezzanine private placements, real estate, public emerging growth equities and oil and gas assets. Mr. Okun holds JD and MBA degrees from the joint degree program of Harvard University and a BA degree from Wesleyan University.
NYU College of Dentistry
Nuray Ozu, D.D.S. is a clinical assistant professor at the NYU, Dentistry, Department of Cariology and Comprehensive Care. Dr. Ozu earned doctor of dental surgery degree from NYU, Dentistry, an advanced general dentistry fellowship from Columbia University College of Dental Medicine, and a post graduate certificate from NYU School of Medicine, NYU Langone Clinical and Translational Research Program. Additionally, non-degree applied statistics from CUNY, Department Mathematics and Statistics.
She currently teaches in the pre-clinics and clinics, mentors students for ADEA/NYU program, facilitates for the student success network/peer assessment program, a reviewer of scientific manuscripts for journal of dental research and journal of dental education, a former clinical faculty at the Columbia University College of Dental Medicine Section of Adult Dentistry. She was awarded Dean’s Faculty-Columbia University and, Excellence in Clinical Teaching-NYU Academy of Distinguished Educators.
Dr. Ozu is a member international association of dental research, American association for dental research, American dental education association, and greater New York dental meeting society. Her primary areas of interest are the relationship between systemic and oral health, sleep disorders, evidence-based health care, and health related quality of life included new mathematical modeling for heath systems research, applied statistics. As a health care educator, she interested in implementing innovative technologies, developing creative interdisciplinary curriculum.
Her recent collaborative pilot project of “dynamic mechanism in childhood conditions and edentulism/severe edentulism among older adults “will be starting to collaborate with biostatistics consulting course. She participated research studies with the NYU, Dentistry department of epidemiology and health promotion, presented at American dental education association, international association for dental research, NYU academy of distinguished educators, greater New York dental meeting, and NYU dentistry research scholarship.
Nina S Parikh
NYU School of Global Public Health
Dr. Nina S. Parikh has years of public health research experience, methodological expertise, and academic training in health services research and medical sociology. A continuing theme of Dr. Parikh’s research involves the examination of social, psychosocial, and cultural factors related to the health needs of ethnic-racial populations and developing evidence-based strategies that address and mitigate health inequities for these and other underserved groups, in particular immigrants, the uninsured, those with inadequate health literacy, and the elderly.
At NYU GPH, Dr. Parikh collaborates with scholars examining the social determinants of health, particularly social network mechanisms and how they relate to primary and secondary prevention of vascular diseases. This work builds on her previous research experience that has been community-based, grant-funded studies in partnership with local agencies and organizations that explore the well-being of older adults and their families, including social cohesion/social support, access to and utilization of health care services of immigrant populations, health disparities, community-based palliative care for chronically ill elders, and the promotion of healthy aging with a particular emphasis on developing and implementing behavioral strategies to combat some of the most prevalent chronic conditions for this group. In addition, Dr. Parikh developed and teaches the two-semester thesis course to MPH candidates.
Prior to coming to NYU, Dr. Parikh served as the Director of Research (Interim) at the Brookdale Center for Healthy Aging of Hunter College where she provided oversight and guidance on all research and evaluation studies conducted by the Center. Her work has received grant support from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, the Commonwealth Fund, Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, and the NYC Department for the Aging.
Smita Rao, PT, Ph.D., is a physical therapist, researcher and author. She is currently an Associate Professor of Physical Therapy at NYU and a Research Associate Professor of Orthopedic Surgery at NYU School of Medicine. Smita is one of the founding faculty of NYU Steinhardt's Interdisciplinary Ph.D. in Rehabilitation Sciences, and also co-directs the Center for Health and Rehabilitation Research.
Smita earned a Bachelor of Science (Physiotherapy) and Master of Science (Orthopedic Physiotherapy) at the University of Mumbai, India. She obtained her academic doctorate at the University of Iowa in Physical Therapy and Rehabilitation Science. Her research agenda focuses on improving physical therapy and rehabilitation care in individuals with musculoskeletal conditions such as diabetes and osteoarthritis.
Her dissertation examined foot and ankle changes in patients with diabetes. She completed a two-year post-doctoral fellowship funded by the Arthritis Foundation, with Drs Deborah Nawoczenski, PT, Ph.D. and Judith Baumhauer, MD. At NYU, her project examining the effects of soft tissue mobilization in individuals with foot pain was funded by the Rheumatology Research Foundation. Current projects include a collaboration with colleagues Dr. Patricia Kluding from Department of Physical Therapy at The University of Kansas Medical Center and Dr. Ryan Brown from the Department of Radiology at NYU Langone Health. In this federally funded study, Dr. Rao and her colleagues will examine the effects of exercise in individuals with diabetes and neuropathy.
NYU Rory Meyers College of Nursing
Tina Sadarangani is an Assistant Professor in the NYU Rory Meyers College of Nursing. She is also a board certified adult and gerontological primary care nurse practitioner. Her research focuses on using adult day centers to integrate care for older adults with complex health and social needs in ethnically diverse communities, particularly those with cognitive impairment. She maintains strong academic/community partnerships with adult day centers across the country. She works closely with the Hartford Institute of Geriatric Nursing, the NYU Center for the Study of Asian American Health, and is a leading member of the National Adult Day Services Association research committee. She is a recent recipient of the NIA IMPACT Collaboratory Career Development Award Program and will be using design thinking to create mobile health technology that improves communication between adult day centers and primary care providers to reduce avoidable healthcare utilization in persons living with dementia.
Dr. Nisha Sajnani, RDT-BCT, is the Director of the Program in Drama Therapy and the Founder of the Theatre & Health Lab. Dr. Sajnani is the Principal Editor of Drama Therapy Review, and a founding member of the World Alliance of Drama Therapy, the Critical Pedagogy in the Arts Therapies think tank, and the NYU Creative Arts Therapies Consortium and International Research Alliance. She is a faculty advisor in the Rehabilitation Sciences Ph.D., Educational Theatre Ed.D and Ph.D. program, and teaches on Improvisation and Leadership in the Management Communication Program in NYU Stern.
Dr. Sajnani's primary research interests relate to the psychological, physiological, and social benefits of pretending, improvisation, and performance in varied contexts and across the lifespan. Dr. Sajnani’s research flips the script on aging by focusing lifelong possibilities for creative expression. She led innovative research on the benefits of musical theatre with older adults in partnership between JASA, an innovator in aging services in New York, and Penn South, the first naturally occurring retirement community (NORC), and Music Theatre International which resulted in a pilot production of Fiddler on the Roof Sr. She also leads research on the benefits of drama therapy with adults with Parkinson’s Disease.
Dr. Sajnani is the co-author of two books, including Intercultural Drama Therapy: Imaginings at the Intersections of Otherness (forthcoming Routledge), and an Introductory Guide to Research Methods for Drama Therapists (under contract). She is the co-editor of Trauma-Informed Drama Therapy: Transforming Clinics, Classrooms, and Communities. She has been published in Frontiers in Psychology, The Arts in Psychotherapy, The Journal of the Applied Arts and Health, Canadian Theatre Review, Europe Now, and Canadian Women's Studies and has been featured in the Boston Globe and on NPR. She is the series creator and producer of a series of films documenting drama therapy practice as it has been used to reduce stigma and address the impact of racism, sizeism, ableism, and ageism among other areas of concern.
Dr. Sajnani was awarded the Gertrud Schattner Award from the North American Drama Therapy Association (NADTA) for distinguished contributions to the field of drama therapy in education, publication, practice, and service and her efforts to promote research and diversity in the field. She was awarded the Corann Okorodudu Global Women's Advocacy Award from the American Psychological Association (Div. 35) and the first Diversity award from the American Society for Group Psychotherapy and Psychodrama.
Thomas M. Wisniewski
NYU Langone Health
Dr. Thomas M. Wisniewski is a board-certified Neurologist and Neuropathologist. He is the Director of the NYU NIH-funded Alzheimer’s Disease Research Center (ADRC) since 2014. He is also the Director of the Conformational Disorders Laboratory, the Center of Cognitive Neurology, the New York State Center for Excellence for Alzheimer’s Disease (CEAD), the Pearl Barlow Memory Disorders Center, the Division of Aging and Dementia, and the Neuropathology Fellowship program. For over 30 years, Dr. Wisniewski and his team have been working on elucidating the pathogenesis of Alzheimer's disease (AD) and prion diseases, with an aim to develop possible therapeutic strategies. His work has helped develop novel therapeutic approaches to AD, in particular, immunotherapeutic approaches that affect both the adaptive and innate immune systems. As Director of the NYU ADRC, he has also been PI of multiple clinical trials.
Dr. Kathleen Woolf focuses her work on the integrated role of nutrition and physical activity for lifelong health throughout the lifespan. For both individuals and populations, nutrition and physical activity contribute to overall quality of life and play major roles in protecting health and delaying the progression of disease. Hippocrates wrote: “If we could give every individual the right amount of nourishment and exercise, not too little and not too much, we would have found the safest way to health.” Her research is multi-dimensional, involves human participants, and responds to key health and nutrition concerns of high priority in New York, the nation, and globally, supporting the current national dietary guidelines for nutrition (2010) and physical activity (2008). She has expertise in the assessment of nutrition and physical activity patterns (sedentary behaviors, physical inactivity, and physical activity) in healthy individuals (recreational/competitive athletes) and individuals with chronic disease (musculoskeletal, skin, & kidney disorders, obesity). Some of these studies have examined the health disparities experienced by individuals from different race and ethnic backgrounds, including Hispanic and Native American populations. She has designed and implemented randomized clinical intervention trials and is currently a co-investigator on a large Social Cognitive Theory-based behavioral intervention (diet, physical activity) using technology-based self-monitoring for patients with complex chronic disease.
Dr. Woolf has held leadership positions within the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics at the local, state, and national level. She is a member of the Editorial Board for the Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics and the American College of Sports Medicine's Health and Fitness Journal. She has written a regular nutrition column for the USA Swimming magazine, SPLASH!, and has contributed to the International Journal of Sport Nutrition and Exercise Metabolism, Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, Journal of Nutrition Education and Behavior, Preventive Medicine, American Journal of Preventive Medicine, Topics in Clinical Nutrition, Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research, Obesity, and Public Health Nutrition.
Dr. Woolf completed her bachelor’s degree in Food and Nutrition from Arizona State University and her dietetic internship at the University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics. She holds a master’s degree in Nutritional Sciences from the University of California, Los Angles and a PhD in Exercise Science from Arizona State University.
NYU Arts & Science
Lawrence Wu is an NYU Professor of Sociology and Director of the NYU Population Center. His areas of interest are Social Demography, Nonmarital Fertility, Sexual and Contraceptive Behavior, Family, Poverty, Life Course, Social Change, and Event History Methods. Lawrence holds a Ph.D. from Stanford in Sociology and A.B. from Harvard in Sociology and Applied Mathematics.
Yanyue is an Assistant Arts Professor of Interactive Media + Business (IMB) at NYU Shanghai where she works with the Program on Creativity and Innovation (PCI). She holds a PhD in Education from the University of Cambridge and a Master’s degree from the University of Oxford. Prior to joining NYU Shanghai, she worked as Rutherford Curatorial Researcher at London Science Museum and taught in ShanghaiTech University as an Adjunct Professor. She serves as an Advisory Board Member of Intellect China Library Series and External Expert at XNode (Startup and Corporate Accelerator). Yanyue is passionate about bridging disciplinary boundaries and experimenting with innovative research methods and pedagogies.
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