Founders

Founding dean

Earlie M. Washington, Ph.D.

Dr. Earlie M. Washington has served as dean and professor of the Western Michigan University College of Health and Human Services since 2006. She was a faculty member and director of the WMU School of Social Work from 2000 to 2006 and previously served as director and associate professor of the University of Southern Mississippi School of Social Work, where she had been a faculty member since 1992. She also has taught at the University of Chicago, Illinois State University and Tougaloo College. In addition, she has served in a variety of roles such as director of the Life Skills Pre-Employment Training and Counseling Program in Chicago and director of an elderly support project, also in Chicago. She has extensive experience directing funded grant and contract projects and is widely published on such topics as Internet-based instruction and behavioral programming for Alzheimer's clients. She earned her bachelor's degree from Tougaloo College, her master's degree from Ohio State University and her doctoral degree from the University of Chicago.

Founding faculty fellows

Carla Chase, Ed.D.

Dr. Carla Chase, associate professor in Western Michigan University's Department of Occupational Therapy, is an occupational therapist and gerontologist whose work centers on meeting the needs of older adults in the community. She is currently studying the impact of home modifications and adaptive equipment on falls and overall independence for pre-frail elders who wish to remain in their own homes. Chase has partnered with AARP and the National Association of Home Builders to explore avenues for incorporating universal design concepts into the home modification process and regularly provides educational workshops for those in the home modification and home care field.

Patricia Fuehr, FNP-BC, R.N.

Patricia Fuehr, master faculty specialist in Western Michigan University's Bronson School of Nursing, developed and teaches an undergraduate nursing course with a focus on wellness care of older adults. Her students' clinical experiences are in senior centers and continuing care communities in the Kalamazoo-Battle Creek area. Her research has focused on measuring nursing student attitudes toward older adults. She is also a family nurse practitioner and practices in an extended care facility in the Kalamazoo area.

Sandra Oslager Glista, M.S.

Sandra Glista, master clinical faculty specialist in Western Michigan University's Department of Speech Pathology and Audiology, is a speech pathologist who studies contemporary issues in the group treatment of people with chronic aphasia. Her recent work focuses on the therapeutic use and application of commercially available communication tools and technologies such as smartphones, email systems, and computer-mediated voice and video calling by adults with language disorders. Glista is a fellow of the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association and received the Distinguished Service Award from the Michigan Speech-Language-Hearing Association.

Debra Lindstrom-Hazel, Ph.D.

Dr. Debra Lindstrom-Hazel, professor in Western Michigan University's Department of Occupational Therapy, is a former coordinator of the WMU College of Health and Human Services Geriatric Assessment Center and manages Project Assist, an assistive device lending library that is funded by the Kalamazoo Community Mental Health Foundation and allows people to try out and receive training on how to properly use assistive devices. Her current research, teaching and service interests include technology and environmental adaptations that allow older adults to plan preventatively to stay in their own homes for as long as they choose and can safely do so. In 2011, Lindstrom-Hazel received the inaugural American Occupational Therapy Foundation Patterson Award for Community Volunteerism for her work with AARP MI in co-creating the HomeFit program. She has presented this program throughout Michigan and is planning to disseminate it nationally in collaboration with local occupational therapists. Lindstrom-Hazel has been an executive council member with AARP MI for Livable Communities and was the recipient of the George and Beatrice Fisher Gerontology Dissertation award at WMU in 2000.

Maureen Mickus, Ph.D.

Dr. Maureen Mickus, associate professor in Western Michigan University's Department of Occupational Therapy, is a gerontologist who completed a post-doctoral fellowship at Michigan State University's College of Human Medicine after being awarded a Ph.D. from Northwestern University. Mickus served on the faculty of Michigan State University for 10 years, teaching and conducting research on issues related to aging. She joined the faculty at WMU in 2006, and her work has centered on aging policy and strategies for maintaining older adults in the community. She has published on a variety of mental health and aging topics, including dementia and depression. Additionally, her research has involved health policy issues relating to frail elders such as the MiChoice Medicaid Waiver and the turnover of direct care staff in long-term care facilities. Mickus is currently developing intervention research related to social connectivity and loneliness in later life. She serves on multiple boards, including the Michigan Society of Gerontology and Centracare-Program of All Inclusive Care for the Elderly.

Carol Sundberg, Ph.D.

Dr. Carol Sundberg, director of Western Michigan University's Unified Clinics and Center for Disability Services, has been the principal investigator for numerous grants and contracts at WMU in the areas of health care coordination, community inclusion for persons with intellectual disabilities, and long-term care. Her areas of special interest and research include long-term care and quality of life and community inclusion for persons with disabilities. She has taught several courses for the Bachelor of Science in interdisciplinary health services program at WMU, including Health Policy, Health Care Practice Management, and the Health and Human Services Internship Seminar.

Donna M. Weinreich, Ph.D.

Dr. Donna M. Weinreich, associate professor in Western Michigan University's School of Social Work, is WMU's representative to the Association for Gerontology in Higher Education. She is also a member of the association's executive committee and its Council on Gerontology Accreditation. Her areas of interest are gerontology, theory, community-based participatory research, and teaching and learning in virtual environments. Weinreich is secretary to the board of Friendship Village, a continuing-care retirement community located in Kalamazoo, Mich.