Current OGA Board of Directors

Board Officers:

President - Ann McQueen, PhD 

Ann has worked in various capacities for the Office of Aging and People with Disabilities (APD) within the Oregon Department of Human Services (ODHS). She developed and taught college courses in gerontology, and worked in and as a consultant for long-term care facilities. She is especially interested in the experiences of people living with dementia and in helping to create a world that affords them the respect, dignity, safety, and companionship that all human beings deserve. Ann has presented at various conferences, both locally and nationally on topics related to aging, dementia and dementia care, and the role of humor in the lives of older people.

Vice President - Melissa Cannon, PhD

Melissa Cannon is an Associate Professor of Gerontology at Western Oregon University. She specializes in environmental gerontology and teaches courses such as Introduction to Gerontology, Alzheimer's and Other Dementias Management, and Housing and Long-Term Care for Older Adults. Her research interests include age-friendly environments, community partnerships, and policies and programs that help create healthy, inclusive communities for people across the life course.

Past President - Anabel Pelham, PhD

Anabel Pelham is president of the National Association of Professional Gerontologists (NAPG) and emeriti professor and founding director of the Gerontology Program at San Francisco State University. She is also Founding Executive Director of the Center for Age-Friendly Excellence (CAFE), a project of the Los Altos Community Foundation and a past member of the Foundation's Board of Directors. She is an advisor for the Bend Innovation Group (BIG). Dr. Pelham is past president of the California Council on Gerontology and Geriatrics (CCGG) and is an active member of GSA, CAG and IAGG. She is a former Chair of the Senior Commission for the City of Los Altos/Los Altos Hills, where she led the successful initiative to make Los Altos and Los Altos Hills the first Age-Friendly (City and Town) in California. Dr. Pelham has expertise in global issues in aging and gerontology, Age-Friendly Cities and community development, community-based health and human services, qualitative research methods, graduate gerontology curriculum development, geriatric care management, life-long learning, and credentialing and accreditation in the field of gerontology. She has lectured and taught for several years internationally and in the former European Masters in Gerontology (EuMaG) Summer School in multiple countries around the world. Dr. Pelham's current interests are: creating Age-Friendly Cities and communities, professionalizing the discipline of Gerontology and compassion as a core value in aging. She recently contributed a chapter: Creating Compassionate Communities: The Intersection of Resilience, Democracy and Age-Friendliness, in Sharing Compassion, Rainsford Press, Dublin, Ireland, 2018.

Treasurer -  Margaret B. Neal, PhD

Margaret Beth Neal is Professor Emerita of Urban Studies and the former director of the Institute on Aging at Portland State University. She taught graduate courses in gerontology, survey design, data collection and global aging. She led Portland's participation in the 2006-07 World Health Organization's Global Age-Friendly Cities project and has co-coordinated the Age-Friendly Portland and Multnomah County initiatives since then, speaking and publishing locally, nationally and internationally on the topic of age-friendly communities as well as that of combining paid work with unpaid family care for elders. She is a long-time member of OGA and a former OGA president. She and her husband, David Leckey, live between Wilsonville and Newberg at their nursery, Oregon Small Trees.

Secretary -  Joyce DeMonnin, MPH, MBA

Joyce DeMonnin, an Oregon native, recently retired as Director of Communications and Media Relations for AARP Oregon. She has more than 25 years of experience in program development, strategic and operational planning, public speaking, communications/media relations and event management. With AARP, her key impact areas were health care reform, healthy aging, and access to affordable prescriptions, economic security, 50-plus work issues and retirement security/social Security. Joyce was lead staff and advocate in AARP’s effort to help create OregonSaves from passing legislation in 2015 to implementation two years later. The program now has more than $150 million in assets. She was also instrumental in expanding the Oregon Prescription Drug Program statewide and was on the board of the Oregon Patient Safety Commission for eight years, two years as chair. In 2017, Joyce was awarded the national AARP Award for Communication. Joyce founded ElderSafe in Washington County in 2000, creating one of the first stand-alone victim assistance, education and advocacy programs in Oregon to combat elder abuse and support victims of crime ages 65 and older. Her efforts garnered an Archstone Foundation program excellence award.

Board Directors:

Alicia Garrison, MS

Alicia is the Older Adult Behavioral Health Program Specialist for Columbia and Clatsop counties.  Alicia holds an MS in Healthcare Management from OHSU and a BS in Health Studies from PSU. Alicia has over 15 years’ experience working in health care settings in a variety of roles. 

As an Older Adult Behavioral Health Specialist, Alicia is passionate about being a liaison to help increase the collaboration and coordination of care for older adults in the north coast, while also educating the community and direct care workers about normal aging processes, health conditions & disorders that present in older adults, and how to identify risk and protective factors for older adults and people with disabilities. She is dedicated to making sure these vulnerable populations in her counties receive the appropriate help at the right time and at the right level of care. 

Outside of work, Alicia enjoys spending time with her family and pets, hiking and being in nature.

Beth Mastel-Smith, PhD, RN, MS


Beth Mastel-Smith lives in Baker City and is a Professor of Nursing and the Vice Dean for Professional Development at The University of Texas at Tyler. Beth teaches Scholarship in Nursing and Mixed Methods research. Her research focuses on reducing stigma for people with dementia and creating environments that support community engagement for this population.

Britta Wilson, MA

Britta Willson is a gerontologist and sex educator who has worked with systems and services that support aging adults for over 20 years. She received her BA in Human Studies from Marylhurst University and MA in Gerontology from Simon Fraser University in Vancouver, BC. She enjoys supporting people navigating aging in its physical, emotional, and social dimensions and has extensive knowledge of aging and disability related resources and services. She is skilled at program coordination, evidence-based health promotion, and facilitating trainings and workshops for healthcare professionals, older adults, and family caregivers. Britta lives in The Dalles, Oregon with her partner, two dogs, cat, and snake. 

Carlos D. Romo, PhD

After living in Reno, Nevada for 43 years, Carlos Romo and his spouse, Nancy, moved to Oregon in 2015 to be with family and friends. He is a native of New Mexico and earned a B.A. from the University of New Mexico and a Ph.D. in Foreign Languages and Literature (Spanish and Portuguese) from Tulane University. He was a Fulbright-Hayes Scholar in Lisbon, Portugal. After teaching at the University of Nevada, Reno, and working for the State of Nevada, Carlos retired in 2008. Before moving to Oregon, he was engaged in doing volunteer work for AARP-Nevada and today he continues to volunteer for AARP-Oregon. He has been a mediator and has expertise in employment, housing and public accommodation discrimination investigations and enforcement. Also, he has conducted training in workplace diversity and inclusion and is fluent in Spanish and Portuguese. He hosted and moderated a public affairs television program, El Mundo Hispano, while living in Nevada. Being engaged as a volunteer; keeping in shape; traveling and being with family, are what keep Carlos busy during retirement. Carlos was awarded the inaugural AARP-Oregon Beacon Award which recognizes a Volunteer’s inspiration, encouragement and commitment to serve as a role model for other Volunteers. 

Cory Bolkan, PhD

Cory Bolkan is an Associate Professor in the Department of Human Development at Washington State University in Vancouver, Washington, just across the river from Portland, Oregon. She is a gerontologist and the goals of her applied research and outreach are to encourage healthy behaviors across the lifespan, implement and evaluate evidence-based health and social service programs for older adults, and explore how family/social relationships are risk or protective factors for well-being in later life. She also teaches undergraduate and graduate courses related to gerontology, death and dying, and research methods, and is a faculty member in the interdisciplinary Prevention Science doctoral program at WSU.

Emily Bower, PhD


Emily Bower, PhD, is a licensed clinical psychologist and Assistant Professor in the Clinical Psychology PhD program at Pacific University. Her research and clinical interests are in geriatric mental health, with specific interests in later life anxiety, suicide prevention, and cognition. Her research examines how people adjust to changes in social, cognitive, and physical functioning as they age, with the goal of leveraging that information to develop behavioral interventions that promote mental health and well-being for older people. Dr. Bower earned her PhD in clinical psychology from the SDSU/UC San Diego Joint Doctoral Program in Clinical Psychology and completed a two-year postdoctoral fellowship in the VA Advanced Postdoctoral Fellowship Program in Veteran Mental Health and Suicide at the VA Center of Excellence for Suicide.

Erin Fredericks, MScN

Erin Fredericks is a community health educator, specializing in older adult nutrition and the factors which impact (and improve!) our aging experience.  Erin founded FAMILIAR Foods in 2020, and currently produces active-learning workshops in community centers, independent & assisted living residences, and virtual group environments throughout Oregon. 

Erin advocates for food & lifestyle medicine within healthcare --- with the aim of helping individuals find confidence and capacity to better manage their own health, while supporting vital public interests such as reversing muscle loss, preserving bone health, and building brain resilience.  Her purpose: help reduce the public and personal burden of chronic disease through the promotion of accessible, self-directed health behaviors.   

Before getting her master's degree in nutrition at the National University of Natural Medicine (2016), Erin spent 15 years in food publishing with Bon Appetit, Martha Stewart and Rachael Ray, and online health programming with WebMD and Medscape. Erin has been an active member of OGA for several years, and is delighted to join the board, helping to advance our shared mission of improving the lives of older Oregonians. 

Gerald "Jerry" Cohen, JD, MPA

Jerry Cohen has joined his spouse Ruth as a partner in Evolving Elders, dedicated to address the opportunities and transitions of aging. He moved to Oregon in 1996 from Kansas City to establish one of AARP’s first state offices. He served as AARP’s State Director in Oregon for 23 years, working with local, state and national staff, volunteers, members and businesses and community organizations. AARP is the premier organization for people 50+ and their families. He is a certified trainer of the AARP Direct Action Organizing program through the Midwest Academy approach to advocacy. Jerry’s wife, Ruth is a licensed social worker with expertise in care coordination and management and is founder of Creative Care and co-partner of Evolving Elders ( ). Their daughter, Sarah, died in July 2020. She had a Masters of Arts in Teaching from Willamette University and worked on Pre-K for All issues for Social Venture Partners PDX and Multnomah County at the time of her death. County, State and National elected officials as well as many colleagues and friends honored Sarah’s life and dedication in several resolutions, memorials and funded efforts in her name and memory. Both Jerry and Ruth dedicate their ongoing efforts in Sarah’s honor and legacy. Jerry has been a member of numerous local, State and national Legislative and Executive branch established Task Forces and Advisory Committees addressing issues of protective services, home & community-based care, adult abuse and exploitation, advance directives and surrogate decision making. He also was a board member of the Oregon Health Care Quality Corporation and represented it on several RWJ grants and consumer advocates meetings. He currently serves on the advisory council for the Oregon WINGS project under the Oregon Judicial Department and is a trainer for that project and is a Consumer Representative on the Financial & Health Insurance advisory council of the Department of Consumer & Business Services representing AARP Oregon. He also is a partner (volunteer) for Social Venture Partners PDX. He is a past-chair of Congregation Shir Tikvah’s board. Both he and Ruth have been teaching courses on resilience, life’s transitions and grief & loss through EvolvingElders. Jerry has received several leadership awards from National AARP, Chancellor’s Office of the University of Missouri-Kansas City, Young Lawyer’s Section of the Missouri Bar, Missouri Chapter of the American Association on Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities, Portland Community College’s Geronauts, and Central States Coalition on Aging and Mid-America Congress on Aging. And he was co-chief petitioner of Initiative Petition 122 and championed its passage as Measure 44, expanding Oregon’s Prescription Drug Program to all Oregonians. A native of Wisconsin, Jerry holds an undergraduate degree (BA) from the University of Wisconsin-Madison, a law degree (JD) from Washington University-St. Louis, and a Masters in Public Administration degree (MPA) from the University of Missouri-Kansas City, where he also concentrated in gerontology and health care administration.

Jacklyn Gehling - Student Representative 


Jacklyn Gehling is a 3rd year doctoral student in clinical psychology at Pacific University in Hillsboro, Oregon. She has broad clinical and research interests in better understanding and treating neurocognitive disorders and improving overall mental health outcomes for the older adult population. She received her masters in clinical psychology in 2020 at Minnesota State University in Mankato, MN where she conducted research on the effects of cognitive training programs on cognitive functioning in healthy older adults. Since then, her passion for this line of work along with work towards improving quality of life outcomes for older adults has only grown. She currently provides psychotherapy for older adults and has started her dissertation research focused on validating a new electronic cognitive assessment designed to detect early signs of mild cognitive impairment and Alzheimer’s disease. She joined the OGA Board in April 2024. 

Jennifer (Jenny) Sasser, PhD, FAGHE

Jennifer (Jenny) Sasser, PhD (she/they) is an educational gerontologist, transdisciplinary scholar, and social activist. She serves as Teaching & Learning Specialist in the Center for Teaching & Learning Excellence and part-time faculty in the Gerontology Program at Portland Community College.

Jenny has been working in the field of aging for more than half her life, beginning as a nursing assistant and advocate before specializing in educational gerontology, and adult development and learning. She has centered her multifaceted practice in the areas of creativity in later life; aging and embodiment; transdisciplinary curriculum design; critical gerontological theory; transformational and radical pedagogy; intersectional and anti-ageist approaches to equity, inclusion, and justice; and cross-generational collaborative inquiry.

From 1999 to 2015, Jenny served as Chair of the Department of Human Sciences and Founding Director of Gerontology at Marylhurst University.  She has been an adjunct faculty member of the Pacifica Graduate Institute Depth Psychology program since 2007,  and from 2018 to 2020 designed and taught an adult-learner focused,  hybrid Human Development and Family Sciences program in downtown Portland for Oregon State University. Jenny joined the Portland Community College Gerontology Program in 2016 as a part-time faculty member and in August 2023 completed  a two-year position as co-Faculty Department Chair.

Jenny co-authors, with Janet Lee, Blood Stories: Menarche and the Politics of the Female Body in Contemporary US SocietyAging: Concepts and Controversies with Harry R. Moody (now in its 10th edition); and is first author (also with Moody) of Gerontology: The basics, recently published in Chinese and Spanish.  She co-authors several book chapters and is an essayist. Her ongoing commitments include convening the Gero-Punk Project (; serving as a conversation facilitator and trainer for Oregon Humanities (; and offering consulting, workshops and presentations throughout North America.  An award-winning educator, Jenny’s citations include the 2012 Association for Gerontology in Higher Education Distinguished Teacher award, and a Willamette University Distinguished Alumni award in 2014. In 2022, Jenny was inducted into the Academy for Gerontology in Higher Education as a Fellow.

Jenny bi-locates between Portland, Oregon and (as much as possible) Oceanside, Oregon with her husband Simeon Dreyfuss and their dog-friend True.

Karen Kinzey, MA

Karen Kinzey has served on the Board of Directors of OGA since 2013. Her areas of expertise include developing educational programs for older adults and managing senior volunteers. She founded the highly successful History Pub, a history lecture series held at McMenamins Kennedy School that resonated with middle-aged and older adult audiences. During her employment with the National Park Service and, later, a community of elderly Catholic nuns, Karen conducted over 200 oral history interviews with seniors, including Pearl Harbor survivors, WWII combatants and civilians, and Catholic sisters. Her interest in working with seniors in a one-on-one setting has led to an encore career as a caregiver with Catholic Community Services. She volunteers with the Oregon Alzheimer's Association and formerly provided pet therapy in a memory care unit with her Airedale Terrier. Karen is committed to improving the lives of people with dementia and their caregivers. She holds a MA and BA from Virginia Tech.

Keysa Lawrence, MA

Keysa Lawrence was born and raised in Portland, Oregon. She has been involved in the field of Gerontology since 2013, starting her journey and passion at PCC. She attended Marylhurst University in Lake Oswego, OR, graduating in 2016 with a degree in Social Science with a concentration in Gerontology. Continuing her education at PSU in 2017, she graduated in 2018 with a Master’s Certificate in Gerontology. Keysa’s love of Gerontology and older adults flourished as she worked as the Life Enrichment Assistant in a local memory care unit from Sept. 2018-April 2021. With a focus on creating and implementing holistic activities that incorporated the mind, body and soul, Keysa wanted each older adult to feel heard and valued throughout the day, in and out of activities. Keysa departed her job to focus on finishing her Master’s degree online in Gerontology with a concentration in Grief Care Management at the University of Louisiana at Monroe, which she successfully completed December 10th 2022. During her free time, Keysa manages to attend webinars in Gerontology as well as in mental health. Keysa is an active volunteer at The Dougy Center, located in Southeast Portland as well as a board member for Suicide Bereavement Support, another Portland-based nonprofit with a focus on providing peer support groups for those bereaved by a suicide death. She is also a volunteer with several other organizations that focus on mental health and the wellbeing of others. With her schooling, background knowledge and experience, Keysa hopes to create a program tailored to older adults' mental health and bereavement care through a holistic, multidisciplinary approach. Her ideal program would provide activities to older of all cognitive and physical abilities to combat loneliness, suicidal ideation and grief/bereavement to provide peer support groups to talk about losses they have experienced in their life, such as a death in the family or a friend, as well as their own cognitive and physical losses, such as a dementia or disability diagnosis. Keysa is overjoyed to be a part of the OGA and for the future of Gerontology.

Linda Bifano, DNP, MPA, RN

Linda Bifano has been involved in Oregon community health care and policy development for older adults over the span of her nursing career. As a state-wide consultant, Linda has worked with licensed community-based care service providers and facility owners to design, enhance and operationalize all aspects of services with evidence-based practice quality improvement systems in care of older adults. Linda has led local organizations' efforts in nationally funded demonstration projects to train caregivers in care of older adults. She holds a Masters of Nursing (MN) in Community Health Care Systems from Oregon Health & Sciences University School of Nursing; a Master’s in Public Administration in Health Care Management (MPA) from Portland State University (PSU); a doctorate in nursing practice (DNP) from Chatham University in Pittsburg. Her doctoral work focused on implementing research into practice for fall risk reduction in community-based care. A member of the Geriatric Nursing Leadership Academy (FGNLA) sponsored by OHSU’s John A. Hartford Center of Geriatric Excellence and the International Honor Society of Nursing, she has also served as affiliated faculty at Oregon Health & Sciences University and Linfield Schools of Nursing; on committees of Oregon State Board of Nursing; Oregon Nurses Association; and is a trainer certified by Teepa Snow in Positive Approach™ to Dementia Care. Linda develops curriculum and conducts state-wide training for Oregon Care Partners and Oregon Health Care Association.

Max Brown, PhD

Max Brown is an operations and policy analyst at the Oregon Department of Human Services, Office of Aging and People with Disabilities, where he has worked since 2005. His work includes analysis of policy, legislation, and research of a wide range of areas in aging and disability. During his career at the state, he has worked on many initiatives to improve and innovate services and supports for older adults and people with disabilities, and he has an avid interest in the Oregon’s history of policy innovations and advocacy in these areas. Before working at the state, he taught political science and politics at the University of Oregon and Willamette University. Born in Portland, he received a BA from Bard College in Annandale, NY, and a PhD from the University of Oregon in Eugene. He joined the OGA Board in March 2023. 

Siobhan C. Maty, Ph.D., M.P.H., C.P.H. 

Dr. Maty is an epidemiologist with expertise in the conceptualization and measurement of social and other factors and their influence on health-related outcomes using a life course approach and public health framework. She uses traditional epidemiology, community-based participatory research, evaluation and mixed-methods approaches in community and clinical settings to explore the social and structural determinants of health and health equity; the epidemiology of age-related conditions; and the impact of programs and policies on population health. 

Walter Dawson, DPhil

Walter Dawson, DPhil, is a health and aging policy researcher and lifelong advocate for people living with Alzheimer’s disease. Dawson is an Assistant Professor at the Oregon Health & Science University School of Medicine, faculty at the Portland State University Institute on Aging, and a Senior Atlantic Fellow for Equity in Brain Health with the Global Brain Health Institute with the University of California, San Francisco and Trinity College Dublin. His research focuses on the intersection between macro-level health policy and ‘on the ground’ health services research with an emphasis on supporting individuals living with dementia from underserved populations through improved screening for cognitive impairment and long-term care financing arrangements. Dawson also has extensive direct experience in U.S. state and national policy. As staff at the U.S. Senate Special Committee on Aging, he worked on provisions of the Affordable Care Act focused on increasing access to home and community-based services for people in need of long-term care. Dawson received his doctorate from the University of Oxford and masters from the London School of Economics.

Administrative Coordinator: 

Lizzie Allen, MSW 

Lizzie Allen is a social worker who graduated with her MSW from Portland State University in 2021. Lizzie decided to pursue an MSW after doing a year of AmeriCorps at Metropolitan Family Service in their Older Adults department. Lizzie hoped to work in direct service with older adults in Long Term Care settings; however, her own experience with chronic illness and disability led her to change course. She spent 4 years working at the Disability Resource Center at Portland State University, where she learned about accessibility, ableism, and disability advocacy. Lizzie hopes to merge her passion for working with older adults with her passion for disability advocacy, in order to reduce barriers and social isolation for older adults, as well as young people with chronic illness/disability. Lizzie also holds a BS in Environmental Systems from University of California, San Diego and would like to learn more about ensuring the safety of older adults and people with disabilities as climate change progresses. Lizzie is thankful for the opportunity to work with OGA, as it allows her to explore many of her passions and fulfill her dream of working in the field of Gerontology.