August 2021
Letter from the Director
New Normal Post-Pandemic
You have heard the saying, Time and tide wait for no one. You have also felt the power of the natural order and the powerless of humans in the face of these two forces. But each of us has experienced the effect of the COVID pandemic on one of those forces - our sense of time. Sometimes time has seemed to slow then suddenly accelerate. What happened in specific months in 2020 blur together as time seemed to slow but then we ask ourselves, “Where did the past 17 months go?” 
Here at the Csomay Center we have experienced some of the same sense of fractured time but the work of the Center, like the tide, has not waited and we continue to be mission driven towards supporting and improving the care of older adults. Since the Csomay Center’s last newsletter, I’ve assumed the directorship of the Center on June 1st. Let me introduce myself. I am Harleah G. Buck, PhD, RN, FPCN, FAHA, FAAN, Sally Mathis Hartwig Professor in Gerontological Nursing in the College of Nursing here at the University of Iowa. In my 20+ years of clinical practice prior to becoming an academic I cared for older adult across the cardiology trajectory from Open Heart Recovery to Telemetry to Hospice. My track record of funded research focuses on developing non-pharmacological solutions for the “wicked problems” older adults face in community care. My predecessor, Dr. Marianne Smith, left a well-functioning Center for me to lead into the future and I thank her for the thoughtful transition and her continued support of the Center.
So, what have we been up to during the summer? This newsletter will highlight one of the ongoing initiatives of the Csomay Center – We hope that you will visit the updated webpage, check out the resources and then pass the information on to friends. We also report on a recent meeting held at the Center with Brad Anderson, AARP Iowa’s State Director. Some of the new Center initiatives include the Csomay Center Summer Scholars program. Our inaugural scholar, Molly Barten, from Buena Vista University, shares her experience working in Dr. Catherine Cherwin’s lab and assisting one of our post-doctoral fellows, Dr. Natany Oberfrank. We are also pleased to announce two new initiatives coming in the fall – the Center has gathered a group of key leaders in the university and the community to help us develop our next strategic plan and we will be launching a new program to strengthen the future of gerontology – the Csomay Community of Scholars.

The work of the Center continues while all of us figure out what the new normal entails. In the meantime, time and the tide may not wait for us, but we are not waiting on them either. Thank you for making time for this newsletter.
Harleah G. Buck, PhD, RN, FPCN, FAHA, FAAN
Sally Mathis Hartwig Professor in Gerontological Nursing
Director of the Csomay Center for Gerontological Excellence
University of Iowa College of Nursing
Updated Site: aims to provide Clinicians, Family Caregivers and Older Adults free access to best practice tools and resources to improve pain care for older adults. The website was originally developed by representatives from five John A. Hartford Centers of Geriatric Nursing Excellence (Iowa, Oregon, Arkansas, California and Pennsylvania) and was hosted by Sigma Theta Tau International until 2017. Now, the website is supported by the Barbara and Richard Csomay Center for Gerontological Excellence, where ongoing efforts continue to assure easy access to current evidence-based geriatric pain resources. Many of the resources available on the Geriatric Pain website are for nurses, staff and administrators in nursing homes and long-term care facilities to help improve pain outcomes for residents, change organizational standards for pain outcomes and save time identifying and evaluating quality tools. A newly added section in the Geriatric Pain website, supported by the Marilynn H. Bowers Dementia Education and Outreach Fund, provides information specifically developed for informal caregivers, including family members, friends or other non-paid individuals, who support older adults as they age. For more information and access to resources please visit our website at
An additional new family caregiver resource Assessing Pain in Your Family Member with Dementia: A Toolkit to Support Family Caregivers is available on This toolkit was designed to help family caregivers cope with the stress and challenges experienced while taking care of loved ones with pain and dementia. Inside, the toolkit provides training for individuals on how to identify pain in dementia and communicate key information to their family member's care providers.
Over the summer, the Csomay Center hosted Iowa's AARP State Director, Brad Anderson, for the day to discuss opportunities for future collaboration with the Center. The Leadership Team spoke about their areas of expertise and Brad presented AARP Iowa's focus areas. It was a productive meeting with future opportunities identified.
Csomay Summer Scholar, Molly Barten
Over the summer, the Csomay Center for Gerontological Excellence offered me an internship as their inaugural Csomay Summer Scholar. During my time at the Center, and under the guidance of Dr. Harleah Buck, I assisted Dr. Natany da Costa Ferreira Oberfrank with a literature review regarding instruments used to measure patient motivation for management of chronic diseases. I also assisted Dr. Catherine Cherwin with her research about how chemotherapy alters the microbiome and symptoms experienced in women with breast cancer. For her research, I recruited participants and worked in a lab to process the collected samples. With my remaining time, I worked on various projects for the Csomay Center as they made changes to their department over the summer.
I am very grateful for this experience because I had the opportunity to participate in a broad range of activities involving research. I learned about various stages of a research project by assisting with both the beginning stage of a literature review and the middle stage of data collection. I also learned that there are a lot of revisions when it comes to research, and the process is more complex than I expected. My favorite part about this experience is that the research projects will help real people one day. I have been able to apply what I have learned in my college courses to real world scenarios that will one day make a difference in people’s lives.
Upcoming Strategic Planning Meeting
The Csomay Center for Gerontological Excellence has begun a strategic planning process to set its future direction under our new Director, Dr. Harleah Buck. In September, a group of key stakeholders will come together for a 1 ½ day retreat to assess the Center’s current situation, determine the future direction, develop a strategic map, and prepare the Center for implementation of the new plan.

We would like to thank the following for their contributions by agreeing to be interviewed by our strategic planning consultant, the Clarion Group:

Csomay Community of Scholars
This year, the Center is launching a new initiative, the Csomay Community of Scholars. The Csomay Community of Scholars is a network of individuals who promote research and practice by identifying funding opportunities, advancing interdisciplinary and community engagement, and building infrastructure to advance both discovery and translation into practice. The Community of Scholars also provides multi-level mentoring and opportunities to present works in progress for peer and expert review. This Community of Scholars also increases networking opportunities for the development of new teams for grant, paper, and professional presentation submissions. Resources such as travel funds, conference registration, and hospitality support are also available to active Center members. This new initiative will help achieve the mission of the Csomay Center to advance innovative, evidence-based practices and products that maximize optimal aging and adaptive function by developing and empowering the next generation of gerontological leaders.
Community Highlights
Free Geriatric Lecture Series: Age Friendly Training
Every year, the Iowa Geriatric Education Center (IGEC), provides a Geriatric Lecture Series (GLS) devoted to topics in clinical geriatrics, that are important to providing best practice care to older adults and their family care partners. This year’s Series covers Age-Friendly programs that address the 4Ms: What Matters, Medications, Mobility, and Mentation: Depression, Dementia and Delirium. The GLS offers free continuing education credits and certificates of attendance for individuals who complete all modules in the series.
2021 NHCGNE Registration is Open Now
2021 National Hartford Centers for Gerontological Excellence (NHCGNE) annual conference registration is Now Open. The NHCGNE just announced that the nation’s gold standard for excellence in gerontology annual event will be held virtually October 26-28, 2021. The conference is set to focus on the role of the gerontological nurse in the Year of the Nurse. Register today! For more information visit their website here.
COVID Long-Haul Resources
While most people who get COVID-19 recover within a few weeks, there are some who suffer lingering symptoms of the virus. These individuals are often referred to as "COVID long-haulers" and their lingering symptoms can include problems with sense of smell or taste, fatigue, joint or muscle pain, and shortness of breath, among many others. For those experiencing these lingering symptoms of COVID-19 or taking care of an individual who is, here are a few resources that can help:
What's New in Your World?
The Csomay Center welcomes the opportunity to share news from our community-based partners and readers. If you have a story, information about upcoming events, or news that you want to pass along to others, please send this to Ryleigh Maas, Center Administrator and Newsletter Editor, for inclusion in an upcoming issue. And if you have any questions about the fit or timing of your news, just ask Ryleigh at
Upcoming Conferences
Alzheimer's Association International Conference
  • Date: July 26-30, 2021
  • Location: Amsterdam, Netherlands, and Online
  • Click here for more information

Aging & Social Change
  • Date: September 23-24, 2021
  • Location: UBC Robson Square, Vancouver, Canada
  • Theme: Aging Societies: Extended Working Lives and Discrimination Against Older Workers
  • Click here for more information

Gerontological Advanced Practice Nurses Association (GAPNA)
  • Date: September 30 - October 2, 2021
  • Location: Sheraton San Diego Hotel and Marina
  • Click here for more information
American Academy of Nursing Health Policy Conference
  • Date: October 7-9, 2021
  • Location: Hybrid Event
  • Theme: Healthy Lives for All People: Advancing Equity, Science, and Trust
  • Click here for more information

National Hartford Center of Gerontological Nursing Excellence (NHCGNE)
  • Date: October 26-28, 2021
  • Location: Virtual Event
  • Theme: Disruption and Innovation: The role of the Gerontological Nurse in the Year of the Nurse
  • Click here for more information

Gerontological Society of America (GSA)
  • Date: November 10-14, 2021
  • Theme: Disruption to Transformation: Aging in the "New Normal"
  • Click here for more information
Leadership Team:
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