Marianne Smith, PhD, RN, FAAN
This issue of our newsletter provides a variety of articles about Center leaders’ and Center-sponsored students’ participate in the GSA Annual Scientific Meeting held November 13-17 in Austin, Texas. As noted on their website, GSA is the oldest and largest interdisciplinary organization devoted to research, education, and practice in the field of aging. Founded in 1945, GSA has an estimated 5,500 member, and is the driving force behind advancing innovation in aging by promoting the study of aging and disseminate information to scientists, decision makers, and the general public.
The society’s interdisciplinary focus encourages collaboration among physicians, nurses, biologists, behavioral and social scientists, psychologists, social workers, economists, policy experts, those who study the humanities and the arts, and many other scholars and researchers in aging. In turn, the GSA conference provides exceptional opportunities for faculty and students alike to gain knowledge and build networks to advance innovation in aging. Please join us in celebrating Dr. Keela Herr’s award, and important perspectives and ideas generated during the conference that will inform our Center’s own mission and forward movement.
Keela Herr, PhD, RN, AGSF,
We are excited and pleased to announce that a long-standing member of the College of Nursing was honored with the prestigious Doris Schwartz award at the Gerontological Society of America (GSA) meeting. This award, presented by GSA’s Health Sciences section, is given to a member of the Society in recognition of outstanding and sustained contributions to geriatric nursing research. We are excited and pleased that Keela Herr, PhD, RN, AGSF, FGSA, FAAN, Kelting Professor in Nursing and Associate Dean for Faculty, University of Iowa College of Nursing received the award at a reception in her honor during the GSA meeting in Austin, Texas.
“It is humbling and rewarding to be recognized with this award, but all my wonderful mentors, collaborators and mentees share this honor,” said Dr. Herr. “We dedicate our careers to making a difference and to have that work recognized by an esteemed group, such as the Gerontological Society of America, is icing on the cake.”
Nicola Jane Stickney, DNP,
The Geriatric Society of America held its’ annual conference “Strength in Age: Harnessing the Power of Networks” in Austin, TX this past November. Several College of Nursing faculty members and students with academic, clinical, and policy interests in aging were in attendance. The program was full – and there was never enough time to partake in all that the program had to offer. But while conferences are meant for the sharing of information, they also stimulate creative thought in how the Csomay Center can move forward with building a dementia-capable workforce. A close relation with the College of Nursing allows Csomay to interact with those faculty directly providing geriatric education – to assist with developing new programs and ways of thinking about educating the next generations of nurses, nurse practitioners, researchers, and administrators. Relationships with state-wide partners who provide clinical care to older adults allows Csomay to share their efforts in increasing providers knowledge of dementia care. 
Some examples of ways that others are building a dementia-capable workforce:
  • The restructuring of health care educational programs to evaluate clinical experiences ensuring the inclusion on the 4Ms in the framework. Focusing this work on the complexity of the older adult prepares students in models of person-centered care that are inclusive of sociological, economic, and legal aspects of aging. 
  • The development of micro-learning modules to provide just-in-time training to bedside caregivers for institutionalized older adults. Micro-learning breaks down information and training into smaller, easily digestible parts – resulting in more efficient absorption of information and better comprehension. How can the concept of micro-learning be incorporated into educational programs across the state of Iowa?
  • The creation of cultural sensitivity training for older adult caregivers – creating opportunities that are specific to regional racial, ethnic, and cultural characteristics.
These thoughts are just snippets of the learning that occurred. Programs at the conference addressed the broad themes of policy, education, research, and minority populations. If you have questions – please feel free to contact the Csomay Center, and we will be happy to try to answer.
As a nursing student, I hadn’t realized the effects of interpersonal relationships and loneliness on health. I knew statements such as being married or having pets could result in positive health outcomes, but I didn’t realize that the opposite, social isolation, could contribute to negative health outcomes. In the social worker interest group, I was able to recognize that access to transportation both for residents of long-term care facilities and their families affect the loneliness of older adults. I was exposed to studies that conducted support groups over Zoom video chat. I didn’t previously realize the severity of the problem with access to hearing aids, glasses, and dentures. I also didn’t know that spouse’s health behaviors and outcomes are closely linked, therefore positive behaviors can be transferred between spouses.
I think interdisciplinary conferences are important for having a holistic picture of health. The best part of the conference was meeting peers who had the same vision of improving long-term care settings through their career.
- Thanks to Mackenzie Intlekofer for this contribution!
I would like to extend my gratitude to the Csomay Center for sponsoring me to attend the GSA conference in Austin, Texas. I am a third-year nursing student planning to specialize in gerontological nursing with the eventual goal of being involved in long term care administration, so the opportunity to learn from current leaders in the field was incredible. I had never attended a conference of this size and international significance, and I was blown away by the number of outstanding speakers present and the variety of topics discussed. I enjoyed attending sessions on subjects from cannabis use in the older adult population to long term care issues to person-centered dementia care and more. This was also my first time in Texas, and I loved exploring the city on a walking tour and trying new foods. I connected with another U of I nursing student and a UNI gerontology student who both share my interest in long term care settings and reform; we marveled at how similar our future goals are and that this conference brought us together. We look forward to keeping in touch. I was also inspired by Dr. Keela Herr from the U of I College of Nursing who received the Doris Schwartz Gerontological Nursing Research Award this year. Her speech at the ceremony emphasized how important research is to improving nursing practice and made me more interested in perhaps pursuing research myself. Overall, I had an absolutely wonderful experience at the GSA conference and am extremely thankful to have been given the chance to attend.
- Thanks to McKenna Kephart for this contribution!

A small portion of the Doris Schwartz Gerontological Nursing Research Award is supported through money collected from the GSA Fun Walk and Run. The activity is held each year during the annual meeting and is a fun way to see the city, network, support research, and promote physical fitness. Consider participating next year in Philadelphia to support nursing science! All fitness levels are welcome.

Statue of guitarist Stevie Ray Vaughn
Fun Walk and Run
The beauty of fall while running along the Colorado River
Dr. Marcia Shade, University of Nebraska Medical Center, shared photos she took while participating on the walk through Austin, Texas. Thanks for sharing, Marcia!
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 other, please do send to us! Send the information tor Ryleigh Maas ( ) for inclusion in an upcoming issue. And if you have any questions about the fit or timing of your news, just ask Ryleigh.  
American Association for Geriatric Psychiatry (AAPG)
  • Date: March 13-16, 2020
  • Theme: Translating Research Evidence into Clinical Geriatric Mental Healthcare
  • Location: Grand Hyatt - San Antonio, TX
  • Click here for more information

American Society on Aging (ASA)
  • Date: March 24-27, 2020
  • Location: Hyatt Regency Atlanta - Atlanta, GA
  • Theme: Aging 2020: Examining the Needs of Today’s Diverse Older Adults
  • Click here for more information

Midwest Nursing Research Society (MNRS)
  • Date: April 1-4, 2020
  • Location: Renaissance Schaumburge Convention Center Hotel - Schaumburg, IL
  • Theme: Advancing Nursing Research with Diverse Populations
  • Click here for more information
American Medical Directors Association (AMDA)
  • Date: April 2-5, 2020
  • Location: Chicago, IL
  • Click here for more information

Nurses Improving Care for Healthsystem Elders (NICHE)
  • Date: April 27 - May 1, 2020
  • Location: Marriott - New Orleans, LA
  • Click here for more information

American Geriatrics Society (AGS)
  • Date: May 7-9, 2020
  • Pre-conference date: May 6, 2020
  • Location: Long Beach, CA
  • Click here for more information
Leadership Team:
Marianne Smith , PhD, RN, FAAN, Director -
Keela Herr , PhD, RN, FAAN, AGSF, Co-Director -
Nicola Jane Stickney , DNP, ARNP, NP-C, College of Nursing Faculty Practice -
Linda Seydel , MA, LNHA, Iowa Geriatric Education Center -
Mercedes Bern-Klug , PhD, MSW, MA, Professor; Director, Aging & Longevity Studies
 Program; Hartford Faculty Scholar -
Ryan Carnahan , PharmD, MS, BCPP, Associate Professor, Director of Graduate Studies,
 College of Public Health -
Larry Newman, DNP, RN, AGPCNP-BC – Director of the Primary Care AGNP Program,   College of Nursing -
Ryleigh Maas , BS, Center Administrator -
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