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Community-Based Advisory Council

The Rutgers School of Social Work maintains a community-based advisory council for its Programs on Aging. Agency leaders on the council play a critical role in ensuring that the School's aging-focused curriculum reflects the dynamic needs of older adults and their caregivers in New Jersey and beyond. Rutgers faculty members on the Council are Doug Behan, Emily Greenfield, Jeanne Koller (Chair), Bill Waldman, and Karen Zurlo.

Community Members of the Advisory Council on Aging     

  • Cynthia Abbott is a full-time clinician at Essex County Hospital Center in Cedar Grove. She also has been working part-time as an in-home therapist since 2006. She is an alumna of the MSW program at Rutgers, as well as of the Rutgers School of Social Work's Continuing Education Gerontology Certificate program.
  • Rebecca Abenante is the Healthy Aging Coordinator at Atlantic Health, Morristown Medical Center.
  • Kimberly Convery has worked for over 20 years in the area of aging and disabilities. Kimberly currently works as the Project Director of Nursing Research for the Hartford Institute for Geriatric Nursing, NYU Rory Meyers College of Nursing. She formerly worked as a Research Project Coordinator at the Rutgers Institute for Health and as a Senior Geriatric Specialist for the Edison Township Department of Health and Human Services.
  • Maria Di Maggio is a Social Services Administrator with the New Jersey Housing and Mortgage Finance Agency (NJHMFA). Since 1989, she has been the administrator of the NJHMFA’s Services for Independent Living (SIL) program and is responsible for training onsite service coordinators in NJHMFA-funded senior buildings. In addition, she is responsible for the review, approval and monitoring of services for residents in special needs housing.
  • Kathy Fiery has worked in the area of aging since 1987 and is currently the Director for the Division of Assisted Living/Alternative Care at the Health Care Association of New Jersey. This association monitors legislation and regulation that pertains to long-term care and seniors. In addition to participating in professional groups that focus on senior issues, she does training for administrators and those studying to become administrators.
  • Lori Friedman is the Vice President of the NJ Division, Goodwill Industries of Greater NY and NJ, Inc. She has been involved with the development, management and evaluation of programs for older adults and individuals with disadvantages and disabilities for over 15 years. She has developed two Naturally Occuring Retirement Community (NORC) programs and numerous community outreach and marketing programs.
  • Helen Hunter is an independent Geriatric Social Work Consultant and Trainer and a Field Instructor for the Rutgers School of Social Work.
  • Rajini Kurian is a licensed social worker with experience in the aging field.
  • Louise Layton has had an extensive career in human service programming, training, marketing/managing health care services and developing funding partners. She is currently an adjunct professor at Essex County College in the Division of Social Sciences. She also serves on the community advisory board of the African-American Brain Health Initiative at Rutgers University-Newark. 
  • Andrea Mancini has over 25 years of experience in the fields of healthcare and aging services. She is presently employed by the NJ Department of Human Services (DHS) – Division of Aging Services as a Program Specialist . She was employed for many years in various health care settings including nursing homes, assisted living, home care, geriatric care management, and hospital-based health and wellness programs for older adults.   
  • Jeanne Martin is the Executive Director of Meals on Wheels North Jersey and President of Meals on Wheels for the state of NJ.  She is also on the founding board for NJ Recovery Advocates. Jeanne began her work in the non-profit world as the administrator for Christian Overcomers, a disability ministry offering respite care and social opportunities for disabled youth and adults.
  • Jeri Middlebrook is the Lead Social Worker at LIFE at Lourdes and also serves as a Field Instructor and Field Liaison for Rutgers School of Social Work.
  • Laura Montenegro is the team lead social worker for RWJ Barnabas Health, ACO (Accountable Care Organization). She is a graduate of Rutgers School of Social Work and now enjoys working as a Field Instructor for MSW students. Her passion is working with older adults due to the broad scope of clinical and macro-level challenges that face this growing population.
  • Christine Newman is the Associate State Director for Community Outreach at AARP NJ.
  • Myrtha Nicolas is a Supervising Program Development Specialist for the Hudson County Office on Aging, Ms. Nicolas develops and carries out procedures necessary to maintain social and home-based services in the community. She supervises a team of case managers while evaluating and recommending policies concerning the feasibility of new programs.
  • Nydia Ortiz is a Case Manager for the Urban League of Hudson County.
  • Judith Parnes is responsible for the development and implementation of four model programs in the State of NJ : Protective Services for the Elderly, the Office of Public Guardian, Elder Life Management, Inc., and the Family Safe Home Program for Abused and Neglected Elderly. Judith serves as Chairperson of the Bioethics Case Consultation Committee for Long Term Care Facilities in Monmouth County and is a member of the State Long Term Care Advisory Ethics Consortium to the Office of the State Ombudsman.
  • Jackie Pinkowitz is managing partner of FuturAge; Board Chair of CCAL-Advancing Person-Centered Living, a national advocacy organization; and co-leader of the Dementia Action Alliance. She has been involved in advancing and bridging person-centered (PC) research, policy, and practice in the aging and disability sectors for many years. She co-authors curricula/training materials and conducts web seminars and sessions at national and state conferences on aging.
  • Stephen Sidorsky has been in the social work field for nearly 40 years and has worked with older adults and their families throughout that period. In addition to providing care management and counseling services, he is especially interested in the ethical issues involved in senior services and the area of loss, grief and bereavement teaching these topics in senior facilities in New Jersey and at Rutgers University School of Social Work as a Part-Time Lecturer.
  • Lauren Snedeker is a social worker at the Alzheimer's Foundation of America in New York.
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