NCPEA - National Committee for the Prevention of Elder Abuse
Elder Care

Our Board

 2014 Officers:


Trudy Gregorie

Senior Director, Justice Solutions


Trudy Gregorie

Trudy Gregorie, since 2002, is a National Consultant and Senior Director at Justice Solutions in Washington, DC—a national nonprofit providing training and technical assistance on justice and victim issues, and consultation on these topics. She has 34 years of experience in criminal and juvenile justice, specializing in victim services. She was director of a prosecutor-based comprehensive victim services program in Charleston, SC; served on the initial task force that developed statewide victim services policies, procedures and standards; and was a founding member of the South Carolina Victim Assistance Network. In 1992, Ms. Gregorie joined the South Carolina Governor’s Office and developed the State Crime Victim Ombudsman Program; and from 1994-2001 served at the National Center for Victims of Crime as Director of Victim Services and Training.


Ms. Gregorie has been involved in the development of numerous training programs, curricula and resources on emerging issues for the crime victim services field and allied professions. She is a certified trainer for the Office for Victims of Crime Training and Technical Assistance Center, the National College of District Attorneys and National District Attorneys Association, the Federal Judicial Center, the National Council of Juvenile and Family Court Judges, the Center for Effective Public Policy’s Center for Sex Offender Management, and the U.S. Department of Justice. She serves as faculty for the National Victim Assistance Academy and the Elderly Services Officer Academy of several states and also as a victim consultant for the Justice Center of the Council of State Governments. She has served on the Board of the National Association of Triads since its inception and is a Board member and officer of the National Committee for the Prevention of Elder Abuse. She was the first elected Crime Victim Representative on the Delegate Assembly of the American Correctional Association, and served three terms. She serves on ACA’s Victims and Restorative Justice Committee and is a member of the American Probation and Parole Association Victim Issues Committee. She serves as the Victims’ Representative on the Executive Committee of the Interstate Commission for Juveniles. She is a founding member of the National Association of Victim Service Professionals in Corrections. Since 1996, she has served on the Editorial Board of the Sexual Assault Report. In 1999, she received the National Crime Victim Services Award from President William Clinton. In 2012, Ms. Gregorie received a lifetime achievement award from the National Association of Triads, Inc. (NATI).


Vice President:

Patrícia Brownell, Ph.D, MSW

Associate Professor Emerita of Social Service, Fordham University


Patricia Brownell is Associate Professor Emerita of Social Service at Fordham University. Dr. Brownell represents the International Council on Social Welfare (ICSW) on the CoNGO Committee on Ageing/New York at the UN and chairs the Sub-Committee on Older Women (SCOW). As an Executive Committee member of the NCPEA Board of Directors, she chairs the Public Policy Committee. Dr. Brownell also is on the Editorial Board for the Journal of Elder Abuse and Neglect, and has done research and published on elder abuse and abuse of older women.


Dotty J. St. Amand, MSW, NHA

Executive Director, Arden Courts

Dotty J. St. Amand is the Executive Director of Arden Courts Memory Care Community in Ft. Myers, Florida. She has 26 years of experience in the field of aging, holds a Master of Social Work degree and is a licensed Nursing Home Administrator. Ms. St. Amand was instrumental in establishing Lee Elder Abuse Prevention Partnership (LEAPP). She serves on the Boards of Directors of the National Committee on Elder Abuse Prevention, and the Lee County Planned Giving Council. She was a weekly columnist for the News Press and News Star for eight years.  Prior to joining Arden Courts in 2012, she served as Executive Director of the Alvin A. Dubin Alzheimer's Resource Center for 15 years.  


Lori Delagrammatikas, MSW

Program Manager, M.A.S.T.E.R.

Academy for Professional Excellence


Lori Delagrammatikas has been the program    manager for M.A.S.T.E. R. for the last five years. In this position, she has coordinated the development of national core competency trainings for APS workers and their allied partner agencies. Ms. Delagrammatikas also has eight years experience as the APS program specialist for one of the largest counties in California and she was the chair of California’s statewide APS committee for two years. She frequently presents to national audiences on the need for standardized training for APS workers.

Immediate Past President:

Georgia Anetzberger, Ph.D., ACSW

Consultant in Private Practice


Georgia J. Anetzberger is the Immediate Past-Editor of the Journal of Elder Abuse & Neglect. She also is a consultant in private practice, adjunct Assistant Professor in the Department of Medicine at Case Western Reserve University, and Fellow in the Gerontological Society of America. Dr. Anetzberger has been active in the field of aging and human services for over thirty-five years as a practitioner, planner, administrator and educator. Her special interest and expertise is the area of elder abuse, in which she conducted pioneering research on physically abusing perpetrators. She has authored more than seventy scholarly publications on elder abuse or related interventions and led in the establishment of the oldest state and local elder abuse networks in the United States. In 2005 she received the Rosalie S. Wolf Memorial Elder Abuse Prevention Award—National Category. 


2014 Board Members

Denise Armstrong

Executive Director, Big Sky Senior Services, Inc.


Denise Armstrong, since 2009, is Executive Director of Big Sky Senior Services, Inc. in Billings, MT. She implemented Partners for Elder Protection (PEP), a coalition whose programs include an annual conference to bring awareness to elder abuse issues in the state and a shred-a-thon. She created and conducted statewide video training for financial institutions to help detect and report financial exploitation; and presented gatekeeper training to create awareness of elder abuse issues to utility workers and community members. Her continued focus is increasing awareness of elder abuse issues through the website (, Facebook (BigSkySeniorServices), and statewide conference presentations (including the Department of Health & Human Services/Area Aging on Aging in May 2013; Montana Annual Credit Union Convention-Paul Berry radio host in April 2012; and Montana State University, College of Nursing and Extended Studies in 2012).


From 1977–2009, she was Vice President of Marketing and Sales and Services for area Banks and Credit unions. Ms. Armstrong’s board experience includes: 2004–2006 Facilitated merger of Senior Helping Hands into Prevention of Elder Abuse program to create Big Sky Senior Services, Inc. (Board Chairman,  Merger Committee, Executive Committee); 1993-2005 Senior Helping Hands (Board Chairman, Executive Committee, Finance Committee, Marketing Committee); 1995–2005 Prevention of Elder Abuse Board (Board Chairman, Committee Chair for development of training for financial employees, Fundraising); 1996–2001 Midland Empire Chapter of Credit Unions (Marketing, Public Relations); 1984–1986 Big Brothers Big Sisters of Yellowstone County. She earned a BS in Business Administration from Montana State University–Billings.

Susan Joy Aziz, MA

Special Advisor, International Federation on Ageing


Susan Joy Aziz, a gerontologist, has served in the fields of aging and elder rights for 24 years as an educator, advocate, senior manager and consultant. Formerly the Vice President, Advocacy & Education Programs at WISE Senior Services in California, Ms. Aziz had oversight responsibility for the Long-Term Care Ombudsman and Elder Abuse Prevention programs for Los Angeles County.  She is recognized for her leadership in developing and initially coordinating the award-winning model Los Angeles County Financial Abuse Specialist Team (FAST). She has published on financial abuse, and on neglect and abuse associated with malnutrition in long-term care.


Ms. Aziz serves as Special Advisor for the International Federation on Ageing (IFA); previously, she was the Assistant Editor of Global Ageing, the IFA’s official journal, and was the Guest Editor of the special issue on Preventing Elder Abuse and Neglect. She also serves on the Editorial Boards of Global Ageing and the Journal of Elder Abuse & Neglect; on the Advisory Council, Your Aging Resource Center; the Area Agency on Aging of Palm Beach & Treasure Coast, Florida (Past Chair); and on the Board of Directors of the National Telemarketing Victim Call Center (Secretary). Ms. Aziz was a founding Board member of the International Network for the

Prevention of Elder Abuse (INPEA) and served as the North American Regional Representative. She was an NGO Observer, as a representative of INPEA, at the 2002 United Nations Second World Assembly on Ageing in Madrid, Spain. She also was a delegate to the 2005 White House Conference on Aging.


Robert B. Blancato, MPA

President, Matz Blancato and Associates


Robert B. Blancato is President of Matz Blancato and Associates, a firm providing a wide array of Washington representational services for clients. He is the National Coordinator of the 3000 member Elder Justice Coalition. He serves as Executive Director of the National Association of Nutrition and Aging Services Programs. Mr. Blancato has more than 20 years of federal government service including 13 years on the senior staff of the House Select Committee on Aging and an appointment by President Clinton to be the Executive Director of the 1995 White House Conference on Aging. He is currently on the Boards of the American Society on Aging and the National Council on Aging. He holds a BA from Georgetown University and an MPA from American University. In December 2012, Mr. Blancato was reappointed to the Commonwealth Council on Aging; and in January 2013, he was selected to be the Volunteer State President of AARP in Virginia.

Bennett Blum, MD, Rabbi

Bennett Blum MD, Inc.


Bennett Blum specializes in both forensic and geriatric psychiatry and has consulted on hundreds of cases, including the criminal trials of Susan Smith and Andrea Yates. His pioneering assessment techniques in the areas of undue influence, mental capacity, and competency are taught throughout the Western Hemisphere.

James Grant Booker, MA

Regional Director, Texas Department of Family and Protective Services/APS


James Booker directs APS for the Houston region of Texas and provides a leadership role in training activities on elder abuse prevention in that area.




Jason Burnett. Ph.D.

Assistant Professor, University of Texas Health Medical School

Associate Director of Clinical and Behavioral Research for the Texas Elder Abuse and Mistreatment Institute


Jason Burnett, is the Associate Director of Clinical and Behavioral Research for the Texas Elder Abuse and Mistreatment Institute (TEAM). Dr. Burnett earned his PhD from the University of Texas School of Public Health-Houston (Health Promotion and Behavioral Sciences). His research focuses on the development of valid and reliable assessments of elder self-neglect and identifying intervention programs aimed at reducing the occurrence of elder self-neglect and its negative health outcomes.


Marie Cervantes

Director, Department. of Human Services

Office of Adult Abuse Prevention & Investigations


Marie Cervantes is the Director of the Department of Human Services. Her leadership of the office supports the DHS Directors’ overall strategic mission to transform agency operations and service delivery to achieve enterprise-level outcomes for those served by the Department and their communities. This approach—stating goals, measuring results and reporting progress to the public—reflects the Department’s commitment to better outcomes for clients and communities. Because many clients have multiple needs, the Department is integrating services, seeking to bring a broad range of supports within easy reach of each client or family.


Ms. Cervantes has more than 20 years of education and experience in the area of safety and protection of vulnerable adults. She began her career with the DHS in 1994 and continues to be a passionate champion for vulnerable populations. She has a BS in Criminology & Criminal Justice, and certificates in Advanced Crime Analysis and American Justice from Portland State University (PSU); an Associates of Applied Science in Social Work from Southwestern Oregon Community College; and is a member of The National Honor Society (PSU Chapter), the Portland State University Criminal Justice Honor Society and the National Adult Protective Services Association.


Jane Jones, RN, BSW


Cap Fear Council of Governments, Area Agency on Aging


Mary Lynn Kasunic, M.S., R.D., C.P.M.

President & CEO

Area Agency on Aging, Region One


Mary Lynn Kasunic is President & CEO and Executive Director of the Area Agency on Aging, Region One in Phoenix, AZ and is nationally recognized for her leadership in developing innovative programs to address unmet needs and raise awareness. She guided the Agency in establishing the DOVES® program, recognized at local, state and national levels for its innovative approach to serving victims of late-life domestic violence and elder abuse. In 1993, Ms. Kasunic co-founded and co-chairs the Maricopa Elder Abuse Prevention Alliance. She has served on the NCPEA Board of Directors for more than 10 years. As part of a multi-year AoA project with NCPEA, Ms. Kasunic trained community organizations to develop effective local elder abuse prevention coalitions, resulting in the creation of 52 new coalitions across the country. She also serves on the Arizona Governor’s Commission to Prevent Violence Against Women and Children. She is a graduate of the National Association of Area Agency on Aging (n4a) Leadership Institute, a recipient of a Piper Fellowship for exemplary nonprofit leadership, and a recipient of an Excellence in Leadership award from n4a. Ms. Kasunic was recently appointed as Representative to the USA, International Network for the Prevention of Elder Abuse (INPEA) for a 4-year term 2013–2016.

Diana Meeks-Sjostrom, Ph.D, RN, MSN, CS, FNP-BC, ONC

Associate Professor and Consultant


Diana Meek-Sjostrom is Director of Nursing at Bauder College. Her research interests include elder abuse and clinical decision-making.



Bettye Mitchell, MA


East Texas Council on Governments, Area Agencies on Aging


is nationally recognized for her expertise in organization and program development, leadership, management, training, aging, protective services, elder abuse and cultural diversity. She has proven leadership in strategic planning, and designing and managing large complex programs. She is a results-oriented executive who can coordinate efforts of consumers, advocacy groups, service providers and state and federal agencies to improve the lives of older adults and people with disabilities. Ms. Mitchell is the former Director of the Texas Adult Protective Services Program, where she provided leadership in policy development and legislative changes to the Adult Protective Services Statues; developed the program for investigations of abuse, neglect and exploitation in state hospitals and schools; and designed and implemented the guardianship program. She served on the advisory board for the first statewide guardianship program for Health and Human Services. She also developed the first statewide APS training program; developed core competency-based curricula; and implemented comprehensive multiculturalism in policies, training and practices in the APS program. She provided leadership in the design of total quality management in the quality assurance program for APS.



Ms. Mitchell is a former Deputy Commissioner for Long-Term Care with the Texas Department of Human Resources, now the Texas Department of Aging and Disability Services, where she successfully provided leadership to over thirty Long-Term Care programs with budgets in excess of $3.8 billion dollars serving over 300,000 persons annually. She also provided leadership in the design and development of Community Care Programs; a Quality Monitoring Program for state nursing facilities; and the licensure and regulation of state nursing facility investigations of abuse and neglect. She retired from the State of Texas after twenty eight years of service.



Ms. Mitchell is a recipient of the National Adult Protective Services (NAPSA) Joanne Otto award. She is a member of the State of Texas Disproportionality Task for the Texas Department of Family and Protective Services, a former President Elect of NAPSA and founder of the NAPSA foundation. Ms. Mitchell is an advisory committee member for the National Partnership to End Interpersonal Violence (NPEIV); is co-chair of the education committee for Institute Against Violence and Trauma; and serves as CEO of Life Span Care Training and Consulting Group, a company that provides training and consultation in the field of leadership development, management, strategic planning, aging, disability, community and long-term care, cultural diversity and building coalitions.

Denise Nelesen, LCSW

Aging Specialist

County of San Diego's Aging & Independence Services


Denise Nelesen, LCSWDenise Nelesen is a licensed clinical social worker and an aging specialist for the County of San Diego’s Aging & Independence Services, the local area agency on aging. In this capacity, she publishes Safe Seniors quarterly on elder abuse prevention for the county and works with the District Attorney’s Office to coordinate consumer protection events related to scams, fraud, and other abuse.

Lisa Nerenberg, MSW, MPH


California Elder Justice Workgroup


Lisa Nerenberg chairs the California Elder Justice Workgroup, which was formed in 2009 by participants in the Archstone Foundation’s Elder Abuse and Neglect Initiative to develop a blueprint for improving California’s response to elder abuse. She is an instructor at City College of San Francisco and consultant to local, state and national organizations. Her clients have included the National Committee for the Prevention of Elder Abuse, the National Indian Council on Aging, the San Francisco Superior Court, the National Adult Protective Services Association, the Police Executive Research Forum, and the California Medical Training Center. She was the founding director of the San Francisco Consortium for Elder Abuse Prevention, which piloted the nation’s first elder abuse multidisciplinary team and other widely-replicated services, including a support group and shelter for elderly victims. She has presented at hundreds of professional forums, testified before Congressional committees, served on governmental advisory committees, and written extensively about elder abuse and related issues. Her book, Elder Abuse Prevention: Emerging Trends and Promising Strategies (Springer, 2008) describes what agencies, communities, tribes, states, and national organizations can do to prevent abuse, treat its effects, and ensure justice.

Kenneth Onaitis, LMSW


Ken Onaitis recently retired as Director of Elder Abuse and Police Relations at the Carter Burden Center for the Aging in New York City. During his thirteen years as Director of the Center he and his staff provided direct services to elder abuse victims and their families—many of whom lived throughout the United States.


Mr. Onaitis was the first Co-Chair of the New York City Elder Abuse Network, a coalition which NCPEA helped start. He also has held leadership positions with the New York State Adult Abuse Training Institute, New York State Elder Abuse Coalition, New York State Children and Family Trust Fund, New York City Elder Abuse Center, East Side Council on the Aging, and the Gerontological Committee of the New York City Chapter of National Association of Social Workers.

Albert Reed, MS

Special Assistant to the State's Attorney

Prince George's County, MD


Joseph Rodrigues, BA, MDiv

California State Long-Term Care Ombudsman

California Department of Aging


Winsor C. Schmidt, J.D., LL.M

Endowed Chair/Distinguished Scholar in Urban Health Policy, and Professor of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences, and Family and Geriatric Medicine University of Louisville School of Medicine


Winsor Schmidt is the Endowed Chair/Distinguished Scholar in Urban Health Policy, and Professor of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences, and Family and Geriatric Medicine, at the University of Louisville School of Medicine, and Professor of Health Management and Systems Sciences at the School of Public Health and Information Sciences. Professor Schmidt’s publications include the books, Public Guardianship and the Elderly (Ballinger Publishing Company), Guardianship: Court of Last Resort for the Elderly and Disabled (Carolina Academic Press), and co-authorship of Public Guardianship After 25 Years: In the Best Interests of Incapacitated People? (Praeger 2010), as well as over 55 book chapters and journal articles on health and mental health law and policy issues.

Joy Solomon, ESQ.

Director & Managing Attorney

The Harry and Jeanette Weinberg Center for Elder Abuse Prevention


is Director and Managing Attorney of The Harry and Jeanette Weinberg Center for Elder Abuse Prevention in Riverdale, New York, the nation’s first emergency shelter for elder abuse victims. She co-founded The Weinberg Center in 2004. She was previously Director of Elder Abuse Services at the Pace Women’s Justice Center, a non-profit legal advocacy and training center based at Pace University Law School. Prior to joining the Women’s Justice Center in 1999, Ms. Solomon investigated and prosecuted a variety of crimes including child abuse, fraud and elder abuse as an Assistant District Attorney in Manhattan, where she served for eight years. She is a frequent speaker on the issue of elder abuse, including to the United States Senate, Special Commission on Aging.


In addition to NCPEA, Ms. Solomon also serves on the Executive Committee of the Elder Law Section of the New York State Bar Association where she is Chair of the Elder Abuse Committee; and on the Advisory Board of the New York City Elder Abuse Center, of which she was a founder.  In 2010 she received The New York State Bar Association award for Excellence in Public Service. She also is a certified ISHTA yoga instructor.

Karen Stein, Ph.D

Associate Professor of Leadership and

Editor, Journal of Elder Abuse & Neglect
University of Delaware

Hon. Thomas A. Swift, Judge


Thomas Swift is the judge of the Trumbull County Probate Court. He formerly served as partner in the law firm of Turner & Swift in Warren, Ohio. He is chair of the Ohio Judicial Conference, past president of the Ohio Association of Probate Judges, a board member of the National Committee for the Prevention of Elder Abuse, serves on the Board of Governors of the American Judges Association and chairs their Elder Abuse Committee. In addition, he is a member of the Supreme Court of Ohio’s Advisory Committee on Children, Families, and the Courts and the Adult Guardianship Committee. He serves as a member of the Ohio Attorney General’s Elder Abuse Commission, Ohio Elder Abuse Task Force Steering Committee, and the Ohio Coalition of Adult Protective Services Steering Committee. He also is a member of the Ohio State Bar Association, Trumbull County Bar Association, American Bar Association, Florida Bar Association, and American Judges Association. Judge Swift received his B.A. from Kent State University and his J.D. from University of Akron, School of Law.


Randolph W. Thomas, MA
Honorary Board Member

Randy Thomas is a retired police officer having served for over 26 years in the law enforcement profession. His experience encompasses patrol, investigations, planning and research and over 14 years as a law enforcement trainer with the South Carolina Department of Public Safety (Unit Chief, Behavioral Science/Domestic Investigations). He was
a member of the South Carolina Adult Protection Coordinating Council, and an advisor to the US Department of Justice and a past president of NCPEA. He has been on the faculty of the University of South Carolina, Department of Criminology and Criminal Justice; he publishes, consults and provides training on elder abuse investigations throughout out the US.

Marilyn Whalen, MSSW

Honorary Board Member


Marilyn Whalen, MSSW

Marilyn Whalen is currently a consultant with over 25 years experience involving issues and programs related to Adult/Elder Protection. She was the Program Director for the Tennessee Department of Human Services, Adult Protective Services (APS) program, served on the Tennessee Commission on Aging and Disabilities (SUA) and was a
co-founder and board member of both the National Adult Protective Services Association (NAPSA) and NCPEA.