Joy Spahn

Regional Director

Alzheimer's Association, Greater Michigan Chapter

Joy Spahn has been the Regional Director for the Alzheimer’s Association, Greater Michigan Chapter for 10 years and has over 35 years’ experience in geriatric care management for persons with dementia and/or chronic mental illness.  Her scope of experience includes;

  • Director of two research based memory care centers
  • Clinical Director for outpatient services for older adults with chronic mental illness and dementia
  • Care Manager for older adults with dementia, developmental disabilities and mental illness
  • Director of a local Adult Day center
  • Member and Chair of the Michigan Adult Day Services Association
  • Chair of the Michigan Adult Day Services program assistant training
  • Active member with the Grand Rapids based Caregiver Resource Network, the Dementia Friendly Grand Rapids and the Rethinking Dementia Accelerating Change initiatives.

Joy is a frequent speaker and trainer on Alzheimer’s disease, dementia and caregiver issues and has presented at numerous local, state and national conferences.


​​Caitlyn Bodine, MM, MT-BC

Music Therapist

Fiddlehead Music Therapy, LLC

Caitlyn Bodine is a board certified music therapist who has been providing music therapy services to people of all ages in the Kalamazoo and Grand Rapids areas for the last 5 years.  One of her primary areas of focus has been addressing social and emotional wellness of people living with dementia in both facility settings and at home.  She looks forward to sharing strategies for using music effectively with those dealing with memory loss.

​​Jan Slot

Director of Resident Services 

Clark Retirement Community

Jan Slot, the Director of Resident Services at Clark Retirement, has spent the last several years of her nursing career working in Retirement Communities. Her passion to care for those with memory loss became a focus 12 years ago as she saw the possibilities and hope for people with memory loss instead of focusing on all the losses.  She values the importance of helping families/friends understand the disease so that they can go through this journey supporting their loved one.

​​Renee Van Y, CTRS, CDP

Life Enrichment Specialist

Clark Retirement Community

Renne Van Y,CTRS (Certified Therapeutic Recreational Specialist), CDP (Certified Dementia Practitioner) studied Therapeutic Recreation at Grand Valley State University and is a Life Enrichment Specialist working with individuals who have early to middle stage dementia at Clark Retirement Community.  With a background in long term care and dementia, Renee has used technology in many ways to connect residents to their communities, family, and friends; to engage them in meaningful leisure, provide reminiscence, and multisensory stimulation. 

Dr. Sok Kean Khoo

Distinquished Associate Professor

Grand Valley State University

Dr. Sok Kean Khoo has 20 years of experience in genetics and genomics research.  Her ongoing research includes developing molecular biomarkers for Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s diseases.  Accurate biomarkers may be used to diagnose, predict, differentiate, and monitor disease progression to improve management and treatment.  

​​Susan VandeBrake


Helpers of Holland Home

Susan VandeBrake is the director of Helpers of Holland Home, a private duty home care agency.  She received a bachelor’s degree in psychology from Calvin College and a master’s of social work degree from Western Michigan University.  Susan has provided services and advocated for older adults for over 27 years in various professional roles.  Her experience includes coordinator of respite care, care management for a resident health center, director of an independent living community and establishing and administering a private duty home care company.

​​Susan Woolner

Neuroscience Patient Support and Community Partner Manager

Mercy Health Hauenstein Neurosciences

Susan Woolner is a neuro patient support manager at Mercy Health Hauenstein Neurosciences in Grand Rapids. She provides support for patients, caregivers and families who have been impacted by a variety of neurological illnesses including dementia, Parkinson's disease, ALS, Stroke, MS and Epilepsy.
Support may include technology, assistive tools, educational programming, creative art therapy, support groups and peer mentors programs all of which help provide independence, emotional support, peer connection and quality of life for patients and families. Susan has been a pioneer in the creation and monitoring of secure online patient communities and the methodology that makes them successful. She recently completed a Mayo Clinic Social Media Fellowship and uses social media to connect people and communities.
Susan has been a caregiver for family members with neurological illnesses for the past twenty six years. She is a wife and mother of three sons including 21 year old twins with autism. If Susan was not involved in healthcare she would likely be running a pet rescue. She is currently the puppy mother to three rescued Siberian Huskies.

Paula Polinski

Life Enrichment Specialist

Clark Retirement Community

Paula Polinski stated her career in helping those with dementia as a care partner in an assisted living facility that was the home to individuals with more progressed dementia.  It was this very experience that helped Paula understand more fully that she needed to work with this population.  Paula has since moved into the position of Life Enrichment Specialist of a skilled nursing environment.  In this position she has been able to participate in so many great opportunities and has had the ability to educate others.  Paula’s passion for helping those who have dementia and their loved ones continues to grow.  

​​Roxanne Chang, JD, MS LLP

Elder Care Attorney

Office of Roxanne J. Chang

Roxanne Chang, JD, MS LLP, is an attorney specializing in elder and special needs law.  She is also a Limited Licensed Psychologist, with a Graduate Certificate in Gerontology.  Ms. Chang has experience in consultation and advocacy for persons with dementia, developmental disabilities, and other special needs, as well as elder mediation and other approaches to conflict resolution.  She also provides training and education for health care providers regarding dementia care and elder law.  She has a private practice in Plymouth, Michigan.  Ms. Chang is a member of the Elder Law and Disability Rights, the Probate and Estate Planning, and Alternative Dispute Resolution Sections of the State Bar of Michigan, and the National Academy of Elder Law Attorneys.  

​​Chris Simons

Director of Dementia and Life Enrichment Services

Clark Retirement Community

Stephen Campbell, LMSW

Clinical Research Coordinator

University of Michigan Alzheimer's Disease Center

Stephen Campbell, LMSW, is the Research Coordinator at the University of Michigan Alzheimer’s Disease Center.  Stephen earned his Master’s degree in Social Work and Graduate Certificate in Gerontology at Eastern Michigan University.  At the Michigan Alzheimer’s Disease Center, he aids in the process of helping potential volunteers find a research study best suited to their needs and interests.  Stephen is also part of the Rinne Lewy Body Dementia Initiative team housed at the Michigan Alzheimer’s Disease Center and facilitates a Lewy Body dementia support group in Ann Arbor, Michigan.

Sara Lowe

Executive Director

Emmanuel Hospice

Sara Lowe is the Executive Director of Emmanuel Hospice.  Sara provides mission based, collaborative leadership to Emmanuel Hospice.  She brings 15 years of health care experience working in both Hospice and Long-Term Care.  Sara has served patients in a variety of settings as well as provided leadership and education regarding end-of-life issues to healthcare staff, and the community.  In addition, she has collaborated with community organizations on initiatives to improve the quality of healthcare across the continuum in our community.

Sara earned her BSW and MSW from Grand Valley State University.  Sara has called West Michigan home for her entire life.  She currently lives in Grand Rapids with her husband Elliott and their two children, Avery and Hudson.   

Leara Glinzak

Life Enrichment Coordinator / Art Therapist

Clark Retirement Community

Leara Glinzak, MSAT comes with 8 years of experience in the field of Art Therapy.  She has a Master of Science degree in Art Therapy with a concentration in counseling.  Leara is the founder of the Art Therapy program at Clark Retirement Community.  Leara has presented at several conferences some including the American Art Therapy Association Conference, Leading Age, Mount Mary Symposium, and she has research published in the peer reviewed Art Therapy Journal.  

Julie Gusko

Resident Services Manager

Holland Home - Raybrook Manor

Julie Gusko has almost 20 years of experience in long term care.  She was a social worker in nursing homes for 15 years and then was offered an opportunity to manage a dementia unit within Holland Home’s Raybrook Manor Assisted Living.  The gift of building relationships with persons with dementia has been a blessing to Julie.  She appreciates the way she is able to connect with dementia residents.  Julie finds her work very rewarding as she knows she is making a difference.

​​Christina Turkewycz, CTRS

Life Enrichment Specialist

Clark Retirement Community

Christina Turkewycz is a Certified Therapeutic Recreation Specialist.  She graduated from Grand Valley State University with a Bachelor of Science in Therapeutic Recreation and a minor in Aging and Adult Life.  She has received training in Montessori for aging and dementia.  Christina currently works at Clark Retirement Community as a Life Enrichment Specialist in assisted living and memory care.  At Clark she helps present the dementia and memory loss piece of the new staff orientation and works closely with staff and families on approaches, techniques, and programming for individuals with dementia.  

​​Dawn Erffmeyer, RN


Helpers of Holland Home

Dawn Erffmeyer, RN has been working for the Helpers of Holland Home for 5 years.  Through her work she assists clients in their homes with their activities of daily living.  Her work allows her clients to remain more independent in their own home.  She has also been involved in educating caregivers on how to safely provide assistance with their loved ones activities of daily living and how to properly use adaptive equipment.    

Chris Fraser-Lee, OTR

Registered Occupational Therapist

Homecare of Holland Home

Chris Fraser-Lee is a registered occupational therapist and graduate of Western Michigan University.  She has been an employee of Holland Home for 20 years where she has spent her time providing homecare services to both residents of Holland Home and the surrounding community.  Chris has been actively involved in educating caregivers, professional team members and the community about the benefits of occupational therapy in treatment of dementia, as well as providing recommendations about safety in the home and adaptive equipment that is available to assist with activities of daily living. 

​​​Anne Robinson, MA

Coordinator of Quality of Life

Rose Court Continuing Care

Anne Robinson, MA is the Coordinator of Quality of Life at Rose Court Continuing Care in Novi, Michigan, which includes Assisted Living, Memory Care and Long-Term neighborhoods for individuals with dementia and other disabilities.  Anne has specialized in dementia since 1979.  Formerly she was Director of Optimal Life Designs in Dementia Care which sponsored innovative education and training programs on dementia care approaches for health care professionals and families.  Previously she founded and directed the Alzheimer’s Education Program at Eastern Michigan University.  Anne has consulted with many long-term care and mental health settings locally in Michigan and nationally regarding program planning, staff development, environmental modifications, working with families and group work with people with dementia.

Stephanie Hecksel, LMSW

NFT Outreach Specialist

Area Agency on Aging of Western Michigan

Stephanie Hecksel is a licensed social worker who is currently employed as the NFT Outreach Specialist at the Area Agency on Aging of Western Michigan.  Prior to this, she worked as a medical social worker in a skilled nursing facility.  Overall, she has five years of experience in senior care working with individuals and their families.  She is a graduate of Grand Valley State University, where she earned both her Bachelor of Social Work and Master of Social Work degrees.  She is an active member of various groups that focus on resources that impact the lives of seniors and she currently serves as a board member on the Council on Aging of Kent County.  

Dr. Ronald Duemler

Medical Director

Holland Home and Mercy Health Physicians Partners

Ron Duemler, MD, MS, CMD received his medical degree from Rush Medical College in Chicago, Illinois and completed his family medicine residency at Grand Rapids Family Practice.  He started his geriatric fellowship with Grand Rapids Geriatric Fellowship but completed it with Michigan State University.  At the same time he also obtained a Master’s of Science Degree from the University of Michigan School of Public Health in Clinical Research Design and Statistical Analysis.  He subsequently qualified to sit for his certificate of added qualification in Hospice and Palliative Medicine and remains board certified in all three, family medicine, geriatric, and hospice and palliative medicine.  He has also maintained his credentials as a Certified Medical Director through AMDA the Society for Post-Acute and Long Term Care Medicine for over 20 years.  Last year he was awarded the national Clinician of the Year award by the American Geriatric Society as the top clinical geriatrician in the country for 2015.  Currently he serves as the Medical Director for Mercy Health Services Geriatrics and Holland Home’s three campuses and their home care agency and Christian Rest Home.  

Laurie Murphy


Miller Johnson

Laurie Murphy is an attorney at the Miller Johnson law firm, Vice Chair of the Business Section, Chair of the Trust, Estate and Elder Law Practice and the Elder Law and Disability Planning Practice and has been practicing law since 1988.  She specializes in probate and estate planning, taxation of estates, trusts and gifts, as well as elder law and special needs planning.