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Faculty Affiliates

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Barbara White, DrPH, RN

is faculty emerita, School of Nursing at CSULB and former coordinator of the Adult/Gerontological Nurse Practitioner option. She is the Former Director of the Gerontology Program, and current Executive Director of the Osher Lifelong Learning Institute at CSULB – a Center in the College of Health and Human Services. She served as the President of the California Council on Gerontology and Geriatrics (2009-2011) and was the recipient of the Betty and James Birren Senior Scholar Award from this organization in 2015. She developed the first “Health Care of the Older Adult” lecture and clinical laboratory courses for the School of Nursing and co-authored two textbooks with a focus on gerontological nursing in acute and long-term care. She is currently a member of the Age-Friendly Steering Committee for the City of Long Beach and a Board member of Pathways Volunteer Hospice. Current research interests are in balance and fall prevention, lifelong learning, and the Village Movement.

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Dina M. Berg, MPA

is the Founder and Executive Director of The Heart of Ida, a Long Beach based nonprofit 501c3.  The Heart of Ida annually supports 1,000+ low-moderate income seniors in the Long Beach, CA area with a variety of services designed to help them remain independent in their own homes and provide comfort and cheer when assisted living is necessary.  Dina is also a Lecturer in the Department of Public Administration at Long Beach State University where she prepares graduate students to lead and transform the public and non-profit sectors of tomorrow via hands-on, practical experience through internship and volunteer opportunities.  She also provides consulting services to nonprofits throughout Southern California.  Dina serves on the Board of Leadership Long Beach, the Long Beach City College Board of Governors, and the Executive Committee of the Long Beach Elder Abuse Prevention Team.  She has an MPA from Long Beach State University and a BA in Sociology from UCLA.

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Edward Garcia, AuD

is an Assistant Professor in the Speech-Language Pathology department at Long Beach State University. Dr. Garcia is an Audiologist who has been teaching audiology-related courses at Long Beach State since 2001. His area of specialty is diagnostic audiological, providing services to linguistically diverse geriatric clients. His current interests include investigating the link between untreated hearing loss and Alzheimer’s and related dementias, hearing loss related social isolation, and how health disparities in the Latinx populations affect the prognosis in sudden idiopathic sensorineural hearing loss. He is a bilingual, California licensed audiologist and has been in private practice for over 20 years with an Au.D. from University of Florida, Gainesville.

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Gail C. Farmer, Dr. P. H.

is a professor in the Department of Health Science and the Director of the Center for Disability Studies and Scholarship at California State University, Long Beach. Dr. Farmer is an Epidemiologist and has received external funding through the Archstone Foundation, City of Long Beach Department of Health and Human Services, Family’s in Good Health at Saint Mary Medical Center in Long Beach, Disabled Resource Center, and more. Her area of specialization encompasses comprehensive needs assessments as well as the development, implementation and evaluation of school and community-based programs for government and nonprofit organizations. In conducting these projects, she puts particular effort to work with community and faith-based organizations to access the vulnerable “hard-to-reach” populations including older adults and persons with disabilities. Her mission is to empower schools and communities in the development, and implementation of culturally/linguistically appropriate programs that are sustainable and reduce disparities.

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Joy R. Goebel RN, Ph.D., FPCN

is an accomplished nurse educator and researcher whose interests in palliative care (PC) include studying diverse populations of patients from neonates to the elderly. She has published 20 manuscripts in top-tier palliative care journals and presented internationally on palliative care topics. She has been instrumental in developing an informatics tool for the Veterans Administration project (the Palliative Care-National Clinical Template) to standardize and improve palliative care for veterans across the nation. Dr. Goebel teaches advanced evidence-based research application in the CSU Fullerton, Long Beach, and Los Angeles DNP Consortium.  She enjoys mentoring undergraduate and graduate nursing students on palliative care research and clinical projects. Personally, she enjoys hiking sections of the Pacific Crest Trail (PCT) and has hiked more than 1,000 miles of the trail.

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Maria Claver, Ph.D., MSW, CPG

is the Director of the Gerontology Program, which entails teaching Masters-level courses and advising students in the Masters, Certificate and Minor programs. She received her bachelor’s degree in psychology (1997), Masters Degree (2001) and Ph.D. (2006) in Social Welfare with a specialization in older adults from UCLA. After teaching as a lecturer for the UCLA Aging Cluster Program for two years, she joined the faculty of the Gerontology Program at CSULB in 2007.  Her research focuses on the nation’s 142 VA Home-Based Primary Care programs (HBPC) that serve more than 37,000 homebound veterans. Claver’s work helps home health agencies to better serve patients that may be at heightened risk during disasters by providing them with tools that improve the preparedness of these vulnerable individuals. The tools and resources she has developed also address agency needs for accreditation and other preparedness requirements.  Dr. Claver serves as Secretary for the California Council on Gerontology and Geriatrics (CCGG) and received CCGG’s Betty and James Birren Emerging Leader Award in 2011 for her strong record in teaching, research, and service. She is currently Vice President of CSULB’s Rho Chapter of the Phi Beta Kappa national honor society since 2013 and serves on the Governing Board of a local hospital.

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Marissa Hansen, PhD

is an Assistant Professor at the School of Social Work at Long Beach State University. Dr. Hansen has extensive practice experience in community-based care settings as a clinician and conducting program evaluation, development, and management.  She teaches Community Practice, Human Behavior, Practice with Older Adults, and Assessment Approaches in Social Work Practice. Her work informs the development and adaptation of behavioral health interventions for ethnically diverse populations receiving services in public care settings while considering relevant sociocultural factors to enhance implementation and treatment outcomes.  Dr. Hansen’s expertise extends to supporting methodological considerations in community-based research with ethnically and racially diverse populations, specifically Latinos.  She has completed several funded studies and published on the interplay between psychosocial factors in the management of care needs over the life course for those with depression, anxiety, and experiences with trauma.

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Mary Marshall, Ph.D.

is an Assistant Professor of Gerontology in the Family and Consumer Sciences program at Long Beach State University. Professor Marshall examines health communication and health behaviors in older adults, particularly in the context of illness such as diabetes or cancer. Her current interests include exploring how older adults that have recently moved into a residential living facility adjust to the transition, specifically regarding how their perceptions of health influence their social behaviors and wellbeing. Mary has a keen interest in connecting undergraduate gerontology students with volunteer opportunities in the community, having established programs at Purdue such as Tech Team, Opening Minds through Art, and service-learning programs encased within courses. Mary received a dual-title Ph.D. in Human Development and Family Studies & Gerontology from Purdue University in 2018. 

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Patti LaPlace, MPA, RTC

currently holds the position of Lecturer at California State University Long Beach with the Recreation and Leisure Studies Department in the College of Health and Human Services.  Prior to this position, Patti was the Mental Health Coordinator with the City of Long Beach Department of Health and Human Services.  She has a Bachelor’s Degree in Recreation and Leisure Studies from CSULB and a Master’s Degree in Public Administration from California State University, Dominguez Hills.  Patti has worked in Mental Health for over 30 years and has been recognized for her work with the City of Long Beach Department of Health and Human Services, Los Angeles County Department of Mental Health, California Park and Recreation Society, Recreation Therapy Section, Mental Health America, Long Beach Police Department and VA Long Beach Healthcare System.   In addition, she has done numerous presentations for CPRS, City or Long Beach Department of Health and Human Services, Long Beach Police Department, Long Beach City College, and other special interest groups in the greater Long Beach area.  She currently serves on the Board of Directors for both Mental Health America and Alternative 4 Vets as well as a community volunteer for various non-profit and advocacy organizations.

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Pei-Fang Hung, Ph.D., CCC-SLP

is Assistant Professor in the Department of Speech-Language Pathology at the California State University Long Beach. Professor Hung is a bilingual speech-language pathologist who holds certificate and license in both the U.S. and Taiwan. She has extensive clinical experience working with people with neurogenic speech and language disorders. Her current research interests include aphasia assessment and intervention, language cognitive-communication disorders due to acquired brain injury, and language impairments associated with early dementia. Professor Hung leads Parkinson’s support group in the LifeFit Center at CSULB and aphasia support groups at Carson Stoke Center in Carson, CA. She serves on American Speech-Language-Hearing Association (ASHA) Multicultural Issue Board from 2017-2019 and California Speech-Language-Hearing Association (CSHA) convention program committee. She is also a frequent presenter at ASHA and CSHA conventions.

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Vennila Krishnan, PT, Ph.D.

is an Associate Professor in the Department of Physical Therapy at Long Beach State University. Dr. Krishnan directs the Clinical Rehabilitation And Biomechanics (CRAB) lab within the Physical Therapy department. Her main interest at the CRAB lab is to design and develop novel rehabilitation interventions that are clinically-relevant and effective in treating individuals with various neurological and musculoskeletal disorders. She recently received a grant from the Center of Successful Aging to conduct balance classes at American Gold Star Manor in Long Beach. Dr. Krishnan is also collaborating with faculty from Engineering to re-train symmetrical gait pattern in stroke population by fabricating a customized shoe-insole device that would provide real-time feedback about the asymmetry of the gait to these stroke survivors.