Nurse

Lena Driscoll, MSN

Nurse

Lena is a full-time nurse in the Memory and Aging Center Clinic. She completed her master’s degree in nursing at UCSF School of Nursing. Prior to being a nurse, Lena worked for biotechnology companies doing research in skeletal and neurological diseases. In her free time she can be found gardening or hiking around San Francisco.

Sarah Dulaney, RN, MS, CNS

Clinical Nurse Specialist

Sarah Dulaney earned a master of science degree in gerontological nursing at UCSF and is certified as a Geriatric Clinical Nurse Specialist by the American Nurses Credentialing Center.

Over the past ten years, Sarah has worked with adults with cognitive impairment in community, long term care and hospital settings. As an AmeriCorps volunteer for L’Arche USA in Portland, Oregon, Sarah lived and worked with adults with developmental disabilities and gained insight into the important role of the family caregiver. As a nursing assistant at Chaparral House in Berkeley, California, Sarah continued to develop her ability to connect with and care for confused patients. As a registered nurse on the stroke unit at Kaiser Hospital in San Francisco, Sarah continues to practice her hands-on skills and offer a supportive presence to patients and families experiencing the devastation of acute brain loss.

Before joining the Care Ecosystem study team at the Memory and Aging Center in 2014, Sarah worked as a Dementia Clinical Nurse Specialist and Rural Dementia Care Coordinator for the VA Palo Alto Health Care System. In addition to providing telephone-based care coordination for veterans and their caregivers living in Tuolumne and Calaveras counties, Sarah provided staff training and consultation to help prevent and reduce dementia-related behaviors in the Community Living Centers in Menlo Park, California.

Jennifer Merrilees, PhD, RN

Clinical Nurse Specialist

Jennifer Merrilees received her doctorate degree in nursing from the University of California, San Francisco. She is a Clinical Nurse Specialist in Geriatrics at the Memory and Aging Center and Associate Clinical Professor (volunteer series) for the UCSF School of Nursing. Jennifer is part of a multidisciplinary team focused on the evaluation and management of people with cognitive and behavioral symptoms. She is the nurse coordinator of our clinical services, responsible for reviewing all new patient referrals, patient triage and dealing with patient care issues. She participates in a nurse-run clinic focused on dementia behavior management and conducts research focused on dementia family caregivers. She is part of the CMS-funded Care Ecosystem study, testing a model of supportive dementia care. Jennifer is co-investigator for two NIH-level funded projects focused on dementia family caregivers. One seeks to characterize the nature of emotions experienced by dementia family caregivers and the other aims to increase positive affect as a strategy for coping with stress. She is also one of the primary nurses for the NIH-funded program project grant entitled Frontotemporal Dementia: Genes, Imaging and Emotions where she conducts family interviews and collects data that focus on functional aspects and dementia severity.

Mary Koestler, PhD, RN, CCRC

Project Administrator and Trials Nurse

Mary Koestler joined the Memory and Aging Center’s clinical trials unit as project administrator and trials nurse in July 2007. Dr. Koestler completed a master’s degree in nursing with an emphasis in clinical research management at UCSF followed by a PhD degree. She currently manages industry-sponsored FDA Phase I-III Alzheimer’s disease trials. Dr. Koestler is credentialed by the Association of Clinical Research Professionals (ACRP).

Robin Ketelle, MS, RN

Nurse

Robin Ketelle received her bachelor’s degree in nursing from UCLA and a master’s degree in gerontological nursing from UCSF.

Robin’s career has involved work in medical surgical nursing, psychiatric nursing and geriatric nursing. She has held research positions at both the UC Davis and UCSF state funded California Alzheimer’s Disease Research Centers (CADC). Her work at the CADCs included expert clinical care as a clinical nurse specialist and as a clinical trials coordinator for patients and families participating in dementia research. Most recently, Robin worked in a quality assurance program at Northern California Kaiser Permanente managing data and tracking patients with breast cancer.

Robin returned to the Memory and Aging Center in May 2006 and since that time has been the primary nurse for the NIH funded Alzheimer Disease Research Center (ADRC) program, interviewing caregivers and study partners about participants’ everyday functioning, mood and behavior. She also manages the NIH-funded program project grant entitled Frontotemporal Dementia: Genes, Imaging and Emotions and interviews caregivers participating in that study as well. Additionally, Robin facilitates the caregiver support group for families and friends of patients with frontotemporal dementia. Robin is interested in helping patients with neurodegenerative disease and their caregivers to learn coping mechanisms that will improve their overall well being. She is also interested in the impact of specific symptoms of dementia, such as apathy, on function and overall health.

Cindy Barton, RN, MSN, GNP

Nurse Practitioner

Cynthia Barton received her basic nursing education at Mary Hitchcock Memorial Hospital in Hanover, New Hampshire. She then went on to get her bachelor of science degree in nursing at UCSF and her master of science degree in nursing from Duke University. She is certified as a Gerontological Nurse Practitioner by the American Nurses Credentialing Center.

Ms. Barton is employed as a Nurse Practitioner at the UCSF Memory and Aging Center and holds an Associate Clinical Professor position in the UCSF School of Nursing. She is involved in evaluating patients at the San Francisco Veterans Administration Medical Center's Memory Disorders Clinic and the UCSF Memory and Aging Center Clinic. She co-founded a nurse run clinic to assess and manage behavioral symptoms associated with dementia, funded by a grant from the American Academy of Nurse Practitioners. She recently completed a project with colleagues to improve the care of hospitalized patients with dementia funded by the Picker Foundation and the UCSF Medical Center. She currently serves on the Medical Resources Workgroup for the SF City and County Task for Excellence in Dementia Care and co-authored the Geriatric Review Syllabus chapter on dementia. She speaks in the community on the topics of cognition in the elderly, cognitive assessment and non-pharmacological management of behavior problems in dementia.

Rosalie Gearhart, RN, MSN

Director of Operations

Ms. Gearhart received her undergraduate degree in Nursing at the University of Pennsylvania. She began her nursing career at Johns Hopkins Hospital where she worked in acute care on Osler 4 General Medicine. Ms. Gearhart continued working in general medicine at the University of California San Francisco (UCSF) Medical Center where she was nurse manager. She received her master's degree in Nursing Administration at UCSF and is certified as a Gerontological Clinical Nurse Specialist by the American Nurses Association Credentialing Center.

Ms. Gearhart is the Administrative Nurse for the Memory and Aging Center and oversees center operations. She is also Associate Clinical Professor in the Department of Physiology in the School of Nursing. Ms. Gearhart works closely with both faculty and staff on quality of care initiatives and program development focusing on optimizing the functional status of each patient and maintaining the quality of life for both the patient and caregivers.

In addition to her clinical work, Ms. Gearhart has coordinated the Alzheimer's Disease Cooperative Study (ADCS) prevention drug trial and focuses her research interests on the study of people at risk for dementia and prevention of decline. She currently administrates several center-wide programs including the California Alzheimer's Disease Center (CADC), the federal Alzheimer's Disease Research Center (ADRC) and the Consortium for Frontotemporal Dementia (CFR). Ms. Gearhart has been instrumental in program development since her start at the MAC in 1998.

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