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Tressa Nese and Helen Diskevich
Center of Geriatric Nursing Excellence

Director’s Welcome

Our vision is to improve the lives of older adults in positive and person-centered ways. We have four major areas of focus: education, research, translation of best practice, and community partnerships with global initiatives.

This is such an exciting time for health care and gerontology, and the care of older adults is constantly evolving and innovating. Leading our center is one of the most rewarding and exciting things that I do! Our people are compassionate, world-class faculty, staff, and students who practice, teach, and conduct research on aging.

The CGNE at Penn State was founded by Dr. Ann Kolanowski, a leader in the field of gerontological nursing and the care of persons with dementia. Initiated in 2007 with funding from the John A. Hartford Foundation, our center is one of nine original Hartford Centers; now there are more than 60 nationwide. In this regard, our team provides leadership and mentoring to other colleges and schools of nursing.

Our original mission was to implement strategies including online courses and scholarships to increase the number of faculty qualified to teach gerontology. Our vision and strategic plan have expanded beyond education and teaching to include research, translation, and global partnerships to find new and innovative ways to improve the care for older adults worldwide.

On our website, you can read about our gerontology leadership team and faculty affiliates and view our current list of seminars and other upcoming events, such as trainings and conferences. Our educational events, though usually free of charge, require advance registration. We try to offer CNEs for RNs when appropriate. You can join us in person or via our videoconferencing technology from anywhere in the world.

Our faculty conduct National Institute of Health (NIH) research in the areas of care of persons with delirium, dementia, subjective cognitive impairment, function and family-focused care, medication use, palliative care, person-centered care, and others. We serve on the advisory board and provide a faculty expert for the Institute for Healthcare Improvement’s Age-Friendly Health Systems initiative. Associate Professor Kimberly Van Haitsma directs one of the few Programs for Person-centered Care in the United States.

We offer a certificate program in gerontology, which requires a unique set of skills and knowledge, to enhance health care professionals’ expertise in the care of older adults. The curriculum includes assessment of complex health problems, palliative and person-centered care, and many other relevant topics.

Aging, caregiving, and the privilege of growing older impact all of us. Everyone can play a role in improving the lives of older adults. We hope you will consider supporting our center as a seminar participant, community partner, student, faculty member or affiliate, or a donor. Please join us on this journey in any way you can.

Donna Fick, Ph.D., GCNS-BC, FGSA, FAAN
Director, The Tressa Nese and Helen Diskevich Center of Geriatric Nursing Excellence at the Penn State Ross and Carol Nese College of Nursing


Nese College of Nursing named a National League for Nursing Center of Excellence