Dementia Expertise at Phoebe | Phoebe Ministries

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Dementia Expertise at Phoebe

Meet our Dementia Experts:

Alice Donlan, PT, MBA, DPT, GCS, RAC-CT
Dr. Alice Donlan is a physical therapist who received her Bachelors of Science degree from Temple University in 1990. She has continued to further her education with a Master’s Degree in Business in 2005, and a Doctorate in Physical Therapy in 2010. In 2014 she was granted her Geriatric Certification by the American Physical Therapy Association joining less than 1% of the physical therapists in the country. In 2015, she became certified in the resident assessment tool used in skilled nursing. She serves as the education chair of the northern chapter of LeadingAge PA, and is on the board of the Northeast district of the Pennsylvania Physical Therapy Association. She has lectured both locally and nationally on a number of topics including dementia and topics related to the geriatric field.

Jennifer Howanitz, BS, MPT: Jennifer Howanitz is the Regional Director of the Neurocognitive Engagement Therapy (NET) Program for Phoebe Ministries. She received her Bachelor of Science and Master in Physical Therapy from the University of the Sciences in Philadelphia before becoming Director of Rehabilitation Services at Seton Manor in 1999. After nine years as a supervisor there, Howanitz relocated to Allentown, where she accepted the leadership position at Phoebe Allentown. Howanitz was instrumental in introducing NET and overseeing its development every step of the way, from being a pilot program at one Phoebe campus to an award-winning rehabilitation model. Recently she oversaw the installation of NET at Phoebe Wyncote, the second health care center in the nation to feature the program. Howanitz has presented the NET model at national professional conferences, including the American Physical Therapy Association and the Gerontological Society of America.

Pam Kleckner: Pam Kleckner is the Memory Support Coordinator for Phoebe Allentown. Kleckner joined Phoebe in 1995 as Activity Assistant on the Bridgeways neighborhood, and since then has held several positions including Activity Coordinator, Assistant Director of Community Life, and Manager of Community Life Memory Support Staff. She has been certified through the NCCAP as an activities director specific to memory care, and received training in Montessori programming through Dr. Cameron Camp at the Hearthstone Institute in New York City. Kleckner has also provided consultation work through Phoebe’s CEDC throughout Phoebe’s communities and in the community at large.

Cheryl Miller, LPN: Cheryl Miller is the Staff Development Coordinator for the Center for Excellence in Dementia Care. She is a Licensed Practical Nurse who has worked in the field of geriatrics for 37 years. Miller has a background in training and staff development and a passion for learning about and working with dementia. Prior to her work with the CEDC, Miller served as the staff development coordinator for Phoebe Berks for 18 years, providing state- and Federal-required orientation and training for all staff. Miller’s training programs provide interactive, practical learning opportunities that illustrate and emphasize Phoebe’s Dementia Care Philosophy and incorporate evidenced-based best practices in dementia care. Evaluations of Miller’s training programs have resulted in an average rating of “excellent” by 96 percent of participants.

Elisha Elliott Leavy, LCSW, M.Ed., CMC: Elisha Elliott Leavy is a licensed clinical social worker with the Center for Excellence in Dementia Care. She earned her Master of Social Work and Master of Education from Widener University and has broad experience in both health care and behavioral health, including hospital social work, hospice, counseling, behavior modification, and behavior management. In her work at Phoebe, Leavy is responsible for providing psychotherapy services to residents and offering support to their families, as well as providing leadership to Phoebe’s interdisciplinary Community Care Teams, which are designed to enhance person-centered care and promote grassroots culture change. Leavy is also a certified geriatric care manager and has served as a mental health consultant in a variety of long term care settings across the region.

Karen Rosenberger, PsyD: Karen Rosenberger is a licensed psychologist with a specialty in geropsychology. Her passion for older adults spans many years, beginning when she worked as an aide in a nursing home during her teenage years. Dr. Rosenberger attended Albright College, the New School for Social Research, and Indiana University of Pennsylvania for her degrees. Her experience includes many years of treating aging adults and their caregivers with psychotherapy, training, and teambuilding in long term care facilities. Dr. Rosenberger states: “The Center for Excellence represents a progressive vision of how dementia care will be delivered. My personal hope is that it will motivate us all to stretch and grow in new ways as we consider every part of the individual and challenge our ideas about what is possible.”

Amy Nelson, BSW, PCHA: Amy Nelson is the Personal Care Home Administrator at Phoebe Berks. She oversees the day-to-day management of personal care, memory support personal care, and memory support adult day services. Nelson has been in health care management for 18 years and has spent her entire career working with older adults with dementia. She played an integral role in developing Phoebe’s Personal Care Toolkit, which is being utilized to expand Phoebe’s dementia-capable personal care at all four of Phoebe’s CCRCs. She also provided leadership in the efforts to secure the Alzheimer’s Foundation of America’s Certification of Excellence in Care for both personal care and adult day services at Phoebe Berks. She is currently pursuing her MSN.


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