Institute for Engaged Aging

Faculty Associates

Ms. Sonya Albury-Crandall

Ms. Albury-Crandall has a distinguished history as an executive director and manager of strategic planning initiatives, innovative health and human services programs, marketing, communications, government relations and resource development. Ms. Albury-Crandall currently serves as a Research Associate at Clemson University and is responsible for administering components of a large federal grant (phases I and II) within the Architecture + Health Program, and conducting local and national research on healthcare facilities utilizing the Post Occupancy Evaluation (P.O.E.) methodology and case study analyses.

Dr. Dina Battisto

Dina BattistoDr. Battisto has studied the environmental influences on aging in place to identify the characteristics common among the homes and communities of older adults who chose to stay at home as long as possible. Quantitative analysis was performed using the Asset and Health Dynamics among the Oldest-Old (AHEAD) dataset, and content analysis was conducted from in-depth interviews with older single adults 80 years and older living in the greater community. She is also involved in a collaborative project with Dr. Judith Voelkl (PRTM) to create a “Family Model of Care” for nursing homes that includes the integration of a supportive organizational culture, a homelike environment, and meaningful activities. In another study, Dr. Battisto interviewed married couples from two cohorts to elicit information on their residential histories and the meanings attached to homes where they have lived throughout life. Her manuscripts about these projects include: “Environmental Influences on Aging in Place”; “A Family Model of Care: Creating Life Enriching Environments”; and “Gender Issues in the Home."

Dr. Johnell Brooks

Johnell BrooksDr. Brooks' research area is human factors psychology related to transportation. She studies road users' (both drivers and pedestrians) capabilities and limitations. Her primary research activity is investigating the relationship between how well road users think they are going to perform and how well they actually perform in challenging visual conditions.


Dr. Kelly Caine

Kelly CaineDr. Kelly Caine is an Assistant Professor in the Human-Centered Computing division of the School of Computing. She has an MS and PhD in Engineering Psychology from the Georgia Institute of Technology and her research interests are human factors, health informatics, privacy, human computer interaction, and designing for special populations such as older adults. One of her recent research projects has focused on the use of technology to support aging in place in rural communities.


Dr. Min Cao

Min CaoListeria monocytogenes is a Gram-positive intracellular pathogen, which can cause serious food-borne infections in immunocompromised individuals, elderly individuals and pregnant women. Dr. Cao is using genetic, genomic and biochemical approaches to investigate the molecular mechanisms of L. monocytogenes pathogenesis and its adaptation to various stress conditions.




Dr. Katherine Cason

Katherine CasonDr. Cason’s primary research activities include: 1) Examination of the influences on food choices, nutrient intake, food purchasing and preparation practices, and level of food security among limited resource audiences; and 2) Assessment of the impact of nutrition education on dietary adequacy, food and nutrition practices of limited resource audiences using comparative models to determine the value of alternative educational interventions. Dr. Cason is also the Coordinator for the Expanded Food and Nutrition Education Program and the Food and Nutrition Services Food Stamp Nutrition Education Program, which target audiences with limited resources. This role includes nutrition educational material development and training for nutrition educators.

Dr. Lynne Cory

Lynne CoryHer primary research interests include therapeutic recreation, quality of life across the lifespan for individuals with and without disabilities, as well as community-based inclusive recreation, and community integration and re-integration for individuals with developmental or acquired disabilities. Dr. Cory works with PRTM and other HEHD faculty in the emphasis areas of Therapeutic Recreation (TR), and Community Recreation, Sports, and Camp Management (CRSCM) to identify research opportunities. With these PRTM and HEHD collaborators, Dr. Cory is engaged in the initial stages of several research projects including (1) a study examining effects of physical activity on individuals with physical disabilities who participate in community-based recreation and sports, (2) an initiative to reduce health disparities in Anderson County, South Carolina through a partnership of AnMed, HEHD, and Partners for a Healthy Community, and (c) an initiative to increase family involvement in Anderson County schools via community/school partnerships. In addition, Dr. Cory is interested in the development of sustainable youth sports programs, inclusive recreation, and physical activity in the Caribbean island of Dominica and is looking forward to research and student service learning projects there beginning in 2006.

Dr. Yuqing Dong

Yuqing DongIn partnership with local providers, two projects are underway to investigate the current state of end-of-life care in Upstate SC. The first project, Barriers to Seamless Transitions into Hospice, is an initiative with Interim Home Care and Hospice who serves 8 upstate counties, and the second is a project with GHS partners Profiling the Last Six Months of Life, a study exploring 2003 deaths in hospital settings. Dr. Craig is also the primary investigator on several graduate student projects of a similar nature with GHS Hospice and Spartanburg Regional Hospital. These studies will extend the sample size and lend credibility to findings about the current nature of EOL care in the upstate community and provide direction and priorities for change.


Dr. Cheryl Dye

Cheryl J. Dye Cheryl J. Dye received a PhD in Public Health Promotion from the School of Public Health at the University of South Carolina in 1991, and joined the faculty in the Department of Public Health Sciences at Clemson University that same year. Since that time she has taught and conducted research in health promotion and chronic disease management, and provided leadership for several initiatives.

Dye was a founding member of the American Academy of Health Behavior in 1997. In 2006, she was appointed Director of the Clemson University Institute for Engaged Aging research center. She served as Chair of the Advisory Board for the South Carolina Center for Gerontology (SCCG) from 2001 to 2006. In 2006, Dye was a founding member of the South Carolina Aging Research Network, which facilitates inter-institutional research in gerontology. She co-wrote a proposal approved in 2007 to establish a Center of Economic Excellence (CoEE) called SeniorSMART, which includes a CU Endowed Chair in Senior Driving, Mobility and Physical Functioning.

Dr. Dye has received over $1.5M in funding as a Principal Investigator (PI) from National Institutes of Health (NIH), Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA), the Kellogg Foundation, the Duke Endowment, the USDA, and the Veteran’s Administration. As a Co-Investigator, she has received on additional $4M in research funding. Most of her funded research has focused on promoting physical activity and healthy dietary behaviors as well as chronic disease self-management skills working with older adults through use of Health Coaching.

Dr. Dye served as PI on two projects funded by HRSA to develop models using Health Coaches to mentor older patients living in the rural upstate area of South Carolina in chronic condition management. In the first project (5-2006 to 4-2010), conducted with Dr. Deborah Willoughby, use of Health Coaches significantly reduced readmissions of Home Health patients with diabetes or a form of cardiovascular disease such as heart failure. The second project focused on hypertension management (5-2009 to 3-2013), conducted with Dr. Joel Williams and Ms. Janet Evatt, has shown promising results in reduction of systolic blood pressure, waist circumference, BMI and weight. A project funded in 2011 by the VA involved training healthcare providers in health coaching skills. Dye, Williams and Evatt were also recently funded by the USDA to expand the Health Coaches for Hypertension Control project in Oconee County to include those 45 years and older (9-2012 to 9-2013).

With her PhD in public health promotion; certification as a Stanford Chronic Disease Self-Management Master Trainer; training in Wellness Coaching by Wellsources, Inc.; training in Motivational Interviewing; and her five years of experience with conducting health literacy trainings for SC health professionals through the Palmetto State Geriatric Education Center, Dr. Dye has created a unique Health Coach training program based on health education principles, wellness coaching and chronic disease management strategies which can be tailored to the needs of the organization and the older adult.

Dr. Julie Eggert

Julie EggertDr. Julie Eggert is a Professor and Coordinator of the PhD in Healthcare Genetics Program in the School of Nursing. Her clinical specialties are gerontological nursing and oncology and her research interests are breast cancer (early detection and prevention) and nursing home culture change interventions. She is also interested in identifying what environmental stimuli can increase engagement of demented elders. Dr. Eggert and colleagues developed the tool, Individualized Dementia Engagement & Activity Scale (IDEAS), that can be used by nursing home personnel to measure engagement of elders with dementia. The tool is currently being used in Dr. Eggert’s funded research which examines the impact that music and nature images have on the engagement of nursing home residents with dementia.

Dr. Vince Gallicchio

Vincent S. Gallicchio, Associate Vice President for Research and Professor, Ph.D., New York University, 1976. Research interests include experimental drug therapeutics for AIDS and cancer with a focus on compounds that inhibit ribonucleotide reductase and anti-oxidants derived from natural food products; the non-psychiatric clinical uses of lithium, in particular for Alzheimer's disease and viral-induced pathogens; experimental hematopoiesis, with a particular interest in stem cell biology and the role of the stroma/microenvironment in these processes; international education pertaining to biomedical laboratory science.

Dr. Juan Gilbert

Juan GilbertDr. Gilbert's expertise includes the research, development and evaluation of user friendly technologies that provide access to information for disadvantaged populations. For example, Dr. Gilbert has developed a secure, universally designed electronic voting system called Prime III,, that allows people to privately and independently cast their ballots independent of their ability or disability. He has also received funding to investigate the use of virtual humans as internet navigation aids for aging citizens when shopping online. Dr. Gilbert studies the usability and accessibility of these technologies with people from aging and other populations.

Dr. Cecelia Griffith

Cecelia GriffithDr. Griffith has 30 years of health care experience, with over 25 years in physical therapy. Her specific expertise is in Geriatric Rehabilitation, Neurological Rehabilitation, and Rehabilitation Management to which she adds a progressive vision for blending quality healthcare with sound business strategies. Dr. Griffith has substantive knowledge of state and federal regulations, professional guidelines and JCAHO process. She was a clinical instructor for more than 10 colleges and universities and also has entrepreneurial experience as owner of a startup practice for four years. In her present position as Director of Orthopedics with Gentiva Home Health at Greenville, South Carolina, she is responsible for program development, marketing and operation of the Gentiva Orthopedics Program for the Spartanburg/Greenville area offices. She also provides staff training and supervision for PTs and PTAs; patient care including evaluation, testing and treatment; and develops and implements clinical research projects.

Dr. Dale Layfield

Dale LayfieldDr. Layfield uses Intergenerational Service-Learning in his course, Ag Ed 200 (Agricultural Applications of Educational Technology) in a program titled "Joining Wisdom with Youth Through Bits and Bytes: Computer Skills Development Through Intergenerational Service Learning". The primary objective of this program is to integrate computer-based experiential learning for undergraduate students and Clemson Downs (a local retirement community) residents in a unique setting where both groups mutually benefit beyond the traditional outcomes of Service-Learning.


Dr. Francis McGuire

Francis McGuireDr. McGuire is a leader of the Clemson University Osher Lifelong Learning Institute. The goal of the program is to offer opportunities to upstate residents to expand their educational horizons in a format that best suits their lifestyles. Classes are rarely more than ten sessions in length, and most are eight or fewer with no prerequisite educational requirements for attendance. Group interaction is encouraged, and, as a result, many new friendships are made. Although largely attended by retirees, the classes are in no way restricted to any one age group. The institute is a non-profit educational organization composed almost completely of volunteers; only the director holds a part-time paid position. Some of the teachers are retired or active faculty members from area colleges and universities.

Dr. Jennifer Ogle

Jennifer OgleDr. Ogle’s research area is transportation infrastructure design and safety. She studies road design and operations with a particular focus on the safety effects of the road-vehicle-driver system. Dr. Ogle’s primary research area is in the use of instrumented vehicles to measure operator performance and compliance with design assumptions. Understanding how, when, and where drivers comply with speed limits, stop signs, and other traffic devices will inform designers and enable the development of a user-centered road system. In particular, Dr. Ogle is interested in the study of young and older driver populations due to the safety challenges associated with these groups.

Julie Vidotto

Julie VidottoJulie Vidotto is the new director of Clemson University’s Osher Lifelong Learning Institute (OLLI), a 1,000-member continuing education program for adults age 50 and older.

Vidotto comes to Clemson after a 20-year career in museum and public garden education program administration, serving as director of education for the North Carolina Arboretum in Asheville, N.C., and director of visitor education/services at the Chicago Botanic Garden. She held positions at the Hillwood Museum and Gardens in Washington, D.C., and the Callaway Gardens/Ida Cason Callaway Foundation in Pine Mountain, Ga.

Vidotto holds a Doctor of Education degree in educational leadership from Western Carolina University, a Master of Arts in teaching degree from George Washington University and an undergraduate degree in ornamental horticulture from the University of Maryland. Her professional interests lie in understanding how organizations support complex partnership endeavors, with her most recent research exploring successful multi-agency collaborations in community colleges.

Part of the university’s parks, recreation and tourism management department, OLLI at Clemson is a continuing education program and membership organization for adults age 50 and older. The institute offers lectures, courses, excursions and social events, as well as access to Clemson events and resources.

Since its start in 2000, the program has grown from 85 to more than 1,000 members. The institute holds approximately 215 classes each year in interest areas that include technology, fine arts, culture, travel, nature and fitness, among others. The program is housed in the Charles K. Cheezem Education Center at Patrick Square in Clemson.

OLLI at Clemson is supported by the Bernard Osher Foundation, a San Francisco-based organization founded by businessman and community leader Bernard Osher that seeks to improve quality of life through support for higher education and the arts. The foundation supports 117 OLLI organizations in the United States, all of which are associated with a major college.

Dr. Mary Anne Taylor

Mary Anne Taylor

Dr. Taylor is currently involved in understanding the incentives that lead white-collar retirees to return to work, and she is also interested in understanding the needs of low-income older workers. Recent publications include "Recruiting and Retaining Talented Older Workers" in Thriving on an Aging Workforce and "Predicting the Retirement Adjustment of Military Retirees: The Central Role of Expectations."





Dr. Marieke Van Puymbroeck

Van PuymbroeckDr. Marieke Van Puymbroeck, CTRS, FDRT is a rehabilitation scientist and recreational therapist who received a graduate certificate in Gerontology from the University of Florida. Her research focuses primarily on the use of yoga as a therapeutic intervention, and has been applied to individuals with stroke, breast cancer, fibromyalgia, and informal caregivers. A secondary line of research interest includes health promotion through exercise for individuals with transient ischemic attack (TIA) or stroke. Along with her co-investigators, Dr. Van Puymbroeck’s research has been funded by the Department of Veteran Affairs, the Clinical and Transitional Sciences Institute, as well as a number of local agencies. At Clemson, Dr. Van Puymbroeck serves as the coordinator of the Therapeutic Recreation program. Professionally, she holds a number of associate editorships, including the Journal of Leisure Research, the Therapeutic Recreation Journal, and the American Journal of Recreation Therapy, and she serves on the Stroke Special Interest Group Movement Taskforce for the American Congress for Rehabilitation Medicine.

Ellen Vincent

Ellen VincentEllen Vincent, Ph.D. is an Environmental Landscape Specialist and an instructor in Environmental Horticulture at Clemson University who has done focused research on nature and health. Dr. Vincent has studied the impact of nature images on patient outcomes and her most recent research has involved the use of nature images with Alzheimer’s patients to increase engagement and reduce disordered behaviors.





Dr. Joel E. Williams

Dr. Joel E. WilliamsDr. Williams completed undergraduate training in exercise science and sports medicine, graduate training in health promotion, education and behavior, and in applied statistics. He completed postdoctoral training in evidence based public health, and in pediatric obesity prevention and health promotion. Joel's practical experience includes working as a Certified Athletic Trainer in an outpatient physical therapy setting, a Certified Health/Fitness Instructor for a large hospital-based fitness center, and a Chronic Disease Program Evaluator at the state health department level. Joel’s research interests include: health promotion, physical activity and nutrition behavior, obesity and chronic disease prevention and control, program evaluation, and applied measurement in public health sciences.

Joel has worked on research projects funded through CDC, NIH, HRSA and USDA. He and his colleagues have completed evaluation contracts for private foundations, the SC Department of Health and Environmental Control, and the SC Department of Agriculture. He is a Co-Investigator (Evaluator) with Dr. Cheryl Dye on her Health Coaches for Hypertension Control projects.

Dr. Williams is consistently engaged in service at the state, local, university, college, and departmental levels. At the national and international levels, he is a member of the Nutrition and Physical Activity Subcommittee of the National Institute of Food and Agriculture’s Nutrition and Health Committee for Program Planning and Guidance. He is also Co-Chair of the American College of Sports Medicine’s Exercise is Medicine® Community Health Committee, which is charged with promoting the Exercise is Medicine® initiative (broadly) and providing guidance on improving linkages between medical systems and communities (specifically).

Joel has been a peer reviewer for the following journals: Obesity; Journal of Rural Social Sciences; BMC Public Health; Maternal and Child Nutrition; Health Education Research; Athletic Training and Sports Health Care; Journal of Public Health Management and Practice; Health Promotion Practice; International Journal of Exercise Science; Infant, Child, and Adolescent Nutrition; American Journal of Health Behavior; Public Health Nutrition; American Journal of Preventive Medicine; Archives of Pediatrics and Adolescent Medicine. Dr. Williams is also a Review Board Member for the American Journal of Health Behavior (since 2008), Editorial Board Member (since 2011) and Guest Editor for Family and Community Health (April 2013 issue), and is the Psychology and Behavior Section Editor for the International Journal of Exercise Science (since 2011).

Dr. Deborah Willoughby

Deborah WilloughbyDr. Willoughby has partnered with with Senior Solutions centers for providing diabetes education and development of an exercise video for older clients. Data analysis from this work (pre-post Hgb A1c, knowledge test, etc) is ongoing. Dr. Willoughby is co-investigator with Dr. Cheryl Dye on a project funded by the federal DHHS Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA). In this project, “Helping Rural Elders Transition From Home Health to Chronic Disease Self Management Through Paraprofessional Outreach”, community members are trained as Health Coaches to mentor older adults in rural areas to manage their diabetes, cardiovascular disease and congestive heart failure.

Dr. Vivian Haley-Zitlin

Vivian Haley-ZitlinDr. Haley-Zitlin’s research activities include examination of 1) the influences of food intake & exercise on an aging population, especially on the initiation and progression of chronic disease, 2) the relationships between nutrient intake, food choices and nutrition knowledge on type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular (CV) risk and 3) the role of protein (soy vs. casein) and/or isoflavone intake on obesity, diabetes and CV risk factors. Her training includes a NIA Postdoctoral Fellowship in the Nutritional Gerontology Program, Departments of Physiology and Medicine, University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio, San Antonio, TX, 1991-1994. She is the 2004-2005 USDA Panel Manager for the ‘Bioactive Food Components for Optimal Health’ Study Section.