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Spotlight News

IEA partner earns award from the National Association of Area Agencies

Brain Health ClubAn IEA program, the Brain Health Club, is receiving an Aging Innovations and Achievement (AIA) Award this week at the National Association of Area Agencies on Aging  (n4a) conference.  The AIA Awards Virtual Ceremony will be broadcast live via this page on September 22 at 10:00 am ET:  The IEA partnered with the state’s Department on Aging, local Area Agency on Aging, Alzheimer’s Association and the Town of Central to reopen a closed senior center in Central in September, 2018 and to establish the Brain Health Club which is a dementia day program.  CU Creative Inquiry students delivered cognitively and socially stimulating activities to those with early to mid-stage dementia after being trained by DPHS doctoral student Caitlin Torrence.  Caitlin also served as the program director in its first year of operation.  See a description of the program here: 2020 AIA Awards book, which will be available on n4a’s website.

Faculty Associate Spotlight

Dr. Kapil Chalil Madathil, Assistant Professor in the Department of Civil and Industrial EngineeringDr. Kapil Chalil Madathil, Assistant Professor in the Department of Civil and Industrial Engineering, is known for his expertise in a diversity of fields ranging from advanced manufacturing to social media safety. He specializes in the application of human factors engineering to the design and operation of human-computer systems in complex environments involving rich interactions between people and technology. Currently, he is active in the application of these principles to the healthcare and advanced manufacturing domains. Dr. Chalil Madathil was recently named the Wilfred P. Tiencken Endowed Assistant Professor in recognition of his work.

Dr. Chalil Madathil’s research covers the entire spectrum of system design from identifying user needs, to designing and developing systems that inform and motivate user behavior, to empirically evaluating the efficacy of these interventions. Dr. Chalil Madathil and his research group (Human Systems Integration Laboratory) have emerged as leaders in creating an immersive experience for collaborative work through the use of virtual reality. With over 100 virtual reality simulations across a variety of modules, they have built a research agenda exploring the efficacy of virtual reality systems for skills transfer. This effort has brought his research group national attention from the National Science Foundation and Department of Defense.

According to Dr. Chalil Madathil, “Our virtual simulations range anywhere from using precision measurement instruments in a 2-dimensional space to highly immersive 3-dimensional simulations to educate informal caregivers on the hardships faced by dementia patients. Through rigorous research and concept design, our team in education, virtual reality and gaming have collaborated to produce state-of-the-art simulations that give users hands-on experience and facilitate skill transfer”.

In regard to future work Dr. Chalil Madathil wishes to conduct, he is looking forward to enhancing human interaction with automated systems including artificial-intelligence based agents. In addition to this, Dr. Chalil Madathil is also looking forward to organizing a distinguished lecture series as part of his professorship. This series will focus primarily on human-factors engineering, which will offer Clemson University faculty and students the opportunity to learn from leaders in the field.

In addition to this research, Dr. Chalil Madathil is working on funded efforts which involve multiple institutions including K-12 systems, technical colleges, universities, and industry partners. One of these funded projects, the AHRQ Project: Human Factors Considerations in the Design and Implementation of Telemedicine-Integrated Ambulance-Based Environments for Stroke Care, is evaluating the use of ambulance-based telemedicine to reduce adverse sequelae of strokes, such as physical and mental disabilities. With help from the Medical University of South Carolina (MUSC) Center for Telehealth, Emergency Medical Services in Georgetown County, South Carolina, Dr. Chalil Madathil is analyzing and developing design recommendations for telestroke systems ambulances. The system allows 24-hour access to MUSC’s stroke care experts, which provides the ability to give a stroke neurology consult in as little as 9 minutes. Through a variety of mixed methods, including observational studies and semi-structured interviews, Dr. Chalil Madathil’s research efforts work to evaluate workflow, space constraints, communication patterns, software usability, and teamwork of the current pilot implementation. This research aims to evaluate the demands placed on caregivers, the usability of the telemedicine system, and the barriers in the workflow associated in a telemedicine-integrated, ambulance-based setting for stroke care. The research is also working to iteratively develop and refine guidelines and recommendations for large-scale implementation of telemedicine systems for stroke care in ambulances.

According to Dr. Chalil Madathil, “The evaluation will look to human factors-related issues experienced by providers and from this create recommendations for a human-centered system design of ambulance-based telemedicine stroke programs. The results of this evaluation will be used to refine the system design, improve guidelines around process flow, and modify the software to enhance the system so that it can be implemented on a large scale. The ultimate goal is to increase the frequency of tPA definitive therapy of acute stroke to reduce and avoid adverse sequelae of strokes”.

Spatial Cognition and Design

IEA Faculty Associates Dr. Elysse Newman and Dr. Kaileigh Byrne will be featured speakers in this free colloquium on March 30 sponsored by the CU Institute for Intelligent Materials, Systems and Environments, CU School of Architecture and the national Academy of Neurosciences and Architecture. 

  • A colloquium to engage researchers and scholars across disciplines broadly using priciples of spatial cognition in the built environment.
  • An INTERFACE event of the Academy of Neurosciences for Architecture advisory council.
  • Sponsored by CU-iMSE and the School of Architecture, Clemson University.
  • AIA professional Learning Units (3) are in application and expected.

When: Monday March 30, 2020
Where: Watt Rm. 416
Time: 8:30-12:30,

Cost: The symposium is free and open to all.
Registration: For more information and to r.s.v.p., please visit


  • 8:00AM Coffee in Watt Center for Innovation
  • 8:30AM "John Eberhard, ANFA and Early EFforts at Framing a New Discipline", Prof. David Allison Clemson University
  • 9:00AM "Impact of Age-Related Cognitive Changes on Human-Spatial environment Interaction", Dr. Kaileigh Byrne, Clemson University
  • 9:45AM "Feeling-for-Space", Dr.Harrt Francis Mallgrave, IIT(Emeritus)
  • 10:30AM Coffee Break
  • 10:50AM "Direct Perception and Its Implications for Design", Dr. Christopher Pagano, Clemson University
  • 11:45AM Discussion, moderated by Dr. Winifred Newman, Clemson University and Rober t Condia, Kansas State University
  • 12:30PM Closing remarks and adjournment

Age 60+ in SC projected to double

Health Coaches Hypertension ControlThe population of people age 60 and older in South Carolina is projected to double from the level in 2000 to about 28% by 2030 according to South Carolina’s Plan on Aging. With this increase, there is a need for more services. The Institute for Engaged Aging (IEA) and its efforts to serve older adults through research and outreach was featured in a Greenville News series about the aging population in Upstate, South Carolina and the issues this population faces. Read the article here

Faculty Spotlight: Dr. Nicole Davis

Nicole DavisDr. Nicole Davis is an Assistant Professor and the Adult-Gerontological Nurse Practitioner and MSN-Education Program Coordinator at Clemson University. She is a board-certified Adult and Gerontological Nurse Practitioner with a career that spans 21 years. Davis has expertise in urinary incontinence, geriatrics, and using health information technology to support family caregivers. She has lectured and published on these topics; and has received several awards and funding for her work. Davis is a National Hartford Centers of Gerontological Nursing Excellence Distinguished Educator in Gerontological Nursing, which recognizes her commitment to gerontological nursing education and the care of older adults.

Davis is a Faculty Associate in the Clemson University Institute for Engaged Aging, a Clemson University School of Health Research Faculty Scholar, an Embedded Scholar at Prisma Health-Center for Success in Aging, a member of the Board of Directors of Upstate Area Health Education Consortium, and a member of the SC Lieutenant Governor’s Alzheimer’s Resource Coordination Center Advisory Council. She has served as an expert consultant for the AARP and is a National Institute on Aging, Resource Centers for Minority Aging Research Scientist. She received a BS from New York University, MS from Duke University, and a PhD from Georgia State University.

In looking towards the future, Dr. Davis’s goal is to build on the work she has already done. She hopes to be able to use technology to deliver interventions and reach certain groups that are not commonly seen in the clinical environment. One of Dr. Davis’s projects, funded through the College of Behavioral, Social and Health Sciences, has already advanced this goal. In this project, she developed a web-based intervention in order to support family caregivers of older adults who have urinary incontinence. Her long-term goal is to develop a mobile application that will be able to deliver this intervention. Another project Dr. Davis is working on that utilizes technology is funded through the School of Nursing. This project explores the use of social media to reach and recruit caregivers of older adults who have urinary incontinence. Dr. Davis says that she is “very interested in not only supporting family caregivers but helping them manage chronic conditions”.

Dr. Davis looks forward to the new IEA space at Oconee Memorial Hospital. She feels this space will offer more opportunities for collaborative, interdisciplinary research between Clemson University and Prisma Health.

Health Coaches Hypertension ControlHypertension Control

Health Coaches for Hypertension Control (HCHC) was designated in 2018 by the Administration for Community Living/Administration on Aging (ACL/AoA) as an evidence-based program making it eligible for funding through Older Americans Act (OAA) Title III-D funding and also through CDC 1815 funding. Read More

Dr. Kaileigh ByrneIEA researcher presents findings at Dallas conference

Associate Professor of Cognitive Psychology and IEA researcher, Dr. Kaileigh Byrne, is working to determine age-related factors that affect goal-oriented versus habitual decision-making. Her research focuses on how social engagement that demands sustained cognitive effort can have beneficial effects on age-related cognition.

“We know there is a correlation between senior isolation and early onset dementia, but why this relationship exists, that’s what we need to figure out,” Byrne said. Between her research and Creative Inquiry team, Dr. Byrne is on the path to determining those specific mechanisms.

Dr. Byrne recently attended the Dallas Aging and Cognition Conference to present her research findings. Her study involved the participation of 53 senior citizens and analyzed 133 possible lifestyle variables that contribute to social isolation and cognition. The study found participants with more hours of social engagement had better short-term and long-term memory.

Beginning fall 2019, Dr. Byrne’s research will find a new home at Oconee Memorial Hospital.

“This new location will give us access to a broader community of senior citizens, those more affected by social isolation, and both participants who are healthy and those who are beginning to show signs of dementia,” Dr. Byrne said. “It will make it a more positive experience for the participants coming to Oconee Memorial Hospital, dealing with parking and navigating campus will no longer be a challenge for our participants.”

The new, larger space will also allow Dr. Byrne to support her Creative Inquiry team and get students more involved.

“With more space, we’ll be able to conduct age-studies and Creative Inquiry work simultaneously,” she said. “I’m excited to see where this takes our research.”

reduce the fall risk of individuals 55 years and olderClemson researchers, students offering fall prevention program in Upstate

A team of Clemson University researchers and students are working to reduce the fall risk of individuals 55 years and older in Oconee County. Cheryl Dye, director of the Clemson University Institute for Engaged Aging (IEA), Marieke Van Puymbroeck, a professor of recreational therapy in the parks, recreation and tourism management (PRTM) department, and Karen Kemper, a public health sciences professor, along with their students Em Adams, a doctoral student in PRTM, and Sophia Nance, an honors student in public health sciences, offer a fall prevention program on Tuesdays and Thursdays at the Senior Solutions Senior Center in Seneca. Read More

Partnership Provides Services for Seniors with Dementia Partnership Provides Services for Seniors with Dementia

At the Golden Corner Respite Care program in Seneca, Clemson doctoral student Caitlin Torrence sat next to a woman with Alzheimer’s who rarely spoke. Torrence began humming Christmas music, and for the first time, she heard the woman’s voice as she sang the words to the song.

Torrence and Clemson’s Institute for Engaged Aging director Cheryl Dye are hoping for this same kind of success in a new dementia care program they started in September in Central.

Dye co-authored a $48,500 grant proposal with Pickens County Meals on Wheels that was funded by the S.C. Lieutenant Governor’s Office on Aging Improvement Grant to reopen the Central Community Center, where services had not been offered since 2014. Thanks to a $20,000 Alzheimer’s Resource Coordination Center grant, the program known as the Brain Health Club has the necessary start-up funding. Read More.

Marieke Van PuymbroeckFaculty Spotlight: Marieke Van Puymbroeck

Parks, Recreation and Tourism Management professor Marieke Van Puymbroeck, Ph.D., has a passion for recreational therapy. 

She’s also the president of American Therapeutic Recreation Association, and has been with the Institute for Engaged Aging since she moved to Clemson six years ago. 

During her on-campus interview, she spoke with the Director of IEA, Cheryl Dye, about working with the institute. And she eventually became a faculty associate. 

She said it’s been a perfect fit. 

“The vast majority of my work is with older adults,” Van Puymbroeck said. “I’ve been particularly interested in working with people with neurological conditions, utilizing evidence-based complementary and integrative health interventions. My research primarily has been with the use of yoga in individuals with neurological conditions and how to reduce falls and improve balance and quality of life in this population.”

Most recently, she’s partnered with Clemson faculty Cheryl Dye, Ph.D., Karen Kemper, Ph.D., and graduate student Em Adams to work on a study about fall risk prevention. They are partnering with Oconee Memorial Hospital to work on developing a balance clinic for their patients and for the community.

“We really want to empower people so they can feel like they can take control of their fall risk,” Van Puymbroeck said. “When people have fallen, they become afraid and there’s this huge cascade of fear that happens, called a fear of falling. They stop doing things they take pleasure in, they stop doing enjoyable activities, and stop doing health promoting activities. This is a vicious cycle and hopefully we’ll be able to intervene to reduce that fear of falling, so that people get back to living the life they want.”

Richard Pak, Ph.D., a psychology professor and faculty associate in the Clemson University Institute for Engaged AgingClemson professor Richard Pak, Ph.D., publishes book on aging and technology

Richard Pak, Ph.D., a psychology professor and faculty associate in the Clemson University Institute for Engaged Aging (IEA), has co-edited a book, “Aging, Technology, and Health” which addresses how technology can advance quality of life for older adults.

Other IEA Faculty Associates, Kelly Caine, Dina Battisto, Ellen Vincent and Cheryl Dye, contributed book chapters.

The book illustrates how innovative researchers are helping older adults manage health and other issues required for aging in place through the design and use of advanced technology.

It is a product of Pak’s research interest in the psychological factors surrounding the design and use of autonomous technology, such as artificial intelligence-based assistants in phones and medical devices. This technology will increasingly become prevalent in all facets of daily life and may have an especially large impact on the daily activities of older adults by supporting their health, transportation or even employment, Pak said.

"It is imperative that we design autonomous machines to be understandable and usable for people of all ages. Misunderstandings between humans and autonomy can have very negative consequences on safety, health, and well-being," Pak said. "We hope that by identifying important research issues and presenting solutions in a case-study format, researchers, practitioners, designers and policy-makers will make well-informed decisions about how to best support older adults’ well-being."

Pak has been a professor at Clemson for the past 12 years and has collaborated with IEA Faculty Associates for several years.

Mary Anne Taylor, a psychology professor and researcher with Clemson University’s Institute for Engaged AgingAARP seeks IEA faculty associate to study aging in the workforce

Mary Anne Taylor, a psychology professor and researcher with Clemson University’s Institute for Engaged Aging, was recently awarded a grant by the AARP Foundation to study aging and workplace training. She and Dr. Jennifer Bisson are exploring the sensory, cognitive, and social changes associated with aging and how those interact with psychological demands of many jobs.

“People often assume that training is a one-size- fits all scenario,” Taylor said. “But the nature of training has different implications for different demographic groups. Understanding how sensory changes, cognitive changes, social support, and self-efficacy impact any learning situation is particularly important for the Baby Boomer generation."

She also recently completed a book chapter for how to recruit and retain older workers in industry as most of the traditional models of retention and recruitment are targeted toward early-career employees. In this chapter, she proposes a workforce analysis as an initial step in identifying jobs that may be hard-hit by the upcoming wave of retirement.

SCTR Scientific Retreat on Aging Related ResearchIEA faculty associate, doctoral students present at aging conference

IEA Faculty Associate Dr. Lingling Zhang, and doctoral students Caitlin Torrence in Public Health Sciences and Pai Liu in Planning, Design, and the Built Environment have been accepted to present at the SCTR Scientific Retreat on Aging Related Research, Sponsored by the South Carolina Clinical & Translational Research (SCTR) Institute and MUSC Center on Aging . The retreat will be held on Friday, October 20, 2017 at MUSC.

Dr. Cheryl Dye

Clemson public health science professor to speak on best practices to promote healthy aging at conference

Clemson University professor Cheryl Dye will be the lead general session presenter at the Southeastern Association of Area Agencies on Aging Conference in Greenville held on Sept. 10-13. Dye, who also serves as the director of Clemson’s Institute for Engaged Aging (IEA), will speak about her work with the university’s institute and its faculty associates as well as a specific talk on “Senior Mobility: Key to Engaged Aging.” She said she is excited to have been invited to speak by the Area Agency on Aging leaders in South Carolina, which serves as the host state this year. Read More

Dr. Ye Luo Awarded IEA Grant FundingDr. Ye Luo Awarded IEA Grant Funding

Dr. Ye Luo, Associate Professor in the Department of Sociology, Anthropology, and Criminal Justice and Dr. Lingling Zhang, Assistant Professor in the Department of Public Health Sciences, have been awarded IEA funding for their project, “Neighborhood Environment and Cognitive Decline among Older Adults in China: Evidence from China Health and Retirement Longitudinal Study (CHARLS)”. They plan to conduct their research between June 1, 2017 and July 1, 2018 and will then use pilot project findings to apply for a National Institute of Health R03 Grant. Congratulations to Dr. Luo and Dr. Zhang and best wishes for a successful submission to NIH!