Spotlighting Commitment, Heart, and Service

Look through the profiles of these amazing people who are raising the standard of dementia care in the United States. Want to become a part of this elite group? Call us at 877.816.4524. Apply for DCCT recognition here.

For Dementia Capable Care Therapist (DCCT) recognition, you must meet the following approval requirements:

  • You must reside and work in the US.
  • You must complete an application for approval including professional title and educational history. You must be an occupational therapist, occupational therapy assistant, a speech-language pathologist, physical therapist, or physical therapy assistant.
  • Work experience in dementia care (requires at least two years’ experience).
  • Reason you are seeking Dementia Capable Care Therapist recognition.
  • Previous dementia training obtained from Dementia Care Specialists (DCS).

 

Lora Alonzo, COTA, DCCT


Lora has been a COTA for 15 years and has had the pleasure of working in a wide variety of settings, most recently at Green Tree Assisted Living. She loves working with the residents and their families and hopes to continue to help train staff and work with residents and families to develop optimal care plans in order for residents to have the quality of life they deserve.

Donna Arnett, SLP, DCCT


Genesis Healthcare, Provision Living at Panama City Beach

Joel Bove, OT, DCCT


Joel is a senior occupational therapist on the behavioral health team at Rush University Medical Center. He works primarily with the geriatric population in acute inpatient psychiatry. Prior to Rush, Joel provided occupational therapy services in long-term and community settings.

Lori Coleman, PT, WCC, RAC-CT, DCCT


Lori has been a practicing Physical Therapist for 22 years and is currently employed as the Director of Clinical with the Serenity (Dementia) segment of Signature HealthCARE. Signature is dedicated to radically changing the landscape of long-term care forever.

Caroline Copeland, OTR/L, DCCT


Caroline is an expert in the use of the Allen Cognitive Disabilities Theory. She is a clinical specialist in senior living communities and has extensive experience in the areas of psychiatry, rehab, home health, and skilled nursing.

Myrtyce Courtright, MOTR/L, DCCT


Saint Therese Rehab
Myrtyce is an occupational therapist who has worked in the field since graduating from the University of North Dakota in 2013. After taking a Gerontics course and completing fieldwork in a TCU/SNF setting during her master’s program, she took a strong interest in the field of geriatrics and dementia care. Saint Therese, her current employer, created a dementia care initiative and incorporated the Dementia Capable Care beginning course into training for all employees. After this initial course, Myrtyce sought further training through Dementia Care Specialists. Myrtyce has utilized her intermediate training to bring increased evidence and therapy intervention techniques to her rehab colleagues and is leading the rehab Dementia Care Task Force for Saint Therese. She is committed to improving the lives of residents with dementia and appreciates the value the residents add to her life as well.

Heather DiFonzo, M.S. CCC-SLP, DCCT


SLP Area Manager Massachusetts and New Hampshire
Tender Touch Rehab Services

April Doebert-Fischer, OT, DCCT


Willowfield Nursing and Rehab Center

Archana Doshi, OTR/L, DCCT


Director of Rehabiliation, Royal Health Gate Nursing and Rehab Centre

Erin DuPrae, OTR/L, DCCT


Paragon Rehabilitation
Erin DuPrae has worked in skilled nursing and long term care for 18 years with 14 years spent in management and as a clinician at the facility level. After graduating from Eastern Michigan University in 1999 with a Bachelor’s of Science Degree in Occupational Therapy, Erin has always enjoyed working with the geriatric population. Her efforts were directed toward returning each individual to his/her prior level of function, while incorporating humor and fun to improve quality of life. Erin joined Paragon Rehabilitation's clinical support team in May 2015. She earned her certification as a Dementia Capable Care Instructor in 2016 and Dementia Capable Care Therapist (DCCT) certification in 2018. Erin supports therapy teams to assure compliance with documentation, to educate therapists of Medicare regulations, and to share her clinical knowledge. As a seasoned clinician with hands on experience working with people with dementia, and through professional growth and continuing education in the study of dementia and related disorders, Erin can provide insight for positive outcomes and increased quality care.

Chris Ebell, OT/L, DCCT


Chris is the lead trainer for Dementia Care Specialists and an expert in the Allen Cognitive Disabilities Theory. Her specialty is in geriatrics and she has extensive experience in the areas of acute care, psychiatry, long term care, and home health. She is passionate about facilitating abilities and quality of life for persons with ADRD.

Jennifer Finnin, PT, Director of Rehabilitation


Jennifer graduated from Texas Woman’s University. Jennifer started working in long term care eleven years ago and at Garden Terrace Alzheimer’s Center of Excellence for the past four years. Jennifer fell in-love with the dementia population and is committed to ensuring that the residents get the best care possible from knowledgeable caring staff. Jennifer is a Certified Dementia Capable Care Instructor for her facility.

Mary Gennerman, OTR/L, DCCT


Mary was the first-ever recipient to receive DCCT distinction. She has directed rehabilitation in long-term care and outpatient clinics nationwide for in-house and contract therapy companies. Skilled nursing facility clinical compliance and reimbursement regulations have been the focus of her clinical and operational responsibilities for more than twenty-five years.

Elizabeth Gomes, OTR/L, DCCT


Elizabeth is the Director of Clinical Services for Consonus Rehab Services. She is a frequent speaker on dementia and teaches courses on this and other topics for Consonus. She is passionate about developing the skills of therapists to meet the needs of those with dementia.

Allison Homan, OTR/L, MOT,CLWT,DCCT


Big Stone Therapies, Inc
Allison has spent the past 7 years working with a primarily geriatric population within multiple settings. She graduated from The University of North Dakota in 2010. She became interested in dementia care after seeing the impact that can be made in patients’ lives when a dementia capable care approach is utilized. Allison teaches the Dementia Capable Care Foundation Course to other therapists within her company and is passionate about developing the skills of therapists to meet the needs of those with dementia. She recently completed training through Dementia Care Specialists and received recognition as a Dementia Capable Care Therapist and is looking forward to raising the quality of dementia care in her facility and profession.

Sharon Host, OTR/L, DCCT


I began my journey using the Allen Cognitive Disabilities Model in 1999 and completed the Dementia Therapy Master Clinician Program in 2009. I joined the DCS/CPI team in 2010 and am currently a consultant and a global professional instructor. I love my job because I have the opportunity to work with like-minded people to design communities that allow persons with dementia to thrive. 

Marsha Jacobson-Witt, DCCT


Alternate Solutions HomeCare Cincinnati

Serena Jones, COTA/L, DCCT


Legacy Healthcare

Kate Keefe, OTD, OTR/L, DCCT


My journey with Dementia Care Specialists and the Cognitive Disabilities Model began in 2002. I felt that the Therapy Applications course I attended had provided the structure and theory for the work I was doing in Geri-Psych and Long Term Care. In 2003, I became certified as a Master Clinician in Dementia Therapy. I continued my studies completing the Intermediate Therapy Applications and Dementia Capable Care Certified Instructor program. I have been a Global Professional Instructor with Dementia Care Specialists since 2013. I truly love being able to help other healthcare professionals deepen their understanding and work with persons living with ADRD.

Ike Kent, PT, DCCT


John D Archbold Memorial Hospital

Hannah Lanstrum, PT, DPT, DCCT


Hannah is a Rehab Director for Consonus Healthcare Services, currently working in Washington state in a skilled nursing facility with a focus on dementia care.

Clinton Leavell, PTA, DCCT


Innovative Senior Care

Stephanie Lowenstein, COTA/L, DCCT


Paragon Rehab
Stephanie recently graduated with her Associates as an Occupational Therapy Assistant. Since then, she has spent the last three years working with the geriatric population in SNF and subacute rehab. During her time as a therapist, she has grown to love working with patients who have dementia. Her love and care for these patients has motivated her to gain further knowledge in treatment and care for the residents. Now that she has gained recognition as a Dementia Capable Care Therapist, she plans to continue her training and work towards becoming a Certified Dementia Practitioner.

Colleen R. Marchese, MA,CCC SLP, DCCT


Tender Touch Rehab Services

Denise Martin, SLP, DCCT


Trinity Rehabilitation, Inc.

Brenda McCarroll, OTR/L, DCCT


District Director of Rehab, Sava Senior Care
Brenda is the District Director of Rehabilitation Services for Sava Senior Care. She has over 15 years of direct experience working with dementia management and is very passionate regarding the development of life engagement centers based on a Best Ability to Function Model.

Katie McCormick, SLP, DCCT


Rehab Director for Legacy Healthcare

Maria Miller, OT, DCCT


Maria has been practicing occupational therapy for the past 14 years, first as a COTA and then as an OT, graduating from Misericordia University in 2003. She is a Geriatric Program Specialist at the Wilkes-Barre VA Medical Center. Maria is committed to improving the lives of veterans residing in the community living center as well as those participating in the outpatient program. She is also recognized as a Dementia Certified practitioner by the NCCDP.

Amanda Miller, OT, DCCT


Mederi Caretenders
I graduated from The Ohio State University in 2003. I worked in skilled nursing facilities for six years. For the past 3 years I have been doing home health care with geriatrics. I love being an OT and serving the geriatric population in St. Louis city. I have a precious three-year-old boy who is a joy in my life. I also enjoy running and triathlons.

Ian Oppel, Occupational Therapist, DCCT


Senior Vice President of Rehab Services
CareOne

Ian has promoted best ability to function for over 20 years and is a tireless advocate for persons with dementia.  In support of his role as Senior Vice President of Rehabilitation Services, CareOne has facilitated organizational culture change at every center by committing to a dementia capable, person-centered approach.  Gaining trust and promoting best ability to function have truly become advanced standard of practice values at CareOne under Ian’s rehabilitation leadership.

Elizabeth Peterson, OT, DCCT


Essentia Health Saint Mary's Oak Crossing

Cortney Place, Speech Language Pathologist


Saint Therese Rehab with At Homes Solutions

Michelle Reale, MS OTR/L, DCCT


Care One Nursing and Rehabilitation Center, Evesham, NJ
Recent graduate of Thomas Jefferson University (2011). I have been working as an OT for 5 years, formally an elementary education teacher. I became interested in Dementia Care as I was working in an ALF/memory care unit.

Liana Romano, MS, CCC-SLP, Speech-Language Pathologist Team Leader


Care-One
Liana Romano is a Speech-Language Pathologist for Care-One at Ridgewood Avenue who has increased her focus on care of people with dementia. She is committed to developing strategies for increased communication between those with dementia and their caregivers.

Laura Scroggins, PT, DCCT


Laura has spent the past several years of her career working with the geriatric population. She became interested in Dementia Care after joining Legacy Healthcare and working in her facility's "Memory Care" Unit. In addition to her DCCT Recognition, she has received the designation of Clinical Program Lead in Dementia Management from Legacy Healthcare.

Jennifer Thomas, OTR/L, DCCT


Masonicare Health Center
Jennifer has been working as an Occupational Therapist in acute geriatric psychiatry for nearly 12 years and it is in this setting that she has developed a passion for working with those whose lives have been affected by dementia. She is a proud graduate of Boston University's OT program and her professional interests include community and caregiver education.

Patty Trujillo, OT, DCCT


Patty is the Clinical Specialist for Genesis Rehab Services and has 28 years of experience as an Occupational Therapist. A graduate of Washington University, Patty has extensive operational and clinical experience in her previous roles and has participated in speaking and training workshops at the local, regional, state, and national levels. Patty’s depth of knowledge in dementia ensures quality lifestyles for persons at all stages of the disease.

Barbara Van Nortwick, OTR/L, DCCT


Newton Medical Center (Newton, NJ)
I recall in the early to mid 1970’s, when Claudia Allen and her colleagues were working on the ACL. But, it wasn’t until the mid 1990’s, when I had the opportunity to learn more about the ACL while working in behavioral health. At that time, I dabbled in using the tool. More learning was needed, so practice and use became important. I felt that I have been a therapist who looked at the whole person when evaluating and working with an individual. The combination of the ACL, Theory of Retrogenesis, and the Person-Centered Care Approach helped me to see an individual’s Best Ability to Function. I felt I had a mission, to “spread the word” of BATF, remaining abilities, excess disability, person-centered care, in working with patients who have dementia and their care partners. That is now being done via an inpatient and an outpatient dementia program in the supportive acute hospital where I work. Thank you, Dementia Care Specialist for having this wonderful dementia program. It was the Foundations course which help to lay the foundation for the work I am doing now.

Sharon Varns, OTR/L, DCCT


Parkway Manor Nursing Center
Sharon Varns is an Occupational Therapist who has worked in the field of geriatrics and dementia for 20 years. She is a member of the Allen Cognitive Network national organization and continues to advance her knowledge and training in the Allen Cognitive Disabilities Model. Sharon recently completed training through Dementia Care Specialists and received recognition as a Dementia Capable Care Therapist and is looking forward to raising the quality of dementia care in her facility and profession. Sharon enjoys vacationing with her family and is always looking for a healthy recipe to try. Sharon and her husband are raising two little girls they adopted from China and Sharon says, “It keeps us young.” Contact Sharon at msvarns@frontier.com.

Sarah Viola, OT, DCCT


Essentia Health Saint Mary's Oak Crossing

Kim Warchol, OTR/L, DCCT


Kim Warchol is an Occupational Therapist specializing in dementia management and she is founder and President of Dementia Care Specialists, a CPI specialized offering. Kim has educated thousands of healthcare professionals on an abilities-based, person-centered approach to dementia evaluation, treatment, and programming. As a consultant Kim has set-up many long-term care and memory care environments and programs using her innovative, stage-specific model. Kim is a passionate thought leader, publishing numerous articles and lecturing nationally on various topics related to dementia care and design.