Topic: Aging/Gerontology Issues
Jessica Retrum, Ph.D., is associate professor and chair of the Department of Social Work at Metropolitan State University of Denver.
Retrum has eight years of clinical social work experience in health and mental health related settings, including hospice, home inpatient care, in-home therapy and developmental disabilities. She was a recipient of the John A. Hartford Foundation Pre-Dissertation Award in 2006. Through her own research and affiliation with the Institute of Gerontology from 2005-2009, Retrum worked with many community non-profit organizations that serve the social, health and mental health needs of older adults and their families. She was also the partner postdoctoral fellow in Public Health Systems and Service Research (funded by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation) at the University of Colorado Denver, School of Public Affairs from 2010-2013.
Her research background includes addressing the needs of underserved at at-risk isolated seniors; LGBT seniors using support to age in neighborhoods; and geriatric social work. She served as lead researcher for the AARP’s “Framework for Isolation in Adults Over 50.”
Retrum received her doctorate in social work from University of Denver in 2010, master of social work from University of Wisconsin-Madison in 1997 and bachelor of social work from Illinois State University in 1996.
Christian Itin, Ph.D., is a professor in the Department of Social Work at Metropolitan State University of Denver. Itin has over 30 years of experience working in the field as a senior counselor, clinical program director, substance abuse/mental health intervention specialist and various teaching positions. He has been teaching at MSU Denver since 2012 and was chair of the Department of Social Work 2012-15.
Itin has also been teaching at Humboldt State University as professor emeritus since 2012. He is the past president of the Association for Experiential Education. Itin co-wrote and funded several grants; and has been a keynote speaker and presented at many events around the world. He launched the online Master of Social Work program at Humboldt State and has been actively involved in the development of MSU Denver’s online Bachelor of Social Work and Master of Social Work program.
In addition, Itin has a long history of community service involvement. Currently, he is a member of the Strategic Action Planning Group on Aging, a member of the Association for Experiential Education, a member of Adventure Therapy International Committee and a committee member on the Institutional Review Board at MSU Denver. His research interests include group process, leadership, wilderness therapy, adventure therapy and experiential practice. Itin has published many articles over the years. His most recent publications are “Adventure Therapy: Nondeliberative Group Work in Action” for Social Work with Groups journal and “The nature and meaning of adventure therapy” for Connecting with the Essence of Adventure Therapy book.
Itin received his doctorate in social work and a master of social work from University of Denver in 1997 and 1987 respectively and a bachelor of social work from Cornell University in 1984.
Cynthia Erickson, Ph.D., is an assistant professor of psychology and neuroscience in the department of psychology at Metropolitan State University of Denver. She teaches a range of topics ranging from social issues such as multicultural psychology to cellular and molecular neurobiology.
Over the years, Erickson has conducted research from coast-to-coast mainly focusing on the neurobiology of visual memory and perception. Most of her research involves studying how the brain changes with learning and subsequently how the aging process alters this ability. Along with MSU Denver undergraduates, Erickson is investigating the relationship between consumption of probiotics and age-associated cognitive impairments in humans. The research has significant implications for development of cost-effective memory aids for an aging population.
With an early passion for psychology, Erickson received her doctorate in Psychology and Neuroscience from University of Arizona, a masters in Psychology and Learning from Emporia State University, and a bachelor’s in Psychology, English and Biology from Nebraska Wesleyan University. She received an Excellence in Teaching Award from the Psi Chi Honorary in Psychology in 2013. Additionally, Erickson has published several articles on her research and expertise in psychology and neuroscience, and held numerous presentations at conventions and conferences.
Amy Dore, Ph.D., is a professor of health care management at Metropolitan State University of Denver teaching both undergraduate and graduate students in the Department of Health Professions. For more than 18 years Dore has taught courses in health disparities, human resources, practice management, research and leadership. Her expertise includes long term care/aging services, health disparities and workforce development.
Dore’s research interests are varied and include aging services, senior and caregiver health, rural health and diversity issues as well as student competency assessment and outcomes. During her academic career Dore authored and co-authored several case study responses, book chapters and original case studies. She is co-author of the textbook Cultural Learning in Healthcare: Recognizing and Navigating Difference.
Dore received her Doctor of Health Administration from Central Michigan University in 2009 and received her master’s degree in health care administration/management from the University of Denver in 2001. She received her bachelor’s in health care administration/management from the Metropolitan State University in 1996.
Micah Battson, Ph.D., is an assistant professor in the Department of Nutrition at Metropolitan State University of Denver. His areas of expertise include the impact of dietary patterns and individual nutrients on health and disease, aging, obesity, diabetes, gut microbiome, metabolism, and cardiovascular disease. Battson teaches Introduction to Nutrition; Macronutrients in Health and Disease; and Vitamins, Minerals, and Bioactive Compounds in Health and Disease.
He was an affiliate professor at MSU Denver before becoming an associate professor last fall. Before coming to MSU Denver, Battson worked as the vice president for research fellow at Colorado State University. He was also a lead graduate teacher and a graduate research assistant at the University of Colorado Boulder.
His doctorate research at CSU focused on the interaction among diet, the gut microbiome, and cardiovascular physiology in the setting of obesity and Type 2 diabetes.
Battson received his doctorate in Food Science and Human Nutrition from CSU in 2018, a master’s in Integrative Physiology from CU Boulder in 2014, and a bachelor’s in Biochemistry magna cum laude from the University of California Los Angeles in 2010.
Pamela Ansburg, Ph.D., is a professor in the Department of Psychological Sciences at Metropolitan State University of Denver. Her specialty is in experimental psychology.
Ansburg has been in the academia field for over two decades. She taught at as an assistant professor at Arkansas State University, Jonesboro and Slippery Rock University for almost four years before joining the Department of Psychology at MSU Denver in 1999. She was one of the founding faculty associates for the Undergraduate Research Program at MSU Denver, a highly successful campus-wide research conference. It was Ansburg’s vision and leadership that defined the program and she remains active on its advisory council. Her other professional affiliations include Society for Teaching of Psychology (APA Division 2) and Association for Psychological Science. Ansburg is also on the editorial board for the Student Journal of Psychological Sciences at MSU Denver.
Her research focuses on understanding the cognitive processes involved in remembering and using knowledge. In particular, Ansburg investigates how both task demands (task familiarity, working memory load, etc.) and individual differences (age, attentional focus, etc.) can impact the ability to learn, access, and apply information. Her most recent work was published in Educational Gerontology titled “Myth-Busting is a Bust for Patient Education: Making Salient Older Adults’ Misconceptions about Osteoarthritis Fails to Lead to Lasting Corrections.”
Ansburg received her doctorate in cognitive psychology from University of Illinois, Chicago, a master’s in psychology from University of Nevada, Reno and a bachelor’s in psychology from University of California, Riverside.