Faculty, Staff and Partners' Information

H-GEC Partners

Community Partners

Texas Department of Family and Protective Services
TEAM (Texas Elder Abuse and Mistreatment) Institute
Harris County Medical Examiners Office and EFFORT (Elder Abuse Fatality Review Team)
Houston Financial Abuse Specialist Team (H-FAST)
Long Term Care Ombudsman Program

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Faculty and Staff

Margaret Lehman Blake, PhD

Dept. Communication Sciences & Disorders
University of Houston

Carolyn DaSilva, PT, DSc, NCSn
Texas Woman’s University,
School of Physical Therapy

Dr. DaSilva received her BA in biology and psychology from Rice University, MS in physical therapy from Texas Woman’s University, and DSc in physical therapy from University of Alabama at Birmingham. After almost 15 years of practicing physical therapy and serving as a clinical instructor, she joined the faculty of Texas Woman’s University in 1997 and now holds the academic rank of Associate Professor. She received her certification in the treatment of adult hemiplegia from the Neurodevelopmental Treatment Association in 1987 and became an APTA-certified Neurologic Clinical Specialist (NCS) in 2001. Dr. DaSilva has contributed her physical therapy expertise to several grants, on topics including interventions for stroke survivors and spousal caregivers and improving ambulation post-stroke with robotic training; she is a consultant to the current Houston Geriatric Education Center. She authored or co-authored several publications on physical therapy topics and educational guidelines for stroke survivors and also authored a monograph on postpolio syndrome for the APTA Section on Geriatrics Home Study Course Topics in Geriatrics. Dr. DaSilva has presented on topics related to stroke, orthotics, robotic assisted treadmill training, caregiver burden, post-polio, and elder abuse/neglect at professional meetings both regionally and nationally, including APTA annual conferences and combined sections meetings, Gerontological Society of America Scientific Meeting, and International Stroke Conference.

Carmel Dyer
Carmel B. Dyer, MD  
UTHealth Medical School

Carmel Bitondo Dyer, MD, Executive Director of the Consortium on Aging and the Roy M. and Phyllis Gough Huffington Chair in Gerontology, is Professor and Executive Vice-Chairman of Internal Medicine and Director of the Division of Geriatric and Palliative Medicine at the UTHealth Medical School at Houston. She is a 1988 graduate of Baylor College of Medicine, where she completed her Internal Medicine residency and Geriatrics Fellowship. She founded the geriatrics programs at UTHealth School of Medicine in 2007 and at the Harris County Hospital District and also founded the Texas Elder Abuse and Mistreatment Institute. Her research and publications have been in the area of elder mistreatment. She was a delegate to the 2005 White House Conference on Aging and has addressed the U.S. Senate. She has received national and local recognition for her teaching abilities and her dedication to the health care of older persons. She was recently appointed as Chief of Staff at Lyndon B. Johnson Hospital, part of the Harris Health System.

Vaunette Fay, PhD, RN
Vaunette Fay, PhD, RN
UTHealth School of Nursing

Dr. Vaunette Fay received her PhD in nursing theory development and research from Texas Woman's University in 1992. She received her Master of Science with a major in nursing as a Family Nurse Practitioner (FNP) from Texas Woman's University in Houston in 1974. She worked as a FNP for Harris County Hospital District- Sunnyside clinic and for Cardiology Associates prior to joining the faculty of University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston School of Nursing in 1981. She is currently an Associate Professor, and since 1990 has served as track director for the Gerontological Nurse Practitioner track. In 1993, she became head of the Division of Gerontology at the UTHSC-Houston School of Nursing and in 1997 was appointed as Associate Director for Education at the UTHSC-H Center on Aging. She is a certified family nurse practitioner and a gerontological nurse practitioner. Dr. Fay teaches gerontological nursing at the undergraduate and graduate levels. She has had faculty practice positions as a GNP with Harris County Hospital District Settegast Clinic and is currently working with an Alzheimer's Day Care Center. Dr. Fay has served on national review panels and on expert panel on geriatric nursing education. She is currently the Project Officer for the UTHSC-Houston portion of the Texas Consortium of Geriatric Education Centers grant and the John A. Hartford Foundation grant for developing new electronic media for disseminating gerontological nursing content.

Gayle Hersch, PhD
Gayle Hersch, PhD, OTR

Texas Woman’s University,
School of Occupational Therapy

Dr. Hersch received her BS in Occupational Therapy, MS in Allied Health Education, and PhD in Educational Psychology and Gerontology at Indiana University. In 1994 she joined the faculty of Texas Woman’s University (TWU) School of Occupational Therapy and is now a Professor. She was co-investigator on two TWU Institute for Women’s Health grants, “Decreasing Depression in Community Elder Women: A Feasibility Study” (2005) and “Cultural Intervention in Long-Term Care Settings” (2004-05); PI on the TWU Research Enhancement Program’s “Activity Based Intervention with the Alzheimer’s Early Stage Caregiver Dyad: A Pilot Study” (2001-02), and was co-PI and OT consultant on the NINR grant to UTHealth’s Center on Aging “Intervention for Stroke Survivors and Spousal Caregivers” (2001-2006). Dr. Hersch is actively engaged with the Alzheimer’s Association, Houston Chapter. She participated in the American Society on Aging CARE-PRO Project sponsored by the Administration on Aging to develop professional programming via Internet among nursing, social work, and OT; her role was on the Advisory Panel, “Meeting the Needs of Family Caregivers.”

Lynn M. Maher, Ph.D., CCC-SLP
University of Houston


Dr. Kathleen Pace Murphy
Kathleen Pace Murphy, PhD, GNP
UTHealth Medical School

Kathleen Pace Murphy, PhD, MS, APRN, GNP-BC is an Assistant Professor in the Division of Geriatric and Palliative Medicine at the UTHealth Medical School at Houston.  She is a 1993 graduate from Texas Woman’s University, where she completed her PhD and her Masters of Science Degree (1988).  Dr. Murphy is a co-investigator and Program Director of the Houston Geriatric Education Center.  Dr. Murphy has been recognized for her teaching and clinical excellence throughout her 34 year career. She is a geriatric nurse practitioner specializing in primary care of older adults over the age of 65 years. 

Nancy Ordonez, PharmD, BCPS

Assistant Dean for Experiential Programs
University of Houston College of Pharmacy

Dr. Nancy Ordonez is Assistant Dean of Experiential Programs and Clinical Associate Professor of Pharmacy at the University of Houston.  Dr. Ordonez is a consultant to the Houston Geriatric Education Center starting this year. She has been the recipient of the Teaching Excellence Award and Excellence in Leadership Award from the University of Houston College of Pharmacy.

Nahid Rianon, MD, DrPH
Nahid Rianon, MD, DrPH UTHealth Medical School, Department of Family and Community Medicine

Dr. Rianon is an Assistant Professor of Family Medicine at the UTHealth Medical School. She received her MD at the Sir Salimullah Medical College in Bangladesh and completed her residency at UTHealth in Family Medicine. She also completed a one year fellowship  in geriatric epidemiology at the National Institute on Aging of the NIH and a clinical geriatrics fellowship at Baylor College of Medicine in Houston, TX. Her research interests include age-related bone loss and osteoporosis; fracture prevention; falls; and, functional status and mobility.

June Sadowsky, DDS, MPH
June Sadowsky, DDS, MPH
UTHealth School of Dentistry

Dr. Sadowsky is an associate professor in the Department of Restorative Dentistry and Biomaterials at the UTHealth School of Dentistry at Houston. She received her BS in Zoology at Southwest Texas State University, an MPH in Epidemiology at The University of Texas School of Public Health at Houston, and a DDS at The University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio (UTHSCSA). She also completed a fellowship in dental geriatrics at UTHSCSA. Dr. Sadowsky is a fellow of the American Society of Geriatric Dentistry and a diplomate of the Special Care Dentistry Association. She is currently serving as President of the American Society for Geriatric Dentistry. Dr. Sadowsky was the recipient of the Dean’s Teaching Excellence Award in 2008.

Donna Warren-Morris, RDH, MEd Donna Warren-Morris, RDH, MEd
UTHealth School of Dentistry

Donna Warren Morris is a tenured professor in the department of Periodontics and Dental Hygiene. Prior to joining the faculty of the University of Texas at Houston in 1993, she was on the faculty of the University Of North Carolina School Of Dentistry.  Her teaching and research focus mainly on preventive dentistry, interprofessional education, oral health promotion and geriatrics.  She is also an elected member of the UT Consortium on Aging.  She has authored numerous journal articles, electronic oral health modules and has presented national and regional faculty development workshops on geriatric oral health.  Donna is the recipient of the UT Regent’s Outstanding Teaching Award (2013), the UNC-CH Dental Hygiene Alumni Association Distinguished Alumni Award, the ADEA Dental Hygiene Teaching Excellence Award, the Procter and Gamble Teaching Excellence Award, two UT John P. McGovern Outstanding Teaching Awards, the Dean's Teaching Excellence Award for the Scholarship of Engagement and Collaboration, the Dean's Teaching Excellence Award for Innovation in Teaching and numerous other teaching awards.  She is a member and serves as the secretary-treasurer of the Alpha Epsilon Chapter of Sigma Phi Alpha Dental Hygiene Honor Society.  Donna is an active member on the Texas Dental Hygienists' Association Senior Oral Health Committee and the Texas Oral Health Coalition Adult Oral Health Workgroup.  She serves on the editorial review board for the Journal of Dental Hygiene.

Beth Watson, BA, MEd
Beth Watson, BA, MEd

Beth DeCuir Ardoin Watson, BA, MEd, assists with all of the technology needs of the Houston GEC group including Web master and access for students and faculty for research and participating in activities. Beth received her BA from the University of Louisiana at Lafayette in 1984 and was a full time teacher at the high school level in public speaking, debate, theater, English literature and English grammar. She moved to Texas in 1989 and began working at UTHealth in the patenting and licensing office, and began working for Academic Technology at UTHealth in 1991. She received her master of education degree in 1991 from the University of Houston, and most recently, completed the Certificate in Health Informatics from UTHealth School of Biomedical Informatics.

This page last updated on: April 24, 2019