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PLTC Psychologists in Long-Term Care

Promoting Best Practices for Long-Term Care

PLTC Student Section

Benefits of Student Membership

  • Student membership is FREE for the 1st year!
  • Subscription and online access to the Clinical Gerontologist (see the Members Only page for a link to this journal)
  • Annual meeting held at the American Psychological Association or Gerontological Society of America conventions
  • Excellent networking opportunities with clinicians & researchers nation-wide
  • Opportunity to apply for the Student Research Award (see Awards on this page) which includes a cash prize ($300) and a commemorative piece.
  • Get connected with a mentor through PLTC’s Mentoring Program:
    • The Mentor Relationship:
      The mentor and mentee will work together to choose specific areas that the mentee would like to focus on during the specified time period. The mentoring relationship is not supervision nor is it psychotherapy. The relationship can be as simple as being the "go-to" person when the mentee has a question, and as intimate and familiar as sharing dinner and dreams together. The power of the mentoring relationship lies in the building of self-esteem, confidence and direction, both personally and professionally, through the sharing of ideas and the expansion of possibilities
    • The benefits for Students and Early Career Psychologists of a formal mentoring program are:
      • Professional identity development
      • Life and/or professional goal setting
      • Career development
      • Enhanced networking skills and development of a larger resource base
      • Development of business and marketing skills
      • Enhanced self awareness, self efficacy, and job satisfaction
      • Knowledge regarding the practical application of ethical standards
      • Increased awareness of current issues affecting the mentor’s practice
      • Opportunities for supportive, nonsupervisory discussions of challenging situations

Internship and Fellowship Listings with an Emphasis in Geropsychology and Long-Term Care:

Council of Professional Geropsychology Training Programs


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Student Research Award Information

The PLTC Student Research Award is an annual award for graduate and post-doctoral students who submit a manuscript about a completed project relevant to long term care (including geropsychology as relevant to long-term care). Completed projects may include quantitative and qualitative research projects, literature reviews, program evaluation studies, intervention studies, and formal needs assessment. Calls for award submissions occur each spring through the PLTC listserve, and submissions will be accepted from student members of PLTC. The award includes $300 and a commemorative piece that will be presented at the Annual APA Convention. For further information, please contact Craig Schweon, Ph. D., Chair of the Research Committee at .

Past Award Winners


Brian Ludwin, M.A. -- University of Louisville
Paper Title: "Nurses’ intentions to initiate an antipsychotic or behavioral intervention with nursing home residents: The role of norms and being evaluated"
Mentor: Suzanne Meeks, Ph.D.


Co-Winner Elizabeth A. Dinapoli Ph.D. -- University of Alabama
Paper Title: "Effects of individualized  social activities on quality of life among older adults with mild to moderate cognitive impairment in a geriatric psychiatric facility."
Mentor:  Forest Scogin, Ph.D.

Co-Winner Katalina Zackoscielna, M.A. -- University of Alabama
Paper Title: "Race, immigration status and job satisfaction of certified nursing assistants."
Mentor: Pat Parmelee, Ph.D. 


Evan Plys, M.A. -- University of Colorado, Colorado Springs
Paper Title: "Life-space usage in a sample of independent living residents within a continuing care retirement community(CCRC) with an embedded wellness program."
Mentors: Sara H. Qualls, Ph.D. and Mary Ann Kluge, Ph.D. 


Christine M. Etzrodt, M.S. -- Immaculata University
Paper Title: "The positive password program: A program for depressed and dementia-related behaviors in long-term care residents."
Mentor: Farzin Irani, Ph.D.


Weston Donaldson, M.S. -- Colorado State University
Paper Title: "Bridging Assisted Living Communities: Attitudes of Heterosexual Residents Toward Gay and Lesbian Peers"
Mentor: Tammi Vacha-Haase, Ph.D.

Honorable Mention: Amanda Foster, M.S. -- Colorado State University
Paper Title: "The Impact of Client Death on Professional Geropsychologists: A Qualitative Analysis.”

Honorable Mention: Allison A. Jay -- University of Colorado at Colorado Springs
Paper Title: "Finding Your Way Home: Using Landmarks to Promote Room Finding in Dementia Care Communities."
Co-author: Leilani Feliciano, Ph.D.


Krystle Balhan Archibald -- Colorado State University,
Paper Title: "Death Anxiety and Self-Esteem in Long-Term Care Employees"


Natalie Brescian -- Colorado State University
Paper Title: "Certified Nursing Assistants in Long-Term Care: Exploring the Relationship Between Locus of Control and Patient Aggression"

Mentor: Tammi Vacha-Hasse, Ph.D.


Kate L. Martin -- Colorado State University
Paper Title: "Staff Perceptions of Same-Sex Sexual Contacts in Long-Term Care Facilities"
Mentor, Tammi Vacha-Haase, Ph.D.

Runner-up: Laura L. Phillips -- University of Alabama;
Paper Title: "Prisons as a Long-Term Care Providers Spirituality/Religiousness and Affect among Older Male Prisoners."
Co-authors on the paper were Rebecca S. Allen, Ph.D. and Lucinda L. Roff, Ph.D.


Susan Fisher, M.A. -- University of Alabama

Fisher, S. E., Burgio, L. D., Thorn, B. E., Allen-Burge, R., Gerstle, J., & Allen, S. J. (2002). Pain assessment
and management among cognitively impaired nursing home residents: Association of certified nursing assistant pain report, MDS pain report, and analgesic medication use. Journal of the American Geriatrics Society, 50, 152-156.


Deborah Heiser, Ph.D. -- Isabella Geriatric Center, New York, NY. 
Heiser, D. (2004). Depression Identification in the long-term care setting: The GDS vs. the MDS. Clinical Gerontologist, 27, 3-18.

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Student Representatives

The current student representatives to PLTC are  Laura Farley and Brian Ludwin. Please feel free to contact them if you have questions or want more information about student membership.

Laura Farley, MS, GCGHP

Laura FarleyLaura is a 5th year PsyD doctoral candidate earning her psychology degree from Pacific University’s School of Professional Psychology in Hillsboro, OR. She is completing her degree with an internship at Aspen Pointe Behavioral Health in Colorado Springs, CO.  To better serve older adults, she earned a Graduate Certificate of Gerontology for Health Care Professions requiring 15 months of interdisciplinary education.  Laura’s gero related research and career interests are broad: decreasing the gap between specialized geropsychology providers and the exponentially growing older adult population, addressing the proliferation of psychopathology for those living in long-term care, and preventing attrition for those who choose a geropsychology career path.  Currently, she is conducting research that aims to identify factors that contribute to career longevity for gerotherapists.  Laura has a 30 year history of working with older adults in various capacities.  She brings her energy and love for the work to her positon with PLTC.  Laura looks forward to collaborating with the newly formed Student Leadership Task Force (SLTF) in identifying and executing SLTF objectives.  Please contact her at .

Brian Ludwin, Ph.D.

Brian Ludwin, Ph.D.Brian completed his clinical psychology graduate studies at the University of Louisville under the mentorship of Suzanne Meeks, Ph.D. He completed his internship at the VA Boston Healthcare System, and is currently a post-doctoral at VA Boston with a focus in geropsychology. His clinical interests include working with individuals with cognitive impairment and associated emotional and behavioral difficulties. His research has principally focused on the psychological factors that influence nurses’ decisions to utilize psychosocial vs. pharmacological treatments with individuals with dementia. Please contact him at .

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Student Leadership Task Force

The Student Leadership Task Force (SLTF) is a newly formed PLTC group with a primary goal to encourage student engagement in the provision of psychological services in long-term care. The Task Force’s initial foci have included increasing recruitment, engagement with PLTC committees,  and access to resources, including mentorship.

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Articles, Books, and Resources about Geropsychology and Long-term care


PLTC Resources

APA Division 12/II: Society of Clinical Geropsychology