The Montana Gerontology Society (MGS) was formed in 1982. A group of professionals, volunteers and educators founded the organization in order to provide opportunities for individuals interested in gerontology to share common concerns and ideas. MGS is governed by a 12 member Board of Directors.
The Montana Gerontology Society is dedicated to enhancing professional development and understanding among providers of services, seniors, volunteers, researchers, educators, students, and others associated with the field of aging.
Laurie Miller has worked as a registered nurse in Montana since 1990. She has enjoyed working in various roles in healthcare throughout her career ranging from acute and long term care nursing, to community based services, and healthcare management. Her passion has always been working with and advocating for seniors and individuals with disabilities. Laurie is currently an active member of the Montana Alzheimer’s and Dementia workgroup, the Montana Gerontology Society and the Alzheimer’s Association Montana Chapter Board of Directors. Currently she works for All Ways Caring HomeCare as a branch manager. When not working, Laurie and her husband, Tim, dedicate much of their time to their busy family which includes very active parents, four children and their spouses, and ten grandchildren.
Roxanne Klose is a Great Falls resident and serves as the Assistant Vice President of Clinical Services for Easter Seals-Goodwill Northern Rocky Mountain where she is responsible for oversight of Personal Care, Private Duty Nursing, Adult Day Care, Home Health Care, and Hospice. Through her work she has gained significant experience in caring for Montana’s aging population. Roxanne recognizes with the rapidly increasing number of seniors in our state, the role Montana Gerontology Society plays in identifying appropriate resources for those residents is imperative. In addition to the knowledge and experience she brings, she is looking forward to gaining a broader understanding of Montana Gerontology Society and its service to Montana seniors.
Holly Garcia, BSHA, earned her Bachelor of Science degree in Health Administration from Montana State University Billings. She has worked for Billings Clinic since 2002 and has been with the Center for Clinical Translational Research since 2004. Mrs. Garcia’s healthcare background includes a variety of work experience in both Health Information Management and Research, including contract management of numerous state and federally funded projects/studies.
Joe Purcell is a Montana native. Born and raised in Helena, he now lives in Hardin for the past 29 years. Joe is a registered nurse and the Director of Nursing of Big Horn Senior Living (formerly Heritage Acres). He started his career in geriatrics in 1994 as a CNA and completed LPN school in 1995. Joe continued in the geriatric field as a charge nurse, MDS manager and interim Director of Nursing. He completed his RN in 2006 at which time he began his career as a Director of Nursing. Through experience, training and certifications Joe has gained vast knowledge related to elder care and the field of geriatrics. He has been actively involved in community leadership roles ranging from Marketing Committee Chairman, to 4-H Leaders Council President, to current Mayor elect of Hardin. Joe looks forward to bringing his experience, knowledge and leadership to the MGS board and giving back to his profession.
Sandy Gillitzer, is a retired bookkeeper. She & her husband live in Park City on the Yellowstone River. They have two sons living in Bozeman. Sandy enjoys spinning & weaving. She is President of Park City Senior Citizens, where the meal site serves one meal a week to an average of forty people. Sandy worked as an accounting assistant for CTA Architects for 25 years and served as Administrative Assistant for the Montana Gerontology Society before coming on the board. She has been active in conferences since 2004.
Jeri Delys holds a Bachelor of Arts in Sociology with a minor in Communication from the University of Montana. Jeri has a background in Sales and Marketing, as well as Development. She is committed to her community, and is active in board and community service. When she is not at work, you will most likely find her training for triathlons, playing racquetball, continuing her training in martial arts, gardening, and spending time with her family and friends.
Dr. Dowling is a geriatric psychiatrist with the Veteran’s Administration Montana Health Care System. Prior to returning to her home state of Montana, she served as the Director of Geriatric Psychiatry at the State University of New York (SUNY) Upstate Medical University and the Associate Director of Psychiatry Residency Training in Syracuse, NY. She completed graduate studies in health policy and administration at Washington State University in Spokane followed by a Doctor of Osteopathy degree from Touro University, California. Dr. Dowling’s residency training was with SUNY Upstate Medical University and post graduate fellowship training in geriatric psychiatry at Columbia University/New York Presbyterian Health.
Aubrey Hancock, MSW, SWLC, CDP, holds a Masters Degree in Social Work from the University of Montana and is currently undergoing supervision to prepare her license as an LCSW. Aubrey has a background in teaching, both children and adults and now focuses on providing support services to older adults and their families through her private business, Elder Tree. Through her business and volunteer activities, Aubrey focuses on supporting individuals and families confronting Alzheimer’s and other Dementias, as well as, promoting the health and well-being of older adults from pre-retirement to end-of-life.
Linda Roers, MBA, PAC, CDP, CADDCT, has worked in various capacities in Health Care since 1992. She began her career as a Certified Therapeutic Recreation Specialist at Frye Regional Rehabilitation Center in North Carolina. At this position, Linda realized her love for older adults as most of the patients she treated were of that age. Linda earned her Masters of Business Administration degree from Gardner-Webb University in North Carolina in 2000. Linda became a Certified Dementia Practitioner (CDP) and Certified Alzheimer’s Disease and Dementia Care Trainer (CADDCT) in October of 2016. Linda recently became a Teepa Snow, Positive Approach to Care (PAC) trainer. Linda is involved as a community trainer for the Alzheimer’s Association and is a member of the steering committee of Dementia Friendly Billings. Linda currently works at RiverStone Health as the Geriatric Educator for the Montana Family Medicine Residency program working under the Montana Geriatric Workforce Enhancement Program Grant via the Montana Geriatric Education Center, which is funded by HRSA. Under this Grant, she is able to provide this impactful dementia training for healthcare professionals and caregivers at no cost. Linda served in both the Army and Air National guard for nearly 21 years, including six years of active duty. She retired after she served in Operation Iraqi Freedom in 2003. Linda has a daughter, Carson who is married to Brent and they have four boys and live in South Carolina. Linda currently lives with her longtime companion Patrick and their dog Bella in Billings.
Connie Begger was born and raised in Western Montana, she has been a lifelong resident of the great state and has early childhood memories spent with grandparents. Advocacy has become one of her greatest life missions. She is a licensed realtor in MT with Select Property Brokers, specializing in senior real estate, senior downsizing, relocation and consulting with seniors and their families, on the best senior living, assisted living or memory care community that best fits their needs and level of care. She is active with the Yellowstone County Elder Abuse Taskforce and Care Transitions Coalition, along with being the facilitator for the Billings Senior Coalition on Aging, chairperson for the Senior Sports and Arts Festival and Mulligans for Memories Golf Tournament (proceeds going to the Alzheimer’s Assoc) every year. As a Certified Senior Advisor, Connie has extensive knowledge about diseases most common in the elderly, Medicare rules and regulations, financial institutions directed toward seniors and their financial affairs, depression, abuse and grief.
Keith A. Anderson, MSW, PhD, is associate professor and graduate program director in the School of Social Work at the University of Montana. He completed his doctoral education in gerontology at the University of Kentucky. Keith’s scholarship focuses on the health and well-being of older adults and their caregivers, improving quality of life in later life, informal helping networks, and end-of- life issues. He is also editor of the End of Life Care Series published by Columbia University Press. Prior to returning to academia, Keith practiced as a clinical social worker at the Washington Home, a nursing home and hospice in Washington, DC.
Maja Pedersen, M.S., is a PhD candidate in Public Health at the University of Montana. Maja’s training is in physical education and health behavior intervention, and her research area is health promotion and chronic disease prevention/management for aging populations. She is currently a trainee for a research project exploring physical activity behavior among American Indian and Alaska Native older adults living in rural and tribal communities. Prior to starting in this PhD program, Maja was a diabetes educator and clinical exercise physiologist for cardiac rehabilitation programs in Alaska, Arizona, and Montana.