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Division Announcements

New NIA Division of Behavioral and Social Research Staff Members

The NIA Division of Behavioral and Social Research is pleased to announce the addition of three excellent new members of the professional staff who have started work in recent weeks.

Elena Fazio, PhD, Health Scientist Administrator, will be working primarily on projects supporting the goals of the National Alzheimers Plan of Action, including serving as program officer for grants related to long-term supports and services for the elderly. Elena was previously a Social Science Analyst for the US Administration for Community Living, where she had a wide variety of responsibilities related to programs, evaluation, and data collection on aging and disability. Among her many accomplishments there, she led a redesign of the National Survey of Older Americans Act Participants and managed improvements in data collection and reporting for ACL’s State Program Reports. Elena has planned workshops, written issue briefs, and led task forces on a wide range of topics relevant to NIA, including the workforce for community care, chronic disease self-management, end-of-life care, and LGBT health. Before joining ACL, she was staff director for the Federal Interagency Forum on Aging-related Statistics, of which NIA is a founding member. As a post-doctoral fellow at the University of Maryland, she was project director for the NIA-funded Aging, Stress and Health program, for which the late Leonard Perlin was PI. Elena’s PhD in Sociology was awarded by the University of Maryland (with a dissertation on “Role Occupancies, Physical Health and the Diminishment of the Self-Concept in Later Life”), and she has BA’s in Psychology and in Human Services from Villanova University. Her published research deals with stress, mental and physical health, and health disparities.

Amelia Karraker, PhD, Health Scientist Administrator, will be managing a portfolio in demography and social epidemiology of aging. She comes to us from Iowa State University, where she was an Assistant Professor, Human Development and Family Studies. Prior to that, she was an NIA Postdoctoral Fellow at the Population Studies Center, University of Michigan. Her research has drawn on many of the major NIA-funded data resources, including the Health and Retirement Study, the Panel Study of Income Dynamics, the Wisconsin Longitudinal Study, and the National Social Life Health and Aging Project. Her own research interests include intergenerational support, marriage and financial security of the elderly, and psychosocial factors and health across the life course, and she has published in leading journals and given award-winning presentations to the major societies. Her PhD in Sociology was awarded by the University of Wisconsin-Madison, where she was an NIA pre-doctoral trainee, and her BA with honors by the University of Chicago. Amelia is a past participant in both the RAND Summer Institute and the Butler-Williams Scholars program.

Dana Plude, PhD, Deputy Director of NIA/BSR, previously held senior positions in the NIH Center for Scientific Review , most recently as Deputy Director of the Division of Receipt and Referral. He has had a key role in areas of science central to NIA’s mission, for example, serving as Acting Director of the Division of AIDS, Behavioral and Population Sciences and as Chief of the Biobehavioral and Behavioral Processes Integrated Review Group. Before joining NIH, Dana was Associate Professor of Developmental Psychology at the University of Maryland, College Park, and Associate Chair and Director of Graduate Studies for the Department of Psychology, where he won several teaching awards. He also has private-sector experience as an SBIR grantee, having served as vice president for gerontological research for Compact Disc Inc. Dana’s PhD in Psychology was awarded by Syracuse University, and he had an individual NIA post-doc fellowship at the Boston VA outpatient clinic. His own research interests are in aging, selective attention, and memory, the role of attention in moderating age decrements in memory, and cognitive rehabilitation in aging. He has served as a reviewer for NIA, NIMH, and CSR, and has played an active role in professional societies.