2017 Annual Meeting Speakers & Agenda

CCGG is fortunate to have a number of highly distinguished speakers who will share their insights on the new opportunities of aging at the upcoming 2017 Annual Meeting on April 28th.  Please be sure to join us at the conference in order to hear their presentations and to benefit from their expertise!

The 2017 Annual Meeting agenda can be accessed here.

Our speakers include:


Laura Trejo — Los Angeles Department of Aging

Laura Trejo is responsible for the overall administration of the Los Angeles Department of Aging, serving one of the largest and most diverse concentrations of older persons in the U.S.  She serves as technical and policy advisor to the Mayor and City Council and represents the City of Los Angeles before the public and to community and private groups on matters affecting senior citizen affairs.

Ms. Trejo is a founding Co-Director/Investigator of the Los Angeles Community Academic Partnership for Research in Aging (LA CAPRA), a partnership between UCLA and the City of Los Angeles Department of Aging.  She served as the founding director of El Portal, a Latino Alzheimer’s Project responsible for the development of the nation’s first comprehensive program targeting Latinos affected by Alzheimer’s disease and their family caregivers.  Ms. Trejo is a founding member of the National Alzheimer’s Advisory Council and served as the first District Chief for countywide older adult mental health for Los Angeles County.  She also currently serves on various boards and committees.

Ms. Trejo has received numerous honors, among them the Community Health Leadership award, considered the nation’s highest honor in community health.  Ms. Trejo has been invited to speak at more than 300 professional and scientific meetings and has authored or co-authored numerous articles, book chapters, and reports.  The United States Library of Congress has praised Ms. Trejo’s accomplishments as a force for social change. Ms. Trejo is a gerontologist with a Master of Science in Gerontology, Master of Public Administration, and Graduate Certificate in Long-Term Care Administration, all from the University of Southern California.


Heidi Rataj & Theresa Hoiles — Re’flect

Re’flect director/producer Heidi Rataj is an award-winning producer and director with over 150 short documentaries to her credit.  Heidi began her career in television and film working with David Letterman, Bonnie Hunt, Carol Burnett, Steven Bochco, and Edward Allen Bernero. She produced the acclaimed documentary “Scratch” premiering at Sundance Film Festival and Cannes International Festival.

Her focus shifted to healthcare outreach when she realized the desperate need to communicate messages in that domain effectively and efficiently. She soon was able to combine her passion for healthcare and her love of storytelling. For the last 15 years, Heidi has been a content strategist and media producer in the healthcare industry. She developed and produced a professional diabetes podcast series with Dr. Steven Edelman on Sirius XM. Her production credits also include award-winning mini-documentaries about academic researchers at the nation’s top universities.

Heidi is now aiming to bring positive awareness to our aging senior community through the documentary series Re’flect. Her interest in this topic stems from her own concerns about growing old and not knowing how to navigate the senior years both socially and financially. What Heidi has discovered through her own personal journey in this series is that there is so much more to growing old than rocking chairs and knitting socks. In fact, the inspiration she has gained through this series has moved her to attain a Master’s degree in gerontology from USC. Heidi has also sat on numerous panels to discuss aging and hopes to be an advocate for the growing population of seniors throughout the nation.

 Re’flect writer / producer Theresa Hoiles is a published author who has written for television, advertising, and nonprofit organizations. She began her career working in television for production companies such as Worldwide Pants and Steven Bochco productions, and then moved to marketing within studios such as The Walt Disney Company and Twentieth Century Fox, where she honed her writing skills and eventually branched out to advertising as well.

Theresa believes that people can be moved and inspired to change things through storytelling, and she has helped clients market their products through creative narrative. Her credits include print copy, web content, and commercials for entertainment, as well as for the fashion, healthcare, banking, and education industries.

Now as the writer of the documentary series Re’flect, she wants to bring insight to the many dimensional viewpoints and activities of the senior population. She believes this growing population defies any preconceived notion of what old means and she is hoping to bring a newer, brighter perspective to aging through this series.


                           Susie Fishenfeld — Los Angeles Jewish Home /                                   Brandman Centers for Senior Care

Susie Fishenfeld joined the Los Angeles Jewish Home as Executive Director of the Brandman Centers for Senior Care in November 2014. Since joining Brandman Centers for Senior Care, the Program of All-Inclusive Care for the Elderly (PACE) now serves a census of over 200 participants. She has over 30 years in healthcare administrative experience.

Prior to Brandman Centers, she was the Senior General Manager for Vitas Healthcare Corporation for 17 years and Vice President of Patient Care Services at Encino-Tarzana Regional Medical Center for 5 years.

Susie Fishenfeld received her undergraduate education at University of California, Berkeley; Bachelor of Science in Nursing from the University of California, San Francisco; and Master’s Degree in Nursing from California State University, Long Beach, in Administration and as a Critical Care Clinical Nurse Specialist.

Susie Fishenfeld has been involved with many professional organizations, most recently California PACE Association and the National PACE Association. She held committee positions with both the California Hospice and Palliative Care Association and California Association for Health Services at Home, and on the Executive Committee for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Association.


Gretchen Alkema — The SCAN Foundation

Gretchen E. Alkema, Ph.D., LCSW, serves as Vice President of Policy and Communications for The SCAN Foundation. The SCAN Foundation’s mission is to advance a coordinated and easily navigated system of high-quality services for older adults that preserve dignity and independence. It is one of the largest foundations focused entirely on improving the quality of health and life for older Americans.

Prior to joining the Foundation, she was the 2008-09 John Heinz/Health and Aging Policy Fellow and an American Political Science Association Congressional Fellow, serving in the office of Senator Blanche L. Lincoln (D-AR). She advised Senator Lincoln on aging, health, mental health, and long-term care policy during the 2009 health care reform debate.

Dr. Alkema holds a Ph.D. from the University of Southern California’s Davis School of Gerontology and was awarded the John A. Hartford Doctoral Fellow in Geriatric Social Work and AARP Scholars Program Award. Dr. Alkema also earned a master’s in social work with a specialist in aging certificate from the University of Michigan. As a Licensed Clinical Social Worker, she practiced in government and non-profit settings including community mental health, care management, adult day health care, residential care, and post-acute rehabilitation.

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Susan Kujawa — California Village Coalition

Sue Kujawa was the Executive Director of Mothers’ Club Family Learning Center in Pasadena, California, from 1986 to 2011.   During her tenure, the Mothers’ Club’s early childhood education and family literacy programs became national models for innovative two-generation learning.  She led a successful $6.5 million capital campaign to construct a state-of-the art, LEED-certified facility, enabling the agency to expand its programs for at-risk mothers and their very young children.

In 2011, after a brief foray into retirement, she was lured into helping start a “Village” in Pasadena.  After volunteering for six months she became the Executive Director of the newly formed Pasadena Village.  She was attracted to the vision of older adults making the most of their lives, giving and receiving to benefit each other and themselves.

In 2014 she joined the Leadership Team of the emerging California Village Coalition with the goal of expanding the power of individual villages through the formation of a coalition to increase visibility and ensure sustainability.  She continues to be involved in this rewarding engagement which allows her to work creatively and collaboratively with smart, energetic and passionate people.

In her retirement she also enjoys travelling, camping, hiking, visiting her grandchildren, and working in her yard.  She remains an active member of the Pasadena Village and enjoys volunteering in many ways as well as being part of the book club, hiking group, Travel Buddies, and many other activities.


Susan Enguidanos — University of Southern California

Dr. Susan Enguidanos, PhD, is Associate Professor at the Leonard Davis School of Gerontology at the University of Southern California.  Dr. Enguidanos’ research focuses on improving care for older adults through the development and testing of new models of care. Her research in palliative care focuses on the development and testing of longitudinal models of palliative care and promoting access to these models among diverse populations. She has conducted extensive research on a home-based palliative care program that found costs of care for those in their last year of life can be reduced by 33% while improving patient satisfaction with care.  This research received a national Kaiser Permanente Award for quality and has been replicated in Kaisers throughout Southern California.  Dr. Enguidanos also has conducted numerous studies investigating ethnic variation in access to and quality of care as well as examining patient and caregiver attitudes and beliefs toward hospice care.

The impact of Dr. Enguidanos’ research has been far reaching, resulting in the development of programs that are improving the delivery of healthcare nationally for the elderly, and for all patients of any age who require end-life care.  She is currently investigating models of care that can provide longitudinal palliative care for seriously ill patients, including models using remote patient monitoring technologies and extending home-based palliative care within primary care clinics. Dr. Enguidanos has published findings from her research in more than 60 peer-reviewed journals.


Joy Goebel — California State University, Long Beach

Dr. Joy Goebel is an accomplished nurse educator and researcher whose interests in palliative care (PC) include studying diverse populations of patients from neonates to the elderly.  Her research is published in top tier palliative care journals. She was the lead author in a multi-center project that developed a Palliative Care National Clinical Template for use in documenting initial PC consults. The template was piloted at several Veterans Health Care Administration facilities and was developed using principles of user-centered informatics design. This tool has potential to improve the quality of care for veterans and families facing serious illnesses throughout the country. Another research publication investigated stress and satisfaction among parents whose infants were receiving PC in a neonatal intensive care unit (NICU). There were no significant differences in stress score among parents; however, parents whose infants were in PC had significantly higher reports of being “extremely satisfied” with their infant’s care. In addition, Dr. Goebel currently serves as the Faculty Director for the California State University (CSU) Institute for Palliative Care Long Beach. This initiative is part of a CSU-wide endeavor to improve the knowledge, skills, and attitudes of the entering and current work force related to palliative care. Dr. Goebel teaches advanced evidence-based research application in the CSU Fullerton, Long Beach, and Los Angeles DNP program.  She also serves as a consultant for the  Quality Improvement Resource Center, one of three VA PC centers tasked with improving PC throughout the national VA Healthcare System.

Archstone Foundation Board Members

Jolene Fassbinder — Archstone Foundation

Jolene Fassbinder joined Archstone Foundation in October 2012 as a Program Officer.  Prior to her work with the Foundation, Ms. Fassbinder worked for nearly a decade at the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) Multicampus Program in Geriatric Medicine and Gerontology (MPGMG), where she served as the Executive Director of the California Council on Gerontology and Geriatrics (CCGG).

Ms. Fassbinder previously served as the Internship Director at the University of Southern California (USC) Leonard Davis School of Gerontology, and she has extensive experience in gerontology, management, career development and communications.

Ms. Fassbinder holds an Associate of Arts degree in Human Services from Minneapolis Community College.  She also holds a Bachelor’s and Master’s degree in Gerontology from the Davis School of Gerontology and a Master of Arts degree in Communications Management from the Annenberg School for Communications at USC.


Joseph Rodrigues — California Department of Aging

Joseph Rodrigues has been the California State Long-Term Care Ombudsman since August 2002. As the State Long-Term Care Ombudsman, Mr. Rodrigues oversees 35 local Ombudsman programs, with approximately 1,000 certified Ombudsmen who have a regular presence in approximately 1,250 skilled nursing facilities and almost 7,500 residential care facilities for the elderly. Prior to his appointment as State Long-Term Care Ombudsman, Mr. Rodrigues was the Assistant Director of the Alameda County Area Agency on Aging. Before working for the County of Alameda, Rodrigues was the Executive Director of St. Peter’s Community Adult Day Care Center, the first licensed Adult Day Support Center in the county.

Rodrigues has been on the faculty of the California State University, Hayward, Holy Family College in Fremont, and for the past tem years, on the faculty of Gerontology Program of the California State University, Sacramento. Mr. Rodrigues is the immediate Past President of the National Association of State Long-Term Care Ombudsman Programs and is on the Board of Directors of the California Council on Gerontology and Geriatrics and the California Culture Change Coalition. He is a member of the American Society on Aging and Sigma Phi Omega, the national academic honor and professional society in gerontology.

Rodrigues earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in Philosophy from St. Patrick’s College in Mountain View, California and a Master of Divinity degree from their graduate school in Menlo Park, California. He also holds a Lifetime Instructor Credential from the California Community College system.


Members of the California Senior Legislature