Sara T. Pappa, Ph.D., MCHES
Assistant Professor, Project Manager, NV Falls Prevention Alliance Coordinator, Marymount University
Dr. Sara Pappa, a Master Certified Health Education Specialist (MCHES), is an Assistant Professor in the Health and Human Performance Department. She holds a BS in Health Education and Promotion from the University of Cincinnati, an MA in Exercise Physiology from Kent State University, and a Ph.D. in Health Education from the University of Cincinnati. In addition to teaching, she manages the regional falls prevention initiative, including the Northern Virginia Falls Prevention Alliance. This work is supported by a federal grant from the Administration for Community Living. Current research initiatives include evidence-based falls prevention programs for older adults and the professional preparation of health educators. Dr. Pappa is also a member of the Executive Committee of the Virginia Arthritis and Falls Prevention Coalition and a Board member of the Arlington Neighborhood Village. In previous roles, she worked in local public health departments in Fairfax County and Ohio. She has extensive experience in managing public health projects at the local, regional, and state levels. Her experience includes implementing and evaluating health promotion programs and policies; conducting community health needs assessments; developing and evaluating community health improvement plans; media outreach and public relations; grant research, writing, and administration; coalition development and leadership; and strategic planning.
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Cathy S. Elrod, PT, PhD
Professor of Physical Therapy
Physical Therapy Department
School of Health Sciences
College of Health & Education
Cathy Elrod has been on faculty at Marymount University’s Physical Therapy program since 1997. Her clinical expertise is in the management of the medically complex patient. She has worked with older adults in large trauma hospitals, home health care, and hospice. Through funding from federal grants, she became a Master Trainer for two evidence-based falls prevention programs (EBFPPs), A Matter of Balance (MOB) and Stay Active and Independent for Life (SAIL), and has been integrating them into the Northern Virginia region. She has presented regionally and nationally on her work on implementing EBFPPs within the community. Dr. Elrod has been recognized by the Malek School of Health Professions for her excellence in teaching with the MSHP Faculty Teaching Award in 2007 and 2013, and for her research with the MSHP Outstanding Scholarship Award in 2017.
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Associate Professor, Engineering,
Eric has a formal degree in Applied Physics with a research concentration in Stellar Astrophysics. He uses these general research skills in developing open source solutions for individuals in need of assistive technologies by using hobbyist microcontrollers, electronics, and 3D printing/design. Through this work, Eric has collaborated with individuals worldwide (largely through eNABLE and the Alliance for Project Based Learning Solutions) to create and deploy upper limb assistive devices that provide some of the functionality offered by prosthetic limbs in situations where medically validated devices are unavailable. Through his research lab at Marymount University, he continuously works on creating solutions to problems as diverse as adapting devices to allow children with limb differences to play musical instruments to create tools to aid police officers with rehabilitation exercises. Most recently Eric has brought a virtual reality development lab to the university with his design of virtual reality STEM-themed escape rooms and work with the Marymount Center for Optimal Aging to create gamified rehabilitation/exercise experiences and simulations allowing the practice of ADLs (Activities of Daily Living).
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Catherine Diaz-Asper, Ph.D.
Assistant Professor of Psychology
School of Social & Behavioural Sciences
College of Science and Humanities
Dr. Catherine Diaz-Asper is an assistant professor of psychology with 20 years of experience as a clinical researcher in aging and dementia. With a background in neuropsychology, she has an active research program that focuses on the clinical presentation of mild cognitive impairment and early Alzheimer’s disease, as expressed through language and memory. She has received grant funding from the National Institutes of Health and Rotary’s Coins for Alzheimer’s Research Trust for her research on developing a dementia screening tool that uses artificial intelligence to analyze speech recorded over the telephone.
A list of her publications can be found at: