Live webinar held June 28, 2011


Working with individuals with diverse backgrounds implies an imperative need to become culturally competent, and in particular, to acquire the knowledge of a group’s diversity, history, culture and contemporary reality.  The event will describe how the cultural background of both, the caregivers and elders with dementia disorders impact recognition and treatment, will identify barriers that exist among African American, Hispanic and Asian family members that impact the decision to seek treatment for symptoms of dementia, and finally, will describe the function of cognitive testing using neuropsychological assessments and the role that ethnicity plays in valid outcome measures.


1. Better understand the cultural perspectives they bring to the care situation

2. Make informed choices on managing day-to-day situations presented by culturally diverse individuals with dementia

3. Know where to find further information and support services

4. Communicate in a more culturally effectively way with individuals with dementia and their family members.


Tracey Gendron, Assistant Professor, Department of Gerontology, completed the Masters in Gerontology program in 1995 with a concentration in Public Administration from VCU. She is also currently a doctoral student in the Developmental Psychology program at VCU.

She teaches the Biology and Physiology of Aging, Research Methods, Grant Writing among other courses in the Gerontology Department.

Her research interests include the professional identity development of Gerontologists, health disparities in the aging population and higher education through service learning and community engagement.

Shannon Marling, is a Gerontologist and Certified Therapeutic Recreation Specialist. She recently completed her Master’s in Gerontology where she focused on improving service and service coordination for Gay, Lesbian, Bi-Sexual and Transgender older adults.

Shannon has also been involved in researching and presenting on issues of health disparities among culturally diverse older adults with dementia and the impact on caregivers.


Ayn WellefordE.  Ayn Welleford, PhD, received her BA in Management/Psychology from Averett College, MS in Gerontology and PhD in Developmental Psychology from Virginia Commonwealth University. She has taught extensively in the areas of Lifespan Development, and Adult Development and Aging, Geropsychology, and Aging & Human Values. As an educator, researcher, and previously as a practitioner she has worked with a broad spectrum of individuals across the caregiving and long term care continuum.

As Associate Professor and Chair of VCU’s Department of Gerontology, she currently works to “Improve Elder Care through Education” through her Teaching, Scholarship, and Community Engagement. Outside of the classroom, Dr. Welleford provides community education and serves on several boards and committees.

She currently serves as Chair of the Governor’s Commonwealth of Virginia Alzheimer’s and Related Disorders Commission. Dr. Welleford is the proud recipient of the 2008 AGHE Distinguished Teacher Award.




Cultural competence and dementia - June 2011 Webinar

Download slides here.