About Us

Topics in Gerontology is a collaborative effort between the Office of Geriatrics and Interprofessional Aging Studies at The Ohio State University and multiple colleges and departments across the OSU campus.  This collaboration brings the many benefits of interprofessional faculty knowledge, teaching and research directly to you, providing a unique and varied learning experience. In each of the modules, you will have an opportunity to learn about the faculty member(s) who have created the module.  The program staff and faculty are committed to bringing the latest state-of-the-art theories and research to you, your family, or your practice setting to enhance your life or your work in the field of aging.

Our History

The Topics in Gerontology program originally grew out of research conducted at The Ohio State University College of Social Work by Dr. Keith A. Anderson, Andrea M. Cimbal, and Jeffrey J. Maile regarding "informal social supports" in the hair stylist community, titled "Hairstylists' Relationships and Helping Behaviors with Older Adult Clients."  This research highlights the broad interdisciplinary nature of aging and was the "tipping point" for the development of Topics in Gerontology as an innovative tool for assisting community providers -- "gatekeepers" who often serve as important links to help older adults age successfully in their homes and in their communities (hair stylists, bankers, delivery personnel, and others).  Dr. Anderson's research further supports the growing recognition of those providing services in the community often featured by the media and outlined in the Columbus Dispatch article titled, "Keeping Watch: Delivery Workers are Often Rescuers."   The community gatekeeper modules are identified as 100 level modules on the Modules home page.

The Topics in Gerontology program subsequently expanded with a collaboration with the OSU Extension Family and Consumer Sciences Administration.  The Office of Geriatrics and Interprofessional Aging Studies worked closely with extension educators who spearheaded the development of the Aging Smart curriculum.  Extension educators provide community-based educational programs and outreach across the state of Ohio that enhance human capital and promote lifelong learning. The Aging Smart curriculum represents some of the educational programs they have presented in the past that were found to be highly useful to older adults. 

All of the modules are categorized by level of instruction, making them appropriate for a wide audience of students -- older adults, caregivers, educators, administrators, direct care staff in long-term care and health care, social services providers, policy makers, clinicians, and the community gatekeepers who have interactions with older adults as they provide community-based services.    

Meet The Program Staff

Cynthia V. Dougherty, MSW, PhD, Director, Office of Geriatrics and Interprofessional Aging Studies  

Dr. Cynthia Dougherty is the Director of the Office of Geriatrics and Interprofessional Aging Studies at The Ohio State University College of Medicine.  She has a wide-range of experience serving children, families, students, older adults, and communities through direct practice, program development and evaluation, administration, grant writing, curriculum development and more. She earned MSW with concentration in Administration and a PhD in Social Work from The Ohio State University.  Cynthia has led projects involving agency service providers, leaders in county-wide public systems, decision-making stakeholders in social services, and affordable housing providers.  Her primary research interest includes interprofessional education and practice in healthcare. Cynthia has been teaching in the university environment for several years,  both in the classroom and through online distance education.  She is currently on the Board of Trustees for the Ohio Association of Gerontology and Education and serving as their membership chairperson.  In addition to being a proud Buckeye, she is a proud Ohio University and AmeriCorps alumna.


Cheri Bardales   Cheri Bardales, M.Ed., PhD

   Program Manager


 Dr. Cheri Bardales is a Program Manager for the Office of Geriatrics and Interprofessional Aging Studies at The Ohio State University      College of Medicine.  She has over 20 years of experience as an educator working in a variety of public and private settings with diverse      student populations from middle school through graduate education. By drawing on a foundation of course development and instruction    in classroom and online settings, Cheri specializes in program support and development using data driven evidence based strategies        for continuous improvement, striving to exceed the demands of fast changing learning environments and expectations. Cheri has           dedicated herself to becoming a life-long educator and learner and strives to instill a similar desire in all learners with whom she   works. She is a passionate runner who can often be found on the trails of the Ohio State campus or on the many beautiful settings in Ohio state parks.