COA Community Speakers on Aging Issues

The Center Director and other faculty serve as speakers in their areas of expertise related to aging. These experts have given presentations to numerous agencies, associations, and organizations across the Southeast. Additionally, they are available upon request to address groups interested in relevant aging issues.

Dr. Rodney Guttmann earned his Ph.D. from the University of Alabama at Birmingham in Pharmacology. Following a post-doctoral fellowship at the University of Pennsylvania, he joined the University of Kentucky where he studied Alzheimer’s disease at the Sanders-Brown Center on Aging. Dr. Guttmann is a Pensacola native and graduate of Catholic High School (also an avid golfer). Current studies in his lab focus on biomarker development for use in clinical and research applications. Dr. Guttmann’s lab also seeks to develop peptide-based drugs for the treatment of neuropathic pain. Listen to him Thursday mornings at 8:00AM on WUWF 88.1 for the “Senior Moment”.

Dr. Lisa Van Wormer, Assistant Professor of Psychology, earned her Ph.D. in Cognitive Psychology with a minor in Gerontology and a Specialization in Human Factors from Purdue University. Dr. Van Wormer’s interests include Cognitive Psychology, Gerontology, and Human Factors Engineering. See her website at:

Dr. Jim Arruda, Professor of Psychology, earned his Ph.D. from the University of Rhode Island and completed a post-doctoral fellowship at Brown University. Dr. Arruda’s studies focus on Sustained Attention, Electrophysiological Correlates of Human Cognition and Behavior, Assessment of Mood State, Electroencephalography, Multivariate Statistics, & Univariate Statistics. See his website at:

Dr. Steve Kass, Professor of Psychology, earned his Ph.D. from the University of Central Florida, and is Chair-elect for the School of Psychological and Behavioral Sciences. Dr. Kass’s lab focuses on areas within Industrial/Organizational Psychology including: Human Factors, Distracted Driving, Spatial Abilities, and Boredom. See his website at:

Dr. Erica Jordan, Assistant Professor of Psychology, earned her Ph.D. from the University of Alabama with an emphasis in experimental psychology. Dr. Jordan’s main research interests are Parent-Child Relationships, Family Stressors, and Children’s Perceptions of Discipline and Punishment. See her website at:

Dr. Daniel Durkin, Assistant Professor in the Department of Social Work, earned his Ph.D. from the University of Alabama School of Social Work. Dr. Durkin’s primary research interests include aging, family caregiving, gender and caregiving, and dementia. He is currently interested in caregiving for older veterans, particularly in rural areas. See his website at:

Dr. Green Waggener, Assistant Professor of Health, Leisure and Exercise Sciences, earned his Ph.D. from University of Southern Mississippi with a focus on health behavior. Dr. Waggener’s particular interest is in the area of exercise benefits in older adults and promoting physical activity in the community.

Dr. Hui-min Chung, Associate Professor of Biology, earned her Ph.D. at Columbia University, Dept. Genetics and Development. Dr. Chung’s research focusses on Alzheimer’s disease and the physiological role of gamma-secretase and its role in AD neuropathology.

Dr. Debra Vinci, Associate Professor of Community Health Education in the Division of Health, Leisure, and Exercise Science earned her DrPH from Loma Linda University of Washington. Her interests are in nutrition, and community health program development and assessment. See her website at:

Dr. Robert Hoyt, Director of Medical Informatics Program, UWF School of Allied Health and Life Sciences with research interests in gerontechnology and its application for the reduction of health risks in elderly populations. In addition, Dr. Hoyt carries out research with the Mitchell Center in the study of resiliency among repatriated prisoners of war.

Dr. F. Stephen Bridges, Professor of Community Health Education, UWF Department of Health, Leisure and Exercise Sciences, earned his Ed.D. from the University of Alabama. His research interests include the impact of physiological and social factors upon homicide and suicide rates. See his website at:

Dr. Carla Thompson, Associate Professor, UWF Department of Research & Advanced studies. She is Director of the UWF Community Outreach Research and Learning (CORAL) Center: The CORAL Center provides research, statistics, and grant writing assistance for faculty, graduate students, and community agencies. The CORAL Center also offers two special types of continuing education for community agencies by request: (1) Grant Writing Basics course and (2) SPSS Proficiency Certification course. Lastly, Dr. Thompson is involved in numerous organizations vital to the success of academic research at UWF, including the UWF Institutional Review Board for Human Research Participant Protection.

Crystal Bennett, MSN, RN, Assistant Professor, UWF Department of Nursing. Professor Bennett specializes in Medical/Surgical nursing and Critical Care Nursing. Professor Bennett's doctoral research relates to Physical Performance in Aging & Disability. Specifically, the effects of exercise interventions on disability.

Dr. Keya Wiggins, Licensed Psychologist, earned her Ph.D. in Counseling Psychology from Indiana State University. She currently serves as the Group and Diversity Coordinator in Counseling and Psychological Services (CAPS). Dr. Wiggins' research interests include racism and the African American psyche, African American mental health, the impact of oppression on marginalized populations, and issues related to diversity.

Neil Davis, Ed.D., earned his Ed.D. from the University of West Florida and currently teaches in the School of Psychological and Behavioral Sciences.

For more information, contact the University of West Florida Center on Aging.
Telephone: 850-474-3298