Our team has a varied background, with experiences in the field of gerontology, along with caregiving overall. Through this site, the team aims to provide support, guidance and education, helping caregivers in their roles and promoting healthy aging among seniors.
Angelica Herrera Venson, Dr.PH, MPH
Owner of Kapok Multicultural Senior Care Services
Dr. Herrera is a gerontologist and has over 16 years of experience working with diverse communities in support of seniors and caregivers with chronic disease management and overall health and well-being throughout the country.
As a former professor and academic, she researched and published on the quality of care of diabetes, depression in older age, health disparities among Hispanic and other minority elders, and family caregiving challenges in vulnerable populations.
Dr. Herrera has spoken to hundreds of professional audiences and community members on issues around aging, diabetes, cancer prevention, long-term services and supports, and more.
She is the recipient of numerous awards, including a fellowship from the National Institute of Mental Health, Kellogg Scholar in Health Disparities, Health and Aging Policy from Atlantic Philanthropies, and the Kaiser Burch Leadership Award. Dr. Herrera is fluent in English and Spanish.
You can see all of the posts by Angelica here.
Jessica McIlvane, PhD
Developmental Psychologist and Gerontology Consultant
Dr. McIlvane has over 20 years of experience. Over the course of her career, Dr. McIlvane has performed extensive field research on aging and health, having interviewed and learned from hundreds of older adults about the triumphs and challenges that come with aging.
In addition, Dr. McIlvane has taught on aging and lifespan development in both in the classroom and in the community. Her work as a Gerontology Consultant focuses on providing information, advice, and resources to boomers and seniors as they navigate life transitions (e.g., retirement, aging in place) and prepare to maintain a high quality of life as they age.
As former Associate Professor at the University of South Florida, she led research on coping with stress and chronic illness in middle-aged and older adults (e.g., arthritis, mild cognitive impairment) and racial/ethnic health disparities in arthritis.
Dr. McIlvane’s additional experience includes her work at the National Institute of Nursing Research at the National Institutes of Health as a Science & Technology Policy Fellow through the American Association for the Advancement of Science, and as a Health Science Policy Analyst and Legislative Contact.
Karen Ling, M.S. OTR
Karen Ling has a Bachelor of the Arts in Psychology and a Master of Science in Occupational Therapy. She is an expert in human and activity analysis and is passionate about spreading inclusion. Helping people to live their lives as independently and as fully as possible is one of Karen’s goals.
She started a business called Inclusive Greetings bringing light to the concept of inclusive designing. Via these specially designed greeting cards, she hopes to bridge the gap between accessibility and modern styles. Karen believes that just because we all age and get injures, it doesn’t mean that we automatically have to be stigmatized and use unappealing products.
Along with her company, she also hosts telehealth sessions on Twitch.tv (twitch.tv/inclusiveg) helping people from around the world create more happiness in their everyday life.
When Karen is not working, you can find her going on food adventures with friends and family, creating original art pieces, browsing blogs on designs and brainstorming how to incorporate those beautiful styles with accessibility functions.
Karen also counsels Kapok clients on strategies for staying active, finding suitable recreational activities and modifying your environments to help you or your loved one age in place with style. Karen is fluent in Cantonese Chinese.
Dolores (Lola) Ortiz, BCOMN, M.O.D.
Lola has over 15 years of expertise in management, leadership, organizational and human development.
After a grueling experience as a family caregiver to her parents, both who passed away after difficult battles with cancer, she moved from the business sector and committed her life’s work to guiding others in nurturing their individual strengths, talents, and leadership, particularly other seniors and caregivers.
During her time at AARP, she launched an aggressive community outreach effort with diverse and aging communities, by fostering partnerships with organizations such as the Vida Senior Center and the Greater Washington Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, as well as participating in events such as the Telemundo Family Fair Event.
During this time, she facilitated focus groups in English and Spanish with multicultural seniors for the popular WHO’s Age-Friendly Initiative.
Lola volunteers with Kapok, offering one-on-one chat sessions with family caregivers in need of an attentive ear, and guiding them through problem-solving techniques. Lola is a native of Spain and Brazil, and speaks Spanish and Portuguese, and highly fluent in English.
You can see all of Lola’s posts here.
Cassie Green, M.Sc.
Cassie plays a large role in the technical side of this site, including content creation, social media management, webmaster and a range of other roles.
She has a B.Sc. in biochemistry and biology and a M.Sc. in ecology. While she does not use the degrees directly, she argues that they taught many skills, including research and critical thinking. Her expertise is in writing and she acts as a behind-the-scenes manager and content creator for a number of websites.
She also has significant experience as a caregiver, as she was responsible for caring for her disabled husband for a number of years, in addition to helping a partially disabled mother-in-law. Her experiences have also provided her with a strong background in mental illness and its consequences.
You can see all of Cassie’s posts here.