Collaborative on Successful Aging

Introduction: The Collaborative on Successful Aging (COSA) is a network of Loyola faculty, staff, & students interested in addressing the needs of an aging population through interprofessional collaboration. Historically, the Schools of Law & Social Work in the Water Tower Campus, the School of Nursing in the Lakeshore Campus, & the School of Medicine in the Maywood campus have investigated the needs of aging populations & developed resources to address these needs separately, based on the professional script of that department. By sharing educational, service, & research opportunities related to aging across Loyola campuses & departments, we aim to:

  1. Spark interest in the topic of aging among students across Loyola campuses, including but not limited to nursing, medical, social work, law, public health, and dietetic students.
  2. Discuss issues currently impacting older adults in our country as well as the broader implications such issues may have on policies and the economy.
  3. Increase awareness of existing resources to address issues around aging.
  4. Use the knowledge gained as an impetus for change via research, service, and collaboration.

Such opportunities will enhance discussion and collaboration among students and faculty in different fields, leading to more innovative and impactful research and service projects for the benefit of older adults in our society.

If interested in adding your information to our directory or sharing any upcoming event/opportunity, please contact Gabriela Plasencia at


Dr. Audrey Klopp, PhD, RN, NHA

  • Assistant Professor
  • Director of DNP Program
  • Email:
  • Interests: Teaching topics related to older adults and successful aging, administration of senior services, research (including translational research), and content related to preparing advanced practice nurses in the care of the adult population through evidence-based practice.

Dr. Fran Vlasses, PhD, RN, NEA-BC, ANEF, FAAN

Dr. Lisa Skemp, PhD, RN, FGSA, FAAN

  • Professor
  • Chair of Health Systems, Leadership, & Policy
  • Email:
  • Interests: Teaching expertise in Qualitative Research (doctoral students from nursing, medicine, global health, social work and women’s studies), Community/Public Health Nursing, Global Health, and gerontology.  Designed and taught an Interprofessional Community Capacity Building for Healthy Aging course held in the Caribbean (beginning in 2007) and in south India (beginning in 2009).

Dr. Marcia Spira, PhD

  • Associate Dean for Academics
  • Professor and Director of the Institute for Intergenerational Study & Practice
  • Chair Committee on Aging for National Association of Social Work (NASW) Illinois Chapter
  • Email:
  • Interests: Harford Practicum Partnership in Aging Education, Interdisciplinary teams in work with older adults, Elder Law Initiative Loyola (Scholl Foundation), Gerospecialization in Social Work 


Age Options:

  • AgeOptions is a nonprofit organization connecting older adults and those who care for them with resources and service options so they can live their lives to the fullest.
  • As the Area Agency on Aging of suburban Cook County, Illinois, we advocate, plan, coordinate and fund services for older adults.

Illinois Department on Aging:

  • The Illinois Department on Aging helps older adults live independently in their own homes and communities.
  • Working with Area Agencies on Aging, community-based service providers and older adults themselves, the Illinois Department on Aging strives to improve quality of life for current and future generations of older Illinoisans.


  • Our materials are designed to assist health professionals in learning about and engaging in activities of CDC's Healthy Aging Program and The Healthy Brain Initiative to promote independence and wellbeing.

NIH National Institute on Aging (NIA): 

  • NIA, one of the 27 Institutes and Centers of NIH, leads a broad scientific effort to understand the nature of aging and to extend the healthy, active years of life. NIA is the primary Federal agency supporting and conducting Alzheimer's disease research.

Hartford Foundation:

  • We invest in aging experts and practice innovations that transform how the care of older adults is delivered.
  • Since 1982, The John A. Hartford Foundation has awarded more than $565 million in grants to enhance the health and well-being of older people.

Chicago Bridge:

  • The Chicago Bridge is a grassroots membership driven group dedicated to providing opportunities for professional development, leadership and support to emerging professionals in the field of aging.