15 Top Adult Gerontology Professors

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Advanced practice registered nurses who like working with adults and older individuals typically have education at the graduate level and have completed a master’s or doctoral degree. They have invested the time and money for this advanced education, gaining more skills in assessment and diagnosis and management and care of these adults and older individuals. Many have gone on to seek certification through the American Nurses Credentialing Center, but as our list of 15 top adult gerontology professors shows, there are a variety of certifications available for these professionals. Just in the field, these include the Adult NP (ANP), Adult-Gerontology Acute Care NP (AGACNP), Adult-Gerontology Primary Care NP (AGPCNP) and Gerontological NP (GNP). Our list of professors highlights mainly instructors who have these certifications and also showcases some of the successes they have reached in their careers.

Elizabeth Teixeira
The College of New Jersey Ewing, NJ

Elizabeth Teixeira, DrNP, is an AGPCNP-board certified Assistant Professor at The College of New Jersey. Her areas of expertise include diabetes management, obesity stigma, and primary care. She has been published on various topics, is certified as a diabetes educator and entitled her dissertation “The Effect of Mindfulness Meditation for Diabetic Peripheral Neuropathy in Adults Fifty and Older.”

Meredith Kazer
Fairfield University Fairfield, CT

Meredith Kazer, PhD, is the dean and professor in the school of nursing at Fairfield University in Fairfield, Connecticut. She is board certified in both adult and gerontological care and has interests that include adult and gerontological health and illness, men's health and prostate cancer, and even co-published a book called “Prostate Cancer: Nursing Assessment Management and Care.” She is currently a practicing nurse practitioner with a focus on chronic illness occurring in older adults.

Susan Ruppert
University of Texas Health Houston, TX

Susan Ruppert, PhD, is the director of the adult-gerontology primary care nurse practitioner program at the University of Texas Health, in Houston, as well as a clinical professor of nursing. She is board certified in both adult and family nurse practitioner care. She is a Fellow in the American Academy of Nursing, the American Academy of Nurse Practitioners, the American College of Critical Care Medicine, and the National Academies of Practice. She also became vice chair of the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education’s board of commissioners in 2014.

Margaret Hammersla
Margaret Hammersla MS, RN, CRNP
University of Maryland Baltimore, MD

Margaret Hammersla, MS, is the co-specialty director of the adult-gerontological primary care nurse practitioner DNP program at the University of Maryland, in Baltimore. She has a post graduate certificate in nursing education and primarily teaches in the school’s ANP/GNP program. Her research interests focus on physical activity in older adults.

Evelyn Duffy
Case Western Reserve University Cleveland, OH

At Case Western Reserve University, in Cleveland, Evelyn Duffy, DNP, is an associate professor in the school of nursing and the associate director of the University Center on Aging and Health. She is AGPCNP-board certified and a fellow with the American Association of Nurse Practitioners. She has been published and has education interests that include adult primary care, gerontology and service learning.

Diane Ferguson
University of Michigan Ann Arbor, MI

Diane Ferguson, MS, is a clinical instructor in the school of nursing at the University of Michigan, in Ann Arbor. She is AGPCNP-board certified and continues to practice, providing primary care, health promotion and acute care management to patients. She is a member of the American Association of Nurse Practitioners and of Sigma Theta Tau, the honor society of nursing. Her interests include health promotion, older adults and quality outcomes.

Carolyn McClerking
Ohio State University Columbus, OH

Carolyn McClerking, MS, is a clinical instructor in the adult-gerontology acute care nurse practitioner program at Ohio State University, in Columbus. She’s been published in journals that include Applied Nursing Research and American Journal of Hypertension. She is board certified as an acute care nurse practitioner and instructs for the program, which includes classes such as Nursing in the American Health System, Adult Acute Care Nurse Practitioner Skills and two related practicums.

Mary Dierich
University of Minnesota Minneapolis, MN

Mary Dierich, PhD, is the coordinator for the adult-gerontological nurse practitioner specialty area at the University of Minnesota, in Minneapolis, and also a clinical assistant professor. She’s been published multiple times, including in peer-reviewed journals and books, and has research interests that include models of care and health care policy and provision of care for older adults. She is certified in GNP care and her dissertation focused on the high-risk medication regimens and related predictors for readmission of elderly home care clients.

Janet Beezley
University of Colorado Aurora, CO

Janet Beezley, MS, is a senior instructor in the adult-gerontology nurse practitioner master’s specialty program at the University of Colorado Anschutz Medical Campus. For the past 14 years, she has maintained a faculty practice site at the Samaritan House Homeless Shelter in Denver, where about 300 people are served a night. She is certified as both an adult and pediatric nurse practitioner, teaches classes that include Advanced Assessment and Professional Role and is on the governor’s advisory board for community health.

Mary Brennan
New York University New York, NY

At New York University, in New York City, Mary Brennan, DNP, teaches courses at the master’s degree level such as Common Health Problems Across the Lifespan, Adult-Gerontology Acute Care II and Adult-Gerontology Acute Care III, and specializes in adult-gerontological care among other areas. She is a member of the American Academy of Nurse Practitioners, American Nurse’s Association and National Organization of Nurse Practitioner Faculties. Her clinical interests include evidence-based decision making and heart failure, cardiac disease and hypertension.

Shirley Van Zandt
Boise State University Boise, ID

Shirley Van Zandt, MS, is a clinical assistant professor in the new adult gerontology nurse practitioner program that began at Boise State University, in Idaho, in January 2014. She is a member of various organizations, including the Nurse Practitioners of Idaho, the American Association of Nurse Practitioners and the American Public Health Association. Previously, she provided primary care to uninsured and underinsured adults at a community nursing center and at Planned Parenthood. Her research interests now include care for uninsured and low income workers as well as the areas of occupational health, sexually-transmitted diseases and primary care, particularly for women.

Valerie Cotter
Johns Hopkins University Baltimore, MD

Valerie Cotter, DRNP, is Assistant Professor at the Johns Hopkins University School of Nursing, in Baltimore, MD. She is a fellow of the American Association of Nurse Practitioners, has received many honors and awards, and has been published in book chapters and in periodicals, including The Journal for Nurse Practitioners, Holistic Nursing Practice, and Journal of the American Academy of Nurse Practitioners. In 2009, she was named volunteer of the year for the Delaware Valley Chapter of the Alzheimer’s Association.

Elizabeth Tomaszewski
Drexel University Philadelphia, PA

Elizabeth Tomaszewski, DNP, is the track director of the adult-gerontology acute care NP program at Drexel University, in Philadelphia, and also serves as an assistant clinical professor there. She is board certified in acute care, working with critical care patients at Geisinger Wyoming Valley Medical Center in Wilkes-Barre, but focused her DNP capstone project on the attitudes of critical cure nurses who provide end-of-life care to those in intensive care units. Her work examined the value of providing comfort measures toward the end of life instead of the historical value placed on saving life.

Lynda Mackin
UCSF - University of California, San Francisco San Francisco, CA

A coordinator of the MS specialty area for the adult-gerontology clinical nurse specialist (AG CNS) at the University of California, San Francisco, Lynda Mackin, PhD, is also a clinical professor at the school. She is board certified as both an adult and gerontological nurse practitioner and maintains a clinical-based practice where she mentors and precepts students. She is a member of the Gerontological Advanced Practice Nurses Association (GAPNA) and other organizations, has received numerous awards and been published in the Journal of Professional Nursing and others.

Joan King
Vanderbilt University Nashville, TN

A professor of nursing at Vanderbilt University, in Nashville, Tennessee, Joan King, PhD, is also the school’s program director for the adult-gerontology acute care nurse practitioner program. She is a fellow with the American Association of Nurse Practitioners and a certified adult nurse practitioner. She’s received several research grants and has been published in periodicals as varied as Nursing and the Journal of Nurse Practitioners.


When it comes to recognizing professors of achievement in adult gerontology, it’s hard to pare a list down to 15. Even though we attempted to do that with this list, we recognize that there are many other professors working and achieving in the field who are not on this list but may be equally recognizable. Some of the factors taken into consideration for placement on this list include:

  1. Coordination, leadership or involvement in an adult-gerontology advanced practice registered nursing program
  2. Advanced education either at the master’s or doctoral level.
  3. Board certification through the American Nurses Credentialing Center.

Not all of the professors on this list meet all of these qualifications, but for the most part meet two of these three criteria. Also, it is important to note that the listing of their accomplishments is condensed, and many of their other activities and certifications may not have been mentioned.