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Staff and Faculty

IMPART Alliance, Department of Family and Community Medicine, Michigan State University

Our Leadership

Clare Luz, PhD

Executive Director

Bethany Duyser, DNP, RN, AGPCNP

Assistant Director

Shannon Harkins-Padgitt, MLIR

Director of Operations and Special Projects
Tracy Anderson Portrait

Tracy Anderson

Communications Director

With nearly 20 years of professional communications experience, Tracy Anderson is an award-winning journalist, university teacher and author who is passionate about journalism and staying on top of digital media trends.
Tracy started her writing career covering the police beat and general news at the Lansing State Journal. She then transitioned into freelance writing and full-time work in marketing and public relations, gaining experience in the nonprofit, government and higher education sectors.

She has held communications manager and director-level roles at Michigan State University, marrying her love for storytelling and branding at a Big Ten university.

Tracy has taught journalism and public relations courses for 15 years, including stints at her alma mater, Central Michigan University, and now at MSU. In 2015, she co-authored a book on the state of high school journalism with the Education Committee of the Society of Professional Journalists.

Tracy holds a bachelor’s degree in journalism and a master’s in English: composition and communications, both from CMU. She also earned a Graduate Certificate in Teaching from CMU’s College of Education and Human Services. Tracy considers herself a lifelong learner and has presented at and attended many conferences and trainings including Adobe MAX, Lilly Conference on College and University Teaching, Ragan & PR Daily Social Media Conference, Society of Professional Journalists National Convention, and more.

Mariana Bittencourt Portrait

Mariana Bittencourt

Communications Coordinator

Tammy Cordes Portrait

Tammy Cordes

Course Coordinator / Program Developer II

Tammy Cordes is excited to play a role in the training, credentialing, and advancing of Michigan’s direct care workforce. She has extensive experience as a trainer (in person and virtual), most recently in her previous role as Elder Abuse Prevention Training Coordinator for Michigan Elder Justice Initiative. Tammy has also served as a family caregiver and understands many of the challenges, barriers, joys, and rewards of direct care work. She has a deep respect for those who provide person-centered care to others and looks forward to a time in the not-so-distant future in which DCWs will gain the respect, recognition, and compensation they deserve. Tammy is a Certified Family Life Educator (CFLE) with a master’s degree in Family Studies from Spring Arbor University.

Bethany Duyser

Bethany Duyser DNP, RN, AGPCNP

Assistant Director

Bethany has a comprehensive background in nursing and a dedication to improving the quality of care for older adults. Holding certifications as an AGPCNP (Adult-Gerontological Primary Care Nurse Practitioner) and licensure as an RN (Registered Nurse), Bethany earned her BSN from the University of Cincinnati College of Nursing, followed by an MSN from the University of Illinois-Chicago (UIC) College of Nursing. She culminated her academic journey with a DNP (Doctor of Nursing Practice) from MSU College of Nursing in 2022. Bethany is an active member of the Gerontological Advanced Practice Nurses Association (GAPNA) and the Kent County Elder Abuse Coalition (KCEAC). Her professional journey includes impactful work with IMPART Alliance, where she started as a graduate student in 2021. Post-graduation, she undertook a post-doctoral fellowship supported by the COM's Dell award, focusing on interdisciplinary, person-centered, and competency-based approaches to healthcare professional training. Bethany's diverse clinical experience spans various settings, including hospitals, nursing homes, assisted living facilities, clinics, and even house calls. As a nurse practitioner, she specialized in caring for older adults, emphasizing long-term support and services. Bethany is passionate about ensuring that older adults receive care that aligns with their preferences and priorities. Her commitment to IMPART Alliance stems from a desire to enhance the direct care workforce, recognizing the crucial link between job quality and care quality.

Beth Eisch Portrait

Beth Eisch, RN

Curriculum Designer / Director of Education

Beth Eisch, RN, is currently a Master Trainer, Curriculum Designer, and Director of Education for IMPART Alliance. She holds a Bachelor of Science degree in nursing. Beth has over thirty years of experience in the field of aging, with a special focus on training direct care workers (DCWs). She is passionate about advocating on behalf of DCWs to receive better wages, training, and recognition and respect for the challenging and essential work that they do. Her advocacy flows into designing and teaching curricula that is based on a person-centered philosophy, uses adult learning principles, and adapts to the changing needs of the direct care work profession.

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Kevin Foley, MD, FACP, AGSF

Faculty Geriatrician

Kevin Foley, MD, FACP, AGSF is a Professor in the Department of Family and Community Medicine in the College of Osteopathic Medicine at Michigan State University. He has also served as the Medical Director of the Alzheimer's Disease and Memory Disorders Program in the Department of Neuroscience at Trinity Health - Grand Rapids since 2003. He received his medical degree from the Medical College of Virginia and completed his residency in internal medicine and fellowship in geriatric medicine at the University of Michigan. Following his fellowship, he practiced at Henry Ford Health Systems in Detroit and the Cleveland Clinic Foundation. His research interests include geriatrics workforce development and geriatrics education in graduate and post-graduate level training programs.

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Katie Hanson

Co-Founder / Emeritus

Shannon Harkins-Padgitt Portrait

Shannon Harkins-Padgitt, MLIR

Director of Operations and Special Projects

Shannon Harkins-Padgitt, IMPART Alliance Projects and Operations Coordinator, has worked in outreach and continuing education for more than 25 years and specifically in the aging field for 20 years, most recently for the Area Agencies on Aging Association and the Michigan Society of Gerontology. Her deep appreciation for direct care workers stems in part from the many compassionate caregivers who assisted her father while he was living with dementia. Ms. Harkins-Padgitt is responsible for operations, project coordination, supporting research activities, reporting and supervising volunteers.

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Catherine Hein


As Intern, Catherine Hein provides important insight to the organization on accessibility issues and programming. Catherine shares in her own words the importance of working with IMPART Alliance. This work is especially important to me professionally and personally. I was born with cerebral palsy and in my case, it affects all four of my limbs. This means that have always and will always need help with activities of daily living. From the time that I was young, I knew I wanted to help other people like me. When I was eighteen, I was able to qualify for assistance for a paid direct care worker. I thought that this would finally enable me to have the same experiences as my able-bodied peers. Most agencies and companies say my needs are far too complex before they even meet me. People have this misconception that being a direct care worker means you are just going to go to a client’s house to play cards and chat. I have had people coming into my home from agencies and they offer to play cards with me. I have also had people come to my home and not know how physical the work is to care for me, and they decline to do work with me – sometimes because of their own health issues. Typically, they say something like I did not know you were in a wheelchair, or they say that they thought I needed to get out of the house. I have always believed that every person deserves quality care regardless of the level of the person’s needs, diagnosis, or disability. So many people are struggling to find and maintain care for themselves and their loved ones. For those of us who need care for everything - care is as essential to us as breathing. All that I have wanted as a person with a disability is to have the same opportunities as everyone else. Without care - people who need care due to aging, medical conditions, chronic illnesses and/or disabilities - cannot live a normal life with all the joy happiness, love, heartache anger sadness and freedom most people take for granted. The need for care is never going to go away so I will spend as much of my life as I can trying to level the playing field and renovate broken systems so that people who need care can I have the same opportunities people that do not and can be just as productive in society as able-bodied individuals.

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Heather Johnson

Executive Administrative Assistant

Clare Luz Portrait

Clare Luz


Dr. Luz, PhD, Associate Professor, Family and Community Medicine, MSU College of Osteopathic Medicine, and founding director of both MSU AgeAlive and IMPART Alliance, is a gerontologist whose research focuses on quality of life for vulnerable older adults, long-term care health services, particularly the eldercare workforce shortage, and the intersection of aging, health, and the arts. AgeAlive is dedicated to elevating aging-related research, teaching, and outreach, in partnership with community, to promote wellbeing for all people of all ages and abilities. IMPART Alliance is an organization dedicated to helping MI build an infrastructure that expands and supports direct care workers (DCW). She Co-chairs both the statewide MDHHS DCW Advisory committee and the statewide MI DCW Coalition comprised of employers, DCWs, clients and other stakeholders who are jointly generating innovative, feasible, affordable strategies to tackle the critical DCW shortage. Dr. Luz has served on the Michigan Long-Term Supports and Services Advisory Commission, the Michigan Society of Gerontology board, and the National Quality Forum’s Home and Community-Based Care Committee.

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Nancy Marsh

Fiscal Officer / Senior Administrative Staff

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Lazarius Miller

Administrative Services Manager / HR

Heather Picotte Portrait

Heather Picotte

Communications Architect

Heather Picotte, IMPART Alliance Communications Architect, has worked in nonprofit and healthcare communications for more than 20 years. Throughout her career, she has worked with a number of organizations focused on person-centered care. As a family caregiver from a young age and the daughter of a Direct Care Worker, Ms. Picotte is committed to informing and empowering DCWs and the elders they serve. Ms. Picotte is responsible for organizational communications, social media, and graphic design for the organization.

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Michelle Twichell

Career Development / Success Coordinator

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Chris Wierenga

Career Development Systems Coordinator

Chris has an extensive background in both personnel and process management, in both private industry and higher education settings. He earned his bachelor’s in Psychology from MSU in 2004, prior to being commissioned as an Air Force officer. Chris returned to MSU in 2014, earning a graduate certificate in Teaching and Learning in Higher Education, along with a master’s in Higher, Adult, and Lifelong Education. Having spent time as a caregiver in an adult foster home during college, Chris developed an appreciation for the direct care worker population. With 15 years of leadership experience, he is looking forward to helping IMPART Alliance do its part to strengthen the DCW workforce in order to ensure access to high quality care throughout the state.