Faculty & Staff Listing


Peter Reed, PhD, MPH, Director

Email: psreed@unr.edu


Peter Reed

In September 2013, Dr. Peter Reed joined the University of Nevada, Reno (UNR) as Director of the Sanford Center for Aging and Professor of Community Health Sciences. As a statewide aging center that is part of the UNR Division of Health Sciences, the Sanford Center's mission is to serve older adults through interdisciplinary translational research, education and community outreach. Dr. Reed brings to the Center a commitment to service and collaboration, built upon nearly 20 years of experience in the field of aging that bridges research, practice, policy, and organizational leadership.


Dr. Reed received both a PhD and MPH in Health Behavior and Health Education from the School of Public Health at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, where he was a National Institute on Aging Pre-Doctoral Fellow in the Carolina Program on Healthcare and Aging Research. He is also a Phi Beta Kappa-graduate of the University of Kentucky, receiving a Bachelor of Science in Sociology. To further complement his training, he has completed various leadership and organizational management courses at the University of North Carolina, the University of Virginia School of Business, and the University of Southern California School of Public Policy. He is also a Fellow of the University of North Carolina Institute on Aging.


Most recently, Dr. Reed served as Chief Executive Officer of the Pioneer Network, an international non-profit organization, based in Chicago IL, dedicated to promoting a culture of aging that is life-affirming, satisfying, humane and meaningful. Under his strategic and operational leadership, Pioneer Network engaged in research, advocacy and education to foster deep transformation in organizations across the continuum of aging supports and services. While at the Pioneer Network, Dr. Reed also served as Adjunct Associate Professor at the Betty Irene Moore School of Nursing at the University of California at Davis, lecturing on social ecology, program planning and evaluation, health policy, organizational leadership, the aging experience, and supporting people living with dementia.


Prior to joining Pioneer Network, Dr. Reed served as President and CEO of the Center for Health Improvement, a national health policy research center based in Sacramento, CA, and as Senior Director of Programs for the Alzheimer's Association National Office, where he led the Association's Program Division in developing and delivering a wide range of care and support programs for people living with Alzheimer's in communities nationwide.


Dr. Reed is committed to contributing to the larger knowledge base in the field of aging, as well as to community service at all levels. As a frequent author and public speaker, Dr. Reed has published over 50 papers, monographs and book chapters in peer-reviewed and industry publications, and regularly offers session and keynote presentations at regional, national and international conferences. Recent community contributions include serving as Commissioner and Chair of the Sacramento County Adult and Aging Commission, as well as terms on the Boards of Directors for: The American Society on Aging, Advancing Excellence in America's Nursing Homes, and the Alzheimer's Association of Northern California and Northern Nevada.


Dedicated to serving elders and supporting quality of life, at various points throughout his career as a public health gerontologist, Dr. Reed has respectively worked as a direct service provider, researcher, advocate, non-profit leader, and social change agent, always striving to enhance the well-being of elders in every setting.

Suellen Bacigalupi, Volunteer Coordinator, Retired and Senior Volunteer Program

Email: sbacigalupi@unr.edu


Suellen Bacigalupi

The Retired and Senior Volunteer Program (RSVP) of Washoe County welcomes Suellen Bacigalupi as its new Volunteer Coordinator. Suellen is a third generation Nevadan who has lived in Reno her entire life. Suellen comes to the program after having worked at Saint Mary's Regional Medical Center for thirty-one years in a variety of positions from Receptionist to Human Resources Manager. At the hospital she interacted daily with volunteers and found the experience to be very rewarding. After a break from work to ponder what she would like to do with the next phase of her career life, Suellen is delighted to have discovered RSVP and the Sanford Center for Aging with the perfect work environment where she can help to make a difference in people's lives. RSVP Director Scott Trevithick said, "Suellen has both the relational skills and administrative background that make her a great fit to work with volunteers and our community partners at RSVP." Suellen began work on August 1.

Raina Benford, Student Ambassador, Gerontology Academic Program

Email: rbenford@unr.edu


Raina Benford

Raina Benford works as a student ambassador for the Gerontology Academic Program located in the Sanford Center for Aging. Through her role, she targets prospective students and introduces them to the minor and certificate program. She also assists Dr. Susan Harris in distributing information about the programs. She is a sophomore at the university and is majoring in Community Health Sciences with a minor in Gerontology. In her downtime, Raina is a Resident Assistant in Nye Hall. She hopes to one day receive a Masters in Public Health which will help her achieve her goal of reducing health risks for older adults.

Daniel Coffey, Public Relations Student Worker

Email: dcoffey@unr.edu


Daniel Coffey

Daniel is a student worker at the Sanford Center for Aging that focuses on public relations. He is responsible for keeping the center's multimedia correct and up to date. He is a junior at the university and is majoring in Journalism with an emphasis in Strategic Communication and a minor in Spanish. Daniel has been involed in Greek life, ASUN, Wolf Pack Radio, and the Nevada Sagebrush in his three years on campus. He is thrilled to be working at the center because it gives him the chance to utilize and improve his skills in various forms of media.  

Emily Correa, Graduate Assistant

Email: ecorrea@unr.edu


Emily started as a graduate assistant for the Sanford Center in January, 2014. After graduating from the University of Nevada with a degree in Social Work, she has returned to the university's graduate program and hopes to receive a certificate in Gerontology. She works primarily with Dr. Susan Harris and Teresa Sacks, assisting them in a variety of tasks including research and program evaluation.


Emily is a Nevada native that was born and raised in Elko. She currently commutes to Reno from her home in Gardnerville. She stays actively involved in her field during her free time including volunteering for Hospice and serving as the secretary for Phi Alpha which is a national honor society for Social Work. She is excited to be working at the center because she truly has a passion to help those in need.
Greta A. Engelbrecht, Senior Outreach Services, Special Projects Coordinator

Email: gengelbrecht@unr.edu


Greta EngelbrechtGreta is the Senior Outreach Services Special Projects Coordinator assisting with continuing education and training for volunteers while promoting volunteer retention and recognition. She supports service learning partnerships and collaborations that leverage essential services for the clients. Additional responsibilities include grant writing, fundraising, regulatory compliance and continuous quality improvement for the SOS program.


Greta is a retired pharmacist and quality manager with a background in non-profit organizations (research institutes and hospitals) and for profit concerns (small business and multinational corporation). She holds a Bachelor of Science in Pharmacy from North West University, South Africa and a Certified Quality Manager (CQM) 2001 American Society of Quality (ASQ).


Working with the compassionate and very resourceful SOS volunteers is a privilege!

Zebbedia Gibb, Community Assessment Graduate Assistant

Email: zgibb@unr.edu


Susan Harris, PhD., Coordinator, Gerontology Academic Program

Email: sharris@unr.edu


Susan Harris

Susan Harris is the program coordinator of the Gerontology Academic Program within the University of Nevada, Reno's Sanford Center for Aging. She holds a Master of Science in Human Development and Family Studies and a Master of Arts in Social Psychology, both from the university. Her dissertation areas of interest included the social psychology of aging and psychological development in adulthood. She was formerly project director for the statewide Nevada Care Connection project, a one-stop information source for professional and informal caregivers. The project was underwritten by the state's Aging and Disability Services Division.

Whitney Marineau, Graduate Research Assistant, Medication Therapy Management

Email: wamarineau@gmail.com


Whitney Marineau is the Graduate Research Assistant for the Medication Therapy Management (MTM) program in the Sanford Center. She joined MTM's team in October 2013 and has been acting as a point of contact for clients that are curious about the services that the program provides. Moreover, she is also involved in producing and reporting the statistics that are placed in the end of the year report.


Whitney is currently working on receiving her Master's degree in Speech-Language Pathology from the University of Nevada, Reno. She graduated from UNR in 2008 with a Bachelor of Arts degree in the field of Women's Studies. In her free time, Whitney enjoys learning languages and reading. She is also involved in the community through the AmeriCorps VISTA program which offers volunteer opportunities to help those living in poverty.

Velsabet Mojica-cisneros, Student Worker, Senior Outreach Services & Medication Therapy Management

Email: Vmojica-cisneros@unr.edu


Velsabet is a student worker that assists Senior Outreach Services and the Medication Therapy Management Program. She has been with the center since February 2012 and, since then, has been assisting the directors of the respective programs with of data entry, visiting prospective clients, and daily office tasks.


She plans on graduating in May 2015 with a degree in Social Work and Human Development & Family Studies with a minor in Psychology. Velsabet has enjoyed working for SOS and MTM because it gives her the ability to help people in the way she hopes in the future. She has a passion for social work that inspires her to volunteer consistently with people of all ages. As long as she is helping somebody in the end, then she is happy.


Teresa Sacks, M.P.H., Health Research Analyst

Email: sackst@unr.edu


Teresa SacksTeresa Sacks returned to the Sanford Center for Aging in September as a Health Research Analyst. She received her Bachelor’s degree in Psychology and minor in Gerontology from San Jose State University. She completed her Masters Degree in Public Health with a Certificate in Gerontology from the University of Nevada, Reno. Ms. Sacks is responsible for the overall management and operation of the Elders Count Project and the Medication Therapy Management Program . In addition to working on these two projects, Teresa also works with other SCA faculty and Nevada System of Higher Education faculty on program oversight, program research and evaluation, and grant development. She also works on developing programs that meet the training and consultative needs of physicians and other healthcare professionals throughout Nevada. Teresa is a published author and advocates on issues related to Veterans, elder rights, and long term care reform.

Sabrina Sevilla, Student Worker

Email: ssevilla@unr.edu


Sabrina Sevilla is a student worker and office assistant at the Sanford Center for Aging. She works closely with the office manager to maintain daily operations. She is also working with the Director of SCA to create a master database comprising all of the major programs and departments that make up the center.


She is a sophomore and pre-med student at the university with a major in Neuroscience and minor in Biochemistry. Beyond her work at the center, she also tutors in Math, Chemistry and Biology at the university's Tutoring Center. Her passion for medicine has also inspired her to volunteer at a free clinic through the Volunteers of Southern Nevada organization in Las Vegas. When she is not working, she enjoys hiking, traveling and snowboarding.

Christina Smith, Student Worker


Christina SmithChristina works with the Retired Senior Volunteer Program and the Medication Therapy Management program while pursuing a bachelor's degree in Social Work and a certificate/minor in Gerontology. Her interests include senior health and welfare policy. She also gives back to the community as a volunteer with Senior Outreach Services.

Sina Ward, Ed.D., Project Director, Senior Outreach Services

Email: sinaw@unr.edu


Dr. Sina Peau Ward is the Program Director for Senior Outreach Services, a volunteer program in which active senior volunteers assist low income, homebound, frail and elderly clients in maintaining their independent living status. Sina builds upon collaborations and partnerships on campus and in the community to contribute to the program focus of volunteers delivering assistive and supportive services to the most vulnerable elders in our community. She supports intergenerational partnerships that provide opportunities for students to gain professional experience by providing critical services for seniors.


Sina has an extensive background in counseling and education and served as Director of Admissions and Registrar for the American Samoa Community College in Pago Pago, where she worked for over 18 years before relocating to Reno. She holds a BA in Psychology at the University of Southern California, an MS in Counseling at the California State University, Hayward and her Ed.D. in Education Administration from the University of Hawaii, Manoa.

Nate Weigl, Teacher's Assistant

Email: njweigl@sbcglobal.net


Nate is a teacher assistant that has been working with the Sanford Center since Spring 2014. Having earned a degree in Community Health Sciences from the University of Nevada, Reno, Nate decided to continue his education by working toward a Masters degree in Public Health. In his spare time, Nate stays active by hiking and cycling.


Nate currently assists Dr. Sugar and Dr. Harris in their Gerontology courses. He is the T.A. for GERO 201 and GERO 337. He has also been working with Dr. Sugar in planning the 2014 Careers in Aging Week which is designed to help Gerontology students find careers.

Collette Witt, Office Manager

Email: collettew@unr.edu


Collette Witt works as the interim office manager at the Sanford Center for Aging. She assists in a variety of tasks dealing with accounting transactions, grants, traveling and general office support. She is pursuing a Bachelor's degree in Secondary Education with a major focus in Mathematics as well as a minor in Spanish.


Collette is highly involved in the College of Education at UNR; she is currently the President of the University of Nevada Education Association which works to engage students in the College of Education through social events, community service, and professional development. She is also the President of the statewide Nevada State Education Association which engages students across Nevada. In her free time, Collette enjoys reading, cooking, and baking.