Who's Who at the Ravazzin Center
Director & Chair
Janna Heyman, PhD, is Professor and Chair of the Henry C. Ravazzin Center at Fordham University’s Graduate School of Social Service. Dr. Heyman received both her PhD and MSW from Fordham University. She teaches social work research, advanced research design, advanced research analysis, program evaluation and social policy. Dr. Heyman has received numerous aging grants to enhance the lives of older adults, children and families. Dr. Heyman is also working with colleges and universities in the tri-state area to expand aging educational information to graduate and undergraduate students.
Dr. Heyman was awarded an intergenerational research grant to assess whether an intergenerational program makes a difference in children’s attitudes toward older adults. She is also Director of Fordham’s Children and Families Institute where she oversees a number of federal, state, and local grants. One of these initiatives is collaborating with the Westchester County Department of Social Services on a federal grant to address systemwide changes in the foster care system, including expanding services for youth, parents, and grandparents. In 2013, Dr. Heyman was appointed as Fellow at the New York Academy of Medicine. She was President of the State Society on Aging (SSA) of New York and currently serves on the Board. Recently, Dr. Heyman was awarded the 2015 Academic Excellence Award by the American Public Human Service Association for outstanding education and training in the field of human services. Dr. Heyman received her Fordham University Outstanding External Grant Award in 2019. She is also a fellow with Gerotological Society of America.
Linda White-Ryan, PhD, LMSW, RN, CASAC, is Clinical Specialist at the Ravazzin Center on Aging and Assistant Dean at the Fordham University Graduate School of Social Service. She received both her doctoral and master's degree in social work from Fordham's Graduate School of Social Service. Dr. White-Ryan has 25 years of experience working in the psychiatric and substance abuse fields in both inpatient and outpatient clinical settings. She has developed alcohol and substance abuse prevention workshops and presented them in many school systems throughout Westchester County. Dr. White-Ryan’s research interests currently include older adults and alcoholism/substance abuse.
Ravazzin Center Faculty Research Scholars
Faculty research scholars are faculty members working on projects under the aegis of the Ravazzin Center.
Cathy Berkman, PhD, ACSW, is Faculty Research Scholar at the Ravazzin Center on Aging and Intergenerational Studies and Professor at the Fordham University Graduate School of Social Service and Director of the Palliative Care Fellowship. Her research are in aging and palliative care. Her current research examines the knowledge, attitudes, and behaviors of older adults in relation to treatment for life-limiting illness and advance directives, and communication preferences regarding life-sustaining treatment. She is also examines the role of adult children and the role of culture in each of these areas.
Martha C. Bial, PhD, is Faculty Research Scholar at the Ravazzin Center on Aging at the Fordham University Graduate School of Social Service, where she teaches social work practice with older adults and their families, social policy and supervision for field instructors. She was a practitioner, supervisor and consultant in the field of aging for 25 years and later served as Associate Director of Field Instruction at Fordham. She received her BA from Harvard, her MSW from Columbia and her PhD from Fordham. Her research and teaching interests include social work in long-term care, use of oral history and reminiscence, workforce development in aging and substance abuse in older adults.
Amy Horowitz, PhD, is Faculty Research Scholar at the Ravazzin Center on Aging and Professor at the Fordham University Graduate School of Social Service. Before joining the Fordham faculty in 2010, Dr. Horowitz was director of the Research Institute on Aging of Jewish Home Lifecare and held the Anna A. Greenwall Chair in the Department of Geriatrics and Palliative Medicine at the Mt. Sinai School of Medicine (2006-2010). Previously, Dr. Horowitz was at Lighthouse International as senior vice president for research and evaluation, and director of the Arlene R. Gordon Research Institute (1984-2006).
Ji Seon Lee, PhD, is Faculty Research Scholar at the Ravazzin Center on Aging and Associate Dean and Associate Professor at the Fordham University Graduate School of Social Service. In 1999, Dr. Lee was named one of the first Hartford Geriatric Social Work Faculty Scholars, a program funded by the John A. Hartford Foundation and administered by the Gerontological Society of America.
Dr. Lee's interests are conducting outcomes research on how chronically ill elders fare in various long-term care settings (i.e. home health care), specifically examining the role of social work and its impact on patient outcomes.
Judith R. Smith, LMSW, PhD, is Faculty Research Scholar at the Ravazzin Center on Aging and Associate Professor at the Fordham University Graduate School of Social Service. Dr. Smith’s research interests in aging are centered on social work education and those experiences that support students’ interest and competence in servicing older adults. She recently completed a two year longitudinal study of novice social work students’ experiences in graduate school, all of whom were assigned to do their first year field placement in community based agencies servicing seniors. This data collection was videotaped and has been edited into a series of educational films for use in undergraduate and graduate schools of social work. The two-volume series is entitled “Becoming a social worker with older adults: real students, real clients, real growth.”
Using mixed methods, Dr. Rose M. Perez interviewed older Cuban Americans and later extended her exploratory research to all Spanish speaking immigrants. This led to the development of the Spanish-language bidimensional Perez Ambiguous Loss of Homeland Scale (PALH) to measure the loss of and satisfaction with the homeland. Future work will further validate the scale and continue to understand its correlates to the wellbeing of immigrants from different sending countries. She is also engaged in writing and producing a documentary film to illustrate her work. The film’s tentative title is Cuba es mi Patria: The Homeland I Keep Inside.
Henry J. Davis,PhD, is the Director of Programs and Research for the Henry C. Ravazzin Center on Aging and Intergenerational Studies under Fordham University’s Graduate School of Social Service. Dr. Davis received his Ph.D. from Fordham University’s Graduate School of Education. Prior to his appointment, Dr. Davis worked in faculty development within the City University of New York (CUNY) System and served as an Adjunct Professor with Fordham’s Graduate School of Education and at Mercy College. He has published in peer-reviewed journals such as the International Journal of Servant Leadership and has presented his work at the University of Notre Dame, John Carroll University, and at Fairfield University. His most recent presentation was at the Annual Conference of the State Society on Aging of New York. Dr. Davis’ interest in promoting social justice through advocacy underpins his research agenda.
Karen Dybing, MA, is Administrator at the Ravazzin Center on Aging. She has extensive experience in office administration, data analysis, budgeting and computerized modeling. She is responsible for day-to-day operations at the Center, liaison with University offices, maintaining and updating databases, and overseeing production of Center documents.
Peggy Kelly, LMSW, is Research Director at Fordham University’s Ravazzin Center on Aging and Intergenerational Studies in the Graduate School of Social Service, where she helps to direct an array of research projects addressing vulnerable and disadvantage populations across the lifespan. Peggy received her Masters of Social Work degree, with a concentration in research, from Fordham University in 2014. Prior to becoming a social worker, Ms. Kelly was a Social Affairs Officer at the United Nations. Ms. Kelly has extensive experience in both qualitative and quantitative analyses, and recently helped to coordinate a randomized control trial assessing the impact of an educational intervention on improving communication between older adults and their health care providers.
Candace Mercado, MSW, is Service Analyst at Fordham University’s Ravazzin Center on Aging and Intergenerational Studies in the Graduate School of Social Service, where she is involved in the Westchester Building Futures Initiative. She is responsible for data entry, working on foster care programming, and database management. Ms. Mercado received her MSW at Fordham University in 2018. She has also involved with community organizations in Westchester County working with at-risk youth.
Connor White is a Grant and Program Analyst at the Henry C. Ravazzin Center on Aging. He has over 5 years of experience working as a Media Consultant for the Ravazzin Center, where he wrote newsletters and articles about the Center’s many programs and partnerships within the New York City area. He received his Master’s degree in English from Monmouth University, and has been published in national magazines such as Spin, T.V. Guide, and Newsweek for his journalistic writing.