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The Partnerships in Aging Program team is a diverse coalition of UNC faculty, students, community organizations, and advisors who are all committed to a collaborative approach in understanding and addressing the needs of current and future elder communities.

Find out more about the individuals who fuel our work:

Cherie Rosemond, Director

Cherie brings almost three decades of experience working on the social, physical, and political aspects of aging in the United States. Cherie views later life as a time for continued growth, contribution, and vitality.  As such, she is a champion of interdisciplinary, intergenerational, community engagement as a way to ensure our homes and neighborhoods are great places for people of all ages to live.  She also focuses attention on the arts and humanities as a way to expand and re-imagine new possibilities for later life. In 2009, Cherie completed her Ph.D. in Health Behavior at UNC’s Gillings School of Global Public Health. Cherie also holds a master’s degree in physical therapy from Duke and a bachelor of arts degree in biology from Wake Forest. She has worked as a geriatric physical therapist within many practice settings, including large health systems, senior centers, nursing homes, and retirement communities. Since 2012, Dr. Rosemond has served as a consultant to the Orange County Department on Aging.  In this capacity, she has worked with teams of aging services providers, UNC students, and community members to develop and implement Orange County’s Master Aging Plan.  Her focus areas include senior housing,  caregiving, and program evaluation. In her free time, Cherie loves to dance, bike, and make beauty out of second-hand “stuff.”

Ryan Lavalley,  Assistant Professor, Project Director

Ryan is a community occupational therapist and assistant professor in the Division of Occupational Science and Occupational Therapy. He partners with the Partnerships in Aging Program (PiAP) to support initiatives and projects in collaboration with community organizations.  His expertise is focused on community practice and program development through lenses of positive aging frameworks, social justice, and community coalition building.  Ryan supports older adults in the community by leading intergenerational engagement and aging-in-community initiatives in the Northside, Pine Knolls, and Tin Top communities in collaboration with the Marian Cheek Jackson Center. He also supports the implementation of Orange County’s Master Aging Plan by managing the Orange County Department on Aging’s Handy Helpers program and coordinating providers of home repair and modification services through the Orange County Home Preservation Coalition.

Cass Dictus, Program Director

Cass is a doctoral student in UNC’s School of Nursing. She earned a BS in Biology from Denison University, an MPH with a focus on Health Management and Policy from Portland State University, and a BS in Nursing from UNC-Chapel Hill.  She is interested in promoting health equity for adults with functional limitations and chronic illness, especially related to dementia and end-of-life care, and generally improving quality of life for those serving in and served by long-term services and supports. Cass is evaluating the implementation of Orange County’s Master Aging Plan and conducting program evaluations for PiAP initiatives.


Sharon W. Williams, PhD, Community Mentor – Racial Equity

Sharon W. Williams, PhD is an Associate Professor and Director of UNC’s Division of Speech and Hearing Sciences. As an audiologist with expertise in gerontology, she applies her training and expertise to the scholarship of older adults living with life-limiting illnesses and to death and dying processes and outcomes. Dr. Williams is working with PiAP and Orange County’s Department on Aging to advance racial equity as the focus of Orange County’s 2022-27 Master Aging Plan.






Reflections on Aging: Read our leadership team’s own reflections on aging and join us in the conversation