Governing Council


Julia Henderson, Concordia University

Julia Henderson (she/her) is Chair of NANAS. She is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Occupational Science and Occupational Therapy at the University of British Columbia. She is a registered Occupational Therapist, holds a PhD in Theatre, and completed a postdoctoral fellowship in communication studies with Concordia University’s Aging+Communication+Technologies Lab. She is an investigator with UBC’s Edwin S. H. Leong Centre for Healthy Aging and its Centre for Research on Personhood in Dementia. Her research uses arts-based methods, especially theatre, to work with older adults on projects that seek to redress cultural ageism and promote citizenship. Julia’s work is published in Canadian Theatre Review, Journal of American Drama and Theatre, Theatre Research in Canada, Age Culture Humanities, Thornton Wilder Journal, Leisure/Loisir, and Research in Drama Education: The Journal of Applied Theatre and Performance.

Nicole Dalmer, McMaster University

Nicole Dalmer (she/her, they/them) is Vice-Chair of NANAS. She is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Health, Aging and Society at McMaster University. She is also the Associate Director of the Gilbrea Centre for Studies in Aging at McMaster University. Nicole’s work takes up an interdisciplinary, critical gerontological approach as she explores the meanings, expectations, and values of connections (both with people and with technologies) in later life.

Mérida M. Rúa, Northwestern University

Mérida M. Rúa is the Secretary of NANAS. She is a faculty member in the Latina and Latino Studies Program at Northwestern University whose research and teaching focus on the history and sociocultural politics of communities of color in US cities. She is the author of A Grounded Identidad: Making New Lives in Chicago’s Puerto Rican Neighborhoods (Oxford University Press, 2012) and co-editor of Latino Urban Ethnography and the Work of Elena Padilla (University of Illinois Press, 2010), Critical Dialogues in Latinx Studies: A Reader (NYU Press, 2021), and co-editor a special issue of the journal Latino Studies on “The Art of Latina and Latino Elderhood” (December 2021). Rúa’s current book project, “Migrations to Elderhood,” examines Puerto Rican old-timers’ complex and multifaceted lives. The project offers interdisciplinary insight into how the long-lived talk about and make meaning of their experiences and socio-spatial environments as they grow old.

Kate de Medeiros, Miami University of Ohio

Kate de Medeiros, Ph.D. is a founding member of NANAS, is a former Governing Council chair, and is currently a Member at Large with NANAS. She hosted the first NANAS conference at Miami University in 2014. Although her PhD is in gerontology, she has a B.A. in English literature from Northwestern University and began her graduate work as a student of Tom Cole’s at the Institute of Medical Humanities at the University of Texas Medical Branch at Galveston, where she later earned an M.S. in Clinical Gerontology. As a gerontologist with a strong humanities background, her work often focuses on building bridges across various disciplines interested in later life. Her publications include Narrative Gerontology in Research and Practice and The Short Guide to Aging and Gerontology; Global Aging: Comparative Perspectives on Aging and the Life Course (with F. Whittington and Suzanne Kunkel), Critical Humanities and Ageing: Forging Interdisciplinary Dialogues (co-edited with M. Goldman and T. Cole) as well as 60 peer-reviewed publications and numerous book chapters. She is also the editor of Narrative Works, an associate editor of Journals of Gerontology: Social Sciences for qualitative research, and the series editor for the Bloomsbury Studies in Humanities and Ageing series.

June Oh, University of Texas at Tyler

June Oh is a a Member at Large with NANAS. She is an Assistant Professor of English and Digital Studies at The University of Texas at Tyler. Oh’s first research project traces the history of aging in British literature with a special interest in how age intersects with race, gender, and class. As an international teacher and a digital humanities scholar, Oh is currently working on a project that examines the cultural history of aging in the East Asian digital landscape. Her work has been published in Age Culture HumanitiesThe Korean Society of British and American Fiction, and Studies in Modern British and American Poetry.

Benjamin Gillespie, CUNY

Benjamin Gillespie is a Member at Large with NANAS. He is a Faculty Lecturer in Communication Studies and Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies in the Weissman School of Arts and Sciences at Baruch College, City University of New York (CUNY) where he specializes in gender and media studies, performance and theatre studies, and professional communication. He completed his PhD in Theatre & Performance Studies at The Graduate Center, CUNY and was awarded the 2022 Monette-Horwitz Dissertation Prize from theCenter for LGBTQ Studies. His research explores the intersection of aging, gender, and sexual identity in modern and contemporary theatre and drama. He is currently editing a critical anthology of the later works of the lesbian-feminist theatre company Split Britches as well as an edited collection titled Late Stage: Theatrical Perspectives on Age and Aging.

Gustavo Morelos Padilla, CETYS Universidad

Gustavo Morelos Padilla is a Member at Large with NANAS and is responsible for the monthly NANAS Newsletter. He has a Doctor of Social Science with a background in Psychology and currently works as a Researcher and Lecturer in the field of Social Gerontology. His interests explore the convergence of objective elements and subjective experiences related to old age, with a particular emphasis on promoting aging as a positive experience. Currently, his research concentrates on the topics of work and retirement. Since 2018, Gustavo has held a full-time faculty position at CETYS Universidad Tijuana, where he is affiliated with the graduate program of Social Gerontology. In 2023, he was recognized as a member of the National System of Researchers in Mexico.

Anita Wohlmann, University of Southern Denmark Odense

Anita Wohlmann is a Member at Large with NANAS. She is an Associate Professor in Contemporary Anglophone Literature at the University of Southern Denmark, Odense, where she is a member of the Center for Uses of Literature and the Center for American Studies. She teaches American literature as well as courses in Narrative Medicine. She is co-editor with Aagje Swinnen of the journal Age, Culture, Humanities and a founding member and coordinator of the German Network for Narrative Medicine. Anita’s research focuses on metaphors, age and aging, illness narratives, and life writing. Her newest monograph is Metaphor in Illness WritingBattle and Fight Reused (2022, open access).

Student Representative

Heunjung Lee, University of Alberta

Heunjung Lee is the Student Representative with NANAS. She is a PhD Candidate in Performance Studies and an instructor in the Department of Drama at the University of Alberta. Bridging Performance Studies, Age Studies, and Critical Disability Studies, her SSHRC-funded research Performing (Ab)normal: Reframing Ageing and Dementia investigates how performance practices and theories can challenge ageism and stigma around dementia. Her work on ageing and performance are published in journals such as Theatre Research in Canada(TRiC) and European Journal of Theatre and Performance (EJTP). Her article on representation of dementia and reality perception is forthcoming in Contemporary Theatre Review (CTR)


Valerie Lipscomb, University of South Florida Sarasota-Manatee

Institutional Member

Suzanne Bailey, Trent University

ENAS Representative

Linda Hess, University of Augsburg

Linda Hess is a senior lecturer and postdoctoral researcher in American Studies at the University of Augsburg, Germany. She is author of Queer Aging in North American Fiction (2019) and co-editor of Life Writing in the Posthuman Anthropocene (2021). She contributed articles to Critical Humanities and Ageing: Forging Interdisciplinary Dialogues (2022) and a Special Issue on Ageism of the University of Toronto Quarterly (2021). Next to her work in age studies, her current research and teaching interests include questions of grievability in the environmental humanities and the intersection of ecocriticism and humor studies. In the Fall of 2022, she completely a stay at The Greenhouse – Center for Environmental Humanities at the University of Stavanger in Norway as a “Green Transitions Fellow” and her article on “Modes of Comedy in Environmental Narratives” that evolved from this fellowship is set to appear in Fall 2023. 

Ex Officio Member Representing Age, Culture, Humanities

Aagje Swinnen, Maastricht University

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