I am an Assistant Professor of Research in the School of Social Work at the University of Minnesota, Twin Cities. As an interdisciplinary gerontologist, I define successful aging as maintaining good physical and mental functioning, cultivating meaningful social relationships, and being financially secure throughout the life course. An important component of aging well is avoiding financial abuse and fraud, yet victimization causes millions of Americans to become financially fragile in older age. Victims also suffer from depression, shame, debt, and loss of financial independence. My work focuses on identifying the extent and cost of financial fraud in the US, as well as the factors related to financial victimization. I have experience in both quantitative and qualitative research methods having led focus groups, published case studies, and analyzed longitudinal data with tens of thousands of respondents. My career objective is to generate and test novel interventions that protect consumers from financial victimization, in addition to understanding the factors that make some people more vulnerable to scams than others.
I received a Ph.D. in gerontology from the USC Davis School of Gerontology, and a B.S. in biological psychology from UCLA. Prior to my current position I was a research scholar at the Stanford Center on Longevity in the Financial Security Division. During graduate school I conducted research on elder abuse and neglect in minoritized communities, evaluated outcomes of a multidisciplinary team response to abuse, and studied the tactics scam artists use to deceive older adults. In addition to my work on fraud and financial abuse, I have published studies on how older adults from different racial/ethnic backgrounds define elder abuse and how mandatory reporters and adult protective services workers perceive elder abuse response.