2024 Schedule Coming Soon!

The schedule for the 2024 conference will be posted as soon as it is available. The 2023 schedule is shown below for reference.

All sessions, meals, and breaks will be held at the Wyndham Garden State College, and all times are listed in Eastern Standard Time (ET).

Conference includes the following meals/snacks:

  • light refreshments during breaks
  • lunch on November 2 and 3
  • evening reception with hors d’oeuvres and beverages on November 2

Continental breakfast is available for hotel guests on November 3.

Thursday, November 2
Time Event

8:00–8:45 a.m.

Conference registration

9:00–10:00 a.m.

Opening Panel Session
Nurse Aide Instructors — Best Practices in Teaching

Expert Panelists: 

  • Leah Walia, Nurse Aide Training Program Instructor, Northampton Community College
  • Maryanne Neal, RN, BSN, Med, Health Professions Teacher, State College High School
  • Victoria Huber, Health Occupations Technology Instructor, Central Westmoreland Career & Technology Center (CTC)
  • Alice Bowers, MSN, RN, Health Nursing Careers Instructor, Reading Muhlenberg CTC
  • Carissa Penatzer,  RN, BSN, Health Assistant Program Instructor, Greater Johnstown CTC

During this session, nurse aide instructors will be sharing best practices for teaching and improved student outcomes. Topics to be addressed will include best practices for teaching:

  • ACT 14
  • clinical days
  • infection control
  • use of technology in classroom

10:00–10:15 a.m.


10:15–11:45 a.m.

What You Need to Know — NATCEP Update

Speaker: Rebecca Conway, State Coordinator, Nurse Aide Training Program, PA Department of Education

Join this session to hear about state and federal updates to nurse aide programs in PA and how these changes will affect your teaching and nursing practice.

11:45 a.m.–1:00 p.m.

Networking lunch

1:00–2:30 p.m.

Credentia: Testing Tips and Techniques to Ensure Student Success

Speaker: TBA

Learn about best practices for helping your nurse aide students succeed while taking the PA NNAAP Nurse Aide Exam.

2:30–2:40 p.m.


2:40–4:00 p.m.

Panel Discussion
Nurse Aide Perspectives in Caregiving and Work Environment

Expert Panelists:

  • Marian Diaz
  • Luz Fernandez
  • Camille T-Alexander
  • Henry Pinto
  • Emma Zeman

This session will provide nurse aide instructors and practicing nurses with information about the nurse aide experience from a nurse aide’s viewpoint. Discussion will highlight:

  • ideas for improving nurse aide education 
  • tips for improved communication and rapport between nurses and nurse aides
  • insight for the improvement of nurse aide retention and positive work environment

4:00–4:15 p.m.


4:15–5:15 p.m.

Nurse Aide Recognition and Retention Strategies that Work!

Speaker: Nate Hamme: President and Executive Director, CECA Foundation

Can workforce recognition solve the health care staffing crisis? Staffing shortages, record levels of burnout, and waning employee engagement pose a critical threat to quality patient-resident care. Low-cost, high-impact initiatives to increase morale and retention are essential for cash-strapped organizations. Fortunately, decades of research have touted workforce recognition for its outsized impact on caregivers. Learn how to implement essential best practices in the science of recognition and leverage technology to build credible, lasting programs that engage caregivers and ease the staffing burden on leadership teams.

5:15–7:15 p.m.

Happy Hour and Participant Entertainment Workshops

Sponsored by Hartman Publishing

Join us for an evening of fun and networking as you test your cupcake-decorating skills and kick your heels up to some line dancing.

Friday, November 3
Time Event

7:00–8:00 a.m

Continental Breakfast (hotel guests only)

8:00–9:00 a.m

Morning Mindfulness Strategies for Clarity and Productivity

Speaker: Rachel Mateo, Health Coach, Personal Trainer, Health Mood Holistic Hub

A mindful morning routine can help you enhance your health and well-being, manage your stress, and maintain professionalism. This session will help you identify and establish activities and practices that support your well-being as a professional and help you to sustain positive self-care in the long-term.

9:05-10:05 a.m

Concurrent Breakout Sessions: Participants will be assigned to a group and will rotate through all concurrent breakout sessions. 

Breakout Session 1A
Drumming for Vitality

Speaker: Matt Price

Matt is a passionate and professional music educator with more than 14 years of teaching experience, nearly three decades of drumming expertise, and a degree from Berklee College of Music. His enthusiasm and engaging teaching style captivate students, making the learning process exciting and enjoyable. Matt firmly believes in the profound influence of rhythm on our lives, and he has wholeheartedly committed himself to sharing this transformative knowledge with others. Through his teaching, he instills inspiration and empowerment, enabling individuals and communities to unlock their creative potential and forge deep connections with their mind, body, and spirit. Matt seamlessly combines the arts of rhythm, movement, and mindfulness to provide a comprehensive and enriching educational experience.

Experience the power of “Rhythmic Entrainment” by playing rhythms together in a group. This phenomenon synchronizes the brain and body, resulting in both individual and collective benefits. Learn how drumming may benefit long-term care residents by:

  • encouraging human connections
  • enhancing communication
  • promoting collaboration
  • building new pathways in the brain
  • providing effective stress relief
  • getting the body moving
  • improving leadership skills

Breakout Session 1B
Wits Workout 2!

Speaker: Deborah Allen, MSW, CDP

Wits Workout is an engaging and interactive brain health program for older adults that can be conducted in a variety of settings. The Wits Workout serves a need in increasing socialization, reducing isolation, and promoting intellectual engagement in older clients, all of which complement current aging-brain health research.

Breakout Session 1C
Interventions for Hoarding in a Senior Setting

Speaker: Erin Edwards, MS, BCBA, BSL, Clinical Coordinator, Department of Psychiatry, Penn State Hershey College of Medicine/Penn State Health Medical Group

This session will review the growing body of literature on hoarding in older-adult residential settings. Erin Edwards will provide an overview of hoarding as a mental health and social issue, explaining the complexity of treatment for people who have hoarding behaviors.

  • Participants will identify symptoms of hoarding, beyond just accumulation of objects.
  • Participants will learn interventions and treatments that address hoarding behaviors and how they are applied effectively with older adults.

10:05 – 10:10 a.m.

Switch Rooms

10:10-11:10 a.m.

Concurrent Breakout Sessions 2

2A — Drumming for Vitality
2B — Wits Workout 2!
2C — Interventions for Hoarding in a Senior Setting

11:10–11:15 a.m

Switch Rooms

11:15 a.m-12:15 p.m

Concurrent Breakout Sessions 3

3A — Drumming for Vitality
3B — Wits Workout 2!
3C — Interventions for Hoarding in a Senior Setting

12:15–1:15 p.m.

Lunch and Closing Keynote Speaker
The Science of Happiness — The Keys to Having Happiness in Your Everyday Life

Speaker: Lisa Lundy

Participants will join Lisa for an hour of self-discovery as she shares her expertise and wisdom about using the principles of neuroplasticity and psychoneuroimmunology to help individuals to lead and live their happiest lives.

Lisa A. Lundy has been a member of the Newsweek Expert Forum since 2022, an invitation-only community for pioneering thinkers and industry leaders. She was hand-selected to join the Newsweek Expert Forum based on her proven expertise in the health and wellness field and is part of a curated network of thought leaders from various industries and professions

While reasonable efforts will be made to adhere to the advertised package, Penn State Conferences and Institutes reserves the right to substitute speakers and/or seminar content.