We recognize that the COVID-19 situation is having an impact on all aspects of our lives. If you need to talk about your Aging Studies Minor, Gerontology Certificate, Long-Term Care Certificate, or Dementia Certificate, please email me at [email protected].

Many of you interested in or enrolled in the minor or certificate programs are already working with older adults in some capacity and are experiencing additional challenges professionally.

Please see the Older Adults COVID-19 Community Resource Page for links to services for not only older adults, but for professionals and caregivers.

Be safe and take care of yourselves,

Aging Studies Program Faculty Affiliates


Aging is a universal reality and now is a great time to consider a program in aging studies. With the global population aging, not only are careers working with older adults expanding, but it is becoming more necessary to understand aging in business, technology and any work that involves the community and working with people.

Perhaps you witnessed a loved one age and discovered firsthand how critical specialized health care is for older adults, maybe you desire a career change to focus on issues that impact elders, or you may wish to support your professional knowledge with a degree in gerontology or dementia. Whatever the case, we are glad that you are considering a rewarding career that includes supporting the health and well-being of older adults.

If you study in our aging studies program, you will:

  • Learn the realities and myths associated with growing old
  • Approach aging from a life-course perspective
  • Engage with students and faculty that come from a variety of disciplines to develop a comprehensive knowledge of aging issues
  • Enhance your skill and abilities so that you can better work with and on behalf of the older adults
  • Why Study at Eastern

    Our programs not only provide you with a comprehensive understanding of aging issues, we will also support you to apply your knowledge in community settings with elders. Beyond that:

    • Our aging studies programs have a legacy of excellence that dates back to 1976
    • Our program is administered through a committee of faculty members from a variety of diverse, interdisciplinary backgrounds
    • Through individual advising and instruction, we provide you with consistent feedback and direction to help you meet and exceed your personal and professional objectives
    • We challenge you to become more person-centered, passionate and creative in your work
    • We develop and maintain dynamic community partnerships in the field of aging to provide you with relevant and applied learning opportunities.

    If you are interested in working alongside other professionals who have a passion for caring for elders, then we think you’d be a great fit for the aging studies program at EMU’s College of Health and Human Services.

  • Advising

    Minor Students

    Scheduling an appointment either before or after you declare your minor can be helpful as you plan your classes throughout your degree program. Advising can help you to determine which classes best fit your interests and schedule.

    Certificate Students

    As a part of the graduate school, certificate students need to develop a plan of study before graduation. Doing this sooner rather than later can help you plan out your academic schedule in advance.

    Advising Appointments

    Contact Cassandra Barragan at https://drbarragansvirtualoffice.setmore.com/jgxrpv or Janet Leppala at https://drbarragansvirtualoffice.setmore.com/janetleppala to schedule an appointment through Zoom. 

  • Newsletter

  • Age Friendly University (AFU)

  • Faculty Bios

    Melanie Baird
    Melanie Baird is a lecturer in the Aging Studies Department.  She is the Vice President of Programs for the Michigan Chapter of the Alzheimer’s Association.  She has a bachelor’s degree in psychology from Kalamazoo College and a master’s degree in social work from Western Michigan University.  Her community service includes work with the Michigan Dementia Coalition and the Arab American Community Advisory Board for the Michigan Center for Contextual Factors of Alzheimer’s Disease.  Melanie’s interest in the field of Aging stems from spending lots of time with her grandparents as a child.  She elaborates, “That experience gave me such an appreciation and respect for older adults and helped fuel my interest in working with and advocating for them.”  Courses taught: AGIN523 (Designing Activities for People with Dementia). 

    Jean Barnas-Haratsaras
    Jean Barnas-Haratsaras is a lecturer in the Aging Studies Department.  She is the co-author of “Everyday Challenges: The Feasibility of a Family Caregiver Training Program for Persons with Dementia.”  Jean developed her interest in Aging Studies after taking a course in human development and family studies and was instantly drawn to learning more about aging and how to make a positive impact.  She works as an advocate and fundraiser for the Alzheimer’s Association in memory of her mother.  Courses taught: AGIN418/518 (Introduction to Alzheimer’s and Related Dementia) and AGIN524 (Families and Dementia).

  • Summer and Fall 2021 Courses

Contact Us

Cassandra Barragan, Ph.D., MSW
Eastern Michigan University
206H Marshall Hall
Ypsilanti, MI 48197

734.487.5823 | [email protected]