Consistent with the Nursing Facility Enrichment Program, this project proposes to implement the Core Dementia Care (CDC) QAPI training model that will improve individualized care and enhance person-centered dementia capable culture in Michigan SNF’s. Adapted from the evidence-based Savvy Caregiver Program, CDC is founded in person-centered, empowerment-oriented education. The project will enable SNF staff to effectively modify strategies to discover what contributes to the resident with dementia feeling content, engaged, and enriched in everyday life. Learned strategies improve efforts to prevent or avoid unnecessary pain and suffering for the person with dementia. Research suggests approximately 64% of SNF residents have dementia; thus, almost 25,000 Michigan citizens. Our consortium of content experts, researchers, experienced educators, and successful grant managers are uniquely qualified to implement this evidenced informed person-centered dementia care training, sustained by a systemic Master Trainer and Train-the-trainer component. A robust outcomes measurement will examine results in resident enrichment, care outcomes, and staff stress reduction.   

The CDC project will produce the following outcomes:

  1. Enhanced person-centered resident satisfaction. 

  2. Enriched resident well-being.

  3. Enhanced dementia capable culture. 

  4. Reduced caregiver stress.

  5. A replicable education model based on the principles of adult learning, person-centered practice, and evidenced-based dementia capable training.



Health Care Association of Michigan

HCAM is a statewide, not-for-profit, trade association representing the interests of for-profit and not-for-profit, county medical care, VA, and hospital-based providers. HCAM represents more than 350 nursing facilities in the state of Michigan. HCAM will act as the project fiduciary, and carry out Project Administrator and Project Director roles.

Starling Center

The Starling Center is a progressive, Michigan-based firm that focuses on the performance needs of organizations that serve older adults and people with disabilities. We support these organizations in the pursuit of human and systems development through workplace learning, culture transformation, and the cultivation of dynamic relationships. Since 1998 the Starling Center has provided person-centered consulting services and training to over 300 Michigan nursing homes and served as key personnel in 6 statewide grant initiatives.

As an independent contractor, Starling Center will carry out the Instructional Systems Design and Evaluation Design for Savvy Skilled Dementia Care, Train-the-Trainer, and Master Trainer Programs.

Starling Center associates will also carry out the following project roles:

Project Manager – Stacey Starling, PhD

Savvy Expert – Carey Sherman, PhD

Project Coordinator – Denise Cope

Training Coordinator, Evaluation Coordinator, & SME – Jamie Garcia, LMSW, ACC, MA


The National Association of Directors of Nursing Administration (NADONA), along with the Michigan chapter MI-NADONA, is a leading professional organization for current and aspiring nursing leaders providing professional development, board certification, and clinical expertise related to the promotion of health and wellness of individuals in the long-term care and post-acute care continuum. As committed strategic partners, representatives of NADONA and MI-NADONA will be active coalition members offering guidance in clinical subject matter expertise and training implementation.





Stacey Starling, PhD

Principal Stacey Starling brings 28 years-experience in skilled nursing services, adult education, and instructional design to the project. As the founder of the Starling Center, she has dedicated her career to the performance needs of LTC providers serving older adults and people with disabilities. She holds a PhD in the Humanities with a concentration in Transformative Learning & Change and a Masters in Organizational Development. The focus of her doctoral research was Person-Centered Culture in Aging Services. From 2008-2015 Starling served as Key Personnel in 6 state of Michigan Grant Funded Projects related to person-centered care in community-based services and nursing homes. Her body of work includes the instruction design, development, and implementation of the state-wide implementation of Person-Centered Thinking Curriculum, including Master Trainer and Train-the-Trainer components.


Carey Wexler Sherman, PhD

Carey Wexler Sherman, PhD is a gerontologist and dementia caregiving expert. After 12 years at the University of Michigan, Sherman is founder and director of the consulting firm, Family Care Strategies, LLC. Sherman is co-author of the Savvy CaregiverTM Program, a leading evidence-based family caregiver interventions approved by the U.S. Administration on Aging. Sherman consults on all Savvy Caregiver related projects throughout the U.S, including Michigan's state-wide implementation of SCP.


Denise Cope

Denise Cope has been producing and managing creative projects for over 20 years—including six years at the University of Michigan. One of her most notable achievements was the development of an award-winning, $2.25 million fundraising campaign for U-M as part of its 2014 annual day of giving. Working with a team to develop the overall strategy, Denise managed and produced all the creative for U-M’s first large-scale crowdfunding effort involving schools, colleges, units, and student organizations across three campuses. The campaign exceeded its fundraising goal by 225 percent, yielding the greatest number of first-time donors of any prior annual giving appeal. It also exceeded its goal of more than 1,000,000 campaign impressions by more than 2000 percent through an innovative use of social media and peer-to-peer sharing.


Jamie Garcia, LMSW, ACC

Jamie Garcia, LMSW, ACC is a fully licensed clinical master social worker and certified activity consultant. She earned MSW from Michigan State University and holds an additional Master’s in Interdisciplinary Studies with a focus on leadership and adult education from Cornerstone University. She serves as an adjunct professor at Western Michigan University and has taught Research Methods, Program Evaluation and Program Development in the Master of Social work program. She has provided education on the behavior management process at the Michigan Nadonna DON boot camp since 2016. As a clinical consultant in the nursing home industry, she has developed and implemented programs to improve the psychosocial well-being of the residents and reduce psychoactive medication usage. She developed a successful intern program and coordinated the training and oversight of interns from several Michigan Universities to meet the unmet needs of the residents.