BURLINGTON, IA, December 19, 2017 — Marquis Who's Who, the world's premier publisher of biographical profiles, is proud to present Linda Ann Gerdner with the Albert Nelson Marquis Lifetime Achievement Award. An accomplished listee, Dr. Gerdner celebrates many years' experience in her professional network, and has been noted for achievements, leadership qualities, and the credentials and successes she has accrued in her field. As in all Marquis Who's Who biographical volumes, individuals profiled are selected on the basis of current reference value. Factors such as position, noteworthy accomplishments, visibility, and prominence in a field are all taken into account during the selection process.
Linda A. Gerdner is a registered nurse who advanced her education through the University of Iowa College of Nursing by earning a master's degree in nursing (1992) and a PhD in Nursing in Aging along with a cognate in Anthropology (1998). She began her career as a staff nurse and advanced as a nursing supervisor. Due to her love of teaching she became a nursing instructor at Iowa Wesleyan College, and later a staff development coordinator in long-term care. After completing a master's degree she joined the nursing faculty at Grandview College in Des Moines, Iowa. While a doctoral student she served as the Project Director of the National Caregivers' Training Project. Following graduation she completed a two year post-doctoral program through the Veterans Affairs Medical Center, Division of Health Services Research and Development / University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences, Center for Mental Healthcare and Outcomes Research; Little Rock, Arkansas. Her first academic appointment was at the University of Minnesota School of Nursing. While there she completed a Mini-fellowship in Ethnogeriatrics at the Geriatric Education Center at Stanford University in Palo Alto, California and later served as an Ethnogeriatric Specialist at the Center.
Throughout Dr. Gerdner's career, she has been driven by a deep passion to advance the care of persons with dementia (PWD) to improve their quality of life. Her most outstanding contributions are in two areas: 1) she pioneered the development and testing of the theory based non-pharmacologial intervention of individualized music for persons with dementia, 2) worked to advance awareness and understanding of dementia within the Hmong American community to promote culturally responsive care. She has approximately 100 publications that include; peer-reviewed journal articles, book chapters, four books, and co-editor of another book. Her extensive publications in these areas have been influential at an interdisciplinary level, garnering national and international awards. Dr. Gerdner was inducted as a fellow of the American Academy of Nursing in 2010. Iowa Wesleyan College honored her with a Distinguished Alumni award in 2013.
Beginning in the early 1990s she pioneered a protocol for the use of individualized music in persons with dementia. She advanced this work by developing and testing the mid-range theory of individualized music intervention for agitation. Her cutting edge research won the International Psychogeriatric Assoc./Bayer Research Award.
She has disseminated her research on individualized music at conferences in 9 countries. In additional Dr. Gerdner served as a visiting scholar at Sweden's Goteborg Universitet to promote her cutting edge research. Her work has been the impetus for further testing by researchers and clinicians in Taiwan, Sweden, Canada, Japan, Great Britain, and the U.S. She authored a 50-page evidence-based protocol for the use of individualized music in persons with dementia that is currently in its 5th edition.
With support from Sigma Theta Tau International and the John A. Hartford Foundation she developed an interactive online continuing education module to assist nurses in the assessment, implementation, and evaluation of individualized music. The module was originally published in 2004 with updates every 2 to 3 years thereafter. The link is provided below:
She has developed a number of other free learning modules to empower health care professionals, ancillary staff and family in the use of individualized music for persons with dementia. See learning module below:
Evidence-Based Guideline: Individualized Music in Persons with Dementia (5th Edition)
Because persons with dementia are often cared for within multigenerational families, Dr. Gerdner wrote a realistic story that introduces an innovative model for the translation of evidence-based practice into an engaging story for children and their families. The story focuses on the relationship between a granddaughter and her grandmother who has Alzheimer's disease (AD). The story is unique in that it reflects the current knowledge and understanding of AD, going beyond the issue of short-term memory to address dysfunctional behaviors (i.e., anxiety and agitation) based on application of the Progressively Lowered Stress Threshold model (Hall & Buckwalter, 1987). It uses a problem solving approach that models the Evidence-Based Protocol for the Use of Individualized Music for Elders with Dementia (Gerdner, 2013) to empower the granddaughter in maintaining a relationship with her grandmother. Author notes that directly relate to, and build upon the contents presented in the story strengthens its educational value. Musical Memories is also intended to serve as a valuable resource for health care professionals and educators. The story was illustrated by Maureen Taylor Gearino and published as a picture book by Pizzicato Press in 2017
To enhance the learning value of Musical Memories, a website has been created that includes free downloadable resources for Health Care Professionals, Family Caregivers / Teachers, and Children. See weblink below:
In 2001, Dr. Gerdner identified a lack of knowledge regarding dementia in the Hmong American community. This led to her conducting the first ethnographic study to explore the perception and care of dementia in Hmong elders. Findings provide a foundation for culturally responsive care for this population. She advanced this work with collaboration of an online training module through Stanford Geriatric Education Center, refer to weblink below:
Her research identified a critical need for culturally responsive teaching materials to promote awareness and understanding of dementia by Hmong Americans. As a beginning effort she is the primary author of Grandfather's Story Cloth, a bilingual children's picture book. Themes from family caregiver experiences provide a culturally meaningful storyline. Support from the Southeast Asian Ministry provided national distribution to organizations serving Hmong Americans. This was supplemented by book readings, lectures and fund raising events for organizations serving elder Hmong Americans. The book's educational purpose is augmented by discussion questions that support family learning along with other learning exercises, refer to weblink below:
Grandfather's Story Cloth has received multiple awards and commendations including the: 2009 Skipping Stones Honor Award for Multicultural and International Awareness, 2009 Gold Medal from the Mom's Choice Award in the category of Children's Picture Books–Health and Safety, 2008 ForeWord Magazine Gold Medal for the Book of the Year in children's picture books, and the 2008 Moonbeam Children's Silver Medal Book Award. The book was also named as a notable children's trade book in the field of social studies by the National Council for Social Studies in cooperation with the Children's Book Council. In addition, “Grandfather's Story Cloth” was featured on the 2009 Cooperative Children's Book Center's Best of the Year List in picture books for school aged children.
Dr. Gerdner has had a long standing interest in traditional healing of indigenous cultures. This led to a ten-year project resulting in publication of, Demystifying Hmong Shamanism: Practice and Use by Hmong Americans Across the Lifespan. Case examples are described in rich detail and presented within a real-life context, providing a landmark publication on the topic.
To deepen her understanding of the Hmong people, Dr Gerdner visited their homeland of Laos and collected story cloths, created during their confinement in refugee camps in Thailand. In part, this textile art was created to share their treasured historical and cultural heritage to promote cultural understanding. Her extensive collection led to the publication of a book titled, Hmong Story Cloths: Preserving Historical and Cultural Treasures in 2015 that was nominated for the R.L. Shep Book Award for Ethnic Textile Studies. Reviews of this book follows:
Currently, Dr. Gerdner is a co-editor for Ethnicity and the Dementias (3rd Edition), scheduled for publication in 2018.
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