Gina Upchurch, RPh, MPH, Founder & Executive Director

Photo by Satsuki “Sunshine” Scoville

Gina was born in Durham and raised in Reidsville, N.C. She earned her Bachelor of Science in pharmacy and her master’s degree in public health at UNC-Chapel Hill. She also completed a residency in geriatric pharmacy practice at UNC-CH. She remains as adjunct faculty with both schools. Between degrees, she served as a U.S. Peace Corps volunteer teaching science in Botswana. As part of her MPH program, Gina’s summer project in 1992 was to conduct a needs assessment for a “free pharmacy” for older adults with support of the Durham County Hospital Corporation and the Council for Senior Citizens. She interviewed social service providers, healthcare providers, caregivers and seniors. Two issues emerged from her research:

  • Many people were struggling to pay for their medicines and needed help.
  • And, equally concerning, some of the medicines seniors were taking were contributing to their health problems.

Gina used information from the project as the basis for her master’s paper and an abbreviated version was published in the North Carolina Medical Journal. A month later—with the aid of the Duke Endowment and support from other foundations—Senior PharmAssist opened its doors to the Durham community on June 23, 1994.

In 2001, Gina was named a Robert Wood Johnson Community Health Leader and the following year received the Bowl of Hygeia Award for Community Service. In 2005, she earned the Eunice Tyler Award for Excellence in Public Health Education from the UNC-CH School of Public Health, Department of Health Behavior and Health Education, and in 2006 won the Don Blanton Award for Outstanding Contributions to Pharmacy from the N.C. Association of Pharmacists and the Elna B. Spaulding Founder’s Award for making a significant difference in the Durham community. In 2008, Gina received the Power of Prevention Award from the N.C. Health and Wellness Trust Fund Commission for her advocacy and public policy efforts, and in 2009 earned the Jim Long Outstanding SHIIP Service Award from the Seniors’ Health Insurance Information Program and the AARP North Carolina Advocacy Award.

Sheri Balogun

Sheri Omozokpea, PharmD, Clinical Pharmacist

Sheri has a doctor of pharmacy degree from UNC-Chapel Hill and a bachelor’s degree in biology from Washington University in St. Louis. She was selected from almost 100 applicants and is working 30 hours/week with us as a clinical pharmacist. Sheri holds the distinction of being our first “millennial” staff member in a long time, and we’re thrilled to have her!






Jane Tandler, Development & Communications Director


Jane joined the Senior PharmAssist staff in August 2018, transitioning into the nonprofit sector.  She comes to us from Duke where she received her Masters of Science in Neurobiology, and where she served as President of a pro-bono nonprofit consulting organization. In her position at SPA, Jane will be responsible for coordinating and implementing our fundraising efforts, among other things.  When not at work, she enjoys going to concerts and spending time with her pet hedgehog Milou and kitten Luna – she will be delighted to show you pictures.



Katrina Nesmith, MSW, Community Services Director

Katrina Nesmith joined us in November 2019 as our Community Services Director. Katrina earned her Masters of Social Work at Clark Atlanta University, and her Masters of Health Management at Colorado Technical University is in progress. Before coming to SPA, Katrina has used her social work skills in the Durham Public Schools, with a home health agency, and more recently as a contract worker with Durham County DSS when she worked with CAP “Community Alternative Program,” which helps keep people out of institutions. She comes to us from her position as a consultant to the NC Division of Health Benefits. Her practical experience and know-how will help guide our community referral work and she has already hit the Medicare ground running as she joined us during Medicare’s Open Enrollment Period!


Ida Daniels, Administrative Assistant

Photo by Satsuki “Sunshine” Scoville

Next to our executive director, Ida is our longest-serving staff member. She joined us as a part-time receptionist in 1999, through the auspices of the Senior Aides Program. When that program could no longer fund Ida’s position with Senior PharmAssist, we officially hired her to serve as part-time administrative assistant. Ida is a lifetime Durham resident, and her connections to the community, warm familiarity with our participants and professional skills help keep the office running smoothly.





Patricia Trull, MHS, Operations Director

Patricia joins us from Wilmington NC, after 5 years as the Practice Administrator of a podiatry office there. She has many years of experience in office management, and has a passion for caring for older adults. Here at SPA she will be applying her managerial skills and her MA in Health Sciences to maximize our capacity and efficiency. We are thrilled to have her with us!






Marilyn Disco, PharmD, BCGP, Clinical Services Director

Photo by Satsuki “Sunshine” Scoville

Marilyn graduated from UNC-Chapel Hill with a Doctor of Pharmacy degree and completed two post-graduate residencies before working for two years as a clinical pharmacist at a community health center. She is a board-certified geriatric pharmacist and joined the Senior PharmAssist staff in May 2003. As clinical services director, she coordinates the pharmaceutical care services provided by our program, ensuring that the participants, caregivers and healthcare providers we work with are well-served.







Brittany Crump, MPA, Health Resources Coordinator


Brittany was born and raised in Lexington, NC and came to Durham in 2004 to attend North Carolina Central University, where she earned her BA in Political Science.  After working for a retail pharmacy she gained a passion for working with and helping people while providing them a service. She attended Ashford University in 2017 and gained her Masters of Public Administration.  She is committed to serving low income communities as much as possible, and is a very welcome addition to our team!





Gayle Stone

Gayle Stone, Development & Business Associate

Gayle joined our staff in the fall of 2015 after working for many years in the development office at UNC-Chapel Hill. She works 16 hours a week and performs a number of important administrative, communications and fundraising tasks, including helping us prepare for our annual breakfast. We value her knowledge, versatility and determination to contribute every moment she’s here.




Nathalie Tissaire

Nathalie Tissaire, Program Associate

Nathalie has a bachelor’s degree from Middlebury College and a teaching certificate from Wesleyan University. She began as a volunteer with Senior PharmAssist and applied for our new position of program associate. In that role, she is now working 21 hours/week, helping clinical staff with screening those who call for help and providing administrative and outreach support. Her professionalism and easy manner have already endeared her to co-workers.






Photo by Satsuki "Sunshine" Scoville

Photo by Satsuki “Sunshine” Scoville

Jessica Visco, PharmD, BCGP, Clinical Pharmacist

Jessica earned her Doctor of Pharmacy degree from UNC-Chapel Hill in 2001. She then completed a one-year specialty residency in geriatrics at the UNC Geriatric Evaluation Clinic, where she stayed on as the clinical pharmacist until January 2005. Jessica joined our staff in February of that year and is also a board-certified geriatric pharmacist. She works 20 hours per week.