Staff

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.

 

Photo by Satsuki “Sunshine” Scoville

Viki Baker, Associate Director

Viki joined the Senior PharmAssist staff in July 2015. She came to us after nearly 18 years with Meals on Wheels of Wake County, where she served in several capacities—including associate director—from 2006 through this year. Viki brings a wealth of management skills to her role with Senior PharmAssist and is well-acquainted with the needs of senior adults. She holds a Bachelor of Science from East Carolina University’s Family and Community     Services School of Human Ecology.

 

 

Sheri Balogun

Sheri Balogun, 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 17 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, making a bold foray into the nonprofit sector.  She comes to us from Duke where she pursued her graduate degree 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 (sometimes at the same time!) – she will be delighted to show you pictures.

 

 

 

 

 

Photo by Satsuki “Sunshine” Scoville

Ida Daniels, Administrative Assistant

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.

 

 

 

 

 

Photo by Satsuki “Sunshine” Scoville

Marilyn Disco, PharmD, CGP, Clinical Services Director

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 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.

 

 

 

 

 

Stacy Gregory, MPA, Community Services Director

Stacy is a new resident of North Carolina coming to us from Toledo, Ohio. She is an avid Buckeye fan. She earned her Master’s degree in Public Administration with a concentration in nonprofit management from Bowling Green State University. Prior to coming to North Carolina, Stacy served as a Volunteer Services Director for a hospice in Ohio. Stacy has a heart for not only coordinating volunteers, but volunteering herself when she can. Stacy oversees our Medicare insurance counseling, coordinates volunteers, and provides care management to participants and caregivers

 

 

 

 

Photo by Satsuki “Sunshine” Scoville

Rhonda Mack-Minnifield, MA, Health Resources Coordinator

Rhonda also joined our staff in 2013 and earned her Master of Arts in Health Education and Promotion from East Carolina University. She has focused on health literacy in several of her past jobs and since 2012 has served as community health educator and facilitator with the N.C. Division of Aging and Adult Services. Rhonda is a lifelong Durham resident and helps Senior PharmAssist ensure that our community referrals are working well.

 

 

 

 

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, CGP, 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 certified geriatric pharmacist. She works 20 hours per week.