About Us


The Center's Mission

The de Tornyay Center for Healthy Aging serves as a catalyst for promoting healthy aging through its support of research and education in the field of gerontology for both the University of Washington and the broader community. The Center is committed to advancing and sharing knowledge about successful aging and ways professionals and systems can promote optimal experiences for older adults.

The People

Rheba de Tornyay, EdD, FAAN

Dean Emeritus, School of Nursing, University of Washington

On Sunday October 13, 2013 at the Husky Union Building, the de Tornyay Center on Healthy Aging along with the University of Washington and the community in a celebration of gratitude and hope honored the extraordinary life of Dr. Rheba de Tornyay.

Dr. Rheba de Tornyay was remembered for her lifelong efforts in the promotion of nursing research, training and services for the healthy aging of adults. Dr. de Tornyay was Dean Emeritus of the School of Nursing at the University of Washington and has made outstanding contributions to the fields of nursing and gerontology. The American Academy of Nursing has honored Dean Emeritus Rheba de Tornyay.  The AAN has renamed its annual fund the Rheba de Tornyay Development Fund, in commemoration of its first president and Living Legend Rheba de Tornyay. The Academy honored de Tornyay for her extraordinary leadership during her term as president from 1973 to 1974 and her unceasing efforts to improve care for the elderly.

Barbara Cochrane, PhD, RN, FAAN

Barbara Cochrane is the Director of the de Tornyay Center for Healthy Aging. She is a Professor in the Department of Family and Child Nursing and the de Tornyay Professor for Healthy Aging. Dr. Cochrane has a strong commitment to health promotion and disease prevention in older adults. She has played an influential role in the Women's Health Initiative as a member of the Clinical Coordinating Center at Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center, where she is a Joint Associate Member in Public Health Sciences. She has national recognition for her research focused on healthy aging and symptom management in postmenopausal women, and has been a co-investigator with the Family Functioning Research Program and Dr. Frances Marcus Lewis's research on family's adjustment to a cancer diagnosis. Dr. Cochrane consults nationally on data and safety monitoring in clinical trials. 

Nancy Fugate Woods, PhD, RN, FAAN, new Center Co-Director

Dean Emerita Dr. Nancy Fugate Woods is the Co-Director of the de Tornyay Center for Healthy Aging.   Dr. Woods is a Professor in the Department of Biobehavioral Nursing and Health Systems. Dr. Woods joined the School of Nursing faculty in 1978 and has focused her research and teaching efforts on women's health for more than 40 years. In 1989 Dr. Woods, in collaboration with Dr. Joan Shaver, established the first NIH-funded Center for Women's Health Research at the UW School of Nursing.  In collaboration with Dr. Ellen Mitchell, she led the Seattle Midlife Women's Health Study, a longitudinal study of symptoms and endocrine, social, personal, and genetic factors influencing symptoms.  Along with Dr. Cochrane, Dr. Woods serves as an investigator for the MS-FLASH study of symptom management approaches for hot flashes and menopause-related symptoms, and they have served as investigators for the Women's Health Initiative Study since its inception.  Dr. Woods' current work focuses on healthy aging in older women, including phenotypes for identifying those who experience optimal health and well-being as they age.

In addition to her research, Dr. Woods teaches courses on research methodology, women's health issues, gerontology, and health policy.  She was honored for her mentorship of graduate students and faculty with the Anna Shannon Mentorship Award from the Western Institute of Nursing in 2013, and has served as president of the American Academy of Nursing, the North American Menopause Society, and the Society for Menstrual Cycle Research.  She currently chairs the Biology of Aging and Gerontology Interest Group for the IOM.  

Heather Wicklein Sanchez, BS

Heather Wicklein Sanchez is the Manager of the de Tornyay Center for Healthy Aging. Ms. Wicklein Sanchez started at the UW in 1997 and comes to the de Tornyay Center with expertise in program development, grants/contracts management, and administration. She worked most recently with the Nocturnal Asthma in Youth study in the Department of Family and Child Nursing and previously was Manager for the clinical/research/training clinic operations of the Fetal Alcohol Syndrome Diagnostic and Prevention Network in the Department of Epidemiology. As the Manager of the de Tornyay Center, Ms. Wicklein Sanchez is responsible for senior management of Center operations and works with Dr. Cochrane on strategic planning and development activities to sustain and enhance Center activities. She is very pleased to be a part of the de Tornyay Center for Healthy Aging.

Janet S. Pohl, PhC, MN, RN

Janet S. Pohl is the Graduate Staff Associate for the De Tornyay Center on Healthy Aging. She was the 2010-2011 de Tornyay Healthy Aging Master Scholar.  Janet is currently a PhD candidate with the School of Nursing and has focused her graduate scholarship on gerontological nursing.  As the Graduate Staff Associate at the de Tornyay Center, she assists with Center operations and activities including the Gerontology Interest Group, Gerontological Professionals Network, scholarship programs and research opportunities.  Janet enjoys applying her interest in gerontological nursing to the advancement of the de Tornyay Center mission.