Senior enjoying the outdoors

About AZ Falls Prevention Coalition

AFPC Mission

Our calling is to prevent falling! Developed to promote evidence-based falls prevention approaches, the Arizona Falls Prevention Coalition (AFPC) helps coordinate existing efforts, provides technical assistance and increases the opportunities for older adults to enhance their quality of life. The Coalition provides education and information to help older adults in Arizona improve their flexibility and balance, reduce their fear of falling, and decrease the likelihood of a fall.

The mission of the Arizona Falls Prevention Coalition is to reduce risk of falls in Arizona through education, outreach, evaluation and advocacy.

Chairman's Message

Vision for Reduced Falls-Related Mortality – Dr. Babak Michael Nayeri

Falls and consequent injuries are major public health problems…

AFPC Leadership Council

Meet the Arizona Falls Prevention Coalition leadership council. This committed group of professionals drives our organization forward and works to promote our mission.

Dr Michael Nayeri

Director, Arizona Healthy Aging (A-HA), Arizona Department of Health Services      

Arizona Falls Prevention Coalition, Chairperson

Dr. Nayeri has dedicated his professional career to population health and health systems improvement, public health, and teaching the future workforce. He serves as the State’s lead on Healthy Aging. He is also a Clinical Associate Professor at the University of Arizona College of Medicine, General Internal Medicine, Division of Geriatrics with joint faculty appointment at the U of A  Mel and Enid Zuckerman College of Public Health.  Through his career of service, he has led interprofessional teams to performance through strategic thinking, innovation, and proven business models. He has extensive experience in leading multi-million dollar matrix organizations and teams to greatness; strong mentor to service teams and peers.

In his current duties as Director of Healthy Aging at the Arizona Department of Health Services, Dr. Nayeri serves on Arizona Falls Prevention Coalition, Arizona Attorney General’s Health Care Committee (HCC), Attorney General’s Taskforce Against Senior Abuse (TASA), Governor’s Advisory Council on Aging, and Arizona Alzheimer’s Task Force.

Trauma Injury Prevention and Outreach Coordinator, HonorHealth                                                                                             

Arizona Falls Prevention Coalition, Vice-Chairperson

Shannon Dunn, RN, BSN holds a Bachelors of Science in Nursing. In addition, she is a Board Certified Emergency Nurse, and completed the Trauma Nurse Core Course. Shannon is also a flight RN with Airmethods. She has a passion for education, and enjoys outreach with the public. She often speaks at local Senior Centers, Schools and public events informing them on injury prevention.

Associate Professor, College of Nursing at the University of Arizona 

Southern Arizona – Arizona Falls Prevention Coalition, Liaison 

Arizona Falls Prevention Coalition, Secretary General

Dr. Ruth Taylor-Piliae is an Associate Professor in the College of Nursing at the University of Arizona. The goal of her research is to increase physical activity among older adults with cardiovascular disease through the implementation of innovative interventions such as Tai Chi, to improve physical functioning, reduce fall rates and improve quality of life.

Dr. Taylor-Piliae received her B.S.N. from California State University Fresno, her M.N. from the Chinese University of Hong Kong, and her Ph.D. from the University of California San Francisco. She completed a 2-year post-doctoral fellowship in cardiovascular epidemiology and prevention at Stanford University. She reviews for professional journals and has had over 40 peer-reviewed manuscripts published in top-tiered journals both within nursing and inter-professional journals.

Director,  A.T. Still University Aging Studies Project               

Associate Professor, A.T. Still University, Arizona School of Health Sciences

Interim Evaluation & CQI Committee, Chairperson

Dr. Elton Bordenave is the Director of the A.T. Still University Aging Studies Project and is an associate professor at A.T. Still’s Arizona School of Health Sciences (ASHS). He received his B.B.A. (Bachelor in Business Administration) from Baylor University his M.Ed. from Grand Canyon University, and his Ph.D. in healthcare administration.

In addition to work in aging and health promotion, his areas of professional activity and expertise are health care finance, regulatory compliance, health care information systems, and risk management. He holds an Advanced Certification in Health Care Compliance and is a contracted consultant to Centers for Disease Control and Prevention as a subject matter expert on incorporating fall prevention training into early clinician education. He has provided numerous Health Education presentations to senior centers, boys and girls clubs, contracted providers and professional organizations.

Western Arizona Council of Governments (WACOG), Program Development Specialist

Western Chapter – Arizona Falls Prevention Coalition, Chairperson 

Laura Falender is the Program Development Specialist with the Western Arizona Council of Governments (WACOG), the Area Agency on Aging for Arizona’s Region IV (Yuma, La Paz, and Mohave Counties). In this capacity she manages evidence-based programs including Tai Chi for Arthritis for Fall Prevention, A Matter of Balance, and the Chronic Disease Self-Management Education; organizes special events, including conferences and trainings; has developed WACOG’s Benefits Enrollment Center with a grant from the National Council on Aging.

In addition to chairing the Western Chapter of the Arizona Falls Prevention Coalition, Dr. Falender sits on several boards and committees, including Adult Literacy Plus of Southwest Arizona, the Alzheimer’s Association Regional Leadership Council for Southern Arizona, and the Yuma Community Health Improvement Plan.

Laura Falender holds BA, MSc, and PhD degrees in History.

Strategic Planning & EMS Recognition Program Manager, Arizona Department of Health Services

Strategic Grants & Funding Committee, Chairperson

David Harden has 30 years’ Emergency Medicine experience including field 911 ambulance, the regional poison control center, and in county/state/federal EMS administration. David has spent the last 13 years  of his career with the Arizona Department Of Health Services’ Emergency Medical Services & Trauma System.

David has a Bachelor of Science degree in Public Health, a Juris Doctor (JD) degree, and has certification from the National Register of Emergency Medical Technicians (NREMT).

Area Agency on Aging (AAA) Region-I, Program Manager

Membership Committee, Co-Chairperson 

Rose Leyba has been involved with health and wellness activities at Area Agency on Aging, Region One for the past seven years and as program manager for health promotion and education for the past five of those years. She holds a Bachelor’s degree in Public Administration and Family Studies and is a Master Trainer for Matter of Balance, certified Tai Chi instructor, and Co-chairperson of the Membership Committee for the Arizona Falls Prevention Coalition. She is a previous small business owner and has also supervised volunteers in various programs in the health and education fields for the past 12 years.

Membership Committee, Co-Chairperson

Corporate Compliance Officer, NATIVE HEALTH

Policy & Advocacy Committee, Chairperson

Dr. John Molina is Pascua Yaqui and San Carlos Apache. He is the Corporate Compliance Officer for Native Health, an Urban Indian Clinic in Phoenix. He is the former Health Systems Director for the Kenaitze Indian Tribe in Kenai, Alaska. He has held positions as Chief Executive Officer for Phoenix Indian Medical Center, and Assistant Director and Medical Director for the American Indian Health Program (AIHP) with the Arizona Health Care Cost Containment System (AHCCCS). He is also founder of Las Fuentes Health Clinic of Guadalupe, a community health clinic in his hometown of Guadalupe, Arizona.

Dr. Molina is a graduate of the University of Arizona, College of Medicine (MD), and the Sandra Day O’Conner College of Law (JD), Arizona State University. Dr. Molina’s 32 year career has provided him extensive knowledge of the Indian Health Service, Urban Indian Clinics, and the Alaska Native Health Care systems.

Health Education Manager, Blue Cross Blue Shield of Arizona Advantage

Membership Committee, Chairperson

Karen Richards has extensive experience as a health care professional. Her diverse experience includes management, informatics, medical research analyst, HEDIS, quality and risk management, health care education, training and development. In the clinical arena, Karen practiced respiratory care, clinical nursing and was involved in the implementation of air evac. Her Master’s in Business Administration was completed at the University of Phoenix. Karen recently completed certification for Laughter Wellness and Senior Advisor (CSA) and participated in a collaborative pilot program with BrainSavers.

Karen is employed at Blue Cross Blue Shield of Arizona Advantage as the Health Education Manager. This role includes program development, implementation of programs, classes and building networks and partnerships with community partners. In addition to her work with Arizona Falls Prevention Coalition, Karen volunteers for AARP’s Life Reimagined Workshops, America Cancer Society, Look Good Feel Better Program and American Heart Association, Go Red Program.

Northern Arizona – Arizona Falls Prevention Coalition, Chairperson

Virginia Rodriguez holds a Bachelor of Science in Public Health from Northern Arizona University and has worked at Yavapai County Community Health Services for 10 years, where she has served as Program Coordinator for Arizona Living Well (AzLW) since October of 2007. She has 20 years of experience working in public health on various projects and grants. She is also a Certified Health Education Specialist. Ms. Rodriguez is the state mentor and T-trainer for the Chronic Disease Self-Management Education programs, known in Arizona as Healthy Living Workshops. As Program Coordinator for AzLW, Ms. Rodriguez is responsible for the implementation, sustainability, and fidelity of evidence based programs like Healthy Living in Northern Arizona and has trained Healthy Living Workshop Leaders and Master Trainers throughout the state. She is also a certified Practice Leader for Tai Chi for Arthritis and falls prevention.

Education Committee, Chairperson

Dr. Rogers completed her undergraduate work at Oregon State University with a Bachelors of Science degree in Exercise and Sport Science. She then went on to graduate school at A. T. Still University in Mesa, AZ. completing her Doctorate of Physical Therapy. She has worked in the Valley primarily in outpatient orthopedics and skilled nursing facilities. Dr. Rogers has special interest in working with geriatric patients to help them improve their quality of life, maintain their independency and function.

Executive Director, Arizona Lifelong Fitness Foundation

Awards Committee, Chairperson

Ms. Irene Stillwell was born in Los Angeles, California. She studied at Azusa Pacific University, the University of Utah, the Salvation Army School for Officer’s Training (ordained minister and officer), and earned a Bachelor of Music from Arizona State University.

Irene has served as the Executive Director of the Arizona Lifelong Fitness Foundation since 2008. The Foundation is a premier organization promoting fitness and health for people aged 50 and better; Fit After Fifty isn’t just a goal, it’s a mission and passion for the foundation. Irine is also Executive Director of The Arizona Senior Olympics, a program run by the Arizona Lifelong Fitness Foundation. Irene has won numerous City of Phoenix Excellence Awards, the Lovin’ Life After 50 Community Service Award, the Valley of the Sun YWCA Women of Honor Award, and the News Channel 15 Women of Strength Award.

Monte Yazzie

Injury Prevention Coordinator – Salt River Pima-Maricopa Indian Community

American Indian Partnership Alliance Committee, Chairperson

Monte Yazzie, born and raised in Phoenix, Arizona, went to college at Arizona State University, attaining a Bachelor of Science degree in Kinesiology. Monte went straight into the world of physical therapy, working with a diverse population of people with an assorted range of physical concerns. He coached high school basketball, volunteering as an assistant head coach, team trainer, and strength and conditioning coach for ten years.

Gaining a Master’s degree in Health Care Administration motivated Monte to step away from the clinic and achieve a personal goal of giving back to the Native American community. The opportunity to work with the Salt River Pima-Maricopa Indian Community came with the position of Injury Prevention Coordinator. Monte works to create an environment of awareness and establish a system of advocates to create a community that understands the importance of injury prevention.


Professor, School of Biological and Health Systems Engineering, ASU

Dr. Thurmon Lockhart’s research interests are fall prevention, fall risk prediction and assessments, gait and posture, postural control, and nonlinear dynamics, and wireless wearable sensors and closed-loop neuromodulation systems. Dr. Lockhart has translated research findings into practice by reaching a significant number of external organizations and individuals. His outreach efforts have impacted several organizations including the UPS, Diageo, Los Alamos National Security, DOE, GE, BP, SnapOn Tools and the US Navy.

In recognition of these scientific achievements, Dr. Lockhart and co-workers were awarded the Alexander C. Williams, Jr., Design Award from the Human Factors and Ergonomics Society in 2008. His research was recently featured on the PBS NOVA ScienceNow and Good Morning America programs, Fortune, AgingWell, Men’s Health and Discover magazines. He has numerous representative publications on the subject of slips, trips and falls.

AFPC Committees

The various AFPC committees focus on different areas of our work; from Awards, to Education, to Grants and Funding and more. Learn more about the purpose of our committees using the links below.

In partnership with the American Indian/Alaska Native (AI/AN) Tribes, committee will implement falls-related injury prevention strategies to reduce the rate of falls-related morbidity and mortality in AI/AN communities. This committee supports comprehensive, community-health system partnerships to reduce disparities. The community efforts encompass individuals, caregivers, healthcare providers, health systems and the emergency medical services; first responders.

The purpose of the Awards Committee is to recognize members, individual(s)/organization(s) and others who promote evidence-based and/or best practices to reduce falls among older adults, for their exemplary performance, valued service and accomplishments in the State of Arizona to promote and advance our Coalition and our profession.

To plan, develop and implement education strategies in efforts to increase falls prevention awareness; determine targeted groups (community, professionals, caregivers, providers, etc.); provide resources and tools to help empower the coalition to play an integral part in statewide falls prevention awareness.

To evaluate the efficacy of the AFPC in meeting its mission and vision.

To raise awareness statewide about AFPC and increase membership; keep the list serve updated; capture the contact information of coalition members, capture resources that members can provide; determine who is not at the table and who do we need to recruit to strengthen the breadth of the coalition.

To lead public support on causes or policy that impact the population we serve; to provide up-to-date information on such policies; provide recommendations on courses of action for the coalition.

To identify strategically collaborative responses to grant opportunities that impact two or more Arizona entities focusing on falls prevention applying for the same grant; and identify and seek funding opportunities that support operations and sustain the Arizona Falls Prevention Coalition.

To establish strategic promotional materials and communications for public as well as professional relations, branding, advertising, marketing, design, or related services. This encompasses all written, printed, electronic, or graphic representations utilizing the AFPC’s name, logos, trademarks, service marks, or URLs referring to any program, project, service, or operation of the AFPC. Responsible for all press release(s) disseminated to media outlets. If an event attracts news media interest, all press releases and statements to the news media will be routed through, approved by the Executive Committee of the Leadership Council and disseminated by this committee.

To update website with current information; hub for statewide information in regards to falls prevention for professionals and community collect information about events, outreach, advocacy efforts and evaluation data; place to access the falls prevention tool kit; help promote membership; house resources that can be utilized to promote prevention awareness.

AFPC Chapters

At the Arizona Falls Prevention Coalition we believe that preventing falls and fall injuries in the elderly is achievable with the right information and an increase in public awareness. Our two Chapters, representing Northern & Southern Arizona, liaise with local partners locally to further our mission.

The mission of the Northern Chapter, Arizona Falls Prevention Coalition (AFPC) is to reduce the risk of falls by older Arizonans through education, awareness, and outreach focused on three essentials of falls prevention: medication management, physical activity, and home and environment modification.

The Northern Chapter’s identified community partners include representatives from: Coconino County Public Health Services District, Navajo County, Fire Department, Yavapai Regional Medical Center, Yavapai College, PT/OT, ALFA, Senior Centers Tai Chi for Health, AARP, Managed Healthcare Organizations, Community Home Repair Projects of Arizona, and Adult Protective Services. The collaboration with regional partners is already expanding. Evidence-based and best practice models are melded and being adapted locally.

The Chapter’s meetings are held on the 2nd Tuesday every other month from 2pm to 4pm, at the Yavapai Community Health Center’s training room.

For more information or to participate on the Chapter, contact the Chairperson and State Coalition Leadership Council Representative, Virginia Rodriguez, Chairperson 928-442-5480, or Rachel Mills,

The mission of the Southern Chapter, Arizona Falls Prevention Coalition (AFPC) is to reduce the risk of falls by older Arizonans through education, awareness and outreach focused on the three essentials of fall prevention: medication management, physical activity and environment modification.

Our members include representatives from: Pima Council on Aging, various fire departments (Rio Rico, Golder Ranch, Drexel, Northwest, Rincon Valley, Rural Metro, Green Valley, Tucson), Pima County-Public  Health Nursing, local hospitals (Oro Valley, Northwest, Banner University Medical Center), UA College of Nursing and Arizona Center on Aging, Valley Assistance Services, Tai Chi for Health, Community Home Repair Projects of Arizona, and Adult Protective Services.

We meet at 9am on the 2nd Friday every other month at the Abrams Health Center. Please contact Debra Adams, email: for further details.

The mission of the Western Chapter, Arizona Falls Prevention Coalition (AFPC) is to reduce the risk and incidence of falls through sharing resources, promoting fall prevention education, and improving cross-agency coordination.

The Western Chapter’s current community partners include representatives from fire departments, care facilities and home care organizations, county health departments, and nonprofits serving older adults and adults with disabilities. We are seeking more partners to strengthen the chapter’s fall prevention efforts.

The chapter’s meetings are held quarterly on the first Thursday of September, December, March, and June, at the Western Arizona Council of Governments and via conference call.

For more information or to participate on the Chapter, contact the State Coalition Leadership Council Representative, Dr. Laura Falendar, Chairperson 928-217-7198, or Ms. Annette Perez, Co-Chairperson