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Nursing Staff


Deborah Olasin Fontaine, M.S, G.N.P. is a B.S.N. graduate of Cedar Crest College in Allentown, PA.  After practicing in Philadelphia for several years, she attended Boston University.  There she became a Nurse Practitioner and received her M.S. in Gerontology.  She is AMA certified and has, since joining the ADRC in 1992, concentrated on working with AD, Parkinson’s disease (PD), and other movement disorders


Mary Margaret Pay , A.N.P. received her degree in Nursing from Madonna University in Livonia Michigan and her Nurse Practitioner degree from the University of Minnesota.  Prior to joining the ADRC in 1984, she worked in a state facility for psychiatric disorders.  She provided admission assessments as well as annual evaluations, which included neurological exams, for an adult population that included geriatric patients.  This experience provided a great background for the development of the nursing role in research at the ADRC.    


Judith A. Rivera, A.N.P. certified Family Nurse Practitioner, has worked at the ADRC since 1997.  She received her B.S.N. in Nursing from San Diego State University, and M.S.N. from University of San Diego.  Bilingual/bicultural and fluent in Spanish, Judith has more than 10 years of experience in nursing and assisting research patients and families in San Diego.


Helen Vanderswag , R.N.  earned an Associate degree at Palomar College and B.A. from the University of Phoenix . She joined the ADRC in 2002.   In her 22 years of nursing experience she has worked in psychiatric inpatient and home care, and clinical research.  She comes to us from the Geropsychiatry Unit at the VA Medical Center.


Christina Ortiz, Clinical Research Associate. Native of Argentina. Received a teacher’s degree and License in Journalism from University of Buenos Aires, Faculty of Law and Social Sciences. Is fluent in Spanish and Italian. Has been with UCSD, School of Medicine for 10 years. For the last 2 years, she was part of the Clinical Research team under the direction of Tony Reid M.D and Barbara Parker M.D., Oncology Director, at the UCSD Moores Cancer Centre, specializing in preventive and therapeutic breast and prostate studies. Previously, she was responsible for Adherence and Retention for The Woman’s Health Initiative WHI (a nation wide study sponsored by The National Institute of Health; San Diego chapter with 5600 subjects) for 8 years. She volunteers for the Hospice of the North County, Meals on Wheels and is an avid hiker. She is a Coordinator for ADRC Clinical Studies

Sarah Espinoza, B.A. grew up in Sinaloa, Mexico and returned to the US at the age of ten. Sarah moved to San Diego for her BA in Spanish Literature at the University of California San Diego.  Sarah has studied abroad in Argentina and travelled to Peru, Bolivia and Brazil.  Sarah became interested in language acquisition and retention through her travels and personal history.  Sarah is a Hispanic Study Research Associate at the ADRC and plans to pursue an MA in Speech Pathology.