Sharon E. McKenzie

Assistant Professor/Research Scientist, Therapeutic Recreation and Gerontology, Kean University, Department of Physical Education, Recreation and Health, Gerontology Certificate Program



  • PhD, University of Minnesota; Major: Education – Recreation, Park and Leisure Studies; Concentration: Therapeutic Recreation; Minors: Gerontology; Complimentary Therapies & Healing Practices
  • MA, Recreation and Leisure, Concentration: Therapeutic Recreation; New York University
  • MS, Clinical Investigations: Translational Medicine, NYU School of Medicine
  • BS, Recreation Professions, Concentration: Therapeutic Recreation; Montclair State University
  • BFA, Dance and Choreography, York University, Canada


  • NAACP (NY Chapter) Doctors/Researchers Contributing to Community Award
  • U of Minnesota Sesquicentennial Appreciation
  • National Institute of Aging (NIA) Technical Assistance Training
  • Association for Gerontology in Higher Education Doctoral Leadership Development Fellow (Class 2000)
  • American Society on Aging New Venture Leadership Partner (Class 2000)
  • Minnesota Recreation and Parks Foundation Scholarship Award
  • Montclair State University of PERLS Graduate Student Award


  • Therapeutic Recreation
  • Gerontology


  • Over 20 years in therapeutic recreation
  • Over 15 years in Gerontology


  • Therapeutic Recreation
  • Gerontology


  • Scholarship focuses on leisure and mental health issues for ethnically diverse older adults specifically examining the use of therapeutic activities and other psychosocial interventions to ameliorate memory impairments.
  • Current research is centered on exploring the value of activities-based psychosocial interventions for older adults, from American-born and immigrant minority groups with mild cognitive impairments showing symptoms of depression, using Caribbean Americans and African Americans as examples.
  • Other interests include:
    • the role of care giving in minority communities
    • the role of sleep in depression and cognitive health
    • the role of spirituality and mental health in later years of life
  • Interest also includes facilitating the education about dementia and Alzheimer’s disease and promoting positive lifestyles for all older adults


Complete list of publications


  • Cohen, C.I., McKenzie, S.E., Rahmani, M., Singh, J. & Prospere, E. (2012). Historical changes in the severity of dementia and accompanying neuropsychiatric symptoms in persons presenting for evaluation in a multiracial urban dementia center. Alzheimer’s and Dementia: The Journal of Alzheimer’s Disease Associated Disorders.
  • Yu, F., Rose, K.M., Burgener, S.C., Cunningham, C., Buettner, L.L., Beattie, E., Bossen, A.L., Buckwalter, K.C., Fick, D.M., Fitzsimmons, S., Kolanowski, A., Pringle Specht, J.K., Richeson, N.E., Testad, I. and McKenzie, S.E. (2009). Cognitive training for early-stage Alzheimer’s disease and dementia. Journal of Gerontological Nursing, 35 (3), 23-29.
  • Bossen, A.L., Specht, J.K., and McKenzie, S.E. (2009). Needs of persons with early stage Alzheimer’s disease: Reviewing the evidence. Journal of Gerontological Nursing. 35 (3), 8-15.
  • Buettner, L., Richeson, N., Yu, F., Burgener, S., Buckwalter, K., Beatte, E., Bossen, A., Fick, D., Fitzsimmons, S., Kolanowski, A., Rose, K., Schreiner, A., Specht, J., Testad, I., and McKenzie, S. (2008). Evidence supporting exercise interventions for persons in early stage Alzheimer’s disease. American Journal of Recreational Therapy. 7 (1), 1-8.
  • Burgener, S.C., Buettner, L., Coen Buckwater, K., Beattie, E., Bossen, A.L., Fick, D., Fitzsimmons, S., Kolanowski, A., Richeson, N.E., Rose, K., Schreiner, A., Pringle Specht, J.K., Testad, F. and McKenzie, S. (2008). Evidence supporting nutritional interventions for persons in early stage Alzheimer’s disease (AD). Journal of Nutrition, Health & Aging, 12 (1).
  • McKenzie, S.E. (2006). The Cultural Life Review Program for African-American Seniors. Activities Director’s Quarterly for Alzheimer’s & Other Dementia Patients. 7 (3), 12-36.


  • Shaw, R., McKenzie, S., Taylor, T.N., Dolce, W., Boutin-Foster, C., Ogedegbe, O., Jean-Louise, G. (under review). Beliefs and attitudes toward OSA evaluation and treatment among blacks. Journal of National Medical Association.
  • Sirey, J., Franklin, A.J., McKenzie, S., and Ghosh, S. (working manuscript). Race, stigma and depressive symptoms and mental health referrals among community dwelling older person.
  • Jean-Louis, G., McKenzie, S.E., Zizi, F., et al. (working manuscript). Sleep in America: Role of race/ethnicity. Sleep and Medical Review.
  • McKenzie, S.E., Pirraglia, E., Cromar, K., Cromar, L., Jacobson, A.M., Liberda, E.N., Ekenga, M., De Santi, S., Marmor, M., and Ferris, S.H. (working manuscript). Rates of Collision and Night Vision Driving among Adults 50 years and Older with Early Memory Impairment. Generations: the Journal of the American Society of Aging