Troiani-Sweeney Endowed Fund Lecture Series Focuses on Alzheimer’s

Posted by: Elizabeth Richardson on September 25, 2018, No Comments

Yvonne Troiani Sweeney ’78 always had passion for the well-being of her patients. She dedicated her life to her nursing career that spanned 30 years after earning her bachelor’s degree in nursing from East Stroudsburg University of Pennsylvania (ESU) and a graduate degree in nursing from Villanova. Her colleagues and patients became her second family. Nursing led her to leadership roles at what is now the Lehigh Valley Health Network, Franklin Square Hospital in Maryland, Albert Einstein Medical Center, and the Geisinger Health System. Wherever her occupation led her, she became an inspiration to others for the incredible level of care she delivered every day.

All of that changed eight years ago for Sweeney and her family who live in Mountaintop, Pa. Diagnosed with a form of early onset dementia called posterior cortical atrophy, she set aside her career and focused her energy on the daily challenges she faced, alongside her loving husband, Chris, and her two sons, Christopher III and Michael.

Support came in many ways from Sweeney’s family. Her sister, Linda Niedbala ’83, with the help of her husband, Sam Niedbala ’82, started the Troiani-Sweeney Endowed Fund Lecture Series at ESU, which kicked off in March 2014. The Niedbalas wanted this initiative to be a lasting tribute to Sweeney’s devotion to others while making a significant contribution to the education of healthcare professionals and the community-at-large about the cognitive impairment associated with dementia and other diseases of a similar nature.

The lecture series will continue, for the sixth year, on Thursday, October 18 with a keynote address by Rebecca M. Edelmayer, Ph.D., titled “Past, Present, and New Horizons in Alzheimer’s and Dementia Research.” Dr. Edelmayer is the director of scientific engagement for The Alzheimer’s Association.

Edelmayer leads efforts to accelerate the scientific agenda of the Alzheimer’s Association through the creation and delivery of ongoing research education. She is responsible for working with more than 75 Alzheimer’s Association chapters, ensuring that staff and the public across the country are informed on the importance of medical research and the crucial role of the Association in the quest for transformative medicines and solutions for individuals living with dementia. Her role also includes managing research initiatives that unite key researchers and clinicians with industry, regulatory and government leaders on topics related to blood based biomarker testing, and use of digital health technologies and biotech approaches in studying dementia.

Dr. Edelmayer has over 17 years of experience as a practicing scientist and educator. She spent more than six years as a pharmacologist in the Neuroscience and Immunology Discovery Divisions at Abbott and AbbVie, where she was recognized as an emerging scientific leader. As a senior scientist, she led a digital pathology team, conducted research, and supported development of clinical therapeutics in chronic inflammatory diseases of the nervous system and the skin. Dr. Edelmayer has lectured, published and led collaborations in areas of neurophysiology, inflammatory skin pathology and pain neurobiology.

She completed her Ph.D. and post-doctoral training in medical pharmacology with a focus on neuropharmacology at the University of Arizona College of Medicine. Dr. Edelmayer holds a bachelor’s degree in neuroscience from the University of Pittsburgh, where she also completed a National Institute of Mental Health Research Fellowship.

The Troiani-Sweeney Endowed Fund Lecture Series will take place in the Niedbala Auditorium located inside Warren E. ’55 & Sandra Hoeffner Science and Technology Center at 6 p.m. A reception will follow the presentation. The event is open to the general public at no cost.

“This endowed lecture series is a tremendous gift to the university and to our medical community,” said ESU President Marcia G. Welsh, Ph.D.

For more information about the lecture series, please contact Emily Brennan, special events coordinator at 570-422-3156 or email Those interested in making a gift to the Troiani-Sweeney Endowed Fund Lecture Series may call ESU’s Office of University Advancement at (570) 422-7000.