COO / Clinical Director
Dr. Lena Ernst is a healthcare operator and educator with 29 years of experience in the field of aging. She earned her Ph.D. from the University of New Mexico where she focused her research in the area of aging, dementia, spirituality, stress and coping. Dr. Ernst has worked in long-term care as a licensed social worker, a licensed nursing home administrator, and as an owner/operator of healthcare facilities. Dr. Ernst serves as an invited instructor to the University of NM in the department of Individual, Family and Community Education, but spends most of her time as the chief operating officer for Retreat Healthcare – which includes two assisted living communities, an advanced dementia specialty care facility, a community-based hospice, and a non-medical home care. Dr. Ernst has presented on the topic of dementia, neuropsychiatric features in dementia, brain health, and care -giving issues to national and international audiences including the national Alzheimer’s Association, National Association of Professional Geriatric Care Managers and the American Society on Aging. Dr. Ernst was appointed by the governor of New Mexico to the policy advisory committee for the Department of Aging and is a committee member to the scientific and medical advisory committee to the Alzheimer’s Association, New Mexico chapter.