5th Annual Older Adult Mental Health Awareness Day

Public health practitioners, professionals in the aging network, mental health providers, health care professionals, and anyone interested in ensuring the mental health of older adults should attend this free, virtual event on May 16, 2022.

The symposium is brought to you by NCOA, the U.S. Administration for Community Living, the Health Resources and Services Administration, and the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration.

Register now to join us on May 16. When you register, you will be automatically signed up for all of the day’s sessions. Click the green Register button above to get started. 

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    Break - Transportation and Social Isolation

    Social isolation impacts older adults and people with disabilities in profound ways. It can lead to an increase in physical and mental health issues and impact an individual’s quality of life and sense of independence. Social isolation can happen anywhere but is an especially big issue in rural and suburban areas with limited or no public transportation services.

    Learn more about the National Aging and Disability Transportation Center (NADTC) - https://www.nadtc.org/

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    Break - Making the Connection – Veteran’s Spotlight

    Watch Veterans share real stories of strength and recovery in our Veteran's Spotlight. 

    Walking in the Light - Deborah’s Story

    After serving in the U.S. Air Force, Deborah experienced symptoms of PTSD and endured substance misuse and abusive relationships. She finally reached out to VA for support and discovered that opening up and trusting in others created the path to recovery she needed.

    I’m not a victim anymore - Robert’s Story

    Robert was sexually assaulted while serving in the Navy. He hid the rape for years, but the effects persisted. He had nightmares, drank to excess, used drugs, and felt depressed. At his lowest point, he called the Veterans Crisis Line. He connected with VA mental health treatment and turned his life around. Now, he’s proud of his service.

    Vietnam Veterans: Welcome Home

    Vietnam Veterans are pillars in communities nationally and have overcome many challenges. Yet they may still face difficult life events, such as retirement or losing a loved one. No matter how long it’s been since you served, you can improve your life. Watch these Vietnam Veterans’ true stories as they encourage others to reach out for support.

    Find more videos and resources on the Make the Connection website

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    Break - Stories and Resources from SAMHSA

    Take time during the break to tune into these stories and resources from SAMHSA. 

    Dan L – Living with Major Depression

    A managing partner at a law firm, Dan was diagnosed with major depression in his 40s. “People can’t recover from depression by themselves,” he says. It takes treatment and support to do so. “The biggest contribution I can make is to connect with other people with major depression and let them know they aren’t alone,” Dan says. “You can be a professional person or working person and you can live with depression.” Start your journey managing major depression by calling SAMHSA’s National Helpline at 1-800-662-HELP. Learn more at www.samhsa.gov/serious-mental-illness.

    Support for Serious Mental Illness | Real Stories

    Support and connections are critical for those living with a serious mental illness (SMI). Learn from people with lived experience how their support systems and connections help them manage their major depressive disorder, bipolar disorder, and schizophrenia. To learn more about serious mental illness, and the possibility of recovery, visit samhsa.gov/serious-mental-illness or call SAMHSA’s National Helpline at 1-800-662-HELP (4357) for 24/7 free and confidential information and treatment referral.

    Screening and Treatment for Co-Occurring Mental Health and Substance Use Disorders

    Learn how integrated screening and treatment for patients with both a mental illness and substance use disorder can make treatment more effective for patients. An integrated approach leads to better quality of care and health outcomes for patients. Visit www.SAMHSA.gov/co-occurring to learn more.

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    Break - NAMI Pride: Speak Your Truth!

    Alikah Adair has the amazing ability to light up a room by boldly sharing her mental health story with others and encouraging others to do the same. As a member of the LGBTQI+ NAMI community living with bipolar, she calls out to others silently struggling to find their own community and support through NAMI.

    https://nami.org/Support-Education/Video-Resource-Library/NAMI-Pride-Speak-Your-Truth

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    Join us for the Older Adult Mental Health Awareness Day welcome from ACL, HRSA, and SAMHSA, opening remarks from Jessica Schubel of the White House Domestic Policy Council and HHS Deputy Secretary, Andrea Palm, and keynote speaker, Jane Pauley.

    Welcome from ACL, SAMHSA, and HRSA

    Opening Remarks

    Jessica Schubel, Director of the Affordable Care Act and Health Care with the United States Domestic Policy Council, Executive Office of the President

    • Jessica Schubel will share updates and priorities from the White House Domestic Policy Council.

    Department of Health and Human Services Deputy Secretary, Andrea Palm

    • Deputy Secretary Palm will provide a welcome and introductory remarks to kick off the day. Introduction remarks will focus on the importance of the day; Administration/Departmental priorities; and how the Department is helping to ensure older adults have access to the behavioral health services and supports they need to remain healthy, independent, and connected in their communities.

    Statement from Mrs. Rosalynn Carter read by Dr. Eve Byrd, Director, Mental Health Program at The Carter Center

    Keynote

    Q&A Discussion with Jane Pauley and NCOA's CEO Ramsey Alwin

    • Jane Pauley will be discussing her personal journey with mental health. 

    Eligible for .75 CEU with live participation. 

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    Alison Barkoff

    Acting Administrator and Assistant Secretary for Aging

    U.S. Administration for Community Living

    Alison Barkoff was sworn into office as the Principal Deputy Administrator on January 20, 2021. In this capacity, she provides executive direction, leadership, guidance and coordination for ACL programs nationwide and advises the HHS Secretary on issues affecting individuals with disabilities and older adults.

    Ms. Barkoff comes to ACL from the Center for Public Representation, where she served as Director of Advocacy. In that position, she led policy advocacy with federal agencies and Congress and legal advocacy nationally to advance community living and inclusion, including in the areas of healthcare, Medicaid home- and community-based services, employment, housing, and education. She led and participated in numerous coalitions with disability and aging organizations, including as co-chair of the Long-Term Services and Supports Task Force of the Consortium for Citizens with Disabilities. She has testified before Congress and the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights on disability rights and was appointed to serve on the federal Advisory Committee for Competitive Integrated Employment of People with Disabilities.

    Ms. Barkoff previously served as Director of Advocacy at the Bazelon Center for Mental Health Law, where she worked on a range of disability, healthcare, education and civil rights issues. In earlier government roles, she served as Special Counsel for Olmstead Enforcement in the Civil Rights Division of the Department of Justice, leading efforts to enforce the rights of people with disabilities to live, work and fully participate in their communities. She also worked with the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services within the Department of Health and Human Services on policies related to Medicaid home- and community-based services and with the Department of Labor on issues affecting the workforce providing in-home services. She is a sibling to an adult brother with developmental disabilities and been involved in disability advocacy her entire life. She received her undergraduate degree from Cornell University and her Juris Doctor from Emory University School of Law.

    Miriam E. Delphin-Rittmon

    Assistant Secretary for Mental Health and Substance Use

    Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration

    Dr. Miriam E. Delphin-Rittmon is currently Assistant Secretary for Mental Health and Substance Use in the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and the Administrator of the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration. She previously served as Commissioner of the Connecticut Department of Mental Health and Addiction Services (DMHAS) and served in this role for six years. Prior positions held at DMHAS include Deputy Commissioner, Senior Policy Advisor and Director of the department’s Office of Multicultural Healthcare Equity. In her role as Commissioner, Dr. Delphin-Rittmon was committed to promoting recovery oriented, integrated, and culturally responsive services and systems that foster dignity, respect, and meaningful community inclusion.

    Prior to her current appointment, Dr. Delphin-Rittmon was an Adjunct Associate Professor at Yale University where she served on faculty for the past 20 years. While at Yale Dr. Delphin-Rittmon served as the Director of Cultural Competence and Research Consultation with the Yale University Program for Recovery and Community Health.

    In May 2014, Dr. Delphin-Rittmon completed a two-year White House appointment working as a Senior Advisor to the Administrator of the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) with the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. While at SAMHSA, she worked on a range of policy initiatives addressing behavioral health equity, workforce development, and healthcare reform.

    Through her 20 year career in the behavioral health field Dr. Delphin-Rittmon has extensive experience in the design, evaluation, and administration of mental health, substance use and prevention services and systems and has received several awards for advancing policy in these areas. Most recently, she received the 2019 State Service Award from the National Association of State Drug and Alcohol Directors and the 2016 Mental Health Award for Excellence from the United Nations Committee on Mental Health.

    She received her B.A. in Social Science from Hofstra University in 1989, her M.S. and Ph.D. in Clinical Psychology from Purdue University 1992 and 2001, respectively, and completed a postdoctoral fellowship in clinical community psychology at Yale University in 2002.

    Carole Johnson

    Administrator

    Health Resources and Services Administration

    Carole Johnson joined HRSA from the White House COVID-19 Response Team. She previously served as Commissioner of the New Jersey Department of Human Services, leading the state’s largest agency and providing health care and social services to one-in-five New Jerseyans. During her tenure as Commissioner, the Department expanded Medicaid coverage of mental health and substance use disorder services, created new Medicaid benefits to improve maternal health outcomes, and integrated Medicaid into the newly launched state-based Affordable Care Act marketplace. Under Johnson’s leadership, the Department also substantially increased child care rates for the first time in a decade, expanded food assistance benefits, and created an Office of New Americans to support the state’s diverse communities.

    Johnson served for more than five years as the Domestic Policy Council public health lead in the Obama White House, working on the Ebola and Zika responses, implementation of the Affordable Care Act, and combatting the opioid epidemic. In addition, she served on Capitol Hill as health staff for the U.S. Senate Special Committee on Aging and for members of the U.S. Senate Finance Committee and U.S. House of Representatives Ways and Means Committee.

    At the Department of Health and Human Services, Johnson previously managed health care workforce policy issues for HRSA. She also was policy director for the Alliance of Community Health Plans, program officer with the Pew Charitable Trusts health program, and senior government relations manager with the American Heart Association.

    She holds a master’s degree in government from the University of Virginia.

    Jessica Schubel

    Director of the Affordable Care Act and Health Care

    Domestic Policy Council

    Before joining the Domestic Policy Council as the Director of the Affordable Care Act and Health Care, Jessica worked at the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities (CBPP) where she examined issues related to Medicaid and other coverage issues.  Prior to her role at CBPP, Jessica served in various capacities at the Center for Medicaid and CHIP Services at CMS during the Obama Administration, working on Medicaid, CHIP, and the Basic Health Program and was an integral member of the Center’s senior leadership team.  Before joining CMS, Jessica worked at the District of Columbia’s Medicaid agency, helping to oversee the city’s school-based health services program, Medicaid waivers as well as implementation of health reform and the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act.  Born and raised in western New York, Jessica graduated from Syracuse University and the George Washington University.


    Twitter Handle: @JessicaSchubel

    Andrea Palm

    Deputy Secretary

    Department of Health and Human Services

    Andrea Palm is the Deputy Secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS). As Deputy Secretary, she is the Chief Operating Officer and is responsible for overseeing the day-to-day operations of the Department.

    Palm most recently served as Secretary-designee of the Department of Health Services (DHS), overseeing one of the largest state agencies in Wisconsin as a member of Governor Tony Evers' cabinet. In this role, she had responsibility for the state's Medicaid program, its Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), and behavioral health programs, among others. DHS is also Wisconsin's public health agency, and as such, Palm led the state's response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

    Previously, Palm held a number of policy and operational roles in the Obama-Biden Administration at HHS, including Acting Assistant Secretary for Legislation, Counselor, Chief of Staff and Senior Counselor to the Secretary. During her eight-year tenure, she worked on a variety of Administration priorities, including the Affordable Care Act, as well as providing leadership for the Department's work to combat the opioid epidemic.

    Palm was born and raised in rural, upstate New York. She holds a Bachelor's degree from Cornell University and a Master's degree from Washington University in St. Louis.

    Jane Pauley

    Host, 'CBS Sunday Morning'

    A familiar face on television, one of broadcasting’s most respected journalists and host of CBS Sunday Morning, Jane Pauley is praised by audiences for her relatable and personal inspirational message.  She advocates for people 50+ starting different careers, making a difference and pursuing their dreams.  She is also a highly regarded advocate for mental health, children’s health, and education issues. Jane Pauley's celebrity fills the room with optimism, and audiences often bring her back more than once, citing the warm reception she received by the audience.

    Prior to anchoring on CBS, Pauley had a 13-year career on NBC's Today program and was also a co-host of Dateline NBC for 12 years. 

    Ramsey Alwin

    President & CEO

    National Council on Aging

    As President and CEO of the National Council on Aging, Ramsey Alwin is leading a nationwide movement to ensure equitable aging for every American. 

    Building on NCOA’s 70 years of service and advocacy for older adults, Alwin is renewing the organization’s commitment to improving the lives of millions, especially those who are struggling. She is sparking critical conversations about the resources every American deserves to age well—and what needs to change to ensure all have access.

    A seasoned thought leader and policy advocate, Alwin has changed the way people think about older adult poverty and economic security. She designed a new measure of economic security for older adults that better accounts for out-of-pocket health costs and worked to introduce the Measuring American Poverty Act in Congress to redefine the federal poverty measure for the older population. Thanks to Alwin’s efforts, the U.S. Census Bureau formally implemented the Supplemental Poverty Measure nationwide, virtually doubling the elder poverty count and better demonstrating true needs among this population. 

    Prior to leading NCOA, Alwin directed financial resilience global thought leadership at AARP and served as Director of National Economic Security Programs at Wider Opportunities for Women. Currently, she serves on the Executive Committee of the UN NGO Committee on Aging, the America250 Health and Wellness Advisory Council, and the National Academy of Social Insurance Finance Committee.


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    Up to 90% of older adults have experienced at least one traumatic event in their lifetime. This session addresses the importance of a trauma-informed care framework to create a community environment that understands, recognizes, and responds to the effect of the experience of trauma in older adults.

    Up to 90% of older adults have experienced at least one traumatic event in their lifetime. This session addresses the importance of a trauma-informed care framework to create a community environment that understands, recognizes, and responds to the effect of the experience of trauma in older adults.

    Eligible for 1 CEU with live participation

    Learning Objectives:

    At the end of this session, participants will be able to:

    1) Understand the prevalence of trauma among older adults.

    2) Describe the basic tenants of trauma-informed care, its importance, and common triggers. 

    3) Identify how individuals in various settings and levels have a role to play in trauma-informed care. 

    Lily Liu

    Family Caregiver

    Lily Liu is a family caregiver for her mother who has had Parkinson's Disease for almost four decades and is now living with early-stage dementia.  Her parents were refugees escaping the civil war in China in the late 1940s and spent almost five years in a refugee camp in French Indochina (now Vietnam) in the early 1950s.  Lily immigrated from Taiwan as a child and grew up on the East Coast of the United States.  Her career was spent in the non-profit sector in the field of strategic communications and public outreach.  After the death of her father, Lily took a hiatus from the workplace to care for her mother.  She currently engages in consulting work, in particular, delivering speeches about empowering family caregivers at community-education events.  Lily is fluent in speaking Mandarin Chinese and highlights in her presentations the challenges experienced by immigrant family caregivers who face issues of generational trauma in addition to caregiving responsibilities.  Her hobby is literary translation and her translations of the essays of contemporary Chinese women writers have been published in the United States and Asia.

    Lisa Brown, Ph.D., ABPP

    Professor

    Palo Alto University

    Lisa M. Brown, Ph.D., ABPP is Professor, Director of the Trauma Program at Palo Alto University and an Adjunct Clinical Professor at Stanford University School of Medicine. Her clinical and research focus is on trauma, resilience, and aging. Dr. Brown has considerable experience collaborating with state, national and international organizations. She is actively involved in developing and evaluating programs used nationally and internationally, drafting recommendations aimed at protecting vulnerable individuals and communities, and improving access to resources and services. 

    Leah Bergen Miller

    Associate Director

    Center on Holocaust Survivor Care and Institute on Aging and Trauma

    Leah Bergen Miller is the Associate Director at the Center on Holocaust Survivor Care and Institute on Aging and Trauma. She manages all JFNA-funded programs and technical support, as well as builds the national capacity to provide person-centered, trauma-informed care for Holocaust survivors, diverse older adults with a history of trauma, and family caregivers. From 2000 to 2015, she dedicated herself to improving the lives of refugees and internally displaced people by working as an advocate and program manager for refugees and asylees at HIAS, which aided her Holocaust survivor grandparents; a case worker for refugees at Church World Service-Joint Voluntary Agency in Nairobi, Kenya; an employment case manager for refugees and asylees at Lutheran Social Services of the National Capital Area in the Metro Washington area; a GED instructor for immigrants at Centro Hispano in Milwaukee, WI; and a disaster action team volunteer for internally displaced people at the American Red Cross in Arlington, VA. Before graduating from American University’s School of International Service with a BA in International Peace and Conflict Resolution, Leah processed asylum applications at US Citizen and Immigration Services’ Arlington Asylum Office. 

    Erin Emery-Tiburcio, PhD, ABPP (Moderator)

    Co-Director

    E4 Center of Excellence for Behavioral Health Disparities in Aging

    Dr. Erin Emery-Tiburcio is an Associate Professor of Geriatric & Rehabilitation Psychology and Geriatric Medicine at Rush University Medical Center, as well as Co-Director of the Rush Center for Excellence in Aging (aging.rush.edu). She is past-Chair of American Psychological Association Committee on Aging, and past-President of the Society for Clinical Geropsychology. Dr. Emery-Tiburcio is Co-Director of CATCH-ON, the Geriatric Workforce Enhancement Program based at Rush University Medical Center (www.catch-on.org). Dr. Emery-Tiburcio also co-directs the brand new Engage, Educate, Empower for Equity: E4, The Center of Excellence for Behavioral Health Disparities in Aging at Rush (www.e4center.org). 

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    Navigating mental health care resources and services for older adults and caregivers can be overwhelming. This session will provide an overview of the landscape, highlight successful initiatives, and provide practical steps you can use to help connect older adults and caregivers in your community to services and supports.

    Navigating mental health care resources and services for older adults and caregivers can be overwhelming. This session will provide an overview of the landscape, highlight successful initiatives, and provide practical steps you can use to help connect older adults and caregivers in your community to services and supports.

    Eligible for 1 CEU with live participation

    Learning Objectives: 

    At the end of this session, participants will be able to:

    1) Discuss common barriers and challenges for providers and older adults to locate and connect to mental health resources and services. 
    2) Identify programs, such as the Program to Encourage Active, Rewarding Lives (PEARLS), that can serve as a linkage between behavioral health services and the community. 
    3) Locate resources and supports in their community to assist in connecting older adults and caregivers to mental health services. 

    Lynn Cooper

    Behavioral Health Advocate, Behavioral Health Policy Specialist

    Pennsylvania Association of Area Agencies on Aging

    Lynn Cooper is the Behavioral Health Policy Specialist at the Pennsylvania Association of Area Agencies on Aging. Ms. Cooper has over 25 years of experience working on regulatory and policy issues for mental health and substance use disorder treatment providers in Pennsylvania. She is now working with the Area Agencies on Aging to help improve access to mental health and substance use disorder services for older adults in the commonwealth. Ms. Cooper also has six years of lived experience helping her mother deal with mental health and substance use disorders in the last of her 85 years of life.

    Leigh Ann Eagle

    Executive Director

    Maryland Living Well Center of Excellence - MAC, Inc.

    Leigh Ann Eagle, BS, is Executive Director of the Living Well Center of Excellence (LWCE), which utilizes the financial management structure within MAC, INC – an Area Agency on Aging. Currently, she oversees all aspects of program development and design, grant application and management, including the state of-the-art gym designed for older adults and adults with disabilities. Ms. Eagle has worked closely with the Maryland Department of Aging and the MD Department of Health and Mental Hygiene, on programming for Chronic Disease Self-Management. Under Leigh Ann's leadership, the Center connects healthcare organizations with the AAAs and community resources throughout the state to coordinate evidence-based programs. She participated in the National Council on Aging Community Integrated Health Collaborative and is a member of the National Association of Area Agencies on Aging Health IT Learning Collaborative.

    Charles H. Smith, PhD, MA

    Regional Administrator – Region VIII

    Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services - Region VIII

    Dr. Smith is the Regional Administrator for the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), U.S. Department of Health and Human Services - Region VIII.  Dr. Smith is the former Director of the Colorado Division of Behavioral Health and Deputy Commissioner of Mental Health and Substance Abuse for the State of Colorado.  He is a Licensed Psychologist with over 30 years of experience in fields of forensic psychology, addiction psychology, suicide prevention, crisis intervention, integrated care and behavioral health policy and administration. Dr. Smith holds a PhD in Counseling Psychology from the University of Denver, a MA in Rehabilitation Counseling from New York University, and a BS in Psychology from Allegheny College.

    Kristie Kulinski (Moderator)

    Team Lead

    Office of Network Advancement, Administration for Community Living (ACL)

    Kristie Kulinski is a Team Lead in the Office of Network Advancement at the Administration for Community Living (ACL), an operating division of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. Her work focuses on advancing strategic priorities related to the alignment of health care and social services, with an emphasis on sustainable partnerships between networks of community-based organizations and health plans/providers. Prior to her current role, Kristie led efforts in ACL’s Office of Nutrition and Health Promotion Programs to support the implementation and sustainability of evidence-based health promotion programs.

    Prior to joining ACL, Kristie held positions with the National Council on Aging and Partners in Care Foundation. She has a B.S. in Human Development and Family Studies from Penn State University and a Master of Social Work from California State University, Northridge.


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    This session will look at the prevalence and risk factors for obesity as one ages. It will discuss how excess weight impacts our mental health with a focus on marginalized and minority populations and where to seek help. Sponsored by Novo Nordisk

    This session will look at the prevalence and risk factors for obesity as one ages. It will discuss how excess weight impacts our mental health with a focus on marginalized and minority populations and where to seek help.

    At the end of this session, participants will be able to:

    1. Describe the connection between obesity and mental health in older adults, including the role of stigma, bias, stress, and past trauma.

    2. Recognize the policy implications with respect to treatments for obesity and mental health for older adults, including equitable access and Medicare Part D coverage. 

     3. Identify resources for older adults to seek help and highlight solutions, such as the benefit of social connection.

    Session Sponsored by Novo Nordisk 

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    Eligible for 1 CEU with live participation

    Tiffani Bell Washington, MD, FAPA

    Diplomate of American Board of Obesity Medicine, Diplomate of American Board of Lifestyle Medicine

    Dr. Bell Washington is a Quadruple Board Certified Physician who specializes in Adult Psychiatry, Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, Lifestyle Medicine, and Obesity Medicine. She will graduate with her MPH in Health Policy with a concentration in leadership and minority health policy in May 2022. In 2020, Dr. Bell Washington received the Outstanding Teaching Faculty of the Year Award in Child and Adolescent Psychiatry at Wake Forest School of Medicine and the National Medical Association’s Post-Graduate Section’s “Top Physician under 40” Emerging Leader award. She was named one of the 40 under 40 Leaders of Minority Health by the National Minority Quality Forum in April 2022 and is a trustee for several national organizations including; currently serving as a Delegate from the American Psychiatric Association to American Medical Association Young Physicians' Section, AMA ambassador leadership steering committee for the past two years, and as an executive member on several national organizations such as the Black Psychiatrists of America (501c3), Council of Black Obesity Physicians and African American Wellness Project (501c3). Dr. Bell Washington is passionate about advocacy, research, improving diversity and equity in leadership and decreasing stigma and bias surrounding chronic illnesses such as mental health disorders and obesity prevention and treatment. 


    Patricia Nece, J.D.

    Chair for the Obesity Action Coalition, Patient Advocate

    Patricia Nece, J.D., advocates for the eradication of weight bias, science-based obesity treatments, and access to those treatments. She encourages change by sharing her personal experiences with life-long severe obesity. Patty is Chair of the Obesity Action Coalition, a 75,000-member organization dedicated to representing the interests of those affected by obesity. She is also a member of the National Academies of Sciences Roundtable on Obesity Solutions, the World Obesity Federation’s Policy and Prevention Committee, the Global Obesity Patient Alliance, and the Lancet Commission on Obesity. A noted advocate, Patty has been invited to speak at numerous venues including the Obesity Medicine Association, the George Washington University School of Medicine, the Partnership for a Healthier America, the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, the Society for Behavioral Medicine, Obesity Canada, and the Society for Human Resource Management. She has testified before the U.S. Food and Drug Administration and participated in U.S. Congressional briefings. Patty recently retired from the U.S. Department of Labor’s Solicitor’s Office after 37-years of service. 

    Dorothea K. Vafiadis, MS (Moderator)

    Director, Health Partnerships and Strategic Engagement

    National Council on Aging

    Dorothea K. Vafiadis, MS, is the Director of health Partnerships and Strategic Engagement at NCOA. She has 20+ years' experience in public health and working with non-profit organizations. She has a track record for building and sustaining high-value relations, surpassing revenue goals and achieving reach and impact with mutually aligned partners. Vafiadis leads NCOA’s healthy aging strategy and oversees project management for the Obesity Education and Awareness Campaign, the Healthy Bone Initiative and the Wellness and Pain Relief program. Prior to NCOA, Vafiadis served as Director of Healthy Living for the American Heart Association, where she oversaw board-appointed science committees and convened multinational food companies for the purposes of optimizing their healthy food offerings and improving the food landscape. She played a major role in launching the national Healthy for Good campaign, a science-based campaign to drive behavior change. Prior to AHA, Ms. Vafiadis worked on federal nutrition policy at USDA’sCenter for Nutrition Policy & Promotion.

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    Older adults comprise more than 16% of the population, but approximately 18% of suicides. This session discusses risk factors for suicide in older adults, how it varies across gender and racial/ethnic subgroups, and interventions that can help to prevent suicide.

    Older adults comprise more than 16% of the population, but approximately 18% of suicides. This session discusses risk factors for suicide in older adults, how it varies across gender and racial/ethnic subgroups, and interventions that can help to prevent suicide.

    Eligible for 1 CEU with live participation

    Learning Objectives:

    At the end of this session, participants will be able to:

    1) Understand the scope and prevalence of suicide in older adults.

    2) Recognize the factors that place older adults at an increased risk for suicide. 

    3) Describe evidence-based approaches to suicide prevention and identify resources, such as the nation’s new 988 crisis hotline, to assist older adults. 

    Yeates Conwell, M.D.

    Professor and Vice Chair

    University of Rochester Medical Center, Department of Psychiatry

    Yeates Conwell, M.D. is Professor and Vice Chair of Psychiatry at the University of Rochester School of Medicine and Dentistry. A geriatric psychiatrist, he is academic co-chief of the Division of Geriatric Mental Health and Memory Care, co-director of the University’s Center for the Study and Prevention of Suicide, and a member of the University of Rochester Aging Institute Executive Committee. Dr. Conwell received his medical training at the University of Cincinnati and completed his Psychiatry Residency and a Fellowship in Geriatric Psychiatry at Yale University School of Medicine. In addition to teaching and mentoring internationally, clinical care, and service system development, Dr. Conwell directs an inter-disciplinary program of research in aging, mental health services, and suicide prevention. 

    Mary Chase Mize, PhD, LPC, NCC

    Assistant Director

    HOPE Lab

    Mary Chase Mize is a postdoctoral research associate at Georgia State University, where she serves as Assistant Director of the HOPE lab and Co-PI of a clinical research trial funded by the Department of Health and Human Services (Administration for Community Living). She researches community-based suicide intervention and prevention among older adults through equipping aging services network providers with suicide intervention skills. Dr. Mize is a Licensed Professional Counselor (GA) and part-time clinician at Jewish Family & Career Services of Atlanta, where she works with older adults and individuals across the lifespan who have experienced ongoing suicide struggle and/or suicide bereavement. She is a National Certified Counselor and Applied Suicide Intervention Skills Training (ASIST) trainer. 

    Jeffrey Shultz

    Suicide Awareness Advocate

    Jeffrey Shultz volunteers to promote mental health wellness and suicide awareness. After Gettysburg College, he worked in both automotive and pharmaceutical sales, and as VP of Sales for a successful start-up nutraceuticals company. In 2012, his son died by suicide. Jeff has lived through the trauma of his son's death and his own depression and suicidal ideation. 

    With a career in sales/sales management, plus 40 years as a youth leader/teacher/mentor in church & civic organizations, he now serves NAMI Kent and Queen Anne's along with AFSP Maryland on the Delmarva Peninsula. Jeff's roles include speaker, family group facilitator, social media and publicity & outreach chair, and Out of the Darkness Walk chair. 

    Richard McKeon, Ph.D. (Moderator)

    Chief, Suicide Prevention Branch, Center for Mental Health Services

    SAMHSA

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    Access to mental health care services for older adults can be fragmented and difficult to navigate. This session explores programs beyond the health care system to address older adult mental health such as the evidence-based program, the Wellness Recovery Action Plan (WRAP).

    Access to mental health care services for older adults can be fragmented and difficult to navigate. This session explores programs beyond the health care system to address older adult mental health such as the evidence-based program, the Wellness Recovery Action Plan (WRAP). 

    Eligible for 1 CEU with live participation

    Learning Objectives: 

    At the end of this session, participants will be able to:

    1) Describe services and programs that address older adult mental health and empower individuals, such the Wellness Recovery Action Plan (WRAP) and other peer support programs. 
    2) Determine how older adult mental health support services and programs have adapted during the pandemic and what they may look like moving forward.
    3) Identify sites where mental health services can take place and how mental health, aging, and disability services can collaborate to better meet the needs of their community. 

    Jo Anne Sirey, Ph.D.

    Professor of Psychology in Psychiatry

    Weill Cornell Medicine

    Dr. Sirey is a Professor of Psychology in the Department of Psychiatry of Weill Cornell Medicine.  Her research interests include the development, implementation and dissemination of psychosocial interventions to improve mental health treatment in later life in non-mental health settings. She is the current the Principal Investigator for the Weill Cornell ALACRITY for Mid- and Late-Life Mood Disorders (P50 MH113838) and has an R01 (MH 124966) to test the comparative effectiveness of Behavioral Activation delivered by MSWs and Peer Coaches to older adults with depression. In 2021 she was awarded the Spero Award for Community Psychiatry from Weill Cornell Medical College.

    Previously, Dr. Sirey has received funding from the NIMH to the increase the use of mental health services among depressed community dwelling elders (NIMH R01 079865) and to conduct a multi-site study of a brief psychosocial intervention to improve treatment adherence among depressed elders in primary care settings (NIMH R01 087557). In addition to her research, Dr. Sirey is implementing multiple service delivery projects to bring evidence-based psychotherapy to hard-to-reach adults with mental health needs.

    Dr. Sirey and her team deliver mental health services in 16 senior centers in NYC. In addition, Dr. Sirey remains active in community development of new services by serving on the New York State Interagency Geriatric Mental Health and Substance Use Disorders Planning Council and the Chair of the Westchester County Geriatric Mental Health Collaborative, an interdisciplinary group of aging and mental health providers, consumers, and advocates. She serves on the Advisory Board of the Geriatric Mental Health Alliance and is a reviewer for National Institute of Health review panels as an expert on stigma and depression in later life.

    Sean Johnson, MA, CRSS

    WRAP for Seniors Project Coordinator

    University of Illinois at Chicago

    Sean Johnson, MA, CRSS is Research Specialist and Project Coordinator at the University of Illinois at Chicago (UIC) Center on Mental Health Services Research and Policy. He is an advocate for recovery education and peer-driven support services. Sean draws from his lived experience to fuel his passion for serving others by providing opportunities for empowerment through evidence-based practices that enhance both group and individual wellness. Sean collaborates with Dr. Judith Cook and Jessica Jonikas at UIC in program development, implementation, and evaluation for the Wellness Recovery Action Plan (WRAP®) for Seniors Project, funded by the federal Health & Human Services Administration for Community Living to deliver wellness self-management education to individuals aged 60 and older across Illinois.

    Warren Campbell

    Peer Supporter and Veteran

    At the age of 24, Warren Campbell enlisted into the United States Marine Corp. He proudly served his country for 22 years and earned the rank of Gunnery Sergeant. He is a peer supporter, who has helped many Marines get the resources they needed to be mentally and physical fit for duty. He likes to keep himself active by volunteering in his community and can be found during hockey season watching the Carolina Hurricanes game. He resides in NC with his six dogs and two cats.

    Keri Lipperini, MPA

    Director in the Office of Nutrition and Health Promotion Programs

    Administration for Community Living, Department of Health and Human Services

    Keri Lipperini is the Director in the Office of Nutrition and Health Promotion Programs, within the Administration for Community Living’s, Administration on Aging.  For over 25 years, she has worked in health and wellness, 20 of those years she has been working specifically with the aging and disabilities populations. Prior to her work at AoA, Ms. Lipperini served as Program Manager for Calvert County Maryland where she oversaw Calvert’s health promotion and nutrition programs. Keri is a former United States Navy Hospital Corpsman. She holds Masters in Public Administration (MPA) with Health Care focus from Troy State University and Bachelors of Science degree in Health Care Administration from Southern Illinois University.

    Robyn Golden, LCSW (Moderator)

    Co-Director

    E4 Center of Excellence for Behavioral Health Disparities in Aging

    Robyn Golden, LCSW, is the associate vice president of population health and aging at Rush University Medical Center in Chicago, where she also holds academic appointments in the Departments of Medicine, Nursing, Psychiatry and Health Systems Management. She is responsible for developing and overseeing health promotion and disease prevention, mental health, care coordination and transitional care services for older adults, family caregivers and people with chronic conditions.  Golden is key to the development of interprofessional models of care for Rush’s population health programs. She is currently the principal investigator for the HRSA Funded Geriatric Workforce Enhancement Program and the Commonwealth Funded Primary Care Redesign Project.

    For over 30 years, Golden has been actively involved in service provision, program development, education, research and public policy aimed at developing innovative initiatives and systems integration to improve the health and well-being of older adults and their families. In 2003-04, she was the John Heinz Senate Fellow based in the office of Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton in Washington, D.C. Golden is a past chair of American Society on Aging and currently co-chairs the National Coalition on Care Coordination. She also is a fellow of the Gerontological Society of America and of the American Academy of Social Work and Social Welfare and is an NASW Social Work Pioneer. She received the Gerontological Society of America’s 2017 Maxwell A. Pollack Award for Productive Aging.