6th Annual Older Adult Mental Health Awareness Day

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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 11, 2023 from 10:00 am to 5:00 pm EST

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 11. 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 - 988 Social Media Shareables

    Are you interested in sharing information about the 988 Suicide & Crisis Lifeline? These shareables were designed for use as social media posts, stories and threads.

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    Break - Learn more about the Senior Nutrition Program!

    Since 1972, ACL's National Senior Nutrition Program has supported nutrition services for older adults across the country. Funded by the Older Americans Act, local senior nutrition programs serve as hubs for older adults to access nutritious meals and other vital services that strengthen social connections and promote health and well-being.

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    Break - Voices of Older Adults with Lived Experience with Mental Health and Substance Abuse

    Stigma about mental health and substance use is strong at any age, but particularly among the current cohort of older adults. The E4 Center is dedicated to decreasing stigma around the experience of these issues and around getting effective treatment. One way we are doing this is by listening to older adults about their experience of mental health and substance use, treatment, and life after treatment through video.

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    Break – The Brain Donor Project

    Neuroscientists say there simply is no substitute for donated brain tissue when it comes to finding answers about brain diseases, including mental health conditions. The Brain Donor Project provides easy, step-by-step instructions on how to start the brain donation process. The nonprofit organization is governed by a Board of Directors and receives expert scientific input from NIH representatives who serve as Federal liaisons.

    Article: How Brain Donation Can Help Scientists Understand Mental Illness, Dementia, and More

    Website: https://braindonorproject.org/

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    Welcome and Keynote Speaker

    Welcome and Remarks from Deputy Secretary Andrea Palm 

    Remarks from Federal Partners

    • Alison Barkoff, Acting Administrator and Assistant Secretary for Aging 
    • Miriam E. Delphin-Rittmon, Assistant Secretary for Mental Health and Substance Use, Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration 
    • Carole Johnson, Administrator, Health Resources and Services Administration  

    Keynote - Q&A Discussion

    Montel Williams and NCOA's CEO Ramsey Alwin

    Montel Williams will talk about his personal journey with mental health and multiple sclerosis(MS).

    Eligible for 1 CEU with live participation

    Montel Williams

    Emmy-Award winning TV personality, Bestselling Author, Marine Corps and Navy Veteran and Healthcare Advocate

    Montel Williams earned his media celebrity status as an inspirational Emmy Award winning television personality whom Americans invited into their homes for more than 17 years. He is a decorated former naval officer, inspirational speaker, author, entrepreneur and advocate for patients worldwide.

    Before and after the success of his syndicated television show, Montel has incubated projects that he has transformed into major initiatives, all with the goal of helping others.

    Williams is currently hosting the hit Lifetime Show, Military Makeover with Montel. Military Makeover offers hope and a helping hand here on the home front to members of our military and their loved ones. Williams, a veteran of both the Marine Corps and the Navy, leads the Makeover team’s mission. This special series enlists conscientious designers, contractors, landscapers and other home improvement professionals to transform the homes and lives of military families across the country. https://militarymakeover.tv/about- military-makeover-with-montel/.

    Williams hosted “The Montel Williams Show”, a nationally syndicated talk show distributed by CBS Paramount Television, for 17 years, taping over 3,500 shows and interviewing more than 30,000 guests focusing on key social issues involving ordinary people coping with extraordinary circumstances. He received a Daytime Emmy® Award for Outstanding Talk Show Host and his show was nominated for Outstanding Talk Show two years in a row.

    Williams enjoys acting and performs whenever his schedule permits. Over the years, viewers may have seen him on hit television programs including “All My Children.” “American Dreams” and “JAG.” Williams contributed to the long running dramatic series “Guiding Light” playing “Clayton Boudreau”, which landed him a nomination in 2009 for a NAACP Image Award for Outstanding Actor in Television Series. He also starred in the critically acclaimed off-Broadway play “The Exonerated”. Williams also starred and executive produced a prime time network series for CBS, “The Education of Matt Waters”.

    Williams has been a prolific author of uplifting and practical books, of which four became bestsellers. They include “Living Well Emotionally: Breakthrough to a Life of Happiness”,” Living Well: 21 Days to Transform Your Life, Supercharge Your Health, and Feel Spectacular”, “ Climbing Higher”,” Body Change”,” Life Lessons and Reflections”, “A Dozen Ways to Sunday: Stories of Hope and Courage”, ”Mountain Get Out of My Way: Life Lessons and Learned Truths” and “Practical Parenting”.

    Williams began his professional career in the United States Marine Corp and was the first black Marine selected to the Naval Academy Prep School to then go on to graduate from the Unites States Naval Academy. Williams earned a degree in general engineering and a minor in international security affairs. He also earned a degree from the Defense Language Institute in Russian and Mandarin Chinese. While serving in the military Williams was the recipient of two Meritorious Service Medals, two Navy Commendation Medals, two Navy Achievement Medals and various other military awards and citations.

    Williams currently serves on the board of directors for several non-profit organizations; The Fisher House Foundation; The Ann Romney Center for Neurologic Diseases at Brigham and Women’s Hospital and the Research & Recognition Project.

    Andrea Palm

    Deputy Secretary

    Department of Health and Human Services

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

    Palm most recently served as Secretary-designee of the Departmentof Health Services (DHS), overseeing one of the largest state agencies inWisconsin as a member of Governor Tony Evers' cabinet. In this role, she hadresponsibility for the state's Medicaid program, its Supplemental NutritionAssistance Program (SNAP), and behavioral health programs, among others. DHS isalso Wisconsin's public health agency, and as such, Palm led the state'sresponse to the COVID-19 pandemic.

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

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

    Alison Barkoff

    Performing the duties of the ACL Administrator and Assistant Secretary for Aging

    U.S. Administration for Community Living

    Alison Barkoff was sworn in as Principal Deputy Administrator on January 20, 2021 and is currently performing the duties of the ACL Administrator and the Assistant Secretary for Aging.  She provides executive leadership and coordination for ACL programs nationwide and advises the HHS Secretary on issues affecting people with disabilities and older adults.

    A sibling of an adult brother with developmental disabilities and a civil rights attorney, Alison is a lifelong advocate for community living – both professionally and personally – and has been at the forefront of national efforts to expand the home and community-based services (HCBS) that make community living possible.

    As part of countless coalitions of people with disabilities, older adults, and advocates, she has fought to uphold the rights of people with disabilities and older adults and advance policies to ensure their access to health care, housing, employment, education, and all other facets of community life. She has testified before Congress and the US Commission on Civil Rights on disability rights and community living.

    She has served in a variety of leadership roles with disability rights organizations, including leading advocacy efforts at the Center for Public Representation and the Bazelon Center for Mental Health Law.

    She also is a veteran of the federal government. As Special Counsel for Olmstead Enforcement in the Civil Rights Division of the Department of Justice, she led efforts to enforce the rights of people with disabilities to live, work and fully participate in their communities. She also led interagency initiatives with the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services on Medicaid HCBS and with the Department of Labor on direct care workforce issues.

    Alison has brought that same focus on collaboration and coordination to her current role. Under her leadership, ACL is working with partners across HHS and the federal government on initiatives and interagency approaches to issues that affect people with disabilities and older adults, such as expanding access to HCBS and affordable, accessible housing; strengthening the direct care workforce; increasing competitive, integrated employment for people with disabilities; and advancing equity, to name just a few. 

    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 (SAMHSA). 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.In addition, Dr. Delphin-Rittmon served on faculty in Yale Department of Psychiatry for 20 years, most recently as Adjunct Associate Professor and previously as Assistant Professor, Assistant Clinical Professor, and Instructor. While at Yale Dr. Delphin-Rittmon also served as the Director of Cultural Competence and Health Disparities Research and 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 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 23-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 2023 Human Values Award from the Art of Living Foundation, the 2023 American Association of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry Children’s Mental Health Champion Award, the 2022 Distinguished Public Service in Psychology Award, from the National Register of Health Service Psychology and The Trust, Washington, DC, and the 2019 State Service Award from the National Association of State Drug and Alcohol Directors.Dr. Delphin-Rittmon 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


    Health Resources and Services Administration

    Carole Johnson is the Administrator of the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA).

    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.

    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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    Supporting Caregivers Providing Care to Someone with Mental Illness

    There are 60 million Americans who provide unpaid care to an individual who has a physical or mental illness. This session will dive into what is the impact on the caregiver. Attendees will learn how they can better support these caregivers with resources to help them maintain their mental health and care for their care recipients. 

    Eligible for 1 CEU with live participation

    Ruth Fox

    Chief Executive Officer and Caregiver

    Allegheny Family Network

    Ruth Fox started out her career as a Licensed Practical Nurse.  She has worked in the Mental Health field for the past 30 years.  Ruth volunteered with Homeless Coalitions, Housing Coalitions and was actively involved in community work while practicing as a nurse.   Realizing that her heart was focused on social services she began working at a local church as the Home Missions Director supporting people in the community who were struggling with various situations, many of whom had mental health concerns, supplying them with options to available support services in the community.  In 1998 Ruth began working at Community Human Services in Pittsburgh, PA as a Team Leader for adult mental health residential services.  Ruth was promoted to Program Director and remained employed at Community Human Services for 10 years. 

    Personally, Ruth is a parent of four children, one diagnosed at age 8 with major depression and agoraphobia.  In 2016 Ruth and her husband took in two grandchildren and raised them for 4.5 years, one with several mental health diagnosis. Ruth has been married to her husband for 32 years who early on was diagnosed with bipolar disorder and since is diagnosed with schizoaffective disorder.  She attended NAMI Spouse Support groups and took their Family-to-Family training.  There have been many ups and downs, but we love each other and when someone is sick that you love, you support them and care for them.

    Ruth’s professional and personal life made her uniquely qualified when in 2008 she was offered and accepted the position of Executive Director of Allegheny Family Network., she is a self-taught CEO now who is a hard worker and highly motivated.  She believes the ability to support parent/caregivers that have been through similar situations with their children and offer them resources and information to support them in making good decisions for their child and family is so rewarding.  Ruth thinks it is a pleasure to employ “family members” in doing what they know best - supporting and advocating for parents/caregivers who have children with mental health and behavioral needs through their journey.  She believes that children grow up and that families need peer support at all ages.  Ruth currently sits on the Office of Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services, Steering Committee at the state level to promote the use of Family Peer Support across the life span in PA as a mental health billable service.

    Ruth has personal knowledge, experience, and above all - passion for what she does.  Ruth feels it is a wonderful way to give back - to support others facing many issues daily, to encourage them to advocate, to help them get the support they need, to be informed, and to have hope for tomorrow.   

    LaQuana Fulton, MSW, MS, LCSW, CSW-G

    National Training and Education Coordinator

    Caregiver Support Program, VA Central Office

    LaQuana Fulton is a National Training and Education Coordinator with the Caregiver Support Program, VA Central Office.  Ms. Fulton holds over 15 years of experience in Healthcare Social Work. Ms. Fulton is dedicated to improving the health and well-being of the Veterans and caregivers. Ms. Fulton has held several positions in Social Work practice in the areas of Gerontological Social Work practice and Healthcare and serves as a strong advocate for older adults, caregivers, and families.


    Ms. Fulton holds a Master of Social Work degree from Virginia Commonwealth University, a Master of Science degree in Gerontology from Virginia Commonwealth University and a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology from the University of South Carolina. Ms. Fulton is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker in the Commonwealth of Virginia and certified as a Clinical Social Worker in Gerontology (CSW-G).

    Jamie Huysman, Psy.D, LCSW, CAP, CFT

    Chief Compassion Officer

    WellMed Medical Management

    Dr. Huysman's mental health career began in the 1980s. He created an outreach and clinical program known as TV Aftercare™, an innovation designed to support and assist TV talk show guests who opened themselves up on air to help other victims of abuse, substance dependency, and toxic relationships. Dr. Huysman appeared on more than 100 TV talk shows, coordinating pro bono clinical services for more than 800 guests over 15 years.

    In the 1990s, Dr. Huysman collaborated with Leeza Gibbons to create The Leeza Gibbons Memory Foundation and was appointed Executive Director. He established and oversaw programming providing respite and clinical services for caregivers in 10 US cities. He co-authored Take Your Oxygen First: Protecting Your Health and Happiness While Caring for a Loved One with Memory Loss.

    In the early 2000s Dr. Huysman began his career at WellMed, focusing on the emotional health of employees. Committed to a trauma-informed model of care, he created the Emotional Support Response Team (ESRT). He is an Advisor to The Polyvagel Institute, dedicated to raising awareness, building community, facilitating research, and offering education on understanding the mind/body system.

    Greg Link (Moderator)

    Director, Office of Supportive and Caregiver Services

    Administration for Community Living

    Greg Link is the Director of the Office of Supportive and Caregiver Services with the Administration for Community Living/U.S. Administration on Aging, which oversees programs funded under the Older Americans Act (OAA), including Title III-B in-home supportive services, Title III-E National Family Caregiver Support Program as well as ACL’s Alzheimer’s disease programs. Greg and his team also provide general oversight and technical assistance to the aging network on a range of program areas, including Information and Referral, family caregiver support programs and policies, housing, employment, transportation, LGBT aging, and Holocaust Survivors. Before coming to ACL/AoA, Greg worked at the National Association of State Units on Aging where he provided technical assistance and training to states on family care giving, consumer direction, and transportation. Greg has also worked at the community level as a case manager and social services manager at Senior Friendship Centers in Fort Myers Florida. There, he oversaw the social services staff and the delivery of services funded by the Older Americans Act, state funds and Medicaid waivers. Greg holds a bachelor's degree in psychology from the University of Central Florida and a Master of Arts in Government from Johns Hopkins University.

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    Medication Considerations for Older Adults with Mental Health Conditions

    The session will provide an overview of medication safety for older adults and how the use of multiple and inappropriate medications can lead to and/or exacerbate mental health issues in older adults. A patient advocate will provide testimonial of her lived experiences and a senior center will discuss current initiatives that educate and empower older adults on safe medication use.  

    Eligible for 1 CEU with live participation

    Jennifer Stoll, PhD

    Senior Research Scientist, Primary Care Research Institute

    University at Buffalo Department of Family Medicine

    I am a Senior Research Scientist at the University at Buffalo Primary Care Research Institute. My research focus is in primary care geriatric health services research specific to medication safety and deprescribing and patient/caregiver empowerment to guard against medication harm. My work is embedded in Team Alice, a nationally unique, multi-stakeholder deprescribing group that evolved from the Alice Story, a real case derived from the tragic death of Alice Brennan triggered by preventable medication errors and system failure. Team Alice consists of academic, primary care, regional health information partners, and an active group of patient stakeholders. I have been a leader in the older adult patient stakeholder engagement efforts and serve as the coordinator of Elder Voices. I am committed to pursuing patient-driven deprescribing research that will increase shared clinical decision making that can potentially reduce medication burden and improve the quality of life for older adults. My research interests are empowering older adults and their caregivers to be instrumental in health system change that will advance patient-centered care. This includes research in the area of social determinants of health with comprehensive screening to improve health care delivery that is responsive to the needs of the individual patient.

    Kerry Peek

    Senior Center Director

    Cheektowaga Senior Service Center

    Kerry Peek has her BFA in Graphic Design/Communication from the University of Buffalo.  She joined the staff at the Cheektowaga Senior Services Department in 1996 as the full-time craft instructor then promoted to the Recreation Supervisor.   

    In 2007 Kerry was appointed Director and has been working along with her staff team and volunteers to provide quality programming in the areas of nutrition, recreation, transportation, health & wellness, education, fine arts, special events, group travel opportunities and case management services.   

    Cheektowaga is a large suburb of Buffalo, NY, population just under 90,000.  About 33% of their residents are over the age of 60.  Annually, approximately 15,000 seniors participate in programming by the Senior Services Department.  In 2021, Kerry and her team received a Community Impact Award from the Cheektowaga Chamber of Commerce.  Kerry and her team continue to look for new ideas and programs that inspire and empower older adults.   

    In her free time, Kerry enjoys taking road trips with her husband David, swimming at her local YMCA, greeting card making with her sister and their creative friends, playing cards, trivia & board games and attending live theater performances with her mom.

    Mary Brennan-Taylor

    Patient Safety Advocate

    University at Buffalo School of Family Medicine

    Mary Brennan-Taylor is Vice President of Programs for the YWCA of the Niagara Frontier and community activist with a passion for patient and victim advocacy. Following the death of her mother, Alice Brennan from medical error, Mary embarked on a ten year campaign to bring the patient voice into the schools of medicine, nursing, pharmacy and physical therapy. As a Consumer Reports Safe Patient Advocate, Mary has addressed multiple meetings of the Centers for Disease Control, Health and Human Services and Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services and has been invited by numerous state hospital associations to serve as a guest lecturer at annual conferences.

    A University at Buffalo Department of Family Medicine Adjunct Research Instructor, Mary volunteers her time as a monthly lecturer in the Medical School and serves as a founding member of Team Alice, a Multidisciplinary team focusing on geriatric patient safety.

    Mary is the Co-Founder of Lockport Blue, a grass roots community wide initiative to engage the public with law enforcement; a member of the City of Lockport Board of Ethics, Niagara Hospice Board Member, Vice Chair of the Lockport Community Television Board of Directors and Lockport Public Arts Council

    Kathleen Cameron (Moderator)

    Senior Director, Center for Healthy Aging

    National Council on Aging

    Kathleen Cameron, BSPharm, MPH, has more than 25 years of experience in the health care field as a pharmacist, researcher, and program director focusing on falls prevention, geriatric pharmacotherapy, mental health, long-term services and supports, and caregiving. Cameron is Senior Director of the NCOA Center for Healthy Aging, where she provides subject matter expertise on health care programmatic and policy related issues and oversees the Modernizing Senior Center Resource Center.

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    Traumatic Brain Injury and Mental Illness Among Older Adults

    Each year, an estimated 40 million older Americans experience a traumatic brain injury (TBI). Older adults who suffer from a TBI are at an increased risk for developing mental health disorders, such as major depression and panic disorder. This session will explore how TBIs impact older adults and their mental health. 

    Eligible for 1 CEU with live participation

    Michael Hall, PhD, LCP

    Associate Professor, Department of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation

    Virginia Commonwealth University

    Michael J. Hall, Ph.D. completed his doctoral training in clinical psychology at Kent State University and a postdoctoral fellowship in clinical neuropsychology at Harvard Medical School.  He previously worked in the Department of Veteran Affairs for 16 years,  He is currently serves as a Neuropsychologist, Licensed Psychologist, and an Associate Professor in the Department of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation in the School of Medicine at Virginia Commonwealth University. His clinical focus includes neuropsychological assessment, psychological evaluation, and psychotherapy with a particular focus on rehabilitation.  His clinical and research focus is on traumatic and acquired brain injury, mental health problems to include posttraumatic stress disorder, polytrauma in Veterans and Civilians, effects of aging/neurodegenerative disorders, and COVID-19 Long Haul.  Interests also include advocacy, public policy and clinical training.   

    Maria Crowley, MA, CRC

    Director of Professional Development


    Maria plans and coordinates a spectrum of programs to enhance the knowledge and skills of the brain injury community, focusing on state government needs. She is also serves as a primary consultant for the TBI Technical Assistance and Resource Center, funded by the Administration for Community Living, supporting State TBI grantees and other stakeholders. She has worked in the disabilities field with state government for 34 years, and specifically in brain injury since 2000, to help individuals with disabilities reach their maximum potential in home, community, and employment. Maria was the State Head Injury Program Director for the Alabama Department of Rehabilitation Services (ADRS), designated lead agency in Alabama for traumatic brain injury (TBI) services, for 14 years. She continues to conduct a wealth of training issues related to traumatic brain injury, rehabilitation, employment, concussion management, intimate partner violence, service coordination and trauma/surveillance registries within business, state government, nonprofits and partner organizations.

    Ken Collins

    Person with Brain Injury, Advocate, Executive Director

    Hozho Center for Personal Enhancement

    Ken Collins has lived with his brain injury for 46 years and has worked with people with brain injuries to live independently since 1983: http://www.educationviews.org/...  He is an advocate of developing the home and community-based services for people with brain injuries. 

    In 1986-88 he was a VISTA Volunteer and helped develop the first independent living program for people with brain injuries in the U.S.  http://www.sheltercare.org/201...  Ken has participated in indigenous healing practices in the treatment of brain injury (Sweat Lodge and Hogan Ceremonies) and promotes the use of mindfulness-based stress reduction, Emotional Freedom Technique (EFT) tapping, Tai Chi, Yoga for successful integration with western medicine to control anger and other consequences stress and anxiety triggers within the limbic system fight or flight response. 

    Ken has conducted national webinars on using mindfulness-based therapies, meditation, exercise and nutrition to assist in the brain injury recovery process: http://www.biausa.org/educatio...  Ken also organized Elders First! to develop elder day services (adult day care) for frail Navajo elders at senior centers on the Navajo Nation.  These efforts were supported by two small grants to the Christopher and Dana Reeve Foundation and New Mexico Governor's Commission on Disability for Elders First! to fund focus groups and develop an Elders First! DVD to help educate chapter officials about elder day services at senior centers   The DVD was distributed to key legislative leaders in the Navajo Nation, Navajo Area Agency on Aging (NAAA), and Eastern Agency of the NAAA.  Ken also played a leadership role in the passage of the Vulnerable Adult Protection Act "Doris Act” on the Navajo Nation.  This legislation was passed by the Navajo Tribal Council on January 24, 2012, and was signed into law in February 2012 by Navajo Nation President, Ben Shelly.  

    Ken was elected Chair of the New Mexico State-wide Independent Living Council (NMSILC) in 2014-2016 and is currently an NMSILC member.  Ken is employed as the Executive Director of Hozho Center for Personal Enhancement a peer-run wellness center in Gallup, New Mexico.

    Donna Bethge (Moderator)

    Aging Services Program Specialist

    Administration for Community Living

    Donna Bethge is an Aging Services Program Specialist in the Office of Nutrition and Health Promotion Programs at the Administration for Community Living (ACL), Administration on Aging.  She serves as the lead for the Falls Prevention grant program and as the Program Officer for the Chicago Housing Authority’s grant. Before joining the team at ACL, Donna worked in the Aging Network in Maryland for 10 years with Area Agencies on Aging and an assisted living community, developing and implementing programs for older adults, as well as supporting and promoting evidence-based programs.  She earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Organizational Management from Northern Kentucky University.

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    Spotlight Session: Social Cohesion and Intergenerational Connections to Address Social Isolation

    Social cohesion and engagement can help improve quality of life and is associated with better mental and emotional health for older adults. Learn about the national initiatives to support social cohesion as well as intergenerational opportunities as one strategy to address older adult social isolation.

    Eligible for 1 CEU with live participation

    Vice Admiral Vivek H. Murthy, MD, MBA

    Surgeon General of the United States

    Dr. Vivek H. Murthy was confirmed by the U.S. Senate in March 2021 to serve as the 21st Surgeon General of the United States. As the Nation’s Doctor, the Surgeon General’s mission is to help lay the foundation for a healthier country, relying on the best scientific information available to provide clear, consistent, and equitable guidance and resources for the public. And as the Vice Admiral of the U.S. Public Health ServiceCommissioned Corps, Dr. Murthy commands a uniformed service of over 6,000 dedicated public health officers, serving the most underserved and vulnerable populations domestically and abroad. 


    While serving as 21st Surgeon General, Dr. Murthy is focused on drawing attention to and working across government to address a number of critical public health issues, including the growing proliferation of health misinformation, the ongoing youth mental health crisis, well-being and burnout in the health worker community, and social isolation and loneliness. Additionally, he serves as a key advisor to President Biden’s pandemic response operation, and is the host of House Calls with Dr. Vivek Murthy, a podcast highlighting the healing power of conversations. 


    During his previous tenure as 19th Surgeon General, under President Obama, Dr. Murthy created initiatives to tackle our country’s most pressing public health challenges. The first Surgeon General of Indian descent and the youngest active duty flag officer in federal uniformed service, he helped lead the national response to a range of health challenges, including the Ebola andZika viruses, the opioid crisis, and the growing threat of stress and loneliness to Americans' physical and mental wellbeing. Dr. Murthy also continued the office’s legacy on preventing tobacco-related disease, releasing a historic Surgeon General’s report on e-cigarettes and youth. And in 2016, he issued the first Surgeons General’s Report on Alcohol, Drugs and Health, in which he challenged the nation to expand access to prevention and treatment,and to recognize addiction as a chronic illness, not a character flaw.  


    Prior to his second confirmation, Dr. Murthy co-chaired President-elect Joe Biden's COVID-19Advisory Board from November 2020 to January 2021. Before entering government service, Dr. Murthy co-founded VISIONS, a global HIV/AIDS education organization; the Swasthya Project, a rural health partnership that trained women in South India to become community health workers and educators; TrialNetworks, a technology company dedicated to improving collaboration and efficiency in clinical trials;and Doctors for America, a nonprofit mobilizing physicians and medical students to improve access to affordable care. His scientific research has focused on vaccine development and the participation of women and minorities in clinical trials.  And as an internal medicine doctor at Brigham and Women’sHospital and at Harvard Medical School, Dr. Murthy cared for thousands of patients and trained undergraduates, medical students, and medical residents.   


    Raised in Miami, Dr. Murthy received his Bachelor of Arts degree from Harvard, his MD from the Yale School of Medicine, and his Masters in Business Administration from the Yale School of Management. A renowned physician, research scientist, entrepreneur, and author of the bestselling book Together: The Healing Power of Human Connection in a Sometimes Lonely World, Dr. Murthy is today among the most trusted voices in America on matters of public health. He lives in Washington, DC with his wife, Dr. Alice Chen, and their two children. 

    Colleen Galambos, Ph.D., LCSW, LCSW-C, ACSW, FGSA, FAASWSW

    Helen Bader Endowed Chair in Applied Gerontology

    University of Wisconsin Milwaukee

    Colleen Galambos, Ph.D., LCSW, LCSW-C, ACSW, FGSA, FAASWSW, is professor and the Helen Bader Endowed Chair in Applied Gerontology at the University of Wisconsin–Milwaukee. She is an adjunct professor at the Medical College of Wisconsin. Dr. Galambos is a fellow of the Gerontological Society of America and the American Academy of Social Work and Social Welfare.  In 2016, she was named a National Association of Social Workers Pioneer, and in 2020, she was named a Woman of Influence by the Milwaukee Business Journal. Her practice experience includes clinical, administrative, policy, and research positions in a variety of health and long-term care organizations. She currently serves on the  Governing Board for the  Aging and Disabilities Resource Center of Milwaukee County, Wisconsin.  She served on the State of Missouri Board of Nursing Home Administrators, from 2004 – 2011 and was Vice President of the Board from 2010 -2011. She is a past member of the Board of Directors of the National Association of Social Workers. She is currently a member of the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine’s Board on Health Care Services. She was a member of two Consensus Study Committees with the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine - The Health and Medical Dimensions of Social Isolation and Loneliness in Older Adults, from 2018 –2020 and The National Imperative to Improve Nursing Home Quality from 2020 - 2022. She also served on the National Academies of Medicine Vital Directions Project in 2020-2021. Dr. Galambos’ active research areas include care transitions, advance care planning/end of life decision making, aging in place, health and long–term care systems quality improvement, gerontechnology, older adults and behavioral health, practice approaches in work with older adults, family caregiving, and competency-based gerontological education. She is a graduate of Cornell University, University of Maryland at Baltimore, and The Catholic University of America.

    Maggie Ratnayake, LPCMH, ATR, NCC

    Executive Director

    Lori's Hands (Newark, DE)

    Maggie Ratnayake, MS, LPCMH, ATR, NCC is the Executive Director of Lori’s Hands, a nonprofit dedicated to creating mutually beneficial partnerships between community members with chronic illness and college students studying health care. Maggie started with Lori’s Hands in 2017 as the organization's first, and only, full time staff person. Since that time, Lori’s Hands has grown from a single location in Delaware engaging roughly 40 clients and 100 students a year to a three-state operation (Newark, DE, Baltimore, MD, and Metro Detroit, MI) engaging more than 200 clients and 440 students annually. She now leads 4 additional staff in implementing Lori’s Hands’ unique intergenerational service learning model. Prior to her work with Lori’s Hands, Maggie served as the Director of Older Adult Services at a Delaware-based nonprofit and as an outpatient mental health therapist. She has her Master’s Degree in Art Therapy from Eastern Virginia Medical School, where she received the Paul J. Fink, MD Outstanding Art Therapist Award. In 2015, she was named one of Delaware’s top 40 Under 40 young professionals.

    Pat Drake

    Lori's Hands Participant

    I worked at several different jobs before I moved to Newark to be nearer my family.  After I retired, my husband died, I became ill and needed extra help, that's when Lori's Hands came into my life. For the last few years I have enjoyed their weekly visits and help.

    Jenna Hopkins


    University of Delaware

    Jenna Hopkins is a senior Medical Diagnostics major with a concentration in Pre-Physician Assistant studies and a minor in Forensic Science. She has been volunteering with Lori's Hands for almost 3 years, and has been visiting Pat for 1.5 years now. Jenna will graduate at the end of this month and take a gap year as she applies to PA schools.

    Julianna Kolek


    University of Delaware

    My name is Julianna Kolek and I am a graduating senior with a major in exercise science and minors in disability studies and strength and conditioning. I began with Loris Hands in fall 2021 because I was in a course that required it as part of the curriculum. After that course, I decided to stay with Loris Hands because I loved it so much. I’ve been lucky enough to have visits with Pat for the past 2 years and it’s been an amazing experience and is always a highlight of my week. I begin physical therapy school at UD in June to get my Doctorate of Physical Therapy.

    Lily Liu (Moderator)

    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.

  • Contains 1 Component(s)

    The Link Between Chronic Pain and Mental Health in Older Adults

    Older and middle-aged adults in the United States account for about 80 percent of those who experience chronic pain. This session will discuss how people who have chronic pain are more likely to experience mental health problems, such as depression, anxiety, and substance use disorders. The session will discuss mental health resources available for those suffering from chronic pain.

    Eligible for 1 CEU with live participation

    Yvette Colón, PhD, BCD, LMSW

    Professor, Department member, Women's & Gender Studies; and Faculty Affiliate for the Aging Studies Program in the School of Social Work

    Eastern Michigan University

    Yvette Colón, PhD, BCD, LMSW – Clinical & Macro, is Professor, School of Social Work, and Faculty Affiliate, School of Health Sciences Aging Studies Program at Eastern Michigan University. She also is part of Amplify Colectivo, a culturally-sensitive mental health psychotherapy practice, providing services, including EMDR for chronic pain management, to individuals and couples. Currently she serves as an Associate Editor of the Journal of Psychosocial Oncology. She has taught, lectured, and published extensively on pain management, psychosocial oncology, palliative care and end-of-life social work practice, affirmative practice with LGBTQ+ individuals, and cultural aspects of health and mental health care.


    Dr. Colón holds a master's degree in clinical social work from Smith College School for Social Work, a Ph.D. in clinical social work from New York University, and a Graduate Certificate in Women’s and Gender Studies from Eastern Michigan University. 

    Nicole Hemmenway


    U.S. Pain Foundation

    Nicole Hemmenway currently serves as CEO of the U.S. Pain Foundation. She previously directed the INvisible Project, an online and print magazine that highlights the experiences of people living with pain, for the organization. Nicole is also an author and motivational speaker. Her book, No, It Is NOT in My Head: The Journey of a Chronic Pain Survivor from Wheelchair to Marathon, details her struggles and triumphs in dealing with complex regional pain syndrome, a debilitating neurological disorder. In September 2015, Nicole was featured in a campaign in USA Today in recognition of her role as an advocate for those living with chronic pain; and in 2017, she received the Unsung Hero Award for her work in the pain community. Nicole lives in the Nashville area with her husband and three young sons.

    Linda Shaw

    U.S. Pain Foundation's BIPOC Community Support Group Lead

    Linda C. Shaw is a Creative Vocal Entrepreneur & Author who also hosts her own Christian based podcast, Symphony of Sound. As a person living with chronic pain, Linda firmly believes in the power of sharing your story. In 2018, she penned From Lamentation to Revelation/ Shining the Light of Love Into the Darkness of Chronic Pain due to her traumatic and solitary journey into life-altering pain. In 2019, she became involved with the US Pain Foundaton and began the work of learning and advocating for those living with chronic pain. She was honored to be named US Pain Foundation’s 2020 Ambassador of the Year and began training in 2021 to become the BIPOC Chronic Pain Group Leader for Pain Connection. Linda’s sessions are held the 3rd Monday of every month and have been consistent since its beginning in August 2021. Interested parties can register for the BIPOC Chronic Pain Group at https://painconnection.org/bip...

    Linda Porter, PhD (Moderator)


    Office of Pain Policy and Planning, National Institutes of Health (NIH)

    Dr. Linda Porter is the Director of the National Institutes of Health’s Office of Pain Policy and Planning. She holds a bachelor’s degree in Physical Therapy from McGill University and a Ph.D. in Neuroscience from Boston University. Dr. Porter trained in neurophysiology at Rockefeller University and then served on the faculty of the Uniformed Services University until joining the NIH in 2003 where her role includes coordinating activities of the NIH Pain Consortium and the Interagency Pain Research Coordinating Committee, whose missions respectively, are to advance the trans-NIH and interagency pain research agenda. She co-chaired the development of the National Pain Strategy and the Federal Pain Research Strategy and now is involved with the NIH HEAL (Helping End Addiction Long-term) initiative. Dr. Porter has been recognized for her work through the President’s Award from the American Academy of Pain Management, NIH Director’s Awards, and the Emma and John Bonica Public Service Award from the American Pain Society.