NCOA Connect

NCMHA Webinar Series: Understanding Social Isolation and its Impact on Older Adults and Those Living with Disabilities

This webinar is designed to help aging services practitioners across sectors as well as individuals and caregivers better understand the similarities and important differences between loneliness and social isolation, and its impact on the health and well-being of older adults.

Learning Objectives:

  • Understand loneliness and social isolation risk factors at both the community and individual level
  • Better understand the costs of social isolation and recommendations from the consensus study by the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine
  • Learn practical tips on what you can do to help yourself, your loved ones, or other older adults in your community
  • Learn about AARP Foundation’s Connect2Affect platform and resources
  • Better understand new innovations and solutions that are having measurable impact on increasing social connections – particularly among low income older adults
  • Learn about the Commit to Connect initiative and how to become involved in the nationwide network of champions addressing social isolation

Emily Allen

Senior Vice President, Programs

AARP Foundation

Emily Allen is Senior Vice President, AARP Foundation Programs. 

Throughout her career, Ms. Allen’s primary passion has been on serving the needs of those most at risk in our communities. She has served in a number of capacities in the nonprofit, education and workforce development arenas, and has worked across the generations to ensure vulnerable and at-risk individuals have access to the resources and services they need to thrive. 

Ms. Allen began her career as a special education teacher and school administrator on Andros Island, Bahamas, and later accepted positions with AARP Foundation’s Senior Community Service Employment Program (SCSEP) as Project Director and Assistant National Director. She then served as Director, Workforce Programs, for AARP before being named Vice President, Income Security, for AARP Foundation in 2011. 

In 2016, Ms. Allen was named Senior Vice President, Programs, and now leads a team of Foundation innovators and social entrepreneurs to develop effective solutions that address the social determinants of health and help vulnerable, low-income older adults secure the essentials. In this role, she oversees AARP Foundation’s longstanding national programs like SCSEP, Tax-Aide and Experience Corps, as well as new innovations designed to increase economic opportunity and social connections that help prevent and reduce senior poverty. 

Ms. Allen holds a bachelor’s degree in psychology from Westminster College and a master’s degree in human and organizational learning from The George Washington University.

Joel Miller (Moderator)

Executive Director & Chief Executive Officer

American Mental Health Counselors Association

Joel E. Miller, M.S. Ed. is the Executive Director & Chief Executive Officer of American Mental Health Counselors Association. 

With over 30 years of experience in health care and behavioral health policy, Mr. Miller has advocated for the creation of federal and state policy – and regulatory solutions – to improve the delivery and financing of health care and behavioral health care in the U.S. 

In his current role as Executive Director and CEO of the American Mental Health Counselors Association (AMHCA) – headquartered in Alexandria, Virginia – Mr. Miller leads over 7000 clinical mental health counselors who have a critically important impact on the lives of Americans with behavioral health conditions. AMHCAs mission is to enhance the mental health counseling profession through advocacy, professional development, education and licensing.  Mr. Miller is responsible for all operations of the organization and implementing strategic initiatives in support of the Board of Directors.  He is the publisher of AMHCA’s Journal of Mental Health Counseling and its Advocate newsletter. He also serves as a member on the AMHCA Foundation Board of Directors.   

In his previous position at the National Association of State Mental Health Program Directors (NASMHPD), he led the development and implementation of NASMHPD’s policy agenda and regulatory strategies, which were designed to support State Behavioral Health Agencies and the state public behavioral health systems.  He also served as Director of NASMHPD’s Financing and Medicaid Division. 

At the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI), Mr. Miller led NAMI’s State Policy team and Public Policy Institute, dedicated to improving the financing and delivery of mental health services at the state level for people with mental illness, and addressing mental health issues across the lifespan.  He also was Staff Director to NAMI’s Veterans Council and the organization’s Scientific Affairs Council. 

Mr. Miller served as Senior Vice President at the National Coalition on Health Care, where he oversaw the evaluation, preparation and dissemination of innovative research and policy analysis about the nation’s health care system.  He also was the Director of Professional Affairs at the Health Insurance Association of America (now called America’s Health Insurance Plans). 

He has published over 50 articles and reports on behavioral health and health care delivery and financing, health care reform, Medicare and Medicaid policy, behavioral health integration, the health care workforce, cost management, medical practice assessment, quality improvement, health insurance exchanges, and health information technology.  

As a strong advocate on health care for seniors, he currently serves on the Executive Committee of the National Coalition on Mental Health and Aging.  Miller also has served on state health planning boards and committees, and was a founding board member of the National Commission on Correctional Health Care.  


Understanding Social Isolation and its Impact on Older Adults and Those Living with Disabilities
Recorded 07/28/2021
Recorded 07/28/2021
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