4th Annual Older Adult
Mental Health Awareness
Day Symposium

May 6, 2021

Socialization and Engagement – What We Know Works

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COVID-19 has amplified the problem of social isolation, yet older adults have remained resilient. Presenters share what strategies they know work from a clinical and community perspective across settings, and what is next from the research.

Ipsit V. Vahia, MD

Medical Director, Institute for Technology in Psychiatry and Medical Director, Geriatric Psychiatry Outpatient Programs at McLean Hospital Assistant Professor of Psychiatry

Harvard Medical School

Ipsit Vahia, MD, is a geriatric psychiatrist, clinician, and researcher. He is medical director of the Geriatric Psychiatry Outpatient Services at McLean Hospital and the McLean Institute for Technology in Psychiatry. He is also director of the Technology and Aging Laboratory. His research focuses on the use of technology and informatics in the assessment and management of older adults and currently, he oversees a clinical and research program on aging, behavior, and technology. He has published extensively in major international journals and textbooks.

Dr. Vahia serves on the American Psychiatric Association (APA) Council on Geriatric Psychiatry and the Geriatric Psychiatry Committee of the American Board of Psychiatry and Neurology. He has served on the board of directors of the American Association for Geriatric Psychiatry (AAGP) and on the editorial boards of five journals including his current role as social media editor of the American Journal of Geriatric Psychiatry. He is a recipient of several prestigious awards including the 2016 AAGP Barry Lebowitz Award and the 2014 APA Hartford Jeste Award.

Kimberly A. Van Orden, PhD

Principal Investigator

The HOPE Lab

Dr. Kim Van Orden is a clinical psychologist and Associate Professor in the Department of Psychiatry at the University of Rochester Medical Center. She is the Principal Investigator of the HOPE Lab (Helping Older People Engage) and Co-Director of the Rochester Roybal Center for Social Ties and Aging, which is funded by the National Institute on Aging. Her lab conducts clinical trials of programs to promote social engagement and healthy aging. Kim mentors students and fellows, co-directs a research fellowship in suicide prevention, and maintains an active clinical practice providing evidence-based psychotherapy to older adults. 

Diane Slezak



Diane Slezak serves as the Chief Executive Officer of designated by the Illinois Department on Aging under the U. S. Older Americans Act and State Act on Aging to serve older and disabled persons in the Cook County suburbs surrounding Chicago. AgeOptions and the community agencies that serve older and disabled persons in the region, have developed a number of significant and collaborative programs and services including evidence based health promotion, benefits outreach and access, economic security initiatives, aging and disability resource centers, congregate and home delivered nutrition, the Avisery Program and others. Diane has a Bachelor Degree from Wheaton College (Wheaton Illinois) and an MBA degree (concentration Public Administration) from Rosary College (now Dominican University). Diane joined AgeOptions in 1976. 

Sandy Markwood (Moderator)

Chief Executive Officer

National Association of Area Agencies on Aging

Chief Executive Officer Sandy Markwood has more than 30 years experience in the development and delivery of aging, health, human services, housing and transportation programs in counties and cities across the nation. Prior to coming to n4a in January 2002, Sandy served as the Deputy Director of County Services at the National Association of Counties where she took a lead role in research, training, conference planning, program development, technical assistance and grants management.

As CEO, Sandy is responsible for n4a’s overall management. She sets strategic direction for the staff, oversees the implementation of all policy, grassroots advocacy, membership and program initiatives. She also leads n4a’s fundraising efforts and engages corporate sponsors to support critical initiatives, including an aging awards/best practices program and the Leadership Institute for Area Agency on Aging staff. Externally, Sandy forms strategic partnerships with federal agencies and organizations in aging, human services and health care arenas to enhance the role and recognition of Area Agencies on Aging and Title VI programs.

Sandy holds Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees from the University of Virginia.


Socialization and Engagement – What We Know Works
05/06/2021 at 2:15 PM (EDT)   |  60 minutes
05/06/2021 at 2:15 PM (EDT)   |  60 minutes