News & Events

Third Annual Healthy Aging Conference

Harnessing Science and Communities for Healthy Brain Aging

September 30, 2014

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Thank you to our fabulous presenters and to the wonderful audience of the third OHSU Healthy Aging Alliance Conference!  The theme of this event was translating research to a public health message for Health Brain Aging, and strengthening partnerships to truly transform the aging trajectory in Oregon.  Dr. Joseph Quinn was featured as the keynote speaker, and he was followed by research presentations, posters, and a panel discussion facilitated by Portland State University's Institute on Aging.

Joe Quinn
Joe Quinn, MD delivered the keynote presentation titled, Preventing Late Life Dementia: What Are We Waiting For?  Dr. Quinn is a professor of Neurology at OHSU, and the Director of the Layton Aging & Alzheimer's Disease Center's Genetics and Biomarkers Core.  His overall research focus is on developing strategies for treating and preventing Alzheimer's disease and other dementias.


Elizabeth Eckstrom, MD, MPH presented evidence on how physical exercise promotes healthy brain aging in her talk titled, "Is Body Fitness Really Brain Fitness? How Exercise Boosts Brain Power."  Dr. Eckstrom is a geriatrician who specializes in promoting an active lifestyle in older adults and issues relevant to healthy aging in women.  She is Director of Geriatrics at OHSU, and Associate Professor of Medicine.

 Featured research in the Healthy Aging Conference agenda included Dr. Rena Bahjat's work involving both basic and translational research to develop novel therapeutic treatments for ischemic brain injury by targeting various aspects of the injury process, including prophylactic, acute, and regenerative therapies.Dr. Bahjat is a Research Assistant Professor of Molecular Microbiology and Immunology at OHSU.

ActionPlanCoverPanel Discussion:

On October 16, 2013, Portland's City Council approved the Action Plan for an Age-Friendly Portland.  The Action Plan is the culmination of a planning process that began with the Portland State University Institute on Aging's involvement in the World Health Organization's (WHO) Global Age-Friendly Cities project in 2007.  Portland was the only U.S. city to participate in the WHO project among the 33 cities in 22 countries. 

Dr. Margaret Neal, Director of the Institute on Aging and co-coordinator of the Age-Friendly Portland Advisory Council, lead a panel discussion on the Age-Friendly Portland initiative.  She was joined by other members of the Advisory Council: Bandana Shrestha, Community Engagement Director for AARP Oregon; Leslie Foren, Executive Director of Elders in Action; and George Hocker Jr., Public Advocate for Commissioner Nick Fish.

Healthy Aging Alliance Hosts Successful Second Conference

Research interest groups demonstrate the benefits of collaboration


Walter-Bortz-MD-webThe second annual OHSU Healthy Aging Conference, “The Science and Art of Healthy Aging,” was held Oct. 10 at the Portland Art Museum in conjunction with “The Body Beautiful” exhibit of ancient Greek and Roman sculptures. 

The primary goals of the conference were to bring together scientists, health care professionals, artists and the community to share ideas, learn from each other and find better ways to integrate the arts into healthy aging. It was organized by the OHSU Healthy Aging Alliance, an OHSU research interest group or informal network of individual investigators working on a common research theme. 

HAA-Leadership-Team-webOver 330 people attended the conference, including older adults, researchers, clinicians, arts organizations, artists, political advocates and community groups. Diverse groups participated such as the Indian Elders Support Group and a sixth-grade team of girls from around Portland whose Lego Robotics project celebrates seniors. 

  “Participants were inspired by the science and art and left with many new ideas to reach for the stars in discovery, innovation, creativity and implementation of the best research evidence to insure that every single person in our community can age successfully,” said Elizabeth Eckstrom, M.D., conference organizer and associate professor of medicine. 


Highlights of the day included an opening keynote address by Dr. Walter Bortz, one of America’s most distinguished experts on aging and longevity, on “The Plasticity of Human Aging,” and a wrap-up keynote by Dr. Larry Sherman, senior scientist in the Division of Neuroscience at the Oregon National Primate Research Center, on “Music and the Healthy Aging Brain.” 


Sleep-Panel-Intro-webThe conference featured a full agenda:

  • A warm introduction by Dr. Jeanette Mladenovic, OHSU provost and vice president for academic affairs
  • Presentations on community programs to engage older adults in arts
  • Panels on maintaining healthy sleep and enhancing independence in older adults that included exciting new research from the Oregon Center for Aging and Technology (and including a panelist from industry partner Eli-Lilly)
  • A painting demonstration from a master artist
  • A “Voices of Elders” monologue
  • An innovative poster session on recent advances in arts and sciences related to healthy aging  

As Dr. Sherman said during his talk, “We all need to learn new things and engage our brains in creative endeavors. You don’t have to be a professional pianist; just sit down and learn to play something that is new for you – even if it is ‘Twinkle Twinkle Little Star.’” 

The 2011 Healthy Aging Conference

Ron Wyden, Joe Robertson, Bobby HeagertyThe Healthy Aging Conference on Oct. 27 brought together OHSU faculty and researchers who are engaged in aging research and clinical care to formalize a network for collaboration. National speakers, including Marie Bernard, MD, Deputy Director, National Institute on Aging, provided insight for developing an OHSU plan for aging research over the next 10 years.

Research findings were disseminated via poster presentations and panel discussions.


Dr. Jeffrey Kaye accepting an award at the 2011 HAA ConferenceTwo “Redefining Aging in Oregon” awards were given. Jeffrey Kaye, MD, Professor of Neurology and Biomedical Engineering, was recognized for his research and practice contributions. Dr. Kaye studies both the effects of normal aging in seniors of exceptional health, and on biomarkers, genetics and treatment of dementia. He is co-Director of the Oregon Center for Aging and Technology and Executive Director of the Layton Aging & Alzheimer’s Disease Center.

Senator Ron Wyden accepting an award at the 2011 HAA ConferenceSen. Ron Wyden also received an award. “Your forum today raises exactly the kind of questions we want to raise and also highlights some terrific opportunities,” said Sen. Wyden. “It’s time now for exactly what your program is dedicated to – creating more options for older people, particularly when there’s hard, verifiable data that you can do more to give people what they want, which is care at home.”