Organizing for success: Healthy Aging Alliance hosts successful second conference

HAA-Leadership-Team-webResearch interest groups demonstrate the benefits of collaboration

The 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.

Over 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.”

The 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.’”


Pictured: Healthy Aging Alliance leadership team

Gene therapy investigators will host Nov. 28 symposium

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