2020 Annual Optimal Aging Conference 

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Conference Program

The 2019 Optimal Aging Conference program features over 30 presentations on aging topics, including: person-centered care, social isolation, advance directives, technology innovation, volunteer networks, music therapy, ageism, holistic pain management, palliative care, medical marijuana, age-friendly cities, age-friendly business practices, behavioral health, cultural competency, safety studies, strokes, incarceration, patient education, dementia care, animal-assisted interventions, veteran services, and polypharmacy. 

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Keynote Speakers

Opening General Session

Alzheimer's Update 
Keynote Speaker: Gregory A. Jicha, M.D., Ph.D. 

Dr. Jicha is a Professor in the Department of Neurology and Sanders-Brown Center on Aging at the University of Kentucky (UK). Dr. Jicha serves on the Executive Committee and is the Director of the Clinical Core of the UK, NIA-funded Alzheimer’s Disease Center. He also directs the Telemedicine Cognitive Clinic at UK, designed to reach out to rural populations across KY for both clinical and research-related activities in the area of AD and related disorders. Dr. Jicha holds the Robert T & Nyles Y McCowan Endowed Chair in Alzheimer’s Research at UK. His current research interests lie in the areas of mild cognitive impairment, clinic-pathological correlations in early preclinical disease states, and clinical trials of disease modifying therapies for AD. He is the principle investigator at UK for the National Alzheimer’s Disease Cooperative Study Group and also serves on the Clinical Task Force and Steering Committee for the National Institute of Aging Alzheimer’s Disease Center Program. 

Second General Session  

Investing in Health and Hope: Health Equity Across the Life Course
Keynote Speaker: Brandy N. Kelly Pryor, Ph.D. 

Dr. Brandy N. Kelly Pryor joined the Humana Foundation in May 2018 as the Senior Director of Programs, where she oversees the Foundation’s strategy, research, and impact for the over $14 million grants portfolio. She brings an ethnographer’s lens to the Foundation, as they seek to co-create solutions leading to greater health equity for all in the Humana Bold Goal communities in which they serve. Before joining the Foundation, Dr. Kelly Pryor was the inaugural professor to be jointly appointed as the Director of the Center for Health Equity (CHE), a division within the Louisville Metro/Jefferson County’s Department of Public Health and Wellness (LMPHW), and as an Assistant Professor with the University of Louisville’s School of Public Health and Information Sciences in the Department of Health Promotion and Behavioral Sciences, where she continues to teach graduate classes. 

With expertise in various frameworks of youth development, community based participatory research and advancing equity, Dr. Kelly Pryor’s transdisciplinary research focuses on the perception and performance of hope in marginalized communities; development of domestic and international social policy regarding youth; and the relationship between gender and race/ethnicity in the development of health narratives over the life course.

Dr. Kelly Pryor holds a PhD in recreation, park, and tourism sciences with a concentration in youth development, prevention science, and African studies from Texas A&M University, a master’s degree in education administration and human development with a concentration in education policy, and a Bachelor of Arts degree in international affairs with concentrations in global public health and Africa, both from The George Washington University. 

Third General Session

Improving Quality of Life across the Care Continuum: The Role of Palliative Care in Aging
Keynote Speaker: Lori Earnshaw, M.D.

Dr. Lori Earnshaw is a board-certified internist and palliative medicine specialist.  She works at Hosparus Health in Louisville, KY, where she provides community-based palliative and hospice care.  She led the clinical and educational programs at University of Louisville and University of Louisville Hospital from 2006-2016.  She remains an associate clinical professor with the University of Louisville Department of Medicine.  She has been active as a volunteer with the American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network since 2014 and is passionate about improving access to high-quality palliative care for the citizens of Kentucky. 


Closing General Session

Don't Forget About Us: Understanding Intimate Partner Violence in the Aging LGBTQ Community
Keynote Speaker: Carol Taylor-Shim, M.S.W

Carol Taylor-Shim, CEO of CTS Training and Consulting, LLC  is a nationally known inclusion practitioner, trainer, and consultant with more than 15 years of experience in the arena of inclusion, diversity, and social and racial justice work.  Carol specializes in helping organizations explore the ways in which they can strengthen their commitment to inclusion and create an organization that demonstrates an action centered commitment to inclusion, diversity and equity.  Carol also speaks to the way interpersonal violence intersects with marginalized and minoritized communities, specifically the Black/African-American community and the LGBTQ+ community.  She has  worked with the Kentucky child welfare system, institutions of higher education across the state and the nation, and with a host of community, governmental and advocacy organizations.  Carol received her BS in Justice Administration from the University of Louisville and her MSW from the from the University of Kentucky. Carol is led by a James Baldwin quote, “If I love you, I have to make you conscious of the things you don’t see.”


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