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DOROT to Present at ASA Conference, March 25-28, 2024 in San Francisco

A cohort of DOROT staff will be trading in their winter coats for slightly-less-warm outerwear, as they travel to San Francisco for the American Society of Aging’s “On Aging” Conference on March 25-28, 2024!

On Aging is the nation’s largest multidisciplinary conference on aging. The conference brings together thousands of professionals working in aging and related fields including experts, gerontologists and thought leaders from diverse fields to drive innovative solutions in aging.

DOROT is excited to participate and present at the conference, furthering our strategic goals to grow our programmatic partnerships, share our models and expertise with others, and demonstrate our leadership in the fields of aging and intergenerational volunteerism.

We’re also proud to share that each of DOROT’s submitted proposals was selected by ASA, and we will have six staff presenting at seven sessions during the conference, in many instances together with partner organizations.

Presentations will cover a range of topics, including the transformative power of the creative arts in fostering diversity and community to best practices that we’ve learned around solo aging to innovative faith-based partnerships.

See a full list of DOROT staff presentations and panels below (all times are PST):

Monday, March 25, 11:00 am – 12:00 pm

Session Title: The Kaleidoscope Effect: Fostering Diversity and Community through Creative Arts & Cultural Program Series


  • Charles Markham, Program Manager, DOROT and ASA RISE Fellow (Cohort 3)
  • Bill Gross, Director of Special Programs, SAGE

In this interactive session, we will explore the transformative power of creative arts and cultural program series in promoting diversity and fostering community among older adults. Through a hybrid discussion and presentation, attendees will learn how to engage older adults in programs that enrich their lives, provide global perspective, and encourage inclusivity and intercultural understanding. DOROT’s esteemed co-presenters (in-person and on zoom) include Ballet Hispanico, SAGE, Phoenix Art Museum, author/activist Janna Barkin, historian Eric K. Washington, and NAACP Image Award nominee Sakina Ibrahim. Most importantly, we'll hear directly from impacted older adults, discovering how these initiatives build an inclusive and connected community.

Monday, March 25, 1:30 pm – 2:30 pm

Panel Title: Working Together: A National, Local and Coalition Approach to Addressing the Epidemic of Social Isolation and Loneliness


  • Mark Meridy, Executive Director, DOROT
  • Caitlin Ruppel, Science & Policy | Public Health Advisor, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS)
  • Jillian Racoosin, Executive Director, Coalition to End Social Isolation and Loneliness
  • Katie Wade, Senior Director, Creative Engagement, Front Porch

Social isolation and loneliness (SIL) have devastating health consequences. Hear from a representative of the U.S. Surgeon General’s Office, the executive director of a national coalition, and community organizations on how we can work together to elevate and address SIL in an impactful way. Learn about the ground-breaking advisory and a path forward issued by the Surgeon General, the subsequent related legislation proposed in Congress, the work of the national coalition, and examples of community programs that work, make a difference and are evidence-based. This session will create the opportunity for building social and professional connections.

Monday, March 25, 3:00 pm – 4:00 pm

Panel Title: It’s All in Your Head: How to Cultivate an Innovator’s Mindset

Moderator: Lorraine Novack Regional Director, DOROT Westchester, DOROT


  • Amber Carroll Senior Director, Connection Programs, Front Porch
  • Atalaya Sergi National Director, Americorps Seniors
  • Ephraim Getahun Consultant, Crimson Eclipse Consulting
  • Grisel Rodriguez-Morales Senior Manager of Health Promotion Programs, Rush University Medical Center

ASA’s Innovation & Social Impact Council hosts this panel of innovators from the field of aging, moderated by Lorraine Novack of DOROT, a council member. Whether having a unique vision and bringing it to fruition or reimagining something that already exists, the ability to be an innovator is a key to success in an ever-changing world. This discussion will explore the mindsets of innovators, rather than focusing on their individual accomplishments. The goal is to unlock the potential in all of us to take risks, think with an open mind, overcome challenges and bring new impactful ideas to the field of aging.

Tuesday, March 26, 2:00 pm – 2:30 pm

Workshop Title: Tech and Innovation


  • Amy Wald, Director Connect Through Tech Programs for Seniors, DOROT
  • Ginna Baik, Senior Care Leader for Alexa Smart Properties / Amazon and OATS Board Chair, Amazon
  • Michael Skaff, Vice President, Healthcare Technology NA for Vayyar Imaging and Member of SF Tech Council, Vayyar Imaging

Topics include how older adults can stay connected and engaged through technology, and how technology can mitigate the social isolation and loneliness that affect a significant portion of the older adult population. The panel will explore how innovators and visionary startups are empowering older adults to live healthier and more connected lives, and the importance of older adult voices in age tech design.

Wednesday, March 27, 1:30 pm – 2:30 pm

Session Title: Digital Equity for Late Tech Adopters: Innovative Interventions


  • Amy Wald Director Connect Through Tech Programs for Seniors, DOROT
  • Florence Mauchant Founder & CEO, NeverTechLate

Join DOROT and NeverTechLate to dive into innovative interventions to promote digital literacy in late tech adopters. To start, we will explore myths about late tech adopters, share research on aging, cognition and learning and discuss effective teaching styles for older adults. Next, we’ll review two approaches to technology coaching, and dig into best practices. Throughout the presentation, we will underscore the importance of technology acquisition in combating social isolation and increasing digital inclusion of older adults. We will conclude with a discussion of how to launch, scale and measure the efficacy of technology programs. After questions, participants can share their own digital literacy programs and best practices.

Thursday, March 28, 8:00 am- 9:00 am

Session Title: Aging Gracefully Together: Nurturing Older Adults in Manhattan's Synagogues

Presenter: Jane Blumenstein Social Work Supervisor, PIC/Synagogue Partnerships, DOROT

For more than a decade, DOROT has created partnerships with synagogues in Manhattan as a way of supporting and expanding the work of these faith-based communities. This presentation will do three main things: 1) Describe the model of intervention used with our synagogue partners; 2) Highlight ways that DOROT has advocated for and elevated the needs of older adults in faith-based communities; 3) Outline the ways DOROT has fostered dialogue between synagogues so they can enhance their work and benefit from each other's best practices.

Thursday, March 28, 10:30 am- 11:00 am

Session Title: Learning from Solo Agers: Best Practices for Cultivating Community & Creating Successful Programs


  • Claire Solomon Nisen Manager, Lasting Impressions, DOROT
  • Ailene Gerhardt Patient Advocate, Beacon Patient Solutions LLC & Navigating Solo Network

For close to 50 years, DOROT has served as a leader in alleviating social isolation among older adults. Solo agers, who face higher risk of social isolation and its detrimental health impacts, often need to focus more intentionally on building community and identifying appropriate supports for successful and healthy aging. In this session, we will focus on the experience of solo agers in our community and the effective strategies we have implemented to help older adults plan for their futures and cultivate community. In particular, we will focus on what our program participants have taught us. We provide solo agers with tools, strategies, and resources to plan for the future, and in turn, our community members help shape our priorities and offerings, becoming communal leaders and advocates. We will share lessons learned from our participants, our best practices around building and empowering this vital community, and around resource sharing and dissemination.