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Mark Meridy on 2024 Global Loneliness Awareness Week Panel

Earlier this week, Mark Meridy, DOROT’s Executive Director, was featured at the 2024 Global Loneliness Awareness Summit in Washington, D.C., as a speaker on the panel, "Understanding Social Isolation & Loneliness Across Diverse Communities."

Meridy, who has been key in establishing DOROT as a leader and innovator in the field of social isolation and loneliness, joined three other experts to share valuable insights on individual and community experiences of social isolation, loneliness, and social connection.

Meridy shared how DOROT addresses social isolation and loneliness by “providing a sense of purpose, place, and belonging for our older adult community.”

He detailed how DOROT’s social workers have reframed program participation for older adults to “volunteering their time to work with high school or college students,” instead of asking if older adults of they would like to be recipients of DOROT’s services. This approach emphasizes the vibrant multigenerational community DOROT works to build, and, as Meridy further explained, “provides older adults with a sense of dignity and purpose, put[ting them] in a position to feel empowered to participate in a community and have a sense of belonging.”

The panel also included speakers working to serve other communities who also experience social isolation and loneliness at higher rates: those with disabilities, represented by Disability Rights Advocate and co-founder of the National Coalition for Latinxs with Disabilities, Dr. Conchita Hernandez; youth populations, represented by panel moderator Dr. Kristina Gloria, Director of Strategic Partnerships and Innovation at Young Futures; and cancer patients, represented by Dr. Arif Kamal, Chief Patient Officer at the American Cancer Society.

Learn more about Global Loneliness Awareness Week and watch the full recording of the panel here.