Conference to Address ‘Building a Bridge to Healthy Aging’



March 17, 2009 – “Building a Bridge to Healthy Aging” will be the focus of an all-day seminar April 7 to be held in the Drury Lodge, 104 Vantage Drive, in Cape Girardeau.

The conference will address health and wellness issues in the older adult population. Those who attend will learn about a variety of current treatment modalities surrounding the care of the older adult and how to identify resources to improve overall health and wellness for this sector of the population. Participants also will learn how to apply the new concepts they learn in the clinical practice/case management setting for the care of older adult patients.

The conference is presented by Southeast Missouri State University, Saint Louis University, Aging Successfully, A.T. Still University/Kirksville College of Osteopathic Medicine, University of Missouri Health Care, Saint Francis Medical Center, Southeast Missouri Hospital, Southeastern Missouri Area Health Education Center and the Cape Girardeau Area Medical Society, Inc. Conference co-sponsors are the Miracle Ear Center, Missouri Delta Medical Center-Senior Lifestyles, Poplar Bluff Regional Medical Center and SEMO Alliance for Disability Independence.

The conference is designed to benefit physicians, registered nurses, directors of nursing, certified nurse assistants, licensed practical nurses, nursing home administrators, social workers, physical therapists, occupational therapists, activity coordinators and other clinical staff who provide geriatric care in hospitals, clinics and long term care facilities.

The day’s events will begin with registration from 8 to 8:45 a.m. The keynote address is scheduled for 9 to 9:50 a.m. when Dr. Miguel Paniagua of the Missouri Gateway Geriatric Education Center at Saint Louis University will discuss “Aging Successfully: The Search for the Foundation of Youth.” Paniagua is assistant professor of medicine in the Department of Medicine’s Division of Gerontology & Geriatric Medicine at the Saint Louis University School of Medicine. His focus has been in medical education research as well as research, education and writing on geriatric syndromes in long term care. Previously, Miguel received teaching awards for excellence in undergraduate teaching each of his four years on the faculty at the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine, including induction to Alpha Omega Alpha and the Attending Physician Excellence in Teaching Award for the Department of Internal Medicine at the Saint Louis University School of Medicine. A graduate of Saint Louis University and The University of Illinois College of Medicine in Chicago, Paniagua completed residency in internal medicine and a two-year fellowship in gerontology and geriatric medicine at the University of Washington in Seattle.  He is board-certified in internal medicine, geriatric medicine, and hospice and palliative medicine.  He plans to soon complete a master’s degree in health professions education at the University of Illinois.

Multiple breakout sessions will focus on mental health issues, elderly driving issues, assessment of the geriatric patient, Alzheimer’s Disease, Gero-Pharmacology, chronic disease and fall prevention. Three concurrent sessions are planned for 10-10:50 a.m.: “Train Your Brain” by Shannon Kitchen of the Alzheimer’s Association; “Geriatric Medication Therapies: What Am I Missing?” by Sandra Bollinger of Health Priorities, Inc., in Sikeston, Mo.; and “Substance Use Disorders in Geriatric Patients: Patients are Often Overlooked” by Dr. Syed Sayeed of Missouri Delta Medical Center in Sikeston, Mo.

After a break and an opportunity to view exhibits, three more concurrent sessions are planned: “Using Evidence-Based Assessment Tools and Protocols in the Care of Older Adults” by Dr. Brenda Johnson of Southeast Missouri State University. “Chronic Disease & You: Live Like Your Life Depends On It” Part I by Belinda Heimericks of the Missouri Department of Health & Senior Services; and “A Roadmap for Keeping Mature Drivers Independent & Safe: Looking Ahead to Driving Retirement and other Roadblocks” by Ute Smith of Saint Francis Medical Center.

Some morning sessions will be repeated in the afternoon along with “The Boomers Will Change Everything” by Dr. Shelba Branscum of Southeast Missouri State University; and “Show-Me Falls Free: Managing Falls in Practice” by Dr. Helen Lach of the Saint Louis University School of Nursing.

The closing afternoon session is titled “Hearing the Voices of the Soon Departed” to be presented by Dr. Bob and Judy Fisher of Belmont University in Nashville, Tenn. Dr. Bob Fisher is president of Belmont University and has previously served at universities in the roles of professor, business school dean and vice president of academic affairs. He co-authored the book Real Dream Teams: Seven Practices Used by World-Class Team Leaders to Achieve Extraordinary Results with Belmont’s Vice President of University Advancement, Dr. Bo Thomas. Dr. Bob Fisher is a Fulbright Scholar and serves in numerous volunteer roles including service on the Nashville Alliance for Public Education, Alignment Nashville and the PENCIL Foundation, all of which support Nashville’s public schools; and as past chair of the Greater Nashville Area Chamber of Commerce. He was selected 2008 Tennessean of the Year. Judy Fisher has filled the roles of mother, middle school science teacher and, currently, the campus-wide coordinator of interior construction and exterior landscaping/lighting at Belmont University. She conducted the large majority of the interviews for this project. She is active in community service where she serves on several non-profit boards, including the American Lung Association, the Nashville Opera and, the board of Alive Hospice.

Pre-registration fee for the conference is $50. Registration at the door is $60. The student registration fee is $10. For more information, contact Desma Reno at Southeast Missouri State University at (573) 651-2939.