MGS 40th Annual Conference – April 22, 2016

AS WE AGE: Trends. Transitions. Triumphs.

Earle Brown Heritage Center, Brooklyn Center, MN
Download the Conference Program Summary – 6 pages | Download the Conference Agenda | Download the Handouts

Our 40th Annual Conference was a record-setting success! Below is a recap of the speakers and day’s events. We appreciate all who attended and were a part of making it happen!

Conference Highlights

482 in attendance – 47 current and past Board members
9 sponsors – 41 exhibitors

(More details below)

 MGS 40th Annual Conference

From Left to Right:
MGS Conference Committee members Mary Jo Schifsky & Kathy Siegling, Conference Attendees, Introductions by Executive Director Tom Hyder

The Minnesota Gerontological Society 2016 conference The Minnesota Gerontological Society 2016 conference The Minnesota Gerontological Society 2016 conference

From Left to Right:
Current and Past Board Members, Exhibit Hall, Exhibit

The Minnesota Gerontological Society 2016 conference The Minnesota Gerontological Society 2016 conference The Minnesota Gerontological Society 2016 conference

From Left to Right:
Keynote by Cathy Wurzer, Conference Attendees, Poster Sessions

The Minnesota Gerontological Society 2016 conference The Minnesota Gerontological Society 2016 conference Physicians Panel Moderated by Cathy Wurzer

From Left to Right:
President Charissa Eaton with Gerontologist of the Year Award Winner Olivia Mastry, Student Scholarship Award Winners, Physicians Panel

Photos by Angela Jimenez Photography

See more photos of the event on our Facebook page

                                                 Thank You – 2016 Conference SponsorsGroup Sponsors landscape 3.18.16 cropped

Morning Keynote: Aging in Context: Looking Back, Looking Ahead, Looking Within

Andi EgbertAndi Egbert, Assistant Director, MN State Demographic Center
In this entertaining and informative overview of aging and related demographic trends in Minnesota, Andi Egbert discussed the historical context, projections, and possible impacts of our aging society. This presentation compared the size and scope of the aging population in Minnesota as it relates to historical trends. Covering the potential impacts of population aging on the workforce, aging services, or other domains, the presenter hoped that “you laughed at least once!” Yes she’s that good!


Luncheon Keynote: We Know How This Ends: Living While Dying

WurzerCathy Wurzer, Morning Edition host, Minnesota Public Radio News
Cathy Wurzer shared her story of the transformative experience of following the end of life journey of Bruce Kramer, a Hopkins, Minnesota man who not only taught Cathy, but hundreds of thousands of listeners, the lessons he learned living while dying. Dr. Bruce Kramer was the Dean of the College of Education, Leadership and Counseling at the University of St. Thomas, from 2008 to the fall of 2012.BruceCathy-MGS

Cathy discovered “The Dis Ease Diary”, Bruce’s blog about his life with ALS, and the two started a series of honest and inspiring conversations in 2011.They kept talking until Bruce’s death in March of 2015. Their acclaimed conversations were the spark for the book, “We Know How This Ends: Living while Dying” published by the University of Minnesota Press. The book was recently selected as a 2016 finalist for the 28th annual Minnesota Book Awards.

Cathy Wurzer is one of Minnesota’s most recognized broadcast journalists with a career that spans both commercial and public radio as well as TV. She is a multiple Emmy Award winning journalist and host of Minnesota Public Radio’s flagship news program, “Morning Edition.” Cathy is also the co-host of the longest running public affairs television show of its kind in the country: “Almanac” on Twin Cities Public Television.

Cathy was available for a book signing and sale after her presentation.


Physician’s Panel: A Good Life to the Very End: Quality Care Near the End of Life

Moderated by Cathy Wurzer
1) George Schoephoerster, MD, Past President, Minnesota Medical Directors Association;
2) Julie Mayers Benson, MD, President, Minnesota Network of Hospice and Palliative Care;
3) Joseph Amberg, MD, Medical Director, Palliative Care, Allina Health;
4) Ken Kephart, MD, Medical Director, Honoring Choices Minnesota, Twin Cities Medical Society









Cathy Wurzer


A comprehensive panel discussion with physician leaders representing four medical resources with an organizational focus on quality care near the end of life. Topics discussed will included hospice care, palliative care, honoring choices and geriatric medicine in the later stages of life. Panelists discussed current medical practices, challenges for health services in rural Minnesota, physician assisted dying and ways medical treatment could and should be delivered in the state. Dialog about how to inspire and encourage conversations about end-of-life care planning with families and with faith, cultural or community groups and audience Q & A.


Concurrent Sessions

Happiness Is In Our Nature: The Importance of Nature-Based Activities in Older Adults’ Lives
Paula Frakes, MA, Life Enrichment Consultant Nature-Based Activities for Active Aging

Advance Care Planning and Allina’s LifeCourse
Phyllis Greenberg, PhD, MPA, Gerontology Coordinator, St. Cloud State University
Eric Anderson, MD, Hospice and Palliative Care, Allina Health

Preventing Elder Abuse: How the MN Elder Justice Center Can Help
Marit Peterson, JD, Program Manager, Minnesota Elder Justice Center

Homelessness and Older Adults in Minnesota
Michelle Decker Gerrard, MEd, Research Manager, Amherst H. Wilder Foundation
Christin Lindberg, MA, Research Associate, Amherst H. Wilder Foundation

The MGS Network In Action: Speed Questions Workshop (2 Sessions)
Discussion with a broad range of aging experts – including current and former MGS Board members, community experts and long-time supporters – as MGS celebrates 40 years of advocacy and service in the field of aging.

Rethinking Long Term Care: Can We Get & Afford the Services We Want?    Sponsored by:  mba_logo_small
Robert Kane, MD, Director, UMN Center on Aging (moderator)
Patti Cullen, President/CEO, CareProviders of Minnesota
Mary Jo George, Assistant State Director for Advocacy, AARP MN
Krista Boston, Director, Consumer Assistance Programs, MN Board on Aging

Gray Areas in Bioethics: Ethics Minefields Hidden in Aging Trends
Rosalie Kane, PhD, Division of Policy & Management, School of Public Health UMN
Charissa Eaton, MSW, PhD, Associate Professor, Social Work Department, Winona State University

So What’s an Aging Brain to Do?
Angela Lunde, MA, Education Outreach Coordinator, Mayo Clinic Alzheimer’s Disease Research Center

Nursing Home Resident Quality of Life: Measures, Predictors and Policy Implications
Tetyana Shippee, PhD, Division of Policy & Management, School of Public Health UMN
Robert Held, Director, Nursing Facility Rates and Policy Division, DHS
Valerie Cooke, Manager, Quality and Research, Nursing Facility Rates & Policy, DHS


Executive Reception and Raffle

An opportunity to meet the exhibitors and to network with colleagues, students, professors and presenters from across Minnesota. All participants received one free beverage ticket. Multiple prize drawings for Exhibitor Bingo.


Poster Session

A display of presentations representing research by faculty and higher education students in fields of study related to gerontology and aging. An opportunity to talk directly with a researcher about their findings and possible implications toward policy initiatives and practice projects focusing on older adults.


MGS 2016 Conference Learning Objectives
(pre-approved for 5 CEUs by MN Board of Social Work and BENHA, self-submit by others)

From the content presented at this conference, learners will be able to:

1. Discuss the near- and long-term Minnesota population trends and projections impacting policy development, service delivery models and health care affordability for older Minnesotans.
2. Compare hospice care, palliative care, advance care planning and geriatric medical practices and the role of each when designing and providing quality end of life care.
3. Recognize differing perspectives of ethical decision making and understand the importance of client autonomy and choice in planning care options.
4. Explore opportunities to address the challenges of older adult homelessness and elder abuse.
5. Review the increasing evidence of the importance of healthy lifestyle behaviors in relationship to maintaining quality brain health and a rewarding life.