The 29th annual Maine Geriatrics Conference in Bar Harbor recently brought together health providers and practitioners, service providers, Maine Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) employees, Geriatrics Education Mentors (GEMs) and those with an interest in the field of aging.
University of New England President James Herbert, Ph.D, was a guest speaker at the event.
“Maine is the oldest state in the nation,” Herbert told the attendees. “And as the leading provider of health care professionals for the state, UNE has a special responsibility to help older adults manage their care and thrive. We have long believed in the importance of teaching our students how to meet the needs of older adults and how to engage with them in an inclusive way.”
Marilyn R. Gugliucci, Ph.D., professor and director of Geriatrics Education and Research in UNE’s College of Osteopathic Medicine, Susan Wehry, M.D., chief of geriatrics in the Division of Geriatrics and Tom Meuser, Ph.D., director of UNE’s Center for Excellence in Aging and Health, also attended.
The conference is the longest running geriatrics event of its kind in Maine, and featured expert international, national and local speakers who provided evidenced-based best practices in older adult care and health policy.
“We are so fortunate to have leaders in the field of aging travel to Maine to share their knowledge and experience with the conference attendees,” commented Gugliucci.
Gugliucci has chaired the conference’s planning committee for nine years and has served on the panel for 25 years. The committee’s mission is to advance ideas and systems that address older adult health disparities, so as to optimize aging.
“There is no question that the conference planning committee and staff work diligently to make this an extra special conference,” Gugliucci stated.
This year’s conference included the involvement of state employees and a plenary session presentation by Paul Saucier, commissioner of DHHS. It has been five years since Maine DHHS and Office of Aging and Disability Services employees have been able to attend the conference.
“Having state employees at the conference again felt like a family reunion,” exclaimed Gugliucci.
Objectives of the conference include applying knowledge gained during the conference to actual situations, evaluating older adult health care needs and implementing mechanisms to address them, and to develop alternative care solutions for improved health and wellbeing.
“The conference is not just about sharing current clinical information, but it really looks forward to how we can impact and inform policy in the future,” said Wehry.