Conference on Aging Benefits Medical Professionals and Area Residents


Area senior citizens and their family members and caregivers will receive essential information about preventive care and independent living at The University of Scranton’s fourth annual Conference on Aging. In addition, medical professionals will hear from nationally renowned experts in fields of elder care about significant research findings and best practices concerning healthy aging. The conference, entitled “New Perspectives on Aging and Eldercare: Restorative, Medical, Spiritual,” will be held on the University’s campus April 10, from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m.

The conference integrates academic findings with practical applications and, more importantly, facilitates creative collaboration among practitioners, health-care institutions and universities, according to conference founder and organizer Herbert Hauser, Ph.D., research scientist at The University of Scranton. Dr. Hauser said the conference also provides a platform from which information is disseminated to those concerned with healthy aging, including the elderly and their caregivers.

For the first time, this year’s conference will include a track for area residents, senior citizens and caregivers, in addition to a professional track for area physicians and health-care practitioners, providers, academics and other professionals.

LIFE (Living Independent for Elders) Geisinger is co-chair for the public track of the conference, which will include hands-on training in use of technology to allow area residents to learn to use social media and communication tools their children and grandchildren prefer. Panel discussions and additional practical information and training will be provided. The public track of the conference is free of charge and open to the public, however reservations are required for participants to attend a noon luncheon. Reservations can be made by calling, 570-941-6160. The public track of the conference will be held in the Rose Room of Brennan Hall.

LIFE Geisinger is an outreach initiative of Geisinger Community Health Services, a division of the Geisinger Health System, which helps older adults stay in their homes while taking advantage of comprehensive daily living and health services. LIFE Geisinger is recognized as a national leader in caring for individuals with dementia disorders such as Alzheimer’s.

The professional track includes keynote presentations by Steven Strongwater, M.D., chief transformational officer for Geisinger Health Systems, and Harold Koenig, M.D., professor of psychiatry and director of the Center for Spirituality, Theology and Health at Duke University, who is considered to be one of the world’s foremost authorities on religion and health. In addition, Keith Swetz, M.D., associate professor of medicine at the Mayo Clinic, will discuss pain management and palliative care and nearly a dozen other presentations, workshops and panel discussions will address topics related to spirituality, faith and service in elder care; frailty, osteoporosis management, restorative care, dementia, multi-cultural perspectives in aging, and other topics.

Geisinger Health System is sponsoring the conference’s continuing education component and Allied Services Integrated Health Systems is a key supporting partner of the conference.  Participants are eligible to obtain continuing education credits for physicians, nurses, counselors, occupational therapists, physical therapists, psychologists, and nursing home, residential care and assisted living administrators.

The sessions for the professional track will be held in the DeNaples Center.

Dr. Hauser and Brian Conniff, Ph.D., dean of the College of Arts & Sciences at The University of Scranton, are co-chairs of this year’s conference. Gregory Basting, M.D., Allied Services Integrated Health Systems; Anthony Balsamo, M.D., Geisinger Medical Center; and Christian Krokus, Ph.D., assistant professor of theology at The University of Scranton served as leaders for conference tracks in restorative, medical and spiritual care, respectively. LIFE Geisinger is co-chair for the public track of the conference.

In addition to The University of Scranton, the conference is a collaboration among The Commonwealth Medical College, Johnson College, Keystone College, Lackawanna College, Marywood University and Penn State Worthington. Additional supporters of the conference are Affinity LTC, Allied Services, Blue Cross of Northeastern Pennsylvania, Brucelli Advertising, CareGivers of America, Geisinger Health System and Senior Healthcare Solutions.

Conference registration fees vary for the professional track.

For additional information or to register, visit, or call 570-941-5860.


Speakers include:

Harold Koenig, M.D.

Considered one of the world’s top experts on religion and health, Dr. Koenig has published extensively in the fields of mental health, geriatrics, and religion, with nearly 400 scientific peer-reviewed articles and book chapters and 40 books in print or in preparation.  He serves director of the Center for Spirituality, Theology and Health at Duke University. He is the former editor-in-chief of the International Journal of Psychiatry in Medicine, and is on the editorial boards of many professional journals. His research on religion, health and ethical issues in medicine has been featured in hundreds of national and international news programs and publications, including The Today Show, Good Morning America, NPR, BBC, and Newsweek. He has given testimony before the U.S. Senate and the U.S. House of Representatives concerning the effects of religious involvement on public health.

Dr. Koenig earned his medical degree from the University of California at San Francisco, and his geriatric medicine, psychiatry, and biostatistics training at Duke University Medical Center. He is board certified in general psychiatry, and formerly board certified in geriatric psychiatry, geriatric medicine, and family medicine. He serves on the faculty at Duke as professor of psychiatry and behavioral sciences, and associate professor of medicine, and is on the faculty at King Abdulaziz University, Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, as a Distinguished Adjunct Professor.

Steven Strongwater, M.D.

As chief transformation officer at Geisinger Health Systems, Dr. Strongwater provides administrative oversight and leadership to improve health outcomes, access to health services and the way patient care is delivered by linking scientific discovery, health care delivery and the reimbursement for health services. Prior to joining Geisinger, Dr. Strongwater served as executive officer of Stony Brook University Hospital. His experience also includes the development of a network strategy in preparation for accountable care, and the launch of an electronic medical record. Dr. Strongwater earned his medical degree from SUNY Upstate Medical Center, Syracuse, N.Y., after completing a residency in internal medicine at SUNY Upstate Medical Center, he completed a rheumatology fellowship at the University of Michigan.

Keith Swetz, M.D.

A member of the Biomedical Ethics Program at the Mayo Clinic, Dr. Swetz conducts research, teaches and engages in policy discussions about ethical questions concerning medicine and biomedical science. An associate professor of medicine at the Mayo Clinic, Dr. Swetz has published nearly 50 articles on topics that include ethical issues concerning palliative care, consultation and medical practice, among other topics. His recent articles include: “Ethical issues and palliative care in the cardiovascular intensive care unit,” “Health care ethics consultation competences and standards: a roadmap still needing a compass,” and “Management of advanced heart failure in the elderly: ethics, economics, and resource allocation in the technological era.”

Dr. Swetz, earned his medical degree from Pennsylvania State University’s College of Medicine. He completed his residency in categorical internal medicine at the Mayo Clinic College of Medicine and a fellowship in hospice and palliative medicine at Virginia Commonwealth University’s Medical College of Virginia. Dr. Swetz also earned a master’s degree in bioethics and health policy from Loyola University Chicago. He holds certifications from the American Board of Hospice and Palliative Medicine and the American Board of Internal Medicine.



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