Conference on Aging Presents Practical Medical Applications for Physicians and Caregivers

March 30, 2015

Healthcare professionals involved in caring for senior citizens will be exposed to current best practices and the latest research findings at The University of Scranton’s fifth annual Conference on Aging.

Nationally recognized experts in the interdisciplinary fields of elder care will present their findings at the conference, titled “Perspectives on Aging and the Brain: Restorative-Medical-Spiritual-Caregiving,” which will be held in the DeNaples Center on the University’s campus on Thursday, April 9, from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m.

By facilitating collaboration between practitioners, health care institutions and academic centers, the conference will enable participants to merge academic findings with practical applications.

The conference features four concurrent tracks, each targeted to participants’ specific areas of expertise: restorative, medical, caregiver and spiritual. Steven Trent DeKosky, M.D., a national leader in Alzheimer’s disease research and advocacy, will present “Advances in Alzheimer’s Disease,” the keynote address for all four tracks.

Dr. DeKosky, professor emeritus of neurology at the University of Virginia School of Medicine and adjunct professor of neurology at the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine, is the director of the Alzheimer’s Disease Research Center. He is also a visiting professor in the Department of Medical Ethics and Health Policy at the University of Pennsylvania Perelman School of Medicine.

A frequent lecturer and commentator for the press on Alzheimer’s disease and brain aging, Dr. DeKosky has testified several times before U.S. Senate committees in support of increased research funding for Alzheimer’s disease. He has met with government officials in other countries as a consultant and advocate for programs supporting people with dementia. The recipient of the Ronald and Nancy Reagan Research Institute Award for his contributions to research and advocacy on behalf of people with Alzheimer’s disease and their families, Dr. DeKosky has been listed continuously in “The Best Doctors in America” and “America’s Top Doctors” for more than a decade, most recently in 2014.

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. Blue Cross of Northeastern Pennsylvania is a contributor. Participants are eligible to obtain continuing education credits for physicians, nurses, counselors, occupational therapists, physical therapists, psychologists and administrators of nursing homes and residential care/assisted living facilities.

Faculty include specialists and speakers from Geisinger Health System, University of Virginia School of Medicine, University of Florida, Harvard Medical School, Emory University Hospital, The University of Scranton, The Commonwealth Medical College, Allied Services, United Way and Misericordia University.

The Restorative Track is chaired by Greg Basting, M.D., associate professor at The Commonwealth Medical College, medical director of the Allied Services Skilled Nursing Center and vice president of medical services at Allied Services. Dr. Basting will lead a workshop on “Approaches & Interventions for Dementia and Cognitive Deficits.” In addition to Dr. DeKosky’s keynote address, Jae Hee Kang, D.Sc., associate epidemiologist at Brigham and Women’s Hospital and assistant professor of medicine at Harvard Medical School, will present “Diet and Cognitive Health: Findings from the Nurses’ Health Study.” Susan Scanland, a nursing faculty specialist at The University of Scranton and the founder of the Dementia Connection in Clarks Summit, will present “Confused about Confusion? Differentiating Dementias.”

The Medical Track is co-chaired by Michel Lacroix, M.D., director of the Brain and Spine Tumor Institute and director of neurosurgery at the Geisinger Wyoming Valley Medical Center; and Anthony Balsamo, M.D., director of the Geriatric Fracture Care Program at the Geisinger Wyoming Valley Medical Center. Glen Finney, M.D., chief of the Division of Behavioral Neurology at the University of Florida, will present “Dementia.” “Movement Disorder and Parkinson: Medical and Surgical Approach” will be co-presented by Efrain Perez-Vargas, M.D., and Joseph Emrich, M.D. Dr. Perez-Vargas is the director of the Movement Disorder Section and a neurology associate at the Geisinger Medical Center in Danville. Dr. Emrich is director of functional neurosurgery and an associate neurosurgeon at the Geisinger Wyoming Valley Medical Center in Wilkes-Barre. Pankajavalli Ramakrishnan, M.D., Ph.D., an interventional neuroradiology fellow at Emory University Hospital, will present “Cerebrovascular Disease.”

The Caregiver Track is co-chaired by Maria Hastie, outreach and enrollment coordinator at LIFE Geisinger, and Saliena Alaimo, intake coordinator at LIFE Geisinger.

Hastie and Alaimo will lead a workshop titled “Let’s Talk about Caregiving: Recognizing and Supporting Family Caregivers,” and James Siberski, M.S., an assistant professor of gerontology and the coordinator of the Gerontology Education Center at Misericordia University, will present “Prevention of Memory Loss and Cognitive Rehabilitation in Neurocognitive Disorders.”

The Spiritual Track is co-chaired by two leaders of United Way of Lackawanna and Wayne counties: Peg Kopko, vice president of community impact, and Gary Drapek, B.S., president and CEO. Kopko and Drapek will lead a workshop on “Aging and the Brain: Perspectives from Providers.” Mario Cornaccione, D.O., will present “Compassion and Caregiving.” Dr. Cornaccione is an associate professor of family medicine at The Commonwealth Medical College and program director at the Northeastern Pennsylvania Memory & Alzheimer’s Center in Wilkes-Barre. Harold Baillie, Ph.D., professor of philosophy at The University of Scranton, will present “Ethics of Eldercare and Caregiving.”

For additional information or to register, visit, or contact Herbert Hauser, Ph.D., conference founder and research scientist at the University of Scranton, at 570-941-5860 or

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