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Wake Forest Medical Students Host Symposium On Caring For Elderly

WINSTON-SALEM, N.C. – Students from the schools of medicine at Wake Forest University and the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill will host a symposium on caring for the elderly Monday, Oct. 21 at Wake Forest University Baptist Medical Center. The public is invited to attend.

Many aging adults may feel isolated from other generations or feel overwhelmed with multiple health care concerns. Often caregivers of aging adults ignore their own health or do not know that support services are available for themselves and their loved ones. As part of their work as N.C. Schweitzer Fellows, students from Wake Forest and UNC-Chapel Hill are providing a forum to address these needs that are often overlooked.

The students will be engaging caregivers and aging adults in a lively and informative discussion at a dinner symposium at the J. Paul Sticht Center on Aging from 6:30 p.m. until 8:30 p.m. The symposium, Hand in Hand: What Aging Adults and Their Caregivers Need to Know, was designed to educate caregivers and aging adults with new information, advice and support.

"Above all, the symposium is an opportunity to show appreciation and respect for aging adults and caregivers for their dedication, talents and stories," said Kelley V. Mondi, an N.C. Schweitzer Fellow and Wake Forest medical student. "To that end, art and entertainment, including a live musical performance by the Sharps and Flats and a poetry reading, will be included in the evening’s activities."

A panel of professionals who have extensive experience working with aging adults and caregivers in Winston-Salem will discuss such topics as Medicare, stress, legal questions, family issues, and general health care concerns. Among the panel participants are Jeff Williamson, M.D., MHS, clinical director of the J. Paul Sticht Center on Aging and associate professor of internal medicine (gerontology and geriatric medicine) at Wake Forest University. Also participating is James Bryan II, M.D., a geriatrician and professor of social and community medicine at the UNC Chapel Hill medical school for more than 30 years.

Other participants include:

  • Patricia K. Suggs, MDiv, PhD, director, Appalachian Geriatric Education Center Consortium and associate professor, department of internal medicine (gerontology and geriatric medicine) at Wake Forest

  • Jamehl L. Demons, M.D. medical director, The Nursing Center at Oak Summit and assistant professor, department of internal medicine (gerontology and geriatric medicine) at Wake Forest

  • Kate Mewhinney, JD, clinical professor, Wake Forest University School of Law, and managing attorney, Legal Clinic for the Elderly

  • Karen S. Oles, PharmD, associate professor, neurology and associate professor, internal medicine (gerontology and geriatric medicine) at Wake Forest

  • Jan Libke, resource specialist, Senior Services, Inc.

  • Cathy Wilson, social worker and geriatric care manager

The event is free and open to the public. For more information contact Kelley Mondi at (336) 765-9548 or kmondi@wfubmc.edu.

The N.C. Schweitzer Fellows Program, inspired by the life and ideals of Dr. Albert Schweitzer, provides students with an opportunity to help those whose needs are not currently met by our health care system. By carrying out community service projects of their own design, Fellows gain perspective on working with local communities in a way that is rarely experienced in their academic training.

Organizing Fellows include:

  • Renee Ferrari, UNC School of Public Health
  • Jena Ivey, UNC School of Pharmacy
  • Melissa Keene, Wake Forest School of Medicine
  • Sylvia Lee, UNC School of Medicine
  • Kelley Mondi, Wake Forest School of Medicine
  • Rani Shankar, UNC School of Public Health

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Contact: Jim Steele, Bob Conn or Jonnie Rohrer, (336) 716-4587

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