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2023 Aging to Perfection Lecture Series

5 People smiling for the camera at the Dyer Lecture Series

The Annual Aging to Perfection Lecture Series honoring past Consortium on Aging Executive Director, Carmel Bitondo Dyer, MD was be held Wednesday, September 13, 2023 at The Briar Club in Houston. Dr. Dyer devoted her career to enhancing health care to older adults through clinical care, translational research, specialized geriatric training and education, and community engagement. UTHealth Vice President of Community Engagement, and Joan and Stanford Alexander Professor in Gerontology, Holly Holmes, MD welcomed the audience of supporters including the Dyer family. The program featured a keynote address by Mark Lachs, MD, MPH entitled, “The Secret of Aging”.

The lecture emphasized how communication with a trusted physician, financial resources, genetics and meaningful social networks impact health and longevity. Dr. Lachs spoke about the importance of social networks including quality long-term marriages that have been proven to result longer, better lives. He discussed research that shows meaning and purpose improves life expectancy. His closing included answering questions from the audience about geriatrics, aging, and health.

The program agenda included a presentation by UTHealth Houston Associate Professor, Jason Burnett, PhD who discussed the Senior Companion Volunteer Program, a project that pairs socially isolated older adults with students. The aim of the program is to build meaningful social connections between the older adult and student reducing the effects of loneliness on the emotional and physical health of participants through phone calls. Dr. Burnett emphasized that 43% of older adults are not engaged in a meaningful relationship. Dr. Burnett introduced UTHealth Houston medical student, Gabrielle Hoyumpa who discussed her participation in the program and the impact it had on an older participant and her decision to become a geriatrician. Gabrielle showed a video of an older adult who discussed her participation in the Senior Companion Program and how it positively affected her emotional health and life.

The program concluded with a presentation by Institute on Aging Executive Director, Aanand Naik, MD about goals and future directions. Dr. Naik discussed the impact of the Institute on Aging across all UTHealth Houston schools and the greater community.

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