Age Positive Conference

The annual Age Positive: Ideas for an Age-Friendly Future conference provides a forum for innovative program ideas to enhance current older adult programming, develop new programs and offers workshops to help participants hone leadership skills. The conference brings national and regional presenters together to discuss best practices in their fields.  

Hosted by a partnership of regional organizations, this conference is best suited for professionals and volunteers working in senior centers, community centers, libraries, park districts and other venues that offer programming for older adults. 

Age Positive 2024

Age Positive 2024

The 8th annual Age Positive: Ideas for an Age-Friendly Future conference will take place on May 7-8, 2024. The two-day conference will be held at the Kauffman Foundation Conference Center, 4801 Rockhill Road, Kansas City, Missouri. 

The 2024 Age Positive conference will once again offer a forum for innovative program ideas to enhance current older adult programming, develop new programs and offer workshops to help participants hone leadership skills. The theme for this year's conference is "Age as an Asset."

The cost for the second day of the conference is $60 per person ($70 after April 11). 


Limited scholarships are available to students, volunteers and professionals whose organizations cannot pay the conference fee. Complete this form to apply for a scholarship.

Age Positive 2024 Agenda

May 7: Advocacy and field-building pre-conference event, 1-4:45 p.m.

Join us for this FREE pre-conference session on advocacy strategies and building a united message across the field of aging to advance the interests of older adults. The session will feature:

  • Advocacy Training, Jennifer Carter-Dochler, Missouri Foundation for Health
  • Overview of Field Building, Nicole Bruggeman, Missouri Council on Aging
  • Panel Discussion: Lessons from Industry and Cross-Sectional Partnerships 
    • Malea Hartvickson, Executive Director, Kansas Healthcare Collaborative
    • Frank White, III, President and CEO, Kansas City Area Transportation Authority, 
    • Board of Directors, Missouri Chamber of Commerce
    • Dennis Ridenour, President and CEO, BioNexus

May 7 Presenter and Panelist Information

Jennifer Carter Dochler

Director of Government Affairs, Missouri Foundation for Health

Born and raised in Texas, Jennifer Carter Dochler now considers Missouri home. With a background in advocacy and social work, she is passionate about public policy and systems change. In November 2022, Dochler became the Director of Government Affairs at Missouri Foundation for Health, where she spearheads local, state and federal government relations on behalf of the Foundation. While earning her bachelor’s degree in social work from the University of Texas in Austin, she interned and volunteered at numerous nonprofits working to improve domestic and sexual violence response on campus and throughout the community.

During her Master of Social Work program, she interned at the Missouri capitol for the Chair of the Subcommittee of Appropriations on Health and Mental Health. After graduating, she jumped into political organizing for the National Association of Social Workers -Missouri Chapter during the mid-term election. Dochler spent more than 19 years at the Missouri Coalition Against Domestic and Sexual Violence serving in various staff roles during her tenure. For seven Missouri legislative sessions, she served as the Public Policy Director, responsible for passing or stopping numerous bills. Dochler brings decades of experience in grassroots advocacy and government relations at the state and federal level.

Nicole Brueggeman, M.S.W., L.C.S.W., M.A.

Executive Director, Missouri Council on Aging

Brueggeman's professional experiences span 20+ years and intersect in business, non-profit management and higher education. She has led several large-scale programs, including state-wide initiatives to facilitate collaboration at the community level. Before beginning her role at the Missouri Council on Aging, she managed a multi-state culture change project for long-term care facilities, focused on service delivery transformation and person-centered care. 

Previously, Brueggeman managed cross-sector relationships for the Missouri Foundation for Health, serving 84 Missouri counties and the city of St. Louis. Nicole is a Licensed Social Worker in the state of Missouri. She holds a Master of Social Work from the Washington University in St. Louis Brown School of Social Work, where she specialized in mental health. She also holds a Master’s in Mass Communications, with a specialization in organizational development and training.

James Stowe, Ph.D.

President and CEO, Center for Practical Bioethics

Dr. Stowe joined the Center for Practical Bioethics in 2023, as the organization’s third President and CEO since its inception 40 years ago. Previously, at the Mid-America Regional Council, he served as Director of Aging and Adult Services, a department designated as an Area Agency on Aging, and an incubator of a community care hub that delivered community services and supports to individuals with complex social and medical needs. He serves as the Board Chair for the Missouri Council on Aging and Welcome Wellness Health and Education Resource Center and serves on the board of directors of ChangeLab Solutions. He earned a B.A. in Political Science and an M.S. in Family Studies and Human Services, with an emphasis in Gerontology, from Kansas State University. He completed a Ph.D. in Human Environmental Sciences, with an emphasis in Human Development and Family Studies – Gerontology, at the University of Missouri.

Col. Lee A. Norman, M.D., M.H.S., M.B.A.

Senior Medical Director, Optum

Lee A. Norman is the Senior Medical Director of Optum Kansas City, the country’s newest OptumCare market. As the city’s inaugural medical director, Dr. Norman is dedicated to advancing Optum’s patient-centric, comprehensive, cost-effective, and high value care. He is also committed to assisting medical professionals as they deliver the best care possible with focus on prevention, early detection and timely treatment.

Dr. Norman’s rich background includes service in the United States Air Force as a family physician, flight surgeon and combat medicine instructor. He practiced medicine for 20 years in Seattle and filled the role of Chief Medical Officer for nearly three decades, most recently with the University of Kansas Health System. In addition to leading Optum’s Kansas City mission, Dr. Norman is a clinical faculty member at the University of Kansas School of Medicine. He also serves in the Kansas Army National Guard, having earned the title colonel, and serving five years as the State Surgeon.

Dr. Norman received his medical degree from the University of Minnesota, completed his residency in family medicine in Texas, and his aerospace medicine training at Brooks Air Force Base, San Antonio. He holds a master’s degree in health planning and a master’s degree in systems analysis from the University of California, Davis School of Medicine, as well as an MBA from the University of Washington.

Malea Hartvickson, M.H.C.L., C.P.H.Q.

Executive Director, Kansas Healthcare Collaborative

Malea Hartvickson joined the Kansas Healthcare Collaborative (KHC) in 2018 and oversees all staff, operations, and quality initiatives for hospitals and clinics. Before joining KHC, she worked at NMC Health for 12 years, seven of which as the Director of Quality and Analytics; she also led Accreditation efforts in this role. She was responsible for quality improvement initiatives, interpreting federal rules and regulations, communicating changes and updates throughout the hospital and clinics, and guiding the hospital and clinics in continual process improvement efforts. She also led the Hospital efforts in Community Health Needs Assessments.

She holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Business Administration and Master of Health Care Leadership degrees from Friends University in Wichita. She is also a Certified
Professional in Healthcare Quality, and a Process Communication Model Certified Trainer.

Frank White III

President and CEO, Kansas City Area Transportation Authority
Board of Directors, Missouri Chamber of Commerce

Frank White III is the President and CEO of the Kansas City Area Transportation Authority (KCATA). Before assuming this role, he was Vice President of Development with RideKC Development Corporation, a division of KCATA. White took the helm of the KCATA in August 2022. He is the first African-American to hold this seat. Within his first year, White is being credited with improving internal systems resulting in easing KCATA’s staffing shortage, significantly improved customer satisfaction results and building valuable relationships with funding partners locally, regionally and nationally. He uses his love for speaking to discuss leadership in general, and the future of transportation.

White has a B.S. degree in Psychology from the University of Kansas. He is very active in his community and serves on various nonprofit boards. He is an alumnus of the Eno Transit Senior Executive Program Class of 2019 and is a fall 2019 graduate of the Greater Kansas City Chamber of Commerce Centurions Leadership Program. He is an alumnus of the Missouri Chamber of Commerce Leadership Missouri Program Class of 2021.

White is married to his high school sweetheart, Rechele. They have three daughters, Kaiya, Micah and Reghan, a granddaughter, Leah and a Dutch Shepard named Jack.

Dennis Ridenour

President and CEO, BioNexus

Dennis Ridenour is President and Chief Executive Officer of BioNexus KC, the coordinating body for the KC region’s life sciences and healthcare research initiatives. In this role, Dennis fosters regional collaboration while working to increase the concentration and capacity for research in the region. He is strongly committed to the vision of BioNexus KC, that the KC region is a global leader at the nexus of human and animal health benefiting all our citizens and the economy. When not involved in ecosystem building, Dennis works collaboratively with his wife Janell to foster peace and unity among their four kids and to transport those same kids to their respective sports and activities.


May 8: Regular Age Positive Conference, 8:30 a.m.-4:30 p.m.

The cost for the second day of the conference is $60 per person ($70 after April 8). 

  • 8:30-9 a.m.: Registration, breakfast, networking
  • 9 a.m.: Welcome, announcements and sponsor remarks
    Kristi Bohling DaMetz, Director of Aging and Adult Services, Mid-America Regional Council
    Col. Lee A. Norman, M.D., M.H.S., M.B.A., Senior Medical Director, Optum
  • 9:20 a.m.: Opening keynote address: Unlocking the Power of Age: Embracing Aging as an Asset
Morning keynote presenters

Nicole Garner, MBA, CHA, is the Executive Director for the Center for African American Health at the University of Kansas Medical Center. Nicole previously spent 15 years in the long-term care industry where she showcased her adept budget management skills and consistent leadership resulting in significant growth in net revenues, net gains and patient occupancy across every senior living community under her leadership. Prior to joining KU Medical Center, Garner served as Planning and Operations Division Manager at Wyandotte County Health Department, where she channeled her expertise and leadership acumen into spearheading initiatives that address pressing public health challenges, like declaring racism a public health crisis and promoting health equity. 

Dr. Danielle Binion, Ed.D., is the Director of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion at the University of Kansas Medical Center, where she amplifies marginalized communities' voices and needs. Prior to joining the medical center, Dr. Binion served school districts in the heart of Kansas City for eight years through her work at PREP-KC. She has collaborated with districts, postsecondary institutions, philanthropy and businesses to support programming and strategic planning that strengthens the science, technology, engineering, math and medicine workforce pipelines by developing equitable learning solutions for K-12 and higher education.


10-11 a.m. - workshop session 1

Advocacy and Empowerment for Seniors: Insights from Local Initiatives

Workshop description
Join us for an enlightening session on the vital role of advocacy and empowerment for seniors, along with the agencies dedicated to serving them. Explore the significance of public policy in achieving success, with a focus on legislative issues impacting communities.
Discover how local advocacy coalitions are making a difference by empowering older residents and promoting their interests. Learn about innovative programs and partnerships aimed at equipping seniors with the tools they need to advocate effectively. In addition, hear about the Jackson County Seniors Count initiative, which seeks to establish a dedicated fund to support seniors in the region. Explore the coalition's efforts to assess feasibility and secure community support for sustainable senior programs.

Janet Carlson Baker, Executive Director, KC Shepherd’s Center

Janet Carlson Baker serves a unique role in business leadership, with 30 years successful executive experience in the private and nonprofit sectors in public and health policy and administration, education, government relations, strategic planning, marketing and external relations roles with local, state and national organizations in business, academia, professional associations, and nonprofits. She has served on more than 20 boards of directors and mayoral commissions under two Kansas City mayors.
Baker has led KC Shepherd’s Center (KCSC) since November 2019, three months before COVID, which exposed grave inequities for older adults in many ways. Since 2019, Baker has led tremendous growth in the number of clients served by KCSC has increased fivefold - from 700 to 3,500 in just four years. She has initiated and leads a new strategic role for KC Shepherd’s Center in facilitating engaged self-advocacy in public policy and funding to support older adults, serving as a Jackson County Representative for Missouri’s Silver Haired Legislature.

Laura Loyacono, Public Policy Consultant, Jackson County Seniors Count
Laura Loyacono is a seasoned advocate with over 30 years of experience in policy advocacy, coalition management and government relations. She has a strong record of engaging with elected officials and driving policy change. Notably, Loyacono led the successful lobbying effort for the unanimous approval of an Accessory Dwelling Unit ordinance by the City Council of Kansas City, Missouri, in 2022. She has also played pivotal roles in placing multiple issues on ballots in Clay and Jackson Counties. As a presenter at this session, Loyacono will share her expertise in effective advocacy strategies and coalition building, inspiring attendees to enact positive change in their communities.

Heath Rath, Executive Director, PACE KC
Heath Rath is a seasoned advocate for evidence-based programs that enhance the lives of older adults. With a focus on developing initiatives for aging in place, particularly PACE Programs, Rath has dedicated himself to empowering individuals aged 55 and above to remain in their communities rather than opting for institutionalized care. As a member of the coalition leadership team, Rath brings extensive expertise and passion for improving senior well-being to the forefront of the discussion.

Appreciating Your Assets - Volunteer and Staff Retention

Workshop description
This workshop provides strategies for improving the climate of your organization to promote staff and volunteer retention. We will discuss four key areas that impact this topic, and how proper implementation is associated with improved relationships. Those key areas include commitment, team building, communication, and appreciation.

Kyleigh Brown, M.S., CFLE, Extension Field Specialist in Human Development, University of Missouri 
Kyleigh Brown is a certified Family Life Educator. She currently works as an assistant extension professional in the area of Human Development and Family Science for the University of Missouri. Brown is headquartered in Cass County and serves seven additional counties in West Central Missouri offering educational opportunities in the areas of aging well, child development and parenting and mental wellbeing. She provides professional development for individuals and organizations in communities, as well at conferences from the local to national level. She earned her master degree in early childhood education and family studies from Missouri State University in 2016. Brown, a Pettis County native, resides in Kansas City with her husband and their two young children.

Melissa Cotton, M.P.H., Field Specialist in Nutrition and Health Education, University of Missouri Extension
Melissa Cotton is an assistant extension professional and field specialist in nutrition and health education, serving Jackson and Clay Counties. She has worked for the University of Missouri Extension for eight years, providing educational opportunities around nutrition, health, wellness, food safety, physical activity and chronic disease prevention and self-management. Her local educational programs contribute to MU Extension’s long-term goal of improving the national health ranking of Missouri. Cotton earned her masters of public health degree from Missouri State University in 2016. Cotton grew up in Scotland County, Missouri, but now calls Kansas City her home.

EmpowerED: Elevating Caregiving through Education and Support Systems

Workshop description
People often do not have a choice in selecting their role as a caregiver. Caregiving is a stressful role that begins with little or no preparation. Hence, supporting the physical, mental and social health of caregivers with well-rounded interventions is vital.
Care education by itself is not sufficient to enhance the self-confidence of caregivers. The readiness and willingness of caregiving and network of support are important factors to consider while offering caregiver interventions. 
In this session, we’ll discuss how senior-serving organizations can adopt an evidence-based, holistic strategy that is adaptive to the unique needs of caregivers. We will use a presentation with polls and interactive cues to engage the audience.

Shahzad Zafar, Chief Technology Officer, Trualta
Shahzad Zafar has more than 18 years of experience in healthcare technology, including working on EMRs and provider systems, pharmacy price transparency solutions and currently with caregiving solutions. He is passionate about building solutions to deliver better care and achieve the best possible health outcomes.
At Rx Saving Solutions, he implemented tools and programs that made understanding prescription benefits easier, and finding innovative ways for patients to save on their prescription costs without compromising on their clinical outcomes.
At Trualta, he aims to build solutions to make it easier for caregivers to get the right support at the right time and maximize their time taking care of themselves and their loved ones. Zafar has a bachelor’s degree in computer engineering from University of Michigan and an M.B.A. from University of Kansas.

Darci Henry, Care Coach, Trualta
Darci Henry is a licensed nursing home administrator with over 16 years experience working in senior living communities and inpatient senior behavioral health facilities. Also certified as a recreational therapist and a dementia practitioner, Henry uses her clinical experience to foster relationships with caregivers, ensuring they have access to pertinent resources and educational content so they can build their skillset and confidence in their caregiving abilities. Henry leans heavily on her personal caregiving experience within her own family when providing emotional support and care navigation for the families she works with.

Over the Rainbow, Across the Lifespan: LGBT+ Aging in Social Contexts

Workshop description
Being LGBT+ does not inherently result in negative health outcomes. Being LGBT+ in physical and social contexts that are discriminatory to LGBT+ existence results in negative health outcomes.
Addressing the social and physical context — the social determinants — has been demonstrated to improve health outcomes.
We'll  take a deep dive into four factors that influence success in aging and how we can improve our services for better outcomes. MARC worked with renowned national advocacy and education center, SageCare. We will share our outstanding experiences with their team and how it improved our ability to serve our LGBT+ clients and community members.

Shannon Halvorsen, L.M.S.W., Kansas City, Integrated Care Manager, Mid-America Regional Council
Shannon Halvorsen has worked in the field of aging for the past fifteen years. Currently, she works for Mid-America Regional Council as an integrated care manager. Halvorsen’s main duty at MARC is program manager for Veteran Directed Care, a national program that helps disabled veterans age in place. She is dedicated to helping people navigate end-of-life care, and is committed to diversity, equity, inclusion and belonging for older adults. Halvorson holds a master’s degree in social work from the University of Missouri–Kansas City, and a Bachelor’s degree in English education from the University of Nebraska–Lincoln.

Nicolette Wallis, Business Technology Analyst, Mid-America Regional Council
Nicolette Wallis has seven years of experience in the fields of public health and community care, focusing on database development, technology systems management and data analysis. As a public health data storyteller, Wallis was recognized as a national expert in Community Health Improvement Planning (CHIP) and Community Health Assessments (CHA) amongst public health departments. She has specialized in supporting health departments working to shift their focus to social determinants of health and measuring indicators tying social factors to health outcomes.
At MARC, Wallis combines her passions for data systems and healthy communities by providing technology support and data management innovations to Kansas City's AAA and the Mid-America Community Support Network.
Wallis has been engaged in awareness efforts for the Kansas City LGBT+ community since 2010.

Why Doing Good is Not Good Enough

Workshop description
Serving the needs of our seniors can be described as some of the most noble work one can do. And yet, providers of senior care services are closing left and right. Why?
This session will force attendees to face some sobering truths: 1) Fewer people care about the work we do than we like to admit; 2) if your business is not growing, it is dying; and 3) many of your businesses are closer to death than you may realize.
We will highlight areas to create strategy and plans around. And ultimately, detail why innovation is critical to surviving in this ever-changing business environment.

Sidney Smith, Chief Operating Officer, Nonprofit Connect
Sidney Smith joined the staff of Nonprofit Connect in 2021 as the chief operating officer. He brings 10 years of executive leadership experience serving in roles as executive director and chief executive officer, overseeing annual budgets of up to ten million dollars. That work was exclusively in healthcare, serving predominantly under-resourced demographics in both rural and urban communities.
Smith believes in lifelong learning through formal and informal channels. His formal education is rooted in business with an Executive M.B.A. from Rockhurst University and a Bachelor of Science in business administration from the University of Missouri-Columbia. Additionally, one of his professional passions is assisting organizations in becoming clear about their business. To that end, he is a Certified Professional in the Strategic Management Performance System through George Washington University.
In his spare time, you can find Smith rooting for the Kansas City Chiefs, or at the bowling alley trying for that elusive perfect game.

Beyond Bingo: Fresh Approaches to Programming for Older Adults

Workshop description
Join us for an enriching session exploring innovative programming tailored for older adults. Throughout this workshop, we'll delve into a variety of topics designed to enhance the lives of seniors in our communities.
Explore topics such as lunch and learns, virtual programs, performative arts, intergenerational activities, and more! To end this session, take part in a creative exercise which will prompt you to consider different ways of utilizing and maximizing the assets available to you within your community.
Break through what you think you know and walk away with ideas to take you beyond traditional programming.

Libby Scarborough, Recreation Specialist, Johnson County Park and Recreation District
Libby Scarborough is a graduate of Washburn University and holds a degree in human services with an emphasis in gerontology. Through college internships she found a passion for recreation programming and joined the Johnson County Park and Recreation District team in June 2010. As a recreation specialist she is responsible for managing the day-to-day operations at the Clubhouse, administering our travel program, and overseeing programming for all ages.

Jennifer Nixon, Recreation Specialist, Johnson County Park and Recreation District
Jennifer Nixon is a graduate of Emporia State University and holds a degree in recreation administration. Nixon began working in recreation at the age of 14 and developed a passion for it that continues today. Having worked with several recreation commissions, Nixon joined the Johnson County Park and Recreation District team in 2021. As a recreation specialist she is responsible for managing the day-to-day operations at the Roeland Park Community Center, overseeing programming for all ages at two facilities.

A Better Way to Age Well: An Integrated, Holistic Life Planning Model

Workshop description
Learn a better way to age well with an integrated, holistic life planning model (LP Model): a better way of staying healthier longer and preventing illnesses; a better way of laying down a path for your loved ones to follow while minimizing burdens to family members; a better way of aging in the place you call home or wherever you wish; a better way of having a plan for the money you accumulate; a better way of creating a legal path for your named fiduciaries to follow so they know your values, what goals they are striving to achieve on your behalf and the rules to follow.
Learn a better way to age well through a multidisciplinary life care planning team consisting of social workers, nurses, doctors, health insurance and public benefits specialists, personal health care coordinators, health and wellness coaches, attorneys and financial advisors. Together, our combined skill and knowledge set provide legal and medical advocacy that is fine-tuned to the senior’s circumstances and adjusted over the long term as their needs change.
The LP Model restores hope to weary, fearful and distraught seniors and their families; provides for a senior’s total circumstances with an individualized life care plan that promotes and optimizes their quality of life; offers updated, ongoing access to services seniors need to live their best lives; coordinates and pays for care without bankrupting a senior or burning out family caregivers; protects assets; arranges for personal care support; offers intervention and advocacy during a health care crisis; creates an action plan to avoid the nursing home, and facilitates getting good health care and long-term care — all the while suppling ongoing assistance and support.

P. Glen Smith, B.S., J.D., M.Div., Managing Attorney Lifescape Law & Development, LLC
Glen Smith is the founder and managing attorney of Lifescape Law & Development, a holistic and multidisciplinary law firm and the leading life care planning law firm in the Kansas City region and Missouri.
After a successful career in the financial and corporate realm, Smith began his own firm centered on serving older adults, people with intellectual and developmental disabilities, and their families.  Smith specializes in elder care law, estate planning, special needs planning, mediation and long-term care planning.
Active in the legal and public community,  Smith is a frequent local and regional speaker on aging, aging services and life care planning. He is a member of the Life Care Planning Law Firm Association, the National Academy of Elder Law Attorneys, Academy of Special Needs Planners, and Elder Counsel. He is an accredited attorney by the Veterans Administration, a certified Elder Mediator, a trained health and wellness coach, and loves to facilitate Aging Mastery programs.
Smith earned his master’s in divinity at the Nazarene Theological Seminary and his juris doctorate at the University of Memphis – Cecil C. Humphreys School of Law.
Smith is a husband, father to five and grandfather to fifteen. He believes each person is a masterpiece created to thrive in this life!

Charley Lewis, Life Care (Elder Care) Coordinator, Lifescape Law & Development
With nearly four decades of experience across a wide spectrum of opportunities, Charley Lewis has many years of experience helping families go through the process of life changes. She has worked in senior placement for 38+ years along with working in several continuing care retirement communities and some smaller organizations with residents with dementia/Alzheimer’s. 
Lewis’s passion is working diligently to ensure the well-being of every Lifescape client, connecting them with resources and opportunities for growth and development in all areas of life. Developing an Integrated, holistic life plan is essential for everyone. 
Lewis has lived in Kansas City her entire life. She had the privilege of being raised by her grandparents on their farm until she graduated from William Jewell College. After 15 years in banking, she realized her love was working with seniors. 


11:10 a.m. - 12:10 p.m. - workshop session 2

Practicing Resilience with a Growth Mindset

Workshop description
Resilience is not something we either have or don’t have. It’s something we must continually cultivate across our lifespan. Whether you need a resiliency skills refresher or want to learn how to practice core, evidence-based resiliency skills for the first time, this session has you covered. Resilience is the underpinning of Turning Point’s core mission and programming. Come learn how to access Turning Point’s ongoing resiliency support programs and learn how to use key resilience practices to support your everyday well-being.

Hayley Stolzle, Program Director, Turning Point
Hayley Stolzle is a program director at Turning Point, a non-profit community resource center and a wholly-owned subsidiary of the University of Kansas Health System. At Turning Point, Stolzle oversees resiliency support programs that serve healthcare workers, community organizations, and different patient and caregiver groups. Stolzle also spent several years serving as a Global Health Officer for the CDC in Atlanta. There, she collaborated with other U.S. government agencies and Ministries of Health in countries in eastern and southern Africa to provide technical assistance and training to countries’ HIV response programs. Stolzle also served for two years as a Peace Corps Health Promotion Officer in Botswana, Africa, where she oversaw a national gender-based violence committee and a variety of health education initiatives. Stolzle is in the process of becoming a licensed professional counselor. She enjoys using her counseling skills to help people navigate health issues and unwanted changes or losses. Ultimately, Stolzle enjoys helping others add to their coping skills toolbelt and loves modeling how to care for the self while caring for others.

Seniors’ Positive Impact on Community Emergencies

Workshop description
Learn about a current study being conducted by UMKC faculty and 16 AmeriCorps members working together on a four-phase community-based participatory project that engages older adults.
The phases of the study are: 

  1. Mitigation — Fall prevention and improved physical activity through education and a home visit.
  2. Preparedness — includes seminars given four times a month by AmeriCorps members for 10 months. 
  3. Response Phase — AmeriCorps members partner with emergency managers to create comprehensive Disaster Response guidelines for their Emergency Operations Plans, and update website information. 
  4. Recovery Phase — Reintegrates information back into their community, addressing physical, mental and housing needs.

Sharon White-Lewis, Ph.D., R.N. Assistant Professor, University of Missouri–Kansas City
Dr. White-Lewis is an assistant professor at the University of Missouri–Kansas City. Her research area includes disaster preparedness research for older adults. She is currently funded by AmeriCorps to deliver the Senior's Positive Impact on Community Emergencies Project which includes six Ph.D. faculty from UMKC providing interventions for mitigation, preparedness, response and recovery for older adults. Dr. White-Lewis is also the secretary for the Communities Active in Disaster Organizations and the Consortium for Humanitarian Service and Education. Additionally, she is the unit leader for the Medical Reserve Corps of Greater Kansas City.

WE❤️CARE: A Mutual Care Curriculum for Caregivers with Developmental Disabilities

Workshop description
Discover WE❤️CARE, a curriculum for adults with developmental disabilities in a mutual caregiving arrangement with an aging loved one. In this session, we’ll highlight the eight-week workshop that is centered on wellness, education, confidence, assessment and recognizing emergencies. Our goal is to equip individuals with tools to navigate their caregiving journey. From basic care to home safety, WE❤️CARE empowers individuals with developmental disabilities to support their aging loved one with confidence, understanding, and enhanced skill sets. Walk away armed with strategies and resources to champion the WE❤️CARE curriculum in your own community!

Britney Burkart, M.S.W., L.C.S.W., Senior Research Assistant, UMKC Institute for Human Development
Britney Burkart is a senior research assistant at UMKC Institute for Human Development Health and Aging. Prior to this, she served as a direct care social worker in memory care and in hospice/palliative care. She worked as a certified nursing assistant before moving into direct care as a geriatric social worker, specializing in dementia care. She is a licensed clinical social worker and received her M.S.W. and Gerontology Certificate at Saint Louis University. She received her B.S. in community health-rehabilitation and disability studies at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign. She is a member of the AADD Conference Planning Committee. She has experience as a cognitive stimulation therapy facilitator, Alzheimer’s support group facilitator and recently received her Living Well in the Community facilitator certificate.

Katherine Farache, Assistant Director, Association on Aging with Developmental Disabilities
Katherine Farache, assistant director at the Association on Aging with Developmental Disabilities, has over 30 years of experience in the field of developmental disabilities, with over 20 of those years in her current position of providing service to older adults with developmental disabilities. She also has over 30 years of experience in coordinating a socialization program for adults with developmental disabilities and in providing training in the field of developmental disabilities for providers, as well as for individuals served. She is a facilitator for Circle of Friends, a group support model for reducing social isolation, as well as a facilitator for the WE❤️CARE training modules. She has her B.A. from Purdue University in psychology and criminology/criminal justice.

Inclusive Communication: Increased Community

Workshop description
Elevate your communication skills with this hands-on workshop. Explore the impact of stereotypes in this insightful session. Intentional or not, biased comments or insensitive jokes impact employees, volunteers and clients negatively, decreasing the sense of belonging in the environment. Learn practical strategies to communicate without bias, fostering organizational culture where diversity is not just acknowledged but celebrated. This workshop equips professionals and community members with actionable insights to foster more inclusive and respectful dialogue, creating a thriving and bias-free environment for work and fun.

Katie Pemberton, M.S., Assistant Extension professional in Human Development and Family Science, University of Missouri
Katie Pemberton has worked for the University of Missouri Extension as a human development specialist for seven years. She has a bachelors in dietetics from Purdue University and a masters in human development from Arizona State University. Her job provides her with many opportunities to improve the life of Missourians by educating on topics such as parenting, brain health, aging, relationships, life skills, handling grief and so much more. Her passion is helping individuals live happier and healthier lives.

Kyleigh Brown, M.S., CFLE, Assistant Extension professional in Human Development and Family Science, University of Missouri
Kyleigh Brown is a Certified Family Life Educator. She currently works as an assistant extension professional in Human Development and Family Science for the University of Missouri. Brown is headquartered in Cass County and serves seven additional counties in west central Missouri, offering educational opportunities in the areas of aging well, child development and parenting, and mental wellbeing. She provides professional development for individuals and organizations in communities, and at conferences from the local to national level. She earned her master’s in early childhood education and family studies from Missouri State University in 2016.  Brown, a Pettis County native, resides in Kansas City with her husband and their two young children.

Building Inclusive Communities for Aging Refugees

Workshop description
In this workshop, we will explore the intersection of aging and the refugee experience, with a focus on creating welcoming communities. We will create a safe space for dialogue about the unique challenges faced by this population. The workshop will begin with a quick simulation activity on what it is like to navigate new systems as an aging refugee, followed by a presentation to demystify the resettlement process, review the programs and resources currently available for senior refugees in Missouri, and address specific barriers and gaps in service. We will provide success stories, best practices, and cross-cultural communication tips. The ideal audience is professionals in the fields of healthcare, social work, community development or anyone interested in promoting inclusivity for aging refugees. By participating, you will gain valuable insights, tools and resources to help create more supportive environments for aging individuals within refugee communities. Let's come together to learn, share and work towards a more inclusive future for all!

Jenni Kornfeld, Refugee Programs Coordinator, Missouri Office of Refugee Administration
Jenni Kornfeld currently serves as refugee programs coordinator for the Missouri Office of Refugee Administration within the International Institute of St. Louis. She has a passion for creating welcoming and inclusive communities. Based in Kansas City, she brings nine years of experience in the refugee resettlement field. After receiving a Masters of Arts in Russian cultural studies, Kornfeld worked as a Russian language support coordinator for Jewish Family Services and then as a refugee employment services manager for Catholic Charities of northeast Kansas. In her current role, she oversees a program called Services for Older Refugees (SOR), which helps refugees over the age of 60 in Missouri access mainstream services and live independently. The program meets the needs of refugees through case management, healthy social activities and citizenship support. Her other areas of focus include language access, refugee youth mentoring, and refugee employment programming.

Eric Petersen, Refugee Mental Health Coordinator, Missouri Office of Refugee Administration
Eric Petersen currently serves as refugee mental health coordinator for the Missouri Office of Refugee Administration within the International Institute of St. Louis. His role focuses on helping reduce barriers for refugees to access mental health services, as well as promoting refugee wellness across the state. He received his master’s from the University of Kansas. Like Kornfeld, he also spent time working within Refugee Employment Services at Catholic Charities of northeast Kansas, and most recently served as a caseworker there, resettling newly arriving Afghans through Operations Allies Welcome. In addition to his current role with MO-ORA, Petersen also works as a private practice therapist here in Kansas City.

Legal Issues Often Faced by Older Adults: Red Flags and Referrals

Workshop description
Attendees of this workshop will learn about legal issues older adults often need help with, and how Legal Aid of Western Missouri (LAWMO) can help them navigate the legal system. 
Topics include the legal aspects of financial exploitation; the most common cases faced by those over 60; how to identify legal issues when working with older adults; and how LAWMO and other agencies can help.

Kaitee Brown, J.D., M.S.W., Staff Attorney, Legal Aid of Western Missouri
Kaitee Brown is an attorney with LAWMO's Public Benefits Team, where she specializes in helping clients who face problems with their Medicaid benefits. As a former social worker, she also provides support to LAWMO's Social Work Assistance Program.

Katy Kettler, J.D., M.S.W., Staff Attorney, Legal Aid of Western Missouri
Katy Kettler is an attorney with LAWMO's Consumer Protection Team, where she specializes in helping clients facing consumer debt. As a trained social worker, she is particularly skilled in working with clients experiencing creditor harassment.


12:20-1:45 p.m.: buffet lunch, outdoor time, networking (optional)

1:45-2:45 p.m. - Workshop session 3

Affording Long-Term Care: Common Myths About Medicaid and the Lack of Help...For Some

Workshop description
How can we ensure that aging populations have access to resources and support systems that enable them to maintain a high quality of life and independence as they grow older? Participants of this workshop will learn how long-term care is defined and what types are available; the costs and challenges faced by older adults seeking long-term care; and will gain a better understanding of Medicaid. We will also discuss the importance of early planning and estate planning.

Samantha L. Shepherd, J.D., LL.M, CELA, Managing Attorney, Shepherd Elder Law Group
Samantha L. Shepherd is the founder and managing attorney of Shepherd Elder Law Group, an elder care and special needs firm and practices exclusively in the areas of elder law, estate planning, and special needs planning.
She received her undergraduate degree from Tulane University in New Orleans, cum laude. She earned her law degree from Boston College Law School and received an LL.M. in estate planning from the University of Missouri – Kansas City.
Shepherd is a member of the Kansas and Missouri chapters of the National Academy of Elder Law Attorneys (NAELA). Additionally, she serves on the board of Down Syndrome Innovations and is a member of the Estate Planning Society of Kansas City.
Formerly, Shepherd served on the National Board of NAELA and served as the chair of the Missouri Bar Elder Law Committee and KC Metropolitan Bar Association Trust and Estates Committee. She was also a past president of the Missouri Chapter of NAELA. Shepherd is an accredited attorney with the Veterans Administration and is certified as an Elder Law Attorney by the National Elder Law Foundation in both Kansas and Missouri.

CyberSafe 101: Age as an Asset In Cybersecurity

Workshop description
This workshop will cover a variety of topics such as scam awareness, how to secure your devices, and common types of fraud that target the older population.

Alexander Squier, President, Holistic Security Outreach
Alexander Squier is a cyber security professional who joined together with colleagues to educate the public on cyber security. Squier started the non-profit company Holistic Security to accomplish this goal.

Push the Pause Button: Supports for Caregivers

Workshop description
This presentation was developed by the Cancer Support Community in 2022 and is part of the "Frankly Speaking About Cancer" series. Topics include: becoming a caregiver, common worries and concerns, mental health and cancer, role changes, benefits of caregiving, balancing caregiving and work, emotional well-being and push pause.

Amanda Trout, Program Director Gilda's Club Kansas City
Amanda Trout, LCSW, LSCSW, OSW-C is the program director at Gilda's Club Kansas City, a nonprofit and affiliate of the Cancer Support Community, which provides free support programming for anyone impacted by cancer. Trout previously spent 11 years working as a clinical social worker and adolescent and young adult program coordinator in the Division of Hematology/Oncology/BMT at Children's Mercy Kansas City and three years as an oncology social worker at University Health. She has over 20 years of experience as a licensed social worker in various settings throughout the Kansas City community, and has a passion for program development and psychosocial oncology.
Trout also brings with her experience as a parent advocate, serving as communications secretary for the KCPS District Advisory Committee and on the Foreign Language Academy Parent Teacher Organization executive board. She lives in the Waldo neighborhood with her husband Micah, 10-year-old son Milo, and cat Bella.

Creating Community Informed Programming 

Workshop description
This session will cover how to let the community you serve lead your program design, and how to ensure you're reaching the diverse communities you're seeking to target in an equitable way.

Lauren Crome, MHA, Community Engagement Specialist, Clay County Public Health Center
Lauren Crome is a Community Engagement Specialist with Clay County Public Health Center who is passionate about community-informed programming and policy. She believes that empowering people to use their voices leads to stronger communities and better health.

Changing the Story We Tell About Aging

Workshop description
As a society we are living longer and aging differently than we have ever done before. There is a growing movement, led by the National Center to Reframe Aging, to change the way we talk about aging so we can reduce negativity about growing older. We must advance another narrative: that regardless of age, we are all valuable contributors to our society. Ageism is pervasive, invisible and harmful to individuals and communities; it is a major barrier to achieving long, fulfilling lives. Increasing awareness and understanding about ageism reduces our biases and helps us tell a fuller story about aging. During this session, you’ll learn how to reframe the messages you tell about aging to advance a more positive story about aging, and to increase all of our chances for a long and satisfying life. This presentation will provide strategies to advance age positivity and avoid traps when talking about age as an asset. Learn how to tell a more complete story of aging when crafting presentations, websites, publications, consumer materials and other communications.

Natalie Galucia, LMSW, Manager, Harvey A. Friedman Center for Aging, Washington University in St. Louis
Natalie Galucia is a licensed social worker in the state of Missouri and has a passion for working with older adults. She is currently the center manager for the Harvey A. Friedman Center for Aging at the Institute for Public Health at Washington University, where she enjoys working on the WashU for Life Initiative. WashU for Life is an initiative that seeks to increase age inclusivity across the campuses of WashU. She takes pride in working on DEI efforts at the University and bringing more awareness to age as part of our identity and ageism. Galucia is a trained national facilitator with the National Center to Reframe Aging.
Prior coming to WashU, Galucia was a client care manager at Home Care Assistance of Missouri, where she directly managed the in-home care of her clients. Galucia started her career in aging as member services coordinator and then director with Village to Village Network, a nonprofit focused on aging in place. She started her education at Concordia University in Wisconsin, where she received her B.S.W. and then received her Masters of Social Work from Washington University in St. Louis. At Washington University, she concentrated in gerontology with an emphasis on policy.

Stepping Up Wellness Programs with Tech and Partnership

Workshop description
This session will explore how collaboration leads to innovation. We will discuss the partnership between the University of Missouri Extension, the southwest regional arthritis center and the Barry-Lawrence Regional Library, and the roles each partner took in the partnership initiative. We will share challenges and successes in launching a walking program and share the data from the pilot program. 
We will also showcase how we used an existing reading tracking app and re-purposed it for the walking program. Ways to motivate participants and overcoming technology challenges will also be discussed. We will discuss why more focus needs to be placed on physical activity for aging adults.

Eden Stewart, MPA, Nutrition and Health Field Specialist, University of Missouri Extension
Eden Stewart is a field specialist in nutrition and health education at the University of Missouri with a background in school nutrition and gardens programs. She also started a farmers market in Manito, Illinois. Stewart has helped communities deal with some of the biggest issues facing older adults related to health by offering classes related to fall prevention, including Matter of Balance and Stay Strong, Stay Healthy. Steward has also taught Walk with Ease, an aerobics class that focuses on pain reduction for those with chronic pain caused by arthritis. She also helps older adults through her teaching of a self-management series that includes chronic disease self-management program, diabetes self-management program, and chronic pain self-management program. She is working towards finding new ways to meet the challenges of her community.

Gregory Brown, Barry-Lawrence Regional Library
Greg Brown has spent over 20 years helping organizations of all sizes make positive changes. His focus has been on branding, marketing, strategic communication and technology. He has learned to use a wide array of technical disciplines to craft campaigns, systems and programs that reach the right target audience with the right message.

Your Legacy at the Deathbed and Beyond

Workshop description
By the time we've reached the end of our lives, we've undoubtedly made an impact on the world through both the mundane and the phenomenal. And the longer we live, we're afforded more time to curate a meaningful legacy that can carry on our impact indefinitely. 
At the deathbed, the vessel that made these impacts on society possible is coming to a close. In a lifetime, the energy we put out into the world day-to-day is immeasurable and therefore makes the transition from life to death so profound for us to experience and to process through grief. 
This is what makes death so sacred. It's like a beloved book we're not ready to finish because we've enjoyed experiencing the adventures, triumphs, losses and love. It's an ending of someone's story. And if the author has enough time, will they be able to finish it fulfilled and without regrets.
The impacts they made within their community will continue on.
The longer someone's story, the more we can learn from their earthly experience. This can be done through defining the legacy we want to leave. The longer we live, the richer the impact on the world.

Rachel Winter, SHICK Program Coordinator, Johnson County Aging and Human Services
End of life is a sacred time that deserves support and love from our communities. Rachel Winter saw the importance of this early on and is now a death doula and educator with Banner Endings doula collective. Winter has received her certifications from both Village Deathcare and International Doula Life Movement (IDLM), providing comprehensive end of life education to care for both humans and companion animals. Working in hospice gave her hands-on experience and an inside view of how end-of-life care fits within the modern healthcare system. She’s provided countless hours of bedside support and care for both people and pets as they transition.
Winter seeks out continuous education opportunities, attends local networking events for deathcare workers, and loves to share her knowledge through classes and presentations. By facilitating healthy discussions, she hopes to take the mystery out of death to help others approach it with less fear. Most recently she’s been active in the development of a non-profit called KC End-of-Life, which helps to coordinate death doula care in the metro.
Winter is passionate about empowering people to take care of their own family, friends and pets at their most vulnerable time. She strongly believes in documenting end-of-life wishes and planning ahead as much as possible. She views deathcare as a community event that deserves as much support and planning as we do for our births. 
None of us can avoid death but we can make it easier with gentle education and thoughtful planning.


  • 2:45 p.m.: Grab a snack!
  • 3 p.m.: Afternoon keynote: Aging is an Asset... as are YOU
  • 4 p.m.: Closing remarks
Afternoon keynote presenter

Rachel Kail, M.S., Social Gerontologist/Educator, Marigold, holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in psychology from the University of South Florida and a Master of Science degree in social gerontology from the University of Central Missouri. Though her expertise has broadened within the field of aging, Kail's passion is rooted in the subject of improving care for those living with dementia. For more than a decade, she worked alongside her mother at The Edcon Group, offering educational seminars to train health care professionals and family caregivers around the world in best dementia care practices.


thanks to our diamond level sponsors

Nettleton text
Optum logo

thanks to our silver level sponsors

Archwell Health logo
KU Landon Center on Aging logo
platte county senior fund logo

thanks to our bronze level sponsors

Aetna Medicare Solutions lobo
Clay County Senior Services logo
Right at Home logo
UMKC Institute for Human Development logo

Thanks to our event partners

  • City of Blue Springs
  • Clay County Senior Services
  • Jewish Family Services
  • Johnson County Park & Recreation District
  • KC Communities for All Ages
  • KC Leadership in Aging Network
  • KC Shepherd’s Center
  • MARC Department of Aging and Adult Services
  • Missouri Association of Area Agencies on Aging
  • Silver-Haired Legislature
  • University of Missouri Extension
  • University of Kansas Medical Center - Landon Center on Aging