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Fifth Annual Aging Re-Imagined

JOIN US for a virtual Aging Re-Imagined Event on May 7 at 3pm EDT!

Join local and national researchers, community leaders, and policy experts as they respond to the topic of LONELINESS in older adult communities and how they have been offering creative solutions to this critical issue throughout the pandemic.

Please see our flyer here!
We look forward to seeing you!
Please see the recording of the event here!
Passcode: Z8q!5Mew
For any questions please contact

2021 Aging Re-Imagined Speakers:

Jerry Nobel

Dr. Jeremy Nobel, MD, MPH  (info)

Faculty, Center for Primary Care, Harvard Medical School
Lecturer, Department of Global Health and Social Medicine
President, Foundation for Art & Healing

As a practicing primary care physician for many years, Dr. Nobel experienced “the front lines” of health care and its delivery. Currently, through his faculty appointments at the Harvard School of Public Health and the Harvard Medical School, Dr. Nobel’s teaching, research, and community based projects address the design of healthcare delivery systems that improve quality, cost-effectiveness and access.

Dr. Nobel is also a recognized leader in the field of medical humanities. He is the founder and president of the Foundation for Art & Healing ( whose signature initiative, the UnLonely Project (, addresses the personal and public health challenges of loneliness and social isolation by harnessing the power of creative expression to foster authentic connections. Also a published poet, Dr. Nobel has received several awards for his poetry including the Bain-Swiggett Prize from Princeton University, and the American Academy of Poets Prize from the University of Pennsylvania.

Dr. Christina Hugenschmidt

Dr. Christina Hugenschmidt, PhD

Associate Professor, Rebecca E. Shaw Professor and Director, Memory Counseling Program, Section on Gerontology and Geriatric Medicine, Wake Forest School of Medicine

Christina is a neuroscientist who investigates how age-related changes in movement and metabolism interact with the brain and cognition, and the potential of lifestyle interventions to support healthy brain and body function in aging. In addition to her research, she has co-facilitated caregiver support groups and arts-based enrichment groups for people with dementia and served on the board of the Western North Carolina chapter of the Alzheimer’s Association. Her research interests are guided by three core beliefs: contributing to research that maintains dignity and purpose for older adults across the range of physical and cognitive function they experience; appreciating the aging brain as a complex system that both influences and is influenced by other body systems; and the democratization of science – science informs society and, in turn, should be informed by community partners, patients and practitioners.

Aimee Mepham

Aimee Mepham

Assistant Director

Aimee joined the Humanities Institute in July 2013 as Program Coordinator. She was promoted to Assistant Director in July 2016 and oversees the Humanities Institute’s Narrative Medicine: Story, Health, and Healing initiative, which is one of several recipients of the Engaged Humanities grant that the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation awarded Wake Forest in December 2015. Originally from Dearborn, Michigan, she is a graduate of Albion College and earned an MFA in Creative Writing from Washington University in St. Louis. She has taught creative writing workshops at Indiana University, Washington University in St. Louis, Salem College, and Wake Forest University. Her work has appeared in Meridian, River Styx, among others, and has also been performed twice by Liars’ League NYC, a live literary journal featuring professionally trained actors reading original short stories by writers.

Melissa L. Smith

Melissa L. Smit

Director of Innovation and Initiatives at Senior Services, Inc.

With over 15 years in the field of aging services, Melissa has worked at Senior Services for 10 years and is experienced in program development, clinical research, project management, case management, advocacy and transitional care.  Her current role as Director of Innovation and Initiatives has had her leading the Aging with Purpose initiative for the past 5 years focusing on eliminating the three plagues of loneliness, helplessness, and boredom that many elders in our community live with.  The initiative offers phone connections, friendly visits, pet visits, technology training, plant and plant food visits, art lessons, prompted movement classes, and other in-home activities to folks enrolled in Senior Services’ programs.  Recently, Melissa has been tasked with leading initiatives funded by the CARES act to assist caregivers and program participants through the pandemic by tackling loneliness and social isolation.  These initiatives include the placement of animatronic pets and Claris Companion tablets.

Melissa is a Graduate of Salem College and is currently pursuing her Master’s in Gerontology through UNCG. 

Photos From Past Year’s Aging Re-Imagined Symposia

WFU Aging Re-Imagined 2.0 Symposium

Sessions from Aging Re-Imagined 2.0:

Anthony Marsh, PhDImproving Function and body composition in older adults with community partners:The CLIP-II Study

Edward Shaw, MD: Memory Counseling Clinic

Lia Miller and Sudha Shreeniwas, PhD: ARTMail for Alzheimer’s: A structured participatory arts program for seniors with cognitive symptoms 

Sara Romanik and Carol PenneyIntergenerational Kindermusik

Daniel Umlauf, JDDetermining Legal Competence in Older Adults

Click on the DEAC Talk schedule to watch sessions from previous years

Donovan Livingston, MA, EdM., Spoken Word Poet and Author