Optimal aging conference keynote speakers National AARP, Area Agencies on Aging leaders featured


    LOUISVILLE, Ky. — A national vice president of AARP, the CEO of the National Association of Area Agencies on Aging and a University of Louisville Emeritus Geriatrician have been tapped as keynote speakers for The Optimal Aging Conference. The event, hosted by UofL’s Institute for Sustainable Health & Optimal Aging and the Kentucky Association for Gerontology (KAG), will be held June 12-14 at the historic Brown Hotel, 335 W. Broadway.

    Speakers and their addresses are:

    • Barbara Shipley, Senior Vice President of Brand Integration, AARP Disrupt Aging: Unlocking the Age Disruptor in All of Us
    • Sandy Markwood, CEO, National Association of Area Agencies on Aging Valuing and Supporting People as They Age: The Aging Networks’ Role in Supporting Optimal Aging
    • James O’Brien, M.D., Emeritus Geriatrician, University of Louisville Caring for Older Adults: Lessons Learned

    The conference has a variety of options for people interested in revolutionizing the way aging is constructed in our community, said Anna Faul, Ph.D., executive director of the institute. “The Optimal Aging Conference is an exciting opportunity for all individuals dedicated to the belief that aging is an opportunity,” Faul said. “This conference is unique in that we have a variety of professional and academic perspectives present. It is through this sharing of all our perspectives that we will be moving together towards an aging revolution.” This is the inaugural conference to be co-hosted by the institute and KAG. “This inaugural year of the Optimal Aging Conference will premiere the power of merging resources to create something even greater than what existed before,” Barbara Gordon, KAG president, said. “Stemming from our long-standing annual conference and the institute’s symposium, the partnership of these two organizations results in an exceptional event that promises to be a coveted learning opportunity for persons in the field of aging the world over.”

    The conference will conclude the afternoon of June 14 with the Smock Lecture Series, featuring five 1-hour presentations. This concluding lecture series is free and open to all conference participants as well as the general public.

    CEU credits are available for physicians, social workers, nurses and other health care professionals. There also are several pre-conference CEU offerings including Social Work Ethics (social work), Domestic Violence (social work) and Assessing and Managing Suicide Risk, a required CEU for social workers, licensed marriage and family therapists, occupational therapists, psychologists and certified alcohol and drug counselors. Information about CEU offerings is found on the conference website.

    Cost to attend is $110 person for students, medical residents and senior citizens age 65 and older; $250 for KAG members; and $270 for other academic and other professional staff. To register, go to the conference website.

    About Barbara Shipley

    Barbara Shipley brings more than 25 years of experience in branding, marketing and strategic communications to her role as senior vice president of brand integration for AARP.  She joined AARP in 2006 to help build and develop the revitalized AARP brand platform and now leads the brand integration efforts for AARP, from the Foundation and AARP Services to the association and its 53 state offices. Prior to joining AARP, she managed the Washington office of public relations firm Ruder Finn and spent more than a decade in various leadership roles with Fleishman Hillard Inc, one of the world’s largest strategic communications firms.  A native New Yorker, Shipley is a graduate of American University and lives in McLean, Va., with her husband and two children.  

    About Sandy Markwood

    Chief Executive Officer Sandy Markwood of the National Association for Area Agencies on Aging (n4a) has more than 30 years’ experience in developing aging, health, human services, housing and transportation programs in counties and cities across the nation. Prior to coming to n4A in January 2002, Sandy served as the deputy director of county services at the National Association of Counties. As CEO, Sandy is responsible for n4a’s overall management, setting strategic direction and overseeing the implementation of all policy, grassroots advocacy, membership and program initiatives. She also leads n4a’s fundraising efforts and engages corporate sponsors to support initiatives, including an aging awards/best practices program and the Leadership Institute for Area Agency on Aging. Sandy holds bachelor’s and master’s degrees from the University of Virginia.

    About James O’Brien, M.D.

    James O’Brien received his medical degrees at University College, Dublin, and completed a residency in family medicine at Saginaw Cooperative Hospitals in affiliation with Michigan State University and a fellowship in geriatrics at Duke University Medical Center. He spent 19 years on the faculty at MSU where he initiated the first geriatric fellowship. He assumed the Margaret Dorward Smock Endowed Chair in Geriatrics at UofL in 1996.  He became acting chair of Family Medicine in 2002 and chair of the renamed Department of Family and Geriatric Medicine in 2003, a position he held until 2015 when he was named Emeritus Geriatrician. He has been named a “Best Doctor in Louisville” by Louisville Magazine and is a past recipient of ElderServe’s Champion of Aging Award.



    Jill Scoggins is Director of Communications at UofL's Louis D. Brandeis School of Law. She has been at UofL since 2010.