Speakers & Panelists 2022 – 2023

Thank you to the amazing speakers & panelists who shared with our Boston Bridge audience. Here’s a recap!

 September 13th – Boston Bridge 10th Anniversary Celebration

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October 19th – Makieya Kamara, ABCD Foster Grandparents Program

Makieya Kamara, MSW, MNL, LCSW, spoke about the Foster Grandparent Program, a volunteer program for low income older adults ages 55+ who serve in classrooms to support children with special and exceptional needs. For 10 years, Makieya worked with young people under 21 in congregate care settings, holding direct care and leadership positions, before making an unexpected shift to older adults and intergenerational programming. Makieya shared about civic engagement & COVID’s impact on volunteering from a multicultural perspective.

November 16th – Robert Weisman, Boston Globe

Robert Weisman reports on Baby Boomers — their work, health, money, and lifestyle — and life after 50. He writes about retirement and reinvention, aging, and second acts. In his 22 years at The Globe, he has worked as a technology editor and a business writer covering high-tech and venture capital, management issues, hospitals, health care, and life sciences. Before coming to The Globe, he was a business editor and reporter for the Seattle Times, Hartford Courant, and New Haven Register. He is a native of Norwich, Conn., and a graduate of Boston University. Topic: How I conceived and launched an Age Beat as part of The Globe’s beat reinvention initiative in 2017 and discovered a large audience for stories on getting older. It turns out there’s been so much to write about that my constant challenge is to figure out which stories are most important and will most interest our readers. 

December 14th – Annual Boston Bridge Conversations

December Boston Bridge Conversations is an annual opportunity for members to network, share thoughts on issues pertinent to the field of aging, and learn from each other. This year, Boston Bridge President Taylor Patskanick led us in a discussion on climate change and longevity, sharing a passage from The Gerontologist and a brief video on retrofitting housing. We had a lively discussion, sharing our own personal concerns for climate change, and then dissecting its impact (or future impact) on older adults specifically.  

January 18th – Amy Schechtman, 2Life Communities

Amy Schechtman is CEO of 2 Life Communities, an organization dedicated to empowering older adults to live with joy and purpose in housing that is affordable. Amy has a deep commitment to social justice and her work to advance affordable housing, economic development and equity are proof of that. As a leader for the concept of aging in community, Amy serves on the Governor’s Council to Address Aging in MA and was President of Citizen’s Housing and Planning Association which is the organization for affordable housing professionals.  Amy will speak to Boston Bridge about the housing initiatives she has created at 2 Life Communities and the housing crisis in Massachusetts for older adults.

February 15th – Health, Physical Activity and Sport Research Group/Blanquerna – Ramon Llull University

The Health, Physical Activity and Sport Research Group from the Faculty of Psychology, Education and Sport Sciences at Blanquerna – Ramon Llull University in Barcelona, Spain aims to advance current scientific knowledge to enhance a healthier society by means of examining the beneficial effects of physical activity on individuals’ psychosocial and biological health and quality of life. A team from Blanquerna visited the MIT AgeLab and Boston Bridge to present several of their ongoing projects with older adults, specifically focusing on how co-creation can improve adherence, uptake and sustainability of interventions aimed at improving health-related outcomes: Dr. Maria Giné-GarrigaPhD in Sport Sciences and Physiotherapist. Full-time Assistant Professor in the Sport Sciences and Principal Investigator of the Health, Physical Activity and Sport Research Group. Giuliana Longworth, Marie-Curie Doctoral Fellow at Blanquerna – Ramon Llull University. Giuliana’s area of research is implementation and evaluation strategies for participatory research approaches, specializing in evidence-based co-creation. Jorge R Zapata-Restrepo, Architect, urban designer, community planner, and Marie-Curie Doctoral Fellow at Blanquerna – Ramon Llull University. Jorge’s doctoral research is focused on urban design and co-creation with community-dwelling older adults and care home residents to improve movement behavior and reduce social isolation.

March 15th – Rachel Fichtenbaum, Mobility Management MassDot

Rachel Fichtenbaum is the Manager of Grant Programs and Mobility Management at the Massachusetts Depart of Transportation (MassDOT). From 2011-2022, she worked in community transportation through the MassMobility initiative of the MA Executive Office of Health and Human Services, serving as Mobility Information Specialist from 2011-2017 and Mobility Manager from 2017-2022. She has a Masters of Public Policy in Social Policy from the Heller School at Brandeis University.

April 19th – Anne Calef, Boston Indicators

Anne Kiyono Calef, is the Research Manager at Boston Indicators, where she’s worked on topics ranging from housing and land use to labor markets and care work. She recently completed a Master of City Planning degree from MIT where she studied equitable economic and community development. Prior to MIT, she worked as a public school teacher for six years. Anne holds a Master’s degree in Educational Studies from Johns Hopkins University and a BA in Asian American Studies from Pomona College. With the steady aging of our population, care jobs are among the fastest growing in our economy. These jobs are staffed predominantly by immigrant women and women of color, so despite their societal importance, racial prejudice and gender discrimination have led to a systematic devaluation of this sort of labor. In their recent paper, “Care Work in Massachusetts: A Call for Racial & Economic Justice for a Neglected Sector,” Boston Indicators and SkillWorks provide a demographic profile of care workers in Massachusetts and pair that with a job quality analysis for a few key subsectors.

May 17th – James Fuccione, Massachusetts Healthy Aging Collaborative

James Fuccione is the Director of the Massachusetts Healthy Aging Collaborative (MHAC), which is a statewide, cross-sector network of organizations and state and local government partners working together to promote inclusive age- and dementia friendly communities. Funded by Point32Health Foundation, MHAC and its collaborators are supporting more than 200 age- and dementia friendly communities, several regional initiatives and a statewide approach led by the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. MHAC also promotes policies and practices that advance issues like housing, transportation and social engagement and works to replicate best practices that emerge from local initiatives. Previously, James spent nearly nine years as Director of Legislative and Public Affairs for the Home Care Alliance of Massachusetts advocating for stronger home health care services, higher pay for in-home care workers, falls prevention and a range of other issues. James also previously served as an aide in the Massachusetts Senate. James Fuccione, presented on “The Age- and Dementia Friendly Movement in Massachusetts”.

June 21st – Janet Seckel-Cerrotti, Friendshipworks

With the impetus of the Surgeon General’s May 2nd Advisory on Loneliness and Isolation, neighborhoods, associations, and other non-governmental organizations can look to FriendshipWorks as a trusted leader in creating community-based solutions to thwart social isolation. Executive Director Janet Seckel-Cerrotti spoke to the value of collaboration with partners across sectors and how FriendshipWorks stands ready to codify and share its institutional knowledge and best practices for fostering social connections between thousands of people across generations and cultures.