Journalism Workshop on Aging and Health: Presentations and coverage

Here are some articles that came out of the workshop:

And here are the speakers' presentations.

Wednesday, Oct. 16

The USC Leonard Davis School of Gerontology
Andrus Gerontology Center
3715 McClintock Ave.
Los Angeles, Calif. 90089

Limited shuttle service from hotel. Parking on campus is free.


Registration opens

Auditorium foyer

1 p.m.


Andrus Auditorium  

1:10-2:25 p.m.

New approaches to caring for an aging population

We all know America is aging and facing a crisis in long-term care. How can policymakers, both in and outside of government, address the many issues surrounding long term services and supports — from housing to social services and health care? And how can reporters delve into these issues while keeping information fresh and relatable? An expert panel will look at the scope of the challenge, what’s working at the state level, and offer suggestions for story pegs.
  • Jarett Hughes, program director, Colorado Strategic Action Planning Group on Aging [Presentation]

  • Paul Irving, chairman, Milken Institute Center for the Future of Aging, University of Southern California Leonard Davis School of Gerontology [Presentation]
  • Linda Marsa, contributing editor, Discover [Presentation]

  • Moderator: Liz Seegert, AHCJ core topic leader/aging; independent journalist

Andrus Auditorium  

2:35-3:35 p.m.

Field trip to USC Leonard Davis School of Gerontology labs

Participants will have the opportunity to tour some of the USC Leonard Davis School of Gerontology labs to see the latest tools and techniques related to the study of aging. In addition, the school’s faculty and students will provide interactive demonstrations and expert tips on how to help ensure older adults are meeting their nutritional needs, maintaining muscle strength, preventing falls and aging well.
Demonstrations will include:
• Debunking diets – Do you know the difference between food facts and food fads? Test your knowledge here.
• Spice it up – Our senses of taste and smell can diminish as we age. Learn some tips to serve up flavor.
• Know your H20 – Older adults are at greater risk for dehydration. Soak up ways to stay hydrated, including from some unexpected sources.
• Fall away – Falls are the No. 1 cause of death from injury for older adults. See the latest tools and techniques for preventing them.

3:45-5 p.m.

Data to find stories about aging and health

Nearly every story about aging and health can be strengthened by data. Luckily, there is a multitude of easily accessible data available online. We'll show you the best places to find demographic trends and projections related to aging. We'll dig into data on medical outcomes, health financing and hospital discharges. And we'll take a look at some of the websites offering robust, user-friendly health survey data.
  • Eileen Crimmins, Ph.D., director, USC/UCLA Center on Biodemography and Population Health; professor of gerontology, University of Southern California Leonard Davis School of Gerontology [Presentation]

  • Ninez A. Ponce, Ph.D., M.P.P., director, University of California at Los Angeles Center for Health Policy Research

  • Moderator: Phillip Reese, assistant professor of journalism, Sacramento State University [Presentation]

Andrus Auditorium 

5-6 p.m.


Courtyard of Andrus Gerontology Center, USC campus 

Thursday, Oct. 17

USC Hotel, 2nd floor
3540 S. Figueroa Street
Los Angeles, Calif. 90007

7 a.m.

Registration opens

Grand Ballroom foyer

7-8:15 a.m.

Breakfast buffet


Grand Ballroom Center

8:30-10 a.m.

Overcoming barriers to palliative care access

The good news: The availability of palliative care has grown exponentially. A majority of hospitals with 50-plus beds now have palliative care teams. Ninety-nine percent of medical schools offer palliative care education (to some extent). The bad news is that millions of Americans with serious or terminal illness are not receiving palliative care to help alleviate unwanted pain and suffering. Our panel of specialists will discuss how basic education and training are the starting point for improving end-of-life and palliative care access and the stories journalists can find.
  • Anthony L. Back, M.D., co-director, University of Washington Center for Excellence in Palliative Care

  • Susan Enguidanos, Ph.D., M.P.H., professor of gerontology and social work, University of Southern California Leonard Davis School of Gerontology

  • Jessica Zitter, M.D., M.P.H., critical and palliative care specialist; author [The Never-Ending Mistreatment of Black Patients]

  • Moderator: JoAnn Mar, radio producer/journalist, KALW-San Francisco

Champion Room 

The science of aging: The underlying mechanisms that control our biological clocks

Biologic age doesn’t always match what’s on a person’s birth certificate. Some people simply age faster than others. Scientists suspect there is an intrinsic biological clock that runs slower in some people and quicker in others, making them more vulnerable to fatal diseases and early death. This panel will highlight key research into genetic and other biological systems that influence aging. Deciphering how they work could help us to slow the aging process and avert the coming tsunami of frail elderly that could bankrupt the health system.
  • Bérénice Benayoun, Ph.D., assistant professor, University of Southern California Leonard Davis School of Gerontology [Presentation]

  • Pinchas Cohen, M.D., dean, University of Southern California Leonard Davis School of Gerontology [Presentation]

  • Gordon Lithgow, Ph.D., vice president for academic affairs, Buck Institute for Research on Aging [Presentation]

  • Moderator: Linda Marsa, contributing editor, Discover

Victory Room 

10:15-11:45 a.m.

Understanding mental health in older people

Dementia and Alzheimer’s disease dominate the discussion of mental health issues impacting the older population. But there are other conditions and circumstances that impair older adults’ mental health, including depression. Many seniors say they feel they are a “burden” — to their families, to society. And all too frequently, depression onset among seniors is a result of loneliness and social isolation. The panel will discuss the pernicious effects of senior loneliness and one of its results — increasing numbers of suicides. Along the way it will also explore attempts to reduce the isolation that leads seniors away from mental health.
  • Patrick Arbore, Ed.D., director and founder, Center for Elderly Suicide Prevention & Grief Related Services, Institute on Aging [Presentation]

  • Carla Perissinotto, M.D., M.H.S., associate chief for geriatric clinical programs, University of California, San Francisco

  • Lon Schneider, M.D., professor of psychiatry and the behavioral sciences, University of Southern California Keck School of Medicine

  • Moderator: Richard Kipling, executive director/senior editor, Center for Health Reporting, University of Southern California Schaeffer Center for Health Policy and Economics

Champion Room 

Designing for an age-friendly future

“Aging in place” and “age-friendly communities” - terms meant to imply a home and community design usable by everyone, no matter their age, size or abilities – are making the rounds across the country. Hear from experts who can help you see the differences between those spouting buzzwords and those implementing valuable design that makes a difference.
  • Cathy Boyer-Shesol, project manager, Kansas City Communities for All Ages [Presentation]

  • Kathryn Lawler, executive director, Atlanta Regional Collaborative for Health Improvement [Presentation]

  • Jon Pynoos, Ph.D., professor of gerontology, policy and planning; director, Fall Prevention Center of Excellence, University of Southern California Leonard Davis School of Gerontology

  • Moderator: Mary Shedden, news director, WUSF Public Media

Victory Room 

11:45 a.m.- 1:15 p.m.


The health of older adults - a population growing in numbers and diversity

People are living longer and by 2030, one of five Americans will be 65 or older, according to U.S. Census Bureau projections. In cities across the country, leaders are facing the challenges meeting the needs of older adults with health issues, as well as enabling those with good health to maintain their wellness. Los Angeles Department of Aging General Manager Laura Trejo will discuss preparations in serving this rising population and the changes taking place in the aging community.

Featured speaker:
Laura Trejo, M.S.G., M.P.A., general manager, Los Angeles Department of Aging

Grand Ballroom Center 

1:25-2:50 p.m.

The two faces of dementia coverage: new techniques, new technology

PET scan imaging can detect clumps of amyloid associated with a heightened risk for Alzheimer’s disease, but wider use of the scans for detecting dementia remains controversial. This panel will explore amyloid imaging, genetic testing and other emerging advances in dementia diagnoses and support at a time when new treatments remain elusive. The aim is to provide journalists with story ideas and reporting strategies for reporting on innovations in dementia care, including ethical issues some of them raise.
  • Jan Dougherty, R.N., M.S., F.A.A.N., special projects consultant, Banner Alzheimer’s Institute [Presentation]

  • Arthur W. Toga, director, Stevens Neuroimaging and Informatics Institute, University of Southern California Keck School of Medicine

  • Alicia Villegas, L.C.S.W., early stage services director, Alzheimer’s Los Angeles

  • Moderator: Stephanie Innes, health reporter, The Arizona Republic

Champion Room 

Trends in building a workforce in elder care

Elder care is facing the challenges of growing needs with an expanding range of skill requirements, serving a population that is increasing in numbers and cultural diversity. This panel will explore those challenges and offer some ideas to cover your local workforce stories.
  • Zia Agha, M.D., chief medical officer and executive vice president, West Health Institute [Presentation]

  • Edward Schneider, M.D., professor of gerontology, medicine and biology; emeritus dean, University of Southern California Andrus Gerontology Center

  • Amy M. York, executive director, Eldercare Workforce Alliance [Presentation]

  • Moderator: Paul Sisson, health care reporter, The San Diego Union-Tribune

Victory Room 

2:50-3 p.m. p.m.



3-4:25 p.m.

Investigating and exposing elder abuse

With a growing aging population, elder abuse — physical, emotional, financial or a combination – can be an increasing threat. Learn about methods to identify mistreatment, even by friends, family and health care staff; who is at risk and efforts to protect the most vulnerable; and the rise of assisted-living facilities and how little data are available about these institutions. A mix of speakers focusing on institutional abuse, financial exploitation and the roles of professionals who are battling the abuse will bring you story ideas to investigate.
  • Eric M. Carlson, directing attorney, Justice in Aging [Presentation]

  • Laura Mosqueda, M.D., dean, Keck School of Medicine, University of Southern California [Presentation]

  • Kathleen Wilber, Ph.D., professor of gerontology, health services administration, University of Southern California Leonard Davis School of Gerontology [Presentation]

  • Moderator: Cheryl Clark, senior health care reporter, MedPage Today

Victory Room