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WVU School of Social Work to host annual Summer Institute on Aging June 12-14

West Virginia University’s annual Summer Institute on Aging Conference will be held Tuesday, June 12 through Thursday, June 14 at Lakeview Resort and Conference Center.

The Summer Institute on Aging conference was created to provide continuing education for social workers, licensed professional counselors and nurses. The theme for this year’s conference is “Adventures in Aging: Building Wisdom, Well Being and Wonder.”

“The Summer Institute on Aging is the only multi-day conference in West Virginia that solely focuses on the needs of older adults in West Virginia,” said Jacki Englehardt, the Master of Social Work admission and recruitment coordinator in the School of Social Work. “Each year, social workers, counselors and nurses from around the state and region come together in Morgantown to learn new skills in their service to some of our state’s most vulnerable citizens.”

The conference will feature workshops on various topics, from housing methods to drug therapy and environmental effects on the elderly’s quality of life.

Renée Nicholson, William Benson, Jennifer Taylor, Kristina Hash, Robert Blancato and Ted Muilenburg are the keynote speakers for the conference.

Nicholson, assistant professor in the Programs for Multidisciplinary and Interdisciplinary Studies, will present “Vital Signs: Quality of Life through Medicine and the Arts” on Tuesday, June 12 to discuss how artistic activity impacts quality of life in elderly adults. Nicholson specializes in creative writing and dance and is the author of the poetry collection “Roundabout Directions to Lincoln Center.” She is also the co-editor of the forthcoming anthology “Bodies of Truth: Stories of Illness, Disability and Medicine.” 

Benson is the principal of Health Benefits ABCs, which offers expertise in health and aging policy and research. He will present “Dying Before Their Time: Opioids and Rural Elders” on Tuesday, June 12. The discussion will present data describing the extent of the opioid crisis in elderly people along with examples of how a few rural communities are working to combat the crisis.

Taylor, the senior financial exploitation attorney for Legal Aid of West Virginia, will present “Update on the Law of Financial Exploitation” on Wednesday, June 13. The presentation will describe the way West Virginia has become a recognized national leader in the fight against financial exploitation as well as discussing the role that those who work with the elderly have in noticing the problem of financial exploitation.  

Hash, a professor in the School of Social Work and director of the gerontology minor at WVU, will discuss “Movie Night: Raging Grannies” on Wednesday, June 13. Her research interest includes geriatric education, rural gerontology, LGBTQ issues and the use of technology in teaching and research. She is the author of “Aging in Rural Places: Programs, Policies and Professional Practice.”

Blancato, president of Matz Blancato and Associates, will present a lunch discussion on “Aging Policy – The D.C. Landscape” on Thursday, June 14. The presentation will provide an up-to-date picture of the policy landscape in Washington, D.C., as it relates to national aging policy. The session will present the challenges and opportunities that lie ahead and the ongoing need for advocacy by and for older adults. Blancato is also the national coordinator of the Elder Coalition and the executive director of the National Association of Nutrition and Aging Services Program. 

Muilenburg, the executive director at the Institute for Geri Olympics and Active Living, Inc., will present “Adventures of Active Senior Living” to show the benefits of being active and engaged in the community as well as enabling people to experience the adventures of aging on the last day of the conference, Thursday, June 14.  

Lunch will be provided each day for conference participants, and free parking will be available.  

For more information about the Summer Institute on Aging, contact Jacki Englehardt at 304-293-3280 or email
Tagged with Social Work