2019 Annual Conference: 
"Sex, Drugs, & Walk 'n' Roll: Promoting Healthy Aging for All"



8:30 – 8:45 AM: Registration and Breakfast


8:45 – 8:55 AM: Welcome

Margaret Neal, PhD, OGA President and Professor Emerita

Ruby Haughton-Pitts, Director, AARP Oregon, Presenting Sponsor


 8:55 – 9:55 AM: Morning Keynote Address

Healthy Aging Through the Naturopathic Lens (Alethea Fleming, ND)

Description: This talk presents a unique look at working with our elders in naturopathic medicine. The focus will be on the primary pillars of good health and how they change with age; including sleep, exercise, food, and joy. Dr. Fleming will intersperse key elements of naturopathic practice throughout with emphasis on treating the whole person, minimizing medications, least force interventions and how medicine is starting to evolving to encompass a truly holistic approach.

Learning Objectives:To understand...

  • Changes in sleep with aging and appropriate natural treatment
  • The role of natural therapeutics as a bridge for decreasing polypharmacy
  • Best choices for nutritional density and improving digestion
  • Strategies for avoiding sarcopenia.


 9:55 – 10:10 AM: Break (Exhibits & Poster Session)


 10:10 – 11:30 AM: Concurrent Session 1

  • Panel: Cannabis, Opioids, and Alcohol, Oh My! (Rebecca White, RN, BSN; Paul C. Coelho, MD; John W. McIlveen, PhD, LMHC; Adam Jones, MSW, CSWA, CADC-I, QMHP-C)

Description: This multidisciplinary panel of speakers, composed of a nurse, a physician, a researcher/mental health counselor, and a social worker/alcohol and drug counselor, will address substance use and addictions among older adults, in particular, the use and abuse of cannabis, opioids, and alcohol. The potential benefits and dangers associated with each substance will be described for older adults in general as well as for specific ethnic and cultural sub-populations.

Learning Objectives:

    • To learn about the responsible use of cannabis, which was legalized in Oregon in 2014.
    • To become aware of the context for and extent of use of opioids for pain management among older Oregonians and ways in which opioid harm may be reduced.
    • To gain knowledge about the healthy and disordered use of alcohol among older adults in Oregon and treatment options available throughout the state.
  • Movement for Healthy Aging:

Part A: Movement Matters for All Aging Humans (Magz Boyd, LMT)

Description: How we move affects how we act, think and feel. Movement matters at all ages, but sometimes how and when to move can become more challenging as we age. Luckily, it’s never too late! This talk will discuss the science behind how movement matters and address how to incorporate mindful movement, such as dance and restorative exercise, into the everyday life and habits of people at all ages to stimulate the mind-body connection and improve whole health. 

Learning Objectives:

    • Understand the importance of movement and dance for all and why changing how one moves can change how one feels.
    • Employ mindful movement practices to embrace how mindfulness with movement can create wellness physically, mentally, and emotionally.
    • Learn simple techniques to use for oneself and those being cared for to incorporate mindful movement daily, even for those who may be out of practice.

Part B: Stronger, Faster… Smarter? Exercise Strategies to Improve Balance and Cognition in Older Adults (Sue Scott, MS)

Description: Physical activity can enhance multiple dimensions of older adults’ health and their quality of life. This workshop will explore current and emerging research supporting combinations of cardiovascular, sensorimotor and agility training to reinforce motor skills, balance systems and enhance cognition. Great ideas come in all sizes and price ranges; fun, engaging and functional physical activities and equipment will be presented. Participants will be excited to try a few new ideas and will leave inspired by both the research and the new toys.  

Learning Objectives:

    • Describe findings from existing and emerging literature highlighting the kinds of physical activities that bolster cognition, motor skills and balance in older adults.
    • Discuss appropriate physical activities and equipment that can enhance posture, strength, agility, balance and cognition.
    • Build better, more comprehensive and multi-modal programs that enhance function and quality of life in older adults.


11:30 – 12:00 PM: Poster Session, Exhibits, and Lunch Pick-up


12:00 – 1:00 PM: Luncheon Keynote Address

Radical Resilience: A Key Component of Healthy Aging (Alice U. Scannell, PhD)

Description: Healthy aging requires the ability to work through the challenges of aging in such a way that our sense of self, though it may change, is not diminished. But the aging process generally brings on changes that take us into a new reality, and we realize that we can’t go back to living the way we used to live. Radical Resilience skills are attitudes and behaviors for managing change and adversity in ways that help us learn and grow. Radically resilient people consciously develop attitudes and behaviors that help them respond to difficult challenges in positive ways and protect them from being overwhelmed by stress. I call these attitudes and behaviors “skills” because we get better at them as we use them in our daily lives. In this talk, I’ll share an example of Radical Resilience versus resilience, describe the ten Radical Resilience skills I discuss in the book, and mention some obstacles to Radical Resilience. 

By the end of the talk, attendees will be able to:

  • Describe why Radical Resilience is a key component of healthy aging.
  • Identify at least three Radical Resilience skills and briefly describe them.
  • Name at least one obstacle to Radical Resilience.


1:05 – 2:05 PM: Concurrent Session 2

  • Strength & Flexibility for Older Adults: Lessons Learned from Tirana to Portland (Perparim Ferunaj, MS)

Description: During the normal aging process, our bodies change. Muscles, tendons and ligaments have adaptive traits and that can respond to strength and flexibility training. Older adults, in particular, can benefit froma combination of Qigong, Tai Chi and strength training. The goal of this interactive workshop is to offer an international perspective on strength and stretching for older adults, to provide evidence and best practices in order to motivate and promote the importance of related to strength training and flexibility to professionals in the aging network, and to engage session activities in strength and flexibility activities at the conference who work in the industry of elderly. The program will include a short introduction of the instructor and his experiences as an athlete, coach and professional (10 min), the scientific evidence and best practices related to Tai Chi and other strength and flexibility training (10 min), and a group activity - together we will practice a combination of Tai Chi and other strength and flexibility exercises (30 min).

Learning Objectives:

    • Learn about evidence-based approaches to strength and flexibility for older adults. 
    • Understand global approaches to strength and flexibility that have been applied in Albania and Portland, Oregon.
    • Take away exercises that can applied in home and community-based settings.
  • Music Therapy in Senior Care (Emilie Wright, MT-BC)

Description: Music is ever present in everyone’s lives, but have you ever thought about how it might actually be changing your brain? Music therapy can help with memory recall, positive changes in mood, relaxation, social interaction, and an increased sense of empowerment over one’s own life. Music therapy creates an inclusive milieu where all abilities are welcomed and celebrated. Attendees will explore what music therapy is, how it benefits older adults, and how it can carry over into everyday life. We will walk through an interactive sample music therapy session with a focus on active engagement and quality of life. You’ll walk away with a sense of community and a toolbox full of ideas for using music in day-to-day living.

Learning Objectives:

    • Participants will come away with a greater understanding of music therapy and how it pertains to older adults.
    • Participants will take away new ideas for using music as a community-building tool in everyday life.
  • Healthy Aging and Nutrition: Optimizing Digestion in an Aging Population (Pera Gorson, ND)

Description: This talk will guide you through the intricacies of a normal functioning digestive system and then describe common issues that the aging population faces in relation to gut health. Tools will be provided that will be directly implementable to your patients/clients that will encourage normal digestion, decrease post-prandial discomfort, and boost enjoyment!

Learning Objectives:

    • Participants will learn the normal physiology of the digestive system along with common pathology/disease.
    • Participants will learn easy and simple recommendations for improving gut health in the elderly.


2:05 – 2:20 PM: Break (Exhibits & Poster Session)


2:20 – 3:20 PM: Concurrent Session 3

  • Let’s Talk about Sex, Baby: How to Get the Conversation Rollin’ (Raven H. Weaver, PhD)

Description: Older adults are “still doing it” well into their 80s, yet the lack of education and social normalcy surrounding sex in later life negatively affects the health and social care received by older adults. Additionally, assumptions and/or discomfort held by healthcare professionals may contribute to missed opportunities to discuss sexual health/health behaviors. To enhance the quality of care provided to older adults, it is time to normalize the conversation about sex and aging. Through this workshop, participants will reflect on their own biases and knowledge about sexual health and behaviors among older adults. Participants will discuss diverse scenarios and develop strategies to initiate conversations about sex and consider the role (and need for) policies that address sexual health screenings, counseling for older adults, and privacy.

Learning Objectives:

    • Provide the practitioner with detailed information regarding the importance of initiating conversations with older adults about sexual health education and behaviors. Specifically, a professional will:
    • Develop strategies and promising practices that support health professionals in navigating difficult conversations to enhance the health and wellbeing of older adults, and 2. Explore the role of policy, or lack thereof, regarding sexual behaviors among older adults living in senior living communities and identify promising practices to implement in their workplace.
  • The Knowledge, The Energy, The Connecting: The SHARP Approach to Social Engagement for African American Brain Health (Raina Croff, PhD)

Description: African Americans have increased risk of Alzheimer’s and of gentrification that disrupts social networks for successful aging in place. The Sharing History through Active Reminiscence and Photo-imagery (SHARP) Study aims to increase social engagement, social networks, and physical activity for better brain health. African Americans (n=40) aged >55, including mildly cognitively impaired individuals, engaged in 72 walks over 6 months in Portland’s historically Black neighborhoods, guided by the SHARP application. Location-triggered “Memory Markers,” local Black history images, sparked conversational reminiscence during walks. Recorded narratives are paired with brain health information on the SHARP website to render content more meaningful. 91.6% were extremely likely to recommend SHARP to friends/family. Participants ranked program aspects as “extremely” and “very” motivating 3.5 times more than “somewhat” and “not motivating.” 93.3% reported improved mood. Decreased blood pressure and statistically significant baseline to end-study improvements in cognitive assessment scores are promising. Culturally celebratory approaches situate personal health within the individual-community-history dynamic, significantly influencing participant motivation for improved health outcomes.

Learning Objectives:

    • To learn how employing a research design that dually addresses individual and community priorities can impact participant motivation
    • To understand the impact of gentrification on African Americans and innovative ways to address social networking.


3:20 – 3:30 PM: Conference Closing & Prize Drawings


Download a one-page program overview (PDF)

Speaker Information

Magz Boyd, LMT (16305), is a Nia Instructor, Restorative Exercise Specialist, Massage and Movement Therapist. She is inspired by the way movement can change how one feels physically, mentally and emotionally. She brings her passion for natural movement and healing to all of her classes, workshops and massage therapy practice. Helping people learn to move more of their body parts, more often, with more ease and less pain brings joy to Magz, her students and clients.

Raina Croff, PhD, is Assistant Professor of Neurology at the NIA-Layton Aging and Alzheimer's Disease Center at Oregon Health & Science University. Her work focuses on increasing physical and social activity for healthier aging and the implications of gentrification on Black older adults' cognitive health. She received her PhD in Anthropology from Yale University and applies her training as an anthropologist of the African Diaspora to designing brain health interventions that celebrate Black culture, history, and community memory. Born and raised in Portland, Oregon, Dr. Croff is honored to be working with her home community.

Paul C. Coelho, MD, is a physician at the Salem Health Medical Group and the Salem Health Pain Clinic and is affiliated with the Salem Hospital. His area of specialization is pain management. Dr. Coelho's clinical interests include evidence-based pain management, evidence-based spine and musculoskeletal care, opioid use disorder and opioid harm reduction. He is a firm proponent of interdisciplinary pain care. He attended medical school at the University of Chiago, completed his internship at Northwestern University Medical School and his residency training at the University of Washington Medical Center. Dr. Coelho worked at Kaiser Permanente in Richmond, CA, for 6 years before moving to Oregon. He has 17 years of clinical experience in pain management. When not caring for patients he enjoys traveling, reading, following MotoGP racing, and spending time with family.

Perparim Ferunaj, MS, has professional and academic experience spans more than four decades, including 31 years as a professor of Exercise Science at Sports University of Tirana, Albania, which included instruction on the subject of gerontology. In addition, Perparim (aka Papi), holds a Masters degree in Health and Physical Activity (thesis focus: health benefits of strength training for older adults) from the University of Vienna’s joint international program with universities in Italy, Germany, Denmark, and Austria. Currently, Mr. Ferunaj teaches and practices exercise routines focused on strength, flexibility. and Tai Chi. He also holds current Oregon weightlifting records for the age groups 55-59 and 60-64.

Alethea Fleming, ND, is a passionate advocate for naturopathic geriatric medicine and specializes in geriatric and adult health care, recognizing the specific concerns of those with chronic disease. She is a graduate of Bastyr University and earned a certificate in Gerontology from the University of Washington. Dr. Fleming also holds a BA from Oberlin College. Dr. Fleming is the owner and lead physician of the Vital Aging Clinic in Anacortes, Washington, where she provides primary care to all adults as well as adjunctive geriatric care. Dr. Fleming is also adjunct faculty at Bastyr University and Middle Way Acupuncture Institute. She is also active in local community organizations and is a member of the American Association of Naturopathic Physicians (AANP) and the Washington Association of Naturopathic Physicians (WANP).

Pera Gorson, ND, is a naturopathic physician and the Lead Physician of the Food as Medicine Institute (FAMI), where she facilitates community-based nutrition education programs, including the Food as Medicine Everyday series. She is also responsible for organizing the annual Food as Medicine Symposium. Dr. Gorson has an extensive background working with diverse populations to advance community health and wellness. Dr. Gorson’s clinical experience focuses on pediatrics and primary care at her practice in SE Portland.

Adam Jones, MSW, CSWA, CADC-I, QMHP-C, is a Social Worker and a Certified Alcohol and Drug Counselor. He has a wide array of experiences, including working in shelters for unhoused individuals, outpatient alcohol and drug treatment facilities, assisted living facilities, memory care facilities, and hospice. Adam is currently employed at Compass Behavioral Health, the Community Mental Health Program in Douglas County, as the Older Adult Behavioral Health Specialist. He works to increase collaboration and coordination among agencies that serve the older population and people with disabilities by offering trainings for professionals and community members to ensure that individuals who care for them are well trained. In his spare time Adam enjoys running, playing pinball, and is a volunteer master food preserver.

John W. McIlveen, PhD, LMHC, currently serves as the State Opioid Treatment Authority (SOTA) for the State of Oregon and is the manager of the Healthcare Professionals Service Program (HPSP). He is an Operations and Policy Analyst with the Oregon Health Authority (OHA), Addictions and Mental Health Division (AMH). He is a Licensed Mental Health Counselor, has several years of direct clinical experience in treating patients with alcohol and drug disorders, and was the former Director of Assessment and Education and Associate Director of Research at a large substance abuse treatment facility. John has coordinated research studies on addiction, co-morbid disorders, family systems, spirituality and mood disorders, has authored and co-authored numerous peer-reviewed articles and book chapters, and has been a frequent presenter at national conferences and symposiums.

Alice U. Scannell, PhD, author of Radical Resilience: When There’s No Going Back to the Way Things Were, earned her Master’s degree in Religious Education (MRE) at Union Theological Seminary (NYC). She earned a PhD and Graduate Certificate in Gerontology at Portland State University. She then taught graduate courses and conducted research projects at PSU’s Institute on Aging for several years. Dr. Scannell served as a Program Development Specialist and Planner at Multnomah County’s Department of Aging and Disability Services before training to become an Episcopal priest and Board Certified Chaplain. As a Chaplain she has served in Assisted Living and hospital settings. Her first work in chaplaincy was to be Chaplain at an Assisted Living community of people living with dementia, and to develop a program of spiritual care for residents, family, and staff. She has just begun work on a second resilience book—one that focuses specifically on how caregivers of people living with dementia can effectively use Radical Resilience skills to manage the many challenges and stresses created by the mind-altering diseases of Alzheimer’s and related disorders.

Sue Scott, MS, is a researcher, consultant, personal trainer, presenter and author. She specializes in physical activities for frail elderly and for people with Parkinson’s disease. She has authored exercise manuals for OHSU (2007) and the Brian Grant Foundation (2016) for trainers working with Parkinson’s disease. Sue is ASCM-certified as an exercise physiologist. Her comprehensive ABLE BODIES® Balance Training program was published by Human Kinetics in 2008 and achieved wide acclaim for its effectiveness, creativity and fun at the International Association of Homes and Services for the Aging (IAHSA) the American Public Health Association (APHA), the American College of Sports Medicine (ASCM), IDEA World, and the International Council on Active Aging (ICAA).

Raven H. Weaver, PhD, is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Human Development and Prevention Science at Washington State University. She teaches courses on adult development, aging, death and dying, and families in poverty. Her research focuses on older adults and families, specifically the experiences of older adults living with unmet needs and their use of formal and informal long-term services and supports. The broader research orientation of her work centers around vulnerable and near-risk populations (e.g., low-income, rural-dwelling, insufficient care) and adequacy of services and supports designed to promote health behaviors and deter adverse health outcomes in late life.

Rebecca White, RN, BSN, holds a Baccalaureate in Nursing from Southern Utah University and has a rich history in the nursing field, including acute care, long-term care, preventative care, and support systems for marginalized adults. Rebecca has taught in a variety of arenas from Portland Community College nursing classrooms to lectures for physicians, nurses and our greater communities. Rebecca’s study of botanical medicine germinated in the fields of Central Vermont. She lived and worked at Sage Mountain Herbal Retreat Center and studied under the world-renowned Rosemary Gladstar. Her passion and work allowed her to immerse herself in the application of botanical medicine with natural health leaders and herbalists from all over the world. Rebecca created Converse with the Nurse out of a need to educate and support Oregonians in the responsible use of cannabis after its legalization in 2014. Rebecca, the Nurse behind the Converse, is a clinical herbalist, avid gardener, and science nerd. Rebecca is a Breast Cancer Survivor. It’s cancer that brought her to Cannabis. Using Cannabis to treat the variety of side effects from cancer and chemotherapy, radiation, double mastectomy with reconstruction, chronic pain gives her a deep understanding of the medicinal properties of the plant. Together with her partner, and their little dog, Rebecca now calls Portland home. She continues to cultivate her rich herb garden and uses it to nurture lasting relationships with the people she serves.

Emilie Wright, MT-BC, is a board certified music therapist in Portland, Oregon. Her private practice, Wildwood Creative, serves older adults, adults with developmental disabilities, and adults with mental health needs. A lifelong musician, she first earned a degree in music and human development at University of California Davis before going on to receive her bachelor’s degree in music therapy from Marylhurst University. Across her career, Emilie has continued to be amazed at the healing effects of music therapy. Music helps us unlock our inner power and her mission is to help her clients unlock theirs. Emilie enjoys playing the flute and the guitar, and when she is not making music she can usually be found hiking, gardening, or crocheting.