Media alert: press briefings and special sessions at the GSA's Annual Meeting

November 14, 2002

Survey & research results embargoed until date and time of presentation

The Gerontological Society of America will hold its 2002 Annual Meeting in Boston, November 22-26. In the 400+ conference sessions, experts will present new research on the hot topics of aging. This multidisciplinary meeting will draw more than 3,000 students, researchers, and practitioners in biological sciences, clinical medicine, behavioral and social sciences, and social research, policy, and practice.

Press Briefings & Special Sessions
(Marriott = Boston Marriott Copley Place; Westin = Westin Copley Place)

Friday, November 22

9:00 a.m. - 1:00 p.m. - Wellesley Room, Marriott
Research and the Media: Are We Getting the Message Right? (Pre-conference Workshop)
A panel of medical journalists and participants representing gerontological research and medical/healthcare communication will define barriers to solid, effective research communication and develop ways to improve how research is reported for the good of older adults and the public health. (workshop cost: $40; register at the door)

1:00 - 1:30 p.m. - GSA Press Room, Marriott
The 65+ Cancer Treatment Gap: Understanding Attitudes Toward Care (Press Briefing)
A new survey by the American Society on Aging (ASA) and Pharmacia Oncology shows some surprising contradictions in physicians' attitudes on how to treat these older cancer patients. Survey results will be released at this press briefing. Gloria Cavanaugh, President and CEO of ASA, and Stuart M. Lichtman, MD, of North Shore University Hospital at the NYU School of Medicine, will discuss the importance of the survey results, including what patients can do to ensure they are getting the best care available. Lunch provided.

7:30 - 9:00 p.m. - Essex Room, Westin
Inequalities in Health: Life and Death on the Social Gradient - President's Opening Plenary Session and "Elder Grace" Photo Exhibit Sir Michael Marmot, PhD, an internationally acclaimed public health specialist and distinguished epidemiologist, is the opening session's key speaker. He will address how, in industrial societies, we can affect the social gradient in health, longevity, and well-being. Chester Higgins, Jr., a New York Times staff photographer for nearly 30 years, will display his special collection of photos of elderly people.

Saturday, November 23rd

8:30 - 10:00 a.m. - Symposium; Salon G, Marriott
10:00 - 10:30 a.m. - Press Briefing; GSA Press Room, Marriott
Continuing to Guard Against Elder Abuse: Results and Implications of the 2000 National Survey of Adult Protective Services (Symposium & Press Briefing)
Partners of the National Center on Elder Abuse conducted a national survey of Adult Protective Services (APS) programs across the country in 2000. The survey results will be released and analyzed in this symposium. Pamela B. Teaster, assistant professor of public health, University of Kentucky, will use the survey results to examine APS from state and national levels within the context of addressing elder abuse. Implications for the social work community, the legal community, the clinical community, and the policy community will be outlined. Additional presenters: Sara Aravanis, Director, National Center on Elder Abuse; Robert Blancato, President, National Committee to Prevent Elder Abuse; and Paula Mixon, Division Administrator, Texas Department of Protective and Regulatory Services. The press briefing will occur immediately following the symposium session. Members of the press are invited to attend both.

10:30 a.m. - 12:00 p.m. -New Hampshire Room, Marriott
The Real Scoop on Mammography: Evidence, Politics, Practice (Symposium)
This interdisciplinary symposium will examine the controversial topic of mammographic screening for breast cancer. The presenters describe and apply "evidence-based practice" to the research on the efficacy of mammographic screening. Judy Norsigian, co-author of Our Bodies, Ourselves and a founding member of The Boston Women's Health Book Collective, will discuss the political perspective on the mammography controversy.

3:30 - 5:00 p.m. -Essex North West/North Center, Westin
The Biological Sciences Presidential Symposium on Stem Cells
This special session will address the use and regulation of stem cells in research and therapy. Presenters will discuss the issues from the point of view of the basic researcher (Peter Hornsby), the scientist (David Panchision )who wishes to apply his data in vivo, the ethicist (Lawrence McCullough) who has concerns and will debate the pros and cons of the approach, and an individual (Marshall Kapp) who will discuss policy issues.

Sunday, November 24th

10:30 a.m. - 12:00 p.m. - Essex Center, Westin
Osteoporosis and Falls Prevention: New Developments (VA GRECC Symposium)
This "benchmark-to-bedside" symposium presents current research on several fronts in the effort to prevent osteoporosis and fractures in older adults. Included will be recent advances in basic, pre-clinical, and clinical science aimed at preventing bone loss and identifying and reducing fracture risk, as well as a policy-oriented meta-analysis of clinical trials to prevent falls in the elderly.

3:30 - 5:00 p.m. - Adams Room, Westin
Spirit, Culture, and Society: Humanities and Arts Symposium
This symposium, led by Thomas R. Cole of the University of Texas Medical Branch, takes an interdisciplinary approach to spiritual needs and expression in later life. Presentations include "The Growth of Unchurched Spirituality: Sociological Implications," "Global Spirituality: Transforming Visions for Later Life," and "Spirituality, Civic Responsibility and Older African-American Women."

Monday, November 25th

8:30 - 10:00 a.m. - Staffordshire Room, Westin
Has Anybody Ever Died of Old Age? (Symposium)
Robert Butler of the International Longevity Center-USA will lead a discussion with gerontology experts Leonard Hayflick, Bruce Carnes, S. Jay Olshansky, and Harry Moody, addressing disease vs. aging as cause of death and the need for a "pathology of aging."

9:30 - 11:00 a.m. - New Hampshire Room, Marriott
Older Americans' Concerns About the Availability and Training of Healthcare Workers - Survey Results (Press Breakfast Briefing)
The Merck Institute of Aging & Health (MIAH) will announce the results of a new survey on older Americans' concerns about the availability and training of healthcare workers. MIAH and the National Academy on an Aging Society, the policy institute of GSA, will also release their State of Aging and Health in America report at the briefing. Speakers include: Dr. Patricia Barry, Executive Director, MIAH; Dr. Jeanette Takamura, former U.S. Assistant Secretary for Aging (currently Dean, School of Social Work, Columbia University); and Toni Antonucci, PhD, President, GSA.
Breakfast will be served. Official presentation will begin at 9:30 a.m. The "State of Aging" Report will be available Friday, Nov. 22, in the GSA Press Room.

10:45 - 12:15 p.m. - Symposium; Essex South Room, Westin
12:15 - 12:45 p.m. - Press Briefing; Flying Cloud Room, Westin
Centenarian Panel(Presidential Symposium & Press Briefing)
Centenarians and some of their septuagenarian and octogenarian children will share their secrets to aging well, perspectives of various historical events, their habits, and feelings about marriage and other social relationships. Interspersed between the interviews, Dr. Thomas Perls and Dr. Margery Silver, director and associate director of the New England Centenarian Study, respectively, will present findings about centenarians and their children.

The press briefing will feature new research being presented at other sessions: The press briefing will occur immediately following the symposium session. Members of the media are invited to attend both.

1:45 - 2:45 p.m. - Symposium; Salon F, Marriott
3:00 - 3:30 p.m. - Press Briefing; GSA Press Room, Marriott
Special Presidential Session with Congressman Barney Frank
Congressman Barney Frank (D-MA), member of the House Committee on Financial Services and the House Committee on the Judiciary, will speak on aging issues in the new Congress.
Members of the media are requested to hold questions until the press briefing following Congressman Frank's speech.

Media Registration
Members of the media can pre-register for GSA's Annual Meeting by faxing the Media Registration Form, available online at, to 202-842-1150, attn: Melanie Radkiewicz. Pre-registrants must check in at the GSA Press Room (Tufts Room, Third Fl, Marriott) to receive their name badge, etc. On-site registration is also available at the GSA Press Room.

Information for Non-Attendees
If you cannot attend the meeting but would like to receive material from the press briefings and/or arrange for telephone interviews with presenters during the Annual Meeting, please contact Melanie Radkiewicz at During the Annual Meeting, please call the Boston Marriott Copley Place (617-236-5800) and ask for the GSA Press Room.

For more information, visit the GSA website at
The Gerontological Society of America ( is the national organization of professionals in the field of aging.

The Gerontological Society of America

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