Keynote Speakers

Dr Allen Power

G. Allen Power, MD is a board-certified internist, geriatrician, and newly appointed Schlegel Chair in Ageing and Dementia Innovation at the Schlegel-U. Waterloo Research Institute for Ageing in Ontario, Canada. He is also clinical associate professor of medicine at the University of Rochester, New York, a Fellow of the American College of Physicians / American Society for Internal Medicine, and an international educator on transformational models of care for older adults, particularly those living with changing cognitive abilities.

Dr. Power’s second book, Dementia Beyond Disease: Enhancing Well-Being was released in June 2014 by Health Professions Press. His debut book, Dementia Beyond Drugs: Changing the Culture of Care won a 2010 Book of the Year Award from the American Journal of Nursing, a Merit Award from the 2011 National Mature Media Awards, and was listed as a “must-have” title in Doody’s Core Titles list for 2013. It was released in a second edition in October 2016. Dr. Power co-produced two DVDs with Dr. Richard Taylor and Brilliant Image Productions: Living with Dementia and 20 Questions, 100 Answers, 6 Perspectives. Dr. Power was named one of 2013’s “Five Leaders of Tomorrow” by Long-Term Living Magazine.

Dr. Power was a member of the Scientific Programme Committee and a Keynote speaker for Alzheimer’s Disease International 2015, held in Perth, Western Australia. He was interviewed for the film Alive Inside, (winner of the Audience Award for Best U.S. Documentary at the 2014 Sundance Film Festival), and for the 2018 PBS documentary Revolutionizing Dementia Care. His 2-day course, “Dementia Beyond Drugs” has been taught in fifteen U.S. states and six other countries on four continents.

Dr. Power was awarded a Bellagio Residency in Italy in 2012 by the Rockefeller Foundation, where he worked with Dr. Emi Kiyota on developing guidelines for sustainable communities that embrace people of all ages and abilities. Dr. Power has a 20-year history of implementing culture change in aged care settings, leading St. John’s Home in Rochester, NY to become the world’s largest Eden Alternative-registered home and helping them open the only community-integrated Green House homes in the United States.

Dr. Power is a board member of the Dementia Action Alliance, a former Eden Alternative board member, consultant for Dr. Kiyota’s non-profit organization Ibasho, and has served in an advisory capacity for Dementia Alliance International, Music and Memory, Dementia Care Australia, and the South Africa Care Forum. He is also a Core Committee member of the newly formed Global Action on Personhood in Dementia, founded by Professor Dawn Brooker in U.K.

Dr. Power recorded introductory material for the Centres for Medicare/Medicaid Services educational package, “Hand in Hand”, designed to help hands-on staff better care for people living with dementia. He has served in an advisory capacity with CMS and worked with the U. S. Dementia Action Alliance to produce two white papers on new approaches to dementia. His “Dementia Beyond Drugs” seminar has been awarded several national grants to educate both nursing home staff and surveyors.

Dr. Power is a featured contributor to the weblog. He was interviewed for the books Where Memories Go: Why Dementia Changes Everything, by BBC’s Sally Magnusson, and Old Age in a New Age: The Promise of Transformative Nursing Homes, by Beth Baker. He has also been interviewed by BBC Television, Australia’s ABC Radio Health Report, The New York Times, The Washington Post, The Wall Street Journal, The New Yorker, Singapore’s Straits Times, and many other publications and radio shows.

Dr. Power is also a trained musician and songwriter with three recordings, including Life Worth Living: A Celebration of Elders and Those Who Care for Them. His songs have been recorded by several artists and performed on three continents. Peter, Paul and Mary performed his song of elder autonomy, “If You Don’t Mind”, and Walter Cronkite used his song, “I’ll Love You Forever” in a 1995 Discovery Channel profile of American families.

Click here to read 5 Questions with Dr. Power.

Dr. Bill Thomas

Dr. Bill Thomas has built a reputation as one the most eclectic and creative thinkers working in the field of medicine. Author, entrepreneur, musician, teacher, farmer and physician, Dr. Thomas’ wide-ranging work explores the terrain of human aging.

In 2014, Thomas launched an ambitious new approach to growth and aging through a national “non-fiction” theatrical tour produced in partnership with AARP’s Life Reimagined. Inspired by Thomas’ new book examining the baby boom generation’s reluctant generational second coming of age—“Second Wind: Navigating the Passage to a Slower, Deeper and More Connected Life” (Simon and Schuster, March 2014) — the Second Wind Tour brought a unique “non-fiction” theater experience blending the spoken word, innovative set design, film, and music to 25-cities in the spring of 2014 and 30 cities in the spring and fall of 2015.

Named by The Wall Street Journal as one of the top ten Americans shaping aging, Dr. Thomas is internationally known for his health care system innovations. He is the founder of a global non-profit (The Eden Alternative) and creator of The Green House Project, radical new approaches to reform long term care. Dr. Thomas also developed the Senior ER model of care and is now working to transform the acute care services provided to elders.

Dr. Thomas’ eclectic career has included two decades living off the grid and running a mixed power farming operation (Summer Hill), founding one of the first technology companies to offer clinicians immediate access to outcome data (Rumpelstitlskin), teaching medical students and serving as a founding faculty member of UMBC’s Erickson School of Aging. He is also the founder of the influential multi-author blogging platform,

His synthesis of imagination and action led US News and World Report to name him as one of “America’s best leaders.” The magazine noted his “startling common-sense ideas and his ability to persuade others to take a risk,” and concluded that “this creative and wildly exuberant country doctor has become something of a culture changer–reimagining how Americans will approach aging in the 21st century.”

Dr. Thomas continues to write, perform and help Fortune 500 companies and not-for-profits develop new products and services that make the most of normal human aging. His most current endeavor is Minka: Homes and Communities. Minka is a high tech, high startup that blends robotic manufacturing tools and community-building strategies to create MAGIC – – multi Ability, multigenerational Inclusive Communities.

Jill Vitale-AussemJill Vitale-Aussem

Jill’s first job was working in the kitchen of a nursing home in the mid 1980’s. As she ladled pureed glop into plastic bowls and watched residents sitting slumped over in wheelchairs, she thought, “I can’t believe people have to live this way at the end of their lives.”

For over two decades, Jill has made changing the culture of nursing homes, assisted living communities and retirement communities her life’s work as a nursing home administrator, CCRC executive director and vice president of operations. In each role, Jill pushed back against the status quo and drove deep cultural transformation in both for-profit and non-profit organizations. These efforts not only improved the quality of life for the people who lived and worked in her communities but led to significant improvements in occupancy, financial and regulatory outcomes.

Jill now serves as President & CEO of The Eden Alternative, an international non-profit dedicated to creating quality of life for elders and their care partners, no matter where they may live. In 2018, The Eden Alternative impacted the lives of 100,000 people in sixteen countries around the world. Jill is the author of Disrupting the Status Quo of Senior Living: A Mindshift and speaks internationally on the topics of culture, leadership and ageism.

Click here to read the 5 questions with Jill.