Picture of Executive Director, Dr. Tara Cortes
Dear Friends,

Happy Nurse's Week to all our nursing colleagues. This is a week to celebrate and thank nurses who work tirelessly to promote health, manage disease and rehabilitate people to live at their fullest potential. And, so often in caring for older adults, the compassion and comfort of a nurse supports older adults and their families as they move through end-of-life care and death. Nurses are called to serve, and we thank them for their dedication and caring. 

It is also Older Americans Month, a month to reflect on the many contributions older adults make to our society through their wisdom and experience. We are continuing our tradition of highlighting a special older adult in our newsletter in the month of May. Last year we celebrated a holocaust survivor. This year we are celebrating a woman whose lived experience has been complicated, yet she is an accomplished artist and dancer who still, at the age of 100, influences others through her work and wisdom. Her joie de vivre is evident in the advice about aging that she passes on to others. 

We hope you enjoy reading her story. 

Best Wishes,
Tara A. Cortes, PhD, RN, FAAN

A Story of Aging Unbound
Cynthia Chong, MPA
Special Projects Manager

Every May we celebrate Older Americans Month to recognize and honor the wonderful contributions older adults give to our society. This month, like every month, we should eschew the stigma around older adults being a burden on our communities. In reality, they enrich our society. This year’s theme is Aging Unbound, a chance to look at diverse aging experiences and combat stereotypes about older adults. 

With our work providing community health education at older adult centers, the students and I have the honor of meeting people who have shown that age does not stop them from being active members of their communities. One woman I met volunteers weekly at a city-wide meal provider. Another is an active board member of her older adult center and regularly informs on the programming they offer. One gentleman is a sculptor and teaches the art form in the community.

During one of my trips, I had the pleasure of meeting Vija Vetra who has lived in the Westbeth Artists Housing community since its inception in 1970. She’s an amazing woman who I feel embodies what Aging Unbound means. During WWII Vija was in Vienna studying dance. While there, she had a near death experience when a building collapsed on her during an American bombing of the city. After the war, she spent several years in a German refugee camp to escape the Soviet Union’s expansion. She then emigrated to Australia where she continued her dancing career and opened a dance studio. While there, she expanded her repertoire to include traditional Indian dance, which she is largely known for today. Her career then took off and she toured the world with an Indian troupe. She then emigrated to the US in the late 1960s where she opened a dance studio. Since then, Vija has established herself as an internationally recognized dancer, choreographer and instructor. She’s met Queen Elizabeth II, Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru and Prime Minister Indira Gandhi. Her birthday present when she turned 100 years-old this year? A ceremony at the United Nations held by the Latvian delegation where she was presented a letter from President of Latvia Eglis Levits. After all of these achievements, including three documentaries and two books, Vija doesn’t even consider stopping. She continues to dance, teach and choreograph at Westbeth and returns to Riga annually to do the same at universities there. Throughout this amazing retelling of her story, Vija repeatedly said that nothing is by chance and that these experiences enrich what she does in the community.

At the end of our 2-hour discussion, I asked Vija if she had any advice to give those who are younger and carving out their place in the world. In her wisdom, she said, “Never really grow up, be childlike in two ways: 1. Be curious about learning new things all the time. The brain gets old when you don’t give it the food of knowledge. 2. Never lose the joy of small things. Be it a flower, a walk, a painting. Find joy in the small and big.” Vija’s story epitomizes the important role older adults have in our communities, both as participants and as guides on living life to the fullest.

Improving Communication for Quality Home Healthcare

Prof. Chenjuan Ma authored a column for McKnight's Home Care on the importance of effective communication in home care and provides recommendations to improve communication, including a clear understanding of the roles and responsibilities of team members, training on appropriate and timely communication, and the inclusion of home health aides and family caregivers in the development of care plans. 

Click here to read the full column.
Cynthia Chong Selected as NYCT Leadership Fellow
Cynthia Chong, our Special Projects Manager, was accepted into New York Community Trust's Leadership Fellows Program. The fellowship program represents a diverse, inclusive, and talented community of nonprofit leaders who are advancing social justice missions in New York and beyond. 
HIGN 2023 Scholars
The HIGN Scholars program engages and develops baccalaureate students interested in specializing in the care of the older adult through mentorship and additional training. This year the HIGN scholars are providing community health education at the Greenwich House Network of Older Adults Centers.
Foundations of Nursing Care for Older Adults
The Foundations of Nursing Care for Older Adults Series is a collection of 13 interactive courses developed by faculty at NYU Meyers. This series can be taken by RNs who are working in a variety of settings including hospital care, home health care, assisted-living, PACE programs, and nursing homes. 

Click here to learn more.

HIGN Highlights

Prof. Kelseanne Breder was awarded the GACA, a HRSA K01 4-year academic career award given only to 26 applicants across the country. The focus of Prof. Breder's grant proposal is to improve the health workforce capacity to deliver dementia, substance use disorder, and trauma-informed care to the aging homeless population.

Prof. Komal Patel Murali was selected to be among the 2023 cohort of the NYU Alzheimer’s Disease Research Center REC Scholars Program at the NYU Grossman School of Medicine.

Prof. Fidel Lim wrote an essay entitled Food glorious food... wasted for the American Nurse journal, the official journal of the American Nurses Association.

Prof. Dorothy Wholihan conducted a workshop on “Geriatric Assessment in the Real World” at the annual NICHE conference in New Orleans.


Yamarik, R.L., Chiu, L., Flannery, M., Van Allen, K., Adeyemi, O., Cuthel, A., Brody, A.A., Goldfeld, K.S., Schrag, D., Grudzen, C.R. (2023). Engagement, advance care planning, and hospice use in a telephonic nurse-led palliative care program for persons living with advanced cancerCancers. DOI: 10.3390/cancers15082310
Murali, K.P., Merriman, J.D., Yu, G., Vorderstrasse, A., Kelley, A. & Brody, A.A. (In Press). Complex Care Needs Associated with Serious Illness and Multiple Chronic Conditions with and Without Cancer. Journal of Hospice and Palliative Nursing. DOI: 10.1097/NJH.0000000000000946

Chodosh, J. Mitchell, M.N., Cadogan, M., Brody, A.A., Alessi, C.A., Hernandez, D.E., Mangold, M. & Martin, J.L. (In Press). Improving Sleep Using Mentored Behavioral and Environmental Restructuring (SLUMBER): A Randomized Stepped-Wedge Design Trial to Evaluate a Comprehensive Sleep Intervention in Skilled Nursing Facilities. Contemporary Clinical Trials. DOI: 10.1016/j.cct.2023.107107