Office of Public Affairs

USM Aging Initiative presents first annual Symposium on Aging




Press contacts:
Danielle Vayenas, USM Director of Communications and Media Relations, 207-780-4150 / 207-239-5715 (cell)

Maureen Puia, PR/Event Promotions Associate, 207-780-4200

USM Aging Initiative Contact:
Elizabeth Gattine, Senior Policy Associate, Disability and Aging Program, 207-780-5164


4/27 - USM Aging Initiative presents first annual Symposium on Aging

PORTLAND -- The University of Southern Maine Aging Initiative presents the first annual Symposium on Aging, Friday, April 27, 8:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. at the Abromson Center, 88 Bedford St, this event is free and open to the public (full schedule). The USM Aging Initiative, a multidisciplinary group of USM faculty and staff, was created to raise student awareness of age-related issues while also fostering collaboration across disciplines and departments, and to build a bridge between aging-related scholars at USM and the larger community.

8:30 a.m. to 10:15 a.m.  “Reframing Aging: From Theory to Practice,” Julie Sweetland

10:30 a.m. to 12:00        “The Experience of Dementia” Workshop

1:00 p.m. to 2:30 p.m.    “My Mother’s Clothes are Not My Mother,” Elizabeth Peavey 

Julie Sweetland, Vice President for Strategy & Innovation at the FrameWorks Institute, opens the event with a presentation of research findings on Americans and aging, along with strategies for reframing the conversation about aging.

Participants have the option to sign up for a dementia simulation workshop, 10:30 a.m., to find out what it feels like to experience dementia firsthand. Registration is required for workshops only. Press attendance may be arranged for the simulation workshop.

“Maine has the oldest population in the nation; we have a tremendous opportunity and a compelling need to ensure that we understand the implications of Maine's demographics and prepare our students for customers, communities, patients, and an economy shaped by these demographics,” said Anne Cardale, Program Director, of the Maine Senior College Network.

Elizabeth Peavey will present excerpts from her award-winning, one-woman show, “My Mother’s Clothes Are Not My Mother,” 1:00 p.m. to 2:30 p.m., exploring the frustrations, revelations, and humor entailed in caring for an aging parent.

Dr. Julie Sweetland is a sociolinguist and vice president at the FrameWorks Institute, where she leads efforts to diffuse the organization's reframing recommendations throughout the mission-driven sector.  Since joining FrameWorks in 2012, she has provided strategic communications guidance for advocates, policymakers, and scientists nationwide and internationally. Before joining FrameWorks, she worked in progressive education reform and published research on the intersection of language and race. Dr. Sweetland is a graduate of Georgetown University and completed her MA and Ph.D. in linguistics at Stanford University.  

The FrameWorks Institute, based in Washington, D.C., is an independent nonprofit organization, consisting of an interdisciplinary team of social scientists and communication practitioners who work with advocates, policymakers, educators, and funders from around the country and abroad to reframe social and scientific issues.



Situated in Maine’s economic and cultural center, the University of Southern Maine (USM) is a public university with 8,000 undergraduate and graduate students taking courses online and at campuses in Portland, Gorham, and Lewiston-Auburn. Known for its academic excellence, student focus, and engagement with the community, USM provides students with hands-on experience that complements classroom learning and leads to employment opportunities in one of the nation’s most desirable places to live.