Public events - Thinking Ahead
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Public events - Thinking Ahead

The McMaster Health Forum is a key player in McMaster University’s Labarge Optimal Aging Initiative, which aims to position the University as Canada’s leading authority on keeping older adults healthy and active for as long as possible.

In the spring of 2014, the Forum organized a two-and-a-half-day series of events called Thinking Ahead: How We Can Better Support Optimal Aging in Canada Using the Best Available Research Evidence. This included two public panel discussions for the community and a two-day symposium for invited participants who are working directly in the field of aging. It also included the launch of the prototype of the McMaster Optimal Aging Portal, a public talk geared to students by one of Ontario's leaders in caring for an aging population, and an exhibition of short videos that present a re-imagined view of aging.

The events focused on how we communicate with, engage, and support Canada’s aging population. It was funded by the Labarge Charitable Foundation in conjunction with McMaster University’s Labarge Optimal Aging Initiative.

A summary of all of the Thinking Ahead events is available here. You can also view interviews with select symposium participants.

The two panel discussions at McMaster Innovation Park were well attended by the general public and members of the McMaster community, and many more listened to the lively exchange of ideas through web streaming. The Hamilton Spectator daily newspaper provided daily coverage of the two events.

The first panel, Will extended and second careers become the norm?, was moderated by Steve Paikin, a journalist and the anchor and senior editor on The Agenda with Steve Paikin on TVO. (View highlights video)

Panellists were:

  • Sherry Cooper, former Chief Economist and Executive Vice-President of Bank of Montreal, and now Professor at McMaster University’s DeGroote School of Business;
  • Parminder Raina, McMaster researcher leading the Canadian Longitudinal Study on Aging;
  • Samir Sinha, Director of Geriatrics at Mount Sinai Hospital; Provincial Lead, Ontario’s Seniors Strategy; and author of the Living Longer, Living Well report;
  • Ian Thomas, singer, songwriter, actor and author; and 
  • Brian Williams, sports broadcaster for CTV and TSN.

The second panel, Do celebrities do more good than harm with their medical advice?, was moderated by Julia Belluz, who writes the popular Maclean’s/Medical Post column Science-ish, will moderate this debate about the pros and cons of celebrities using their popularity to espouse health-related advice. (View highlights video

Panellists were:

  • Tim Cook, Canadian physician interested in disease prevention and management through integrative health;
  • Yoni Freedhoff, a physician, writer of the blog Weighty Matters, online columnist for the Huffington Post, and assistant professor at the University of Ottawa;
  • Steven Hoffman, McMaster-affiliated researcher and author of Following celebrities’ medical advice: meta-narrative analysis published in the British Medical Journal;
  • Seamus O’Regan, journalist, Distinguished Visiting Innovator with Ryerson University’s Digital Media Zone, mental health advocate, and spokesperson for Bell Canada’s “Let’s Talk” Day; 
  • André Picard, health reporter at The Globe and Mail and author of Critical Care: Canadian Nurses Speak for Change; and 
  • Bryce Wylde, alternative medicine expert, television host and author of Power Plants: Simple home remedies you can grow.

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