Conference: The Real Impact of Loneliness

 Thought-Provoking Discussions • May 2017 • New York City

Spotlighting a Rapidly Growing Public Health Crisis

The Creatively Connected Online Film Festival launch events included a Conference (which also supported the Foundation’s signature initiative, the UnLoneliness Project).  Held at New York University in Manhattan, the agenda included a series of panels exploring loneliness and isolation in several important populations, among them: older adults and caregivers; military, veterans and their families; employees in the modern workplace. Thought leaders, advocates, clinicians, human resource professionals, and a host of others came together to share ideas, experiences, and considerations to better understand this growing public health crisis.

Thanks to all who participated and made the Conference possible!

Photos from the Event

Click on any one to open in slideshow mode

Welcome and Opening Remarks
Jeremy Nobel, MD, MPH; President, Foundation for Art & Healing; Medical Director, NEBGH; Faculty, Center for Primary Care, Harvard Medical School

Expert Overview
What is Loneliness and Why Should You Care: Joshua Smyth, PhD, Biobehavioral Health Department, Penn State University

Panel One: Military, Veterans and Family
Those who serve to protect us not only face mortal physical danger. Returning back to civilian life after traumatic experiences in the field can come along with other burdens, including feelings of disconnection, alienation, loneliness, and isolation, that affect military men and women and also impact their families and friends. How can we better understand this challenge, and importantly, better support those who need assistance?

  • Derek Coy, Veterans’ Health Officer, NYSHealth
  • Captain Moira McGuire, RN, Walter Reed
  • Charles Marmar, MD Chair, Department of Psychiatry, NYU
  • Michelle D. Stefanelli, DCSW, LCSW, VA Caregiver Peer Support Mentoring

Panel Two: Workplace Distress; Focus on Loneliness
With loneliness and isolation growing as a social reality, more and more people are bringing those feelings to work. Additionally, job stressors such as increased productivity demands and the rapid, technology-enhanced pace increase workplace distress in general, leaving some workers especially vulnerable to isolation and its negative impact. Moreover, we know that increased connection and engagement has positive benefits in performance and productivity. How can we work effectively to bring some timely solutions to the modern workplace, and where can we begin?

  • Andrew Crighton, M.D. Chief Medical Officer, Prudential Financial
  • Marco Diaz, SVP, Global Head of Benefits, News Corp
  • B. Alan Echtenkamp, Ph.D. Founder, Slingshot Leadership
  • Claire Levitt, Deputy Commissioner, Mayor’s Office of Labor Relations, NYC

Panel Three: Older Adults, Caregiving, Major Illness
As health and physical challenges increase the longer we live, so does the potential for loneliness and isolation. Older adults often lose touch with far-flung family and friends or can no longer participate in once-fulfilling hobbies and social activities; how can we help them — and those who care for them — make these last years golden?

  • Zubin Eapen, MD, Chief Medical Officer, CareMore
  • Scott Kaiser, MD, Chief Innovation Officer, Motion Picture Television Fund
  • Carla Perissinotto, MD MHS, University of California, San Francisco
  • Charlotte Yeh, MD CMO AARP Services, Inc

Closing Comments—Jeremy Nobel, MD, MPH

Jeremy Nobel, MD, MPH,
President, Foundation for Art & Healing
Faculty, Department of Global Health and Social Medicine
Harvard Medical School

Joshua Smyth, PhD.,
Distinguished Professor of Biobehavioral Health and Medicine
Penn State University

Scott Kaiser, MD
Capt. Moira G. McGuire
Dr. K. Andrew Crighton
Claire Levitt
Ari Lowell, PhD
Marco Diaz
Dr. Carla Perissinotto
Joshua Smyth, PhD
Dr. Michelle D. Stefanelli
Zubin Eapen, MD




Kareem Abdul-Jabbar

Read his comments about the Festival and his moving story, “How Movies Helped Me Fight Loneliness.” Click here for The Hollywood Reporter story.

On the Radio! Listen Now:

Jeremy Nobel, MD, MPH, Founder and President of The Foundation for Art & Healing, joins host Janeane Bernstein on KUCI 88.9fm

Thanks to Our Event Committee

  • Douglas Drane & Alexandra Drane
  • Rose Higgins
  • Kevin O’Grady & Nella Webster O’Grady
  • Barbara Ricci
  • Julia & Kevin Spicer
  • Barry Weiss and Laurie Alpert
  • John Zweig

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