The Second Annual

UnLonely Symposium

May 9, 2018 • New York City

A Symposium on Innovative Solutions:

Addressing Loneliness Throughout Our Communities

As attention towards loneliness and isolation grows, much of the action to address it is organized around specific at-risk populations like older adults, youth at risk, or the marginalized. While this is understandable as a starting point, we see a timely opportunity to explore the loneliness challenges and connection opportunities across silos and populations, examining cross-cutting issues, identifying universal barriers to change, and identifying essential characteristics of innovative and scalable solutions.

The Second Annual UnLonely Symposium was unique is its integration of both the arts and sciences in a search for a better understanding of what loneliness truly is, how it impacts and alters lives, and how it can best be addressed. Drawing on quantitative and qualitative research, as well as “real world”  evidence and testimonies, we will go beyond the usual ways of approaching this complex topic.  

The creative and innovative symposium successfully addressed loneliness and its challenges in ANY at-risk group and the proceedings offered insight for those developing and delivering programs and solutions, as well as those who would benefit from them.

A Symposium Specifically Designed for:

  • Executive Leadership
  • Program Designers & Managers
  • Researchers
  • Social Workers
  • Foundations
  • Clinicians
  • Administrators
  • Advocates

The goal of this symposium was to increase awareness of the challenges while identifying opportunities to move forward with measurable, effective, sustainable and scalable solutions.

Loneliness and social isolation have reached epidemic proportion, touching every segment of society. In order to fully understand what’s at stake, we took a dive deep to explore loneliness and isolation from a multi-stakeholder perspective, in several especially vulnerable populations:

  • Older Adults
  • Veterans and Active Duty Military
  • Workplace Populations and
  • College Campus Communities

Of particular importance are a number of compelling cross-cutting issues, deeply connected to loneliness and social isolation:

  • Caregiving
  • Opioids and Addiction
  • Stigma and
  • Scalable Solutions

Special thanks to our sponsors for making this event complimentary for all who wanted to attend.


Jeremy Nobel, MD, MPH

Jeremy Nobel, MD, MPH

Founder & President,
Foundation for Art & Healing
Faculty, Harvard Medical School

Julianne Holt-Lunstad, PhD

Julianne Holt-Lunstad, PhD

Professor of Psychology & Neuroscience,
Brigham Young University

Conference Agenda

1:30 | Opening Dedications and Overview of the Day

Presenters will provide an overview of the loneliness landscape; a review and orientation to current research; and a public health and medical framework.

  • Jeremy Nobel, MD, MPH, Founder, UnLonely Project; Faculty, Center for Primary Care, Harvard Medical School
  • Julianne Holt-Lunstad, Ph.D. Professor, Dept. of Psychology, Brigham Young University
  • Ruth Oratz, MD, Professor of Clinical Medicine, NYU Langone

Dedication to John T. Cacioppo

Artistic Interlude: Music • Matt Sullivan

2:00 | Signals of Optimism: Lights on the Leading Edge

A review and discussion of promising programs currently in the field.

  • Keith Winick, Director, Health, and Wellness, Prudential Financial
  • Joseph Behen, Ph.D., Executive Director, Counseling, Health, and Disability Services, School of the Art Institute of Chicago
  • Maureen Feldman, Director, Social Isolation Impact Project, Motion Picture Television Fund
  • Alice Bennett, Associate State Director-Community Outreach, AARP Georgia

Artistic Interlude: Movement • Catherine Cabeen & Germaul Barnes 

2:45 | Navigating Reality: Understanding Obstacles and Creating Opportunity

A deep dive into real-world considerations and constraints; a pragmatic exploration of strategies and tactics to create a sense of urgency and opportunity.

  • Mitra Behroozi, JD, Executive Director, 1199SEIU Benefit and Pension Funds
  • Charles R. Marmar, MD, Chairman, Department of Psychiatry, NYU School of Medicine
  • Allison Smith, MPA, Assistant Director, Population Health at New York University
  • Kathryn Haslanger, JD, CEO, JASA

Respite & Reloading

3:45 | Breaking Through: Innovations and Game Changers

New approaches needed! Leveraging the forcing functions and innovations that can be catalysts and accelerators for making and sustaining breakthrough progress.

  • Derek Coy, Veterans Health Officer, New York State Health Foundation
  • Carla Perissinotto, MD, MPH, Geriatrician, UCSF Medical Center
  • Marco Diaz, SVP, Global Head of Benefits, News Corp
  • Michael Sturmer, SVP, Health Services Segment, Livongo

4:30 | Introduction to the UnLonely Project Film Festival Platform: Version 2.0

  • Joseph Behen, Ph.D., Executive Director, Counseling, Health, and Disability Services, School of the Art Institute of Chicago

4:45 | A Call to Action: Getting from “Dream” to “Done”

A summary of the day’s discussion and a review of potential steps forward to promote and achieve coordinated effective action across the loneliness spectrum.

Artistic Interlude: Music • Matt Sullivan

5:00 | Close

Images from the Symposium

Click on any picture for slide show mode.

Event Recap Coming Soon.

Event Venue:

Alvin Ailey Dance Theater

Join the UnLonely Project!

We'd love to keep you in the loop with the latest news and events, activities we're working on, and opportunities for you to participate. Subscribe today!

(We never share your address and you can unsubscribe easily at any time.)

Thanks for joining our Community! We'll keep in touch and you can do the same by sending us a message at any time.