The Second Annual

UnLonely Symposium

May 9, 2018 • New York City

A Symposium on Innovative Solutions:

Addressing Loneliness Throughout Our Communities

United by a commitment to tackling loneliness and social isolation, a diverse audience of professionals attended the Second Annual UnLonely Project Symposium on May 9, 2018 (as part of a joint event with the UnLonely Interactive Filmfest launch celebration). Produced by the Foundation for Art & Healing, the half-day proceedings featured robust expert panel discussions on loneliness as well as artistic interludes that highlighted the powerful unifying force of the arts.

The Symposium was structured to both explore the prevalence of loneliness and its effects on people’s physical, psychological and emotional health, and to provide an overview of promising programs that directly and indirectly target loneliness and can be adapted to a range of vulnerable populations. The event pulled free-ranging ideas from across a broad array of fields, but with a format that did not limit discussions to unique vulnerable populations. Instead, three vibrant panels shared information applicable to all vulnerable populations, among them the elderly, college students, veterans, and caregivers. The panels included experts from the fields of higher education, the arts, healthcare, interspersed with employers and non-profit groups leaders in a format that unleashed a dynamic cross-pollination of ideas.


Session Replays

For a written summary of the day’s events, click here.

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

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

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

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


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