Dr Susan Wehry, a geriatric psychiatrist, has been passionate about helping others achieve their full potential throughout her career.
She is currently the Chief of Geriatrics, Department of Primary Care, at the University of New England College of Osteopathic Medicine (UNECOM)
I am determined to turn the tables on stigma and ageism. I am convinced we can all age successfully. This is true for young and old, for people with and without disabilities and for people with and without dementia.
Susan’s earliest advocacy began in middle school in Fort Thomas, Kentucky when she campaigned successfully on behalf of persons with Down Syndrome for full participation in her community. As an undergraduate, Susan majored in special education at George Peabody College in Nashville, Tennessee before entering medical school and awakening a passion for working with older adults and persons with serious psychiatric disabilities.
Her advocacy continued through her work with Consumer Voice (formerly NCCNHR) and the National Association of State Ombudsman Programs (NASOP). She assisted the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid (CMS) in the development of webcasts on mental health and individualized care planning and has been an active partner in their current initiative to improve dementia care in nursing homes.
Her commitment to excellence in long-term care earned Dr Wehry the 2002 Paul Dana Vanas Award from the New York State Office for the Aging Long Term Care Ombudsman Program and the 2010 Aging Advocate Award from the Champlain Valley Agency on Aging for her commitment to older adults.
In 2011 Vermont Governor Peter Shumlin appointed Dr Wehry Commissioner of the Department of Disabilities, Aging and Independent Living (DAIL). During her tenure, Vermont rose to #1 for senior health in America's Health Rankings. Dr Wehry represented Vermont at the 2015 White House Conference on Aging.
Though no longer serving as Commissioner, she remains committed to the Department’s mission to make Vermont the best state in the nation in which to grow old - or to live with a disability - with dignity, respect and independence.
Dr Wehry authored Oasis 2.0 which helped both reduce unnecessary antipsychotic use and transform nursing home culture throughout New England. Since 2016, she has assisted the Texas Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) in introducing an Oasis-based curriculum to over 1200 homes.
Dr Wehry is the currently the Chief of Geriatrics, Department of Primary Care, at the University of New England College of Osteopathic Medicine (UNECOM). http://www.une.edu/com/about/what-osteopathic-medicine
Susan is enthusiastic about promoting healthy aging. In 2015 she joined Vermont sculptor Kate Pond in Mapua, New Zealand for the final leg of Kate’s world sculpture tour and the start of Susan's #changingaging sabbatical in New Zealand and Australia.
As she notes in her presentation, Engaging Aging, aging is not only inevitable but necessary if we wish to recognize our full human potential.
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