Occupational therapy faculty to serve at White House Conference on Aging

Dickerson (left) and Trujillo
GREENVILLE, N.C.  (May 19, 2005)  —  Dr. Anne Dickerson, professor and chairman of the Department of Occupational Therapy in the School of Allied Health Sciences at East Carolina University, has been appointed as a delegate to the national White House Conference on Aging. Dr. Leonard Trujillo, assistant professor, has been chosen as an alternate delegate.

The conference will be held Oct. 23-26 in Washington, D.C.

Dickerson and Trujillo's research with older drivers was instrumental in their appointments by Sen. Richard Burr and Gov. Mike Easley, Dickerson said. Their Research for the Older Adult Driver Initiative is defining protocol for driver screening, evaluation and rehabilitation to address three key functions: vision, cognition and function.

The White House Conference on Aging occurs once a decade to make aging policy recommendations to the president and Congress and to assist the public and private sectors in promoting dignity, health, independence and economic security of current and future generations of older persons.

The 2005 conference, the first of the 21st century, occurs as the first wave of the baby boom generation prepares for retirement.

Past White House conferences have contributed to the establishment of many key aging programs such as Medicare and Medicaid, the Older Americans Act, Social Security reforms and the creation of a national nutrition program for older adults.

Dickerson will be one of 1,200 delegates representing a variety of organizations and individuals including the governors of all 50 states, U.S. territories, Puerto Rico and the District of Columbia, the National Congress of American Indians, members of Congress, aging and allied health organizations, academic institutions, business and industry, non-profit and veterans' organizations and other stakeholders.

The North Carolina Governor's Advisory Council on Aging held a pre-White House conference forum in Raleigh May 18. Groups and individuals met to discuss issues and policy recommendations identified as vital to the future of older adults and baby boomers in North Carolina.

The ECU Department of Occupational Therapy graduated its first class in 1974. Occupational therapy is the therapeutic use of work, self care and leisure/play activities to increase independent function, improve development and prevent disability. For more information on the ECU Department of Occupational Therapy, visit www.ecu.edu/ot.

Contact: Crystal Baity | 252-744-2481