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Next Avenue Names Its Sixth Annual "Influencers in Aging" List and Offers Year-End Review Of 2021’s Critical Issues for Adults 50+

Twelve People and Organizations from Across the Country Recognized for
Innovation, Advocacy and New Ideas Around Getting Older 

December 7, 2021 – Next Avenue, the national news and community destination for older Americans that's part of the PBS system, today revealed its 2021 "Influencers in Aging" - 12 people and organizations whose works are reshaping how we age - and, in a year-end special section, explores five key trends that emerged in 2021 for those 50+.

"Next Avenue is very proud to honor our new 2021 Influencers in Aging, who are trailblazers in many ways," said Richard Eisenberg, the Managing Editor and Editor of the Money & Policy and Work & Purpose channels for Next Avenue. "Each member in this diverse group has done remarkable work in the past twelve months during what has been a challenging time. The 2021 Influencers in Aging embody the key aging trends and issues that Next Avenue's editors have seen emerge recently and which are likely to continue in the future."

The Next Avenue editors identified the five trends as:

  • Finding Work and Purpose Growing interest and initiatives helping older Americans redefine purpose and meaning in their lives, including entrepreneurship and volunteerism
  • Caregiving Champions Newfound awareness of the need for – and needs of – family and professional caregivers
  • Reimagining Health Care The movement bringing fresh concepts to older adults’ health care services, access, education and resources
  • Connecting the Generations How younger and older generations have been actively building bridges
  • Taking on Aging Fresh, fierce creative approaches to breaking down stereotypes and capturing what it does (and doesn’t) mean to age

The sixth annual Influencers in Aging list recognizes remarkable people bringing solutions, innovation, inspiration and big thinking to the aging space. This year's recipients - ranging in age from their 30s to 80s - includes health care professionals, advocates, entrepreneurs, thought leaders, educators and members of the creative community, from all across the country.  They are: 

Pauline Boss: Minneapolis researcher and educator recognized worldwide for developing the theory of "ambiguous loss" and the study of family stress management; her newest book "The Myth of Closure: Ambiguous Loss in a Time of Pandemic and Change," is being released this month.

Barbara Brooks and Guadalupe Hirt: Co-founders of the Denver-based SecondActWomen national professional network for women at midlife changing careers or starting businesses

Mary Daniel: Launched Caregivers for Compromise from Jacksonville, Fla., into a national advocacy movement in response to resident isolation in long-term facilities due to the lockdown

Dr. Justin Golub: Associate Professor of Otolaryngology/Head and Neck Surgery at New York's Columbia University Vangelos College of Physicians and Surgeons, being recognized for his research and advocacy around ageism in the context of age-related hearing loss

Dr. Jen Gunter: The San Francisco area obstetrician/gynecologist who's a powerful advocate for women's health with a huge public following and is breaking down misinformation about menopause

Marta Kauffman: Award-winning TV producer and writer who's the co-creator, writer, showrunner and executive producer of "Grace and Frankie," the boundary-breaking Netflix comedy hit about older life and friendships

Trish Lopez: Founder and CEO of Albuquerque, N.M.-based Teeniors, a service matching tech-savvy teens and young adults with older adults needing technology support through one-on-one coaching

Nii-Quartelai Quartey: Most recently AARP's multicultural engagement lead for its COVID-19 vaccine education campaign, focused on blunting racial disparities exacerbated by the vaccine rollout 

Atalaya Sergi: Washington, D.C.-based national director of AmeriCorps Seniors and its three volunteer programs who's showing older Americans the importance of their volunteering for the greater good

Tracy Viverretta: An artist, illustrator and graphic designer in Hartford, Conn., whose Instagram site Eff Their Aging Standards challenges ageism, promotes age positivity and has built an intergenerational community

Joy Zhang and Madeline Dangerfield-Cha: San Francisco Bay Area co-founders of the tech solutions company Mon Ami, which provides accessible, affordable technology tools and systems to simplify operations, specifically for senior agencies and nonprofits

Dr. Jessica Zitter: Critical care and palliative care medicine specialist in Oakland, Calif. who's being recognized for her national multimedia advocacy for humanism in caring for the dying; she is producer and director of the new documentary, "Caregiver: A Love Story"

Media contact information for each is below.  

About Next Avenue:

Launched in 2012 by Twin Cities PBS in St. Paul, Minn., Next Avenue has grown to become the premier national source of high-quality original daily content and community for older Americans. It publishes more than 800 articles annually and reaches more than 80 million people through its multiple platforms. In addition to its own digital channels, Next Avenue content is distributed through leading news and business media outlets including Forbes, "PBS NewsHour" and MarketWatch. Its audience is as engaged and motivated as it is deep: In annual reader surveys, more than 70% of respondents say Next Avenue is personally important to them and 97% have taken an action based on its content.  

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