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Ellen Somers: Staying sharp by continually learning and teaching about brain health

Ellen Somers

Ellen Somers, MA, LMHC

What is your name, job title and orga­ni­za­tion, and what excites you the most about work­ing there?
As Coor­di­na­tor of  Cog­ni­tive Health Ser­vices at St. Camil­lus Cen­ters, I am always look­ing for new ways to develop our pro­grams and ser­vices as the field of brain health evolves.

Please tell us about your inter­est in applied brain sci­ence. What areas are you most inter­ested in? What moti­vated you to pur­sue work in your field?
Over the years, my focus on demen­tia care has expanded into an inter­est in pre­ven­tion and brain health main­te­nance. I par­tic­u­larly enjoy work­ing with per­sons with mild impair­ment that are moti­vated to improve their cog­ni­tive skills.

What is one impor­tant thing you are work­ing on now, and where can peo­ple learn more about it? 
Teach­ing a new adult edu­ca­tion course called “Life­long Brain Health” that inte­grates infor­ma­tion from sev­eral resources, and fea­tures The Sharp­Brains Guide to Brain Fitness.

What are 1–2 key things you’d like every per­son to under­stand regard­ing his/ her own brain and mind, that you think is com­monly mis­rep­re­sented or not addressed in the pop­u­lar media? 
More community-based edu­ca­tion pro­grams that are evidence-based (I see quite a few pro­grams out there that seem “flashy” but don’t appear to be based on much research).

What sur­prised you the most at the 2013 Sharp­Brains Vir­tual Sum­mit? 
Maybe not “sur­prised” per se, but I wasn’t famil­iar with a good num­ber of the newer tech­nolo­gies that are becom­ing available.

Finally, what do YOU do to stay sharp? 
Above all, con­tin­u­ally learn­ing and teach­ing new mate­ri­als on brain health. Also, daily aer­o­bic exer­cise, plea­sure read­ing, and tai chi.

2013 SharpBrains Summit—This con­ver­sa­tion is part of the inter­view series with Speak­ers and Par­tic­i­pants in the 2013 Sharp­Brains Vir­tual Sum­mit (Sep­tem­ber 19-20th). Pre­vi­ous inter­views include:

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