The 15th Annual James E. & Bonnie L. Eckenhoff Lecture and John & Gwen Smart Symposium

The Buehler Center on Aging Health & Society hosted the 15th annual James E. and Bonnie L. Eckenhoff Lecture and the John & Gwen Smart Symposium at Northwestern Memorial Hospital on September 2, 2010. The lecture was held at the Pritzker Auditorium at the Feinberg Pavilion, and the keynote speaker was Baroness Julia Neuberger, DBE. Baroness Neuberger is a rabbi, social reformer, and member of the House of Lords. She is an active proponent of health and aging issues and has undertaken many voluntary and philanthropic roles. She is also the author of several books that focus on topics such as healthcare ethics, Judaism, women, and the care of dying people. Baroness Neuberger presented her lecture titled “Creating Health and Social Care Policies for Elders: Thinking about Aging with Passion” to approximately 125 members of the Northwestern community and the general public.

Video of 2010 Lecture

Baroness Neuberger’s lecture explored society’s current treatment of elderly people and gave recommendations for improvements. She discussed how elderly people’s notions of their quality of life indicators greatly differ from those of healthcare professionals. When surveyed, healthcare professionals listed practical items such as not being socially isolated and being able to move around as important quality of life indicators. However, elderly people listed items such as the ability to dance, eat, and sing, items that were noticeably absent from the healthcare professionals’ lists. Baroness Neuberger stressed that we must focus more on the needs and desires of elderly people and alter our systems accordingly. She also gave concrete examples of ways in which we can change how we view and treat elderly people in society. She strongly urged that we harness the value of elderly people and create programs such as a foster grandparents program or other intergenerational programs. Additionally, the Smart Symposium included a book-signing of the Baroness’ most recent book, A Manifesto for Old Age. If you would like to purchase a signed copy of the Baroness’ book, please contact the Buehler Center.

The John & Gwen Smart Symposium

In addition to the Baroness’ lecture, the attendees were invited to the Smart Symposium which featured 34 poster presentations showcasing research and educational activities relevant to aging, patient safety, the terminally ill and vulnerable populations from Northwestern and surrounding academic communities. The accepted abstracts were printed in a booklet that was distributed at the event. Contributing authors came from Northwestern and surrounding academic communities including UIC and the University of Chicago.


The Eckenhoff Lecture was established in 1994 by the Eckenhoff family in commemoration of their father, the late James E. Eckenhoff, MD who was dean of Northwestern University’s School of Medicine from 1970-1983. Each year the lecture features a prominent guest speaker who is at the forefront of research on aging. The John & Gwen Smart Symposium is named in honor of this philanthropic couple.

2010 Smart Symposium Presentations (listed below or click here to view the full abstract book)

Key Topics Presented:

Palliative / End-of-Life Care
Dementia / Alzheimer’s
Cancer / Social Science
QI / Patient Safety
Health Outcomes
Basic Science & Aging
Aging / Social Science