News & Media

Keynote Address and Panel Discussion at the US Library of Congress

Read the full Library of Congress event announcement and press release here.

Longevity has turned into a buzzword of late. There are many very wealthy people who tout their ability to defy age by following rigid health regimes that are out of reach for the average person, but longevity can also be accessible to everyone. The goal of this event is to bring specialists from the fields engaging with longevity science to speak on how cognitive wellness interacts with quality of life.

Panelists will discuss many issues in longevity, including the ethics of longevity science, neural health, and how art engagement can have an impact on our brains. The panel aims to shift focus from "mental health" to "cognitive wellness," and to foreground quality of life for elders. This helps avoid certain stigmas while also embracing the core work of our co-sponsor, the Longevity Science Foundation: "Adding Years to Our Life and Life to Our Years."

The Library’s American Folklife Center will co-sponsor this event, working in conjunction with the Health Services Division. Longevity is an issue for folklife and traditional culture in that elder culture bearers are key transmitters of knowledge, beliefs, and practices. The notion of “elder” has resonance across many cultural communities represented in the Center’s collections, and longevity as lived experience runs throughout the Center’s holdings. Exploring the intersections of traditional culture with emergent science-based understandings can be beneficial to medical practice and the public alike.

The Library of Congress staff is a microcosm of the public with similar questions and concerns focused on aging, quality of life, and the need to move gracefully along the continuum between working years and retirement years. The Health Services Division sees the work on, and conversations about, longevity as vital to helping the workforce navigate this continuum.

To attend in person use this link
To attend virtually (via Zoom), use this link

Panelists include:

  • Lisa Ireland, President and CEO for The Longevity Science Foundation,
  • Jon Kay, director of Traditional Arts Indiana at Indiana University and author of "Folk Art and Aging: Life-Story Objects and Their Makers",
  • Kelly O’Brien, Vice President of Prevention for UsAgainstAlzheimer’s,
  • Susan Magsamen, Executive Director of the International Arts and Mind Lab at the Brain Science Institute at Johns Hopkins University.

Request ADA accommodations five business days in advance at (202) 707-6362 or

Lisa Ireland

Lisa Ireland is the President and CEO for The Longevity Science Foundation. Lisa travels around the globe making connections to help move longevity science forward to ensure research is funded and able to be utilized by people living normal lives. She has devoted her career to non-profit organizations including the Rochester Museum and Science Center. Prior to her time at the RMSC, she served as the Director of Donor Relations and Stewardship at Rochester Institute of Technology.

Jon Kay

Jon Kay directs Traditional Arts Indiana at Indiana University, where he also serves as an Associate Professor in the Department of Folklore and Ethnomusicology. He is the author of "Folk Art and Aging: Life-Story Objects" and Their Makers and the edited volume "The Expressive Lives of Elders: Folklore, Art, and Aging." Kay also creates exhibitions, public programs, and documentaries about the traditional arts in Indiana.

Susan Magsamen

Susan Magsamen is the Executive Director of the International Arts and Mind Lab at the Brain Science Institute at Johns Hopkins University and also the senior advisor to the Science of Learning Institute at Johns Hopkins University. Her body of work lies at the intersection of brain sciences and the arts—and how our unique response to aesthetic experiences can amplify human potential.

Kelly O'Brien

Kelly O’Brien is Vice President of Prevention for UsAgainstAlzheimer’s. In this role, she is the strategic lead and director of the team advancing programs and policies to promote healthy aging and reduce the risk of Alzheimer’s and dementia. This work includes the Brain Health Academy for health professionals and the Business Collaborative for Brain Health.Kelly’s service history includes leadership positions in the public, nonprofit, and private sectors.