Diversity Dialogue brought to you by your NADTA Diversity Committee:

Older Adults: Barriers to Access and Engagement​

October 16th at 5 PM PST/8 PM EST
Facilitated by
 Jennie Smith-Peers, Kari Rogenski, Rosimar Hernandez, & Mary Farkas 

Older adults continue to be marginalized in many ways, often stepping into “invisibility”, while navigating the complexities of stigma and aging. The NADTA has recently formed a Older Adults sub-committee to address the use of drama therapy in the Older Adults Act along with revisions to the NADTA website regarding drama therapy with older adults. This call will explore the use of drama therapy and the creative arts to promote healing and community engagement. There will be exploration of the challenges faced as students and professionals in finding internships, focused teachings in school, and support in this drama therapy/creative arts work. We can discuss current or prior work with older adults and seek solutions along with encouraging others to help break down barriers.. Please join us in this dialogue led by four trusted clinicians who have diverse older adult experience working in private practice, agency/community settings, hospitals, veterans affairs and for national non-profits.


Jennie Smith-Peers, MA

Jennie combines her management experience and leadership in advocacy with a passion for the arts and aging. Prior to joining Iona Senior Services as their Director of Development in 2018, Jennie was the Executive Director of the National Center for Creative Aging (NCCA), leading the nation in supporting capacity building and arts advocacy for older adults. Prior to her tenure at NCCA, Jennie served as Executive Director of Elders Share the Arts in New York. Her love of working with older adults began during her time as an AmeriCorps member, which focused on supporting the health and well-being of older adults in Tennessee. Subsequently, this led Jennie to lead parallel careers as a professional actress and an administrator in aging. Jennie holds a BFA from Emerson College and earned a Masters in Drama Therapy from NYU. She has a particular love in the intersection of health policy, aging and the arts, and building the capacity of clinicians and artists to serve older adults.

Kari Rogenski, MA, LMFT, RDT

Kari is the current Vice President of the NADTA. Kari holds a master’s degree in Counselling Psychology (Drama Therapy) from CIIS. She is an experienced RDT who had the pleasure of chairing the 2016 NADTA conference in Seattle. She is director of The Hummingbird Project, a concierge therapeutic activity program for seniors provided by Sage Eldercare Solutions. The Hummingbird Project employs creative arts therapists and teaching artists to work one-on-one with older adults, and the program also provides arts based group programs in long term care communities. Kari is co-creator of Joyful Moments: Meaningful Activities to Engage Older Adults and she presents both locally and nationally educating gerontologists and elder care professionals about creative aging and therapeutic activities.

Rosimar Hernandez, MA, LCAT, RDT

Rosimar completed her Masters of Drama Therapy from New York University. Currently, she works as a Creative Arts Therapist through the VA Pittsburg Healthcare Systems. She has extensive experience working with veterans and military service members using drama for change. She is also passionate about LGBTQIA issues and advocacy. Rosimar has worked on Dementia and Alzheimer’s Units and assists Veterans to restore social and cognitive functioning, develop coping skills, and integrate into community settings.

Mary Farkas MA, LCAT, RDT

Mary holds both a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree in Drama and Applied Theatre and a Master of Arts degree in Drama Therapy from New York University.  She is Licensed Creative Arts Therapist, a Registered Drama Therapist, and a Certified Dementia Practitioner through the National Council of Certified Dementia Practitioners. She is currently the Director of Therapeutic Arts and Enrichment Programs at the Hebrew Home at Riverdale. Her clinical interests are in the intersection of geriatrics, dementia, end of life care and mental health.  Her current focus is on exploring how the arts support resilience for both caregivers and care partners in health care settings.

Mary has collaborated with multiple museums to design and facilitate intergenerational art-looking programs for people living with memory loss, including the Museum of Modern Art.  She has and continues to serve in multiple positions with the NADTA, including registry committee and a special council on older adults.  Mary also regularly presents at conferences and provides trainings on dementia care, hospice and mental health.

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