University of Southern Indiana
Mid-America Institute on Aging

Keynote Speakers

Michael Greger, MD

Web -michael _gregerDr. Greger has scoured the world's scholarly literature on clinical nutrition and developed his presentation for based on the latest in research exploring the role diet may play in preventing and reversing our leading causes of death and disability. He is a founding member and Fellow of the American College of Lifestyle Medicine, a physician, New York Times best-selling author and internationally-recognized speaker on nutrition, food safety and public health issues.

In his latest book, How Not to Die, Dr. Greger examines the 15 top causes of death in America — heart disease, various cancers, diabetes, Parkinson’s, high blood pressure, and more — and explains how nutritional and lifestyle interventions can sometimes trump prescription pills and other pharmaceutical and surgical approaches, freeing us to live healthier lives.

Greg O'Brien

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An investigative journalist, writer, and editor, Greg O’Brien was diagnosed with younger-onset Alzheimer’s disease in 2009 at age 59. Since then, he has spoken across the country about his experience living with Alzheimer’s disease. He has been featured in the documentary film, Living with Alzheimer’s: A Place Called Pluto, and on NBC News and National Public Radio.

His book, On Pluto: Inside Alzheimer's, was published in 2014. Greg would like to raise awareness of the experience of people with younger-onset Alzheimer’s, and advocate for increased funding for research. Using his skills as a writer, he states, “I want to help teach the world how to live and speak through the heart as the brain diminishes.”

Linda Briggs, MS, MA, RN

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With 25 years of nursing experience as a critical care staff nurse, nurse manager, clinical nurse specialist, and educator, Linda Briggs joined the Gundersen Health System in 1999 to provide leadership in the development and dissemination of the internationally recognized program, Respecting Choices. She has been privileged to consult with healthcare leaders, organizations and communities around the world, providing education and support in implementing the principles of effective and sustainable advance care planning programs. Her clinical and research interests have focused on the disease-specific planning needs of patients with advanced illness and their families.

Briggs has led the development of the Respecting Choices curriculum, co-authored several Respecting Choices manuals and programs, and has published numerous articles regarding advance care planning and end-of-life care. In 2015, Briggs received recognition from the Tribeca Disruptive Innovation Awards for the impact of the Respecting Choices program.

The Fun Conspiracy

The Fun Conspiracy provides personal coaching, consulting and educational programs that promote the power of play to support wellness. Intentionally subversive, The Fun Conspiracy challenges prevailing cultural beliefs that play is just for kids, must be earned as a reward, or must be expensive. In “What’s All the Buzz about Play,” The Fun Conspiracy’s founder Ginny Hunneke and co-conspirator Jennifer Maurer will share research that play is an essential biological drive that enhances cognitive functioning, creativity, physical and emotional health, relationships and well-being throughout our lives. Ginny and Jennifer are both certified life coaches with backgrounds in education, consulting, and substance abuse and mental health recovery. They have shared the healing power of play in keynotes and workshops for recovery programs, schools, and organizations across the United States and abroad.

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Ginny Hunneke, BA, The Fun Conspiracy’s founder and head conspirator, is a Certified Intrinsic Life Coach who has shared the healing power of play in keynotes and workshops for recovery programs, schools, and organizations across the United States and Europe. Ginny received her bachelor's degree from Wake Forest University and has served as an educator, founder and board member for several educational institutions. She is passionate about substance abuse prevention and recovery has helped lead state-wide efforts as a board member for Drug-Free NC (now Insight Human Services). In her personal pursuit of healing and joy, Ginny can be found near, on, or under water.

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Jennifer Maurer, MA, is a play researcher, public speaker, and certified life coach at The Fun Conspiracy and has more than 20 years experience working in a variety of fields including mental health recovery, non-profit development, strategic planning and marketing. Jennifer realized the tremendous healing power of play when she directed a nonprofit supporting families experiencing mental health challenges. She is passionate about sharing the benefits of play for promoting creativity and optimal well-being across the life span. Jennifer is a Martha Beck-certified life coach and has formal training in mindfulness and trauma-informed approaches, Insight Dialogue and Emotional CPR. More importantly, she loves to climb trees.


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