Village Recognizes Three Trailblazers in Building an Age-inclusive Society

September 2, 2022 – The Village Chicago, a vibrant community network supporting adults in navigating life after age 50, has named three Trailblazers – an author, an individual, and an organization – as part of its annual Trailblazers Awards.

“These three recipients are helping to transform attitudes, change policy, and improve our health and wellbeing at every age,” said Darcy Evon, CEO of The Village Chicago. “They have shown outstanding leadership in building a fully age-integrated, inclusive society where everyone’s strengths are appreciated, respected, and utilized.”

The three Trailblazers for 2022 are Dr. Becca Levy (author), Dr. Neelum Aggarwal (individual award), and the Jane Addams Senior Caucus (organizational award).

Author: Dr. Becca Levy is the author of the ground-breaking book, Breaking the Age Code: How Your Beliefs About Aging Determine How Long and Well You Live. Through more than two decades of research as Professor of Epidemiology at the Yale School of Public Health and Professor of Psychology at Yale University, New Haven, CT, Dr. Levy and her team have demonstrated that health problems attributed solely to the aging process such as hearing loss and memory loss are in fact influenced by negative age stereotypes and self-perceptions. Her research has received awards from the American Psychological Association, the Gerontological Society of America, and the International Association of Gerontology and Geriatrics, and also played a key role in the World Health Organization Campaign to Combat Ageism.

Individual: Dr. Neelum Aggarwal is recognized for her decades of research and patient care in brain health, dementia, and Alzheimer’s Disease. Among her many accomplishments, Dr. Aggarwal was an important part of the team led by Martha Clare Morris at Rush University Medical Center in Chicago to develop and evaluate the effectiveness of the groundbreaking MIND diet (Mediterranean-DASH Intervention for Neurodegenerative Delay). Her roles have included Professor in the Department of Neurological Sciences, Rush Medical College and the Rush Alzheimer’s Disease Center; Director of Research at the Rush Heart Center for Women; and Chief Diversity and Inclusion Officer for the American Medical Women’s Association.

Organization: The Jane Addams Senior Caucus in Chicago was founded by activist Ruth Shriman in 1976 to ensure that the voices of older adults would be heard. Since then, this multi-racial grassroots organization has made important contributions on issues that affect society at large—affordable housing, retirement security, voter registration, and more. The recent “Senior Safety Ordinance” in Chicago is one example of JASC’s work. Their mission “envisions a world where all seniors can age with dignity and safety, free of ageism, racism, and other forms of oppression.” Its methods are based on community organizing: crossing neighborhood, racial, religious, generational, and socioeconomic lines to find common ground.
“Please help us celebrate these remarkable Trailblazers and enjoy an evening filled with fun, friends, and world-class entertainment (featuring Porchlight Music Theatre) at our annual benefit on September 16, Can’t Stop the Beat!,” said Evon.

The event, to be held from 5:00-7:30pm at DePaul University’s Holtschneider Performance Center, 2330 N. Halsted in Chicago, will also include appetizers and cocktails, a live auction, a raffle drawing, and the closing of an online auction. The online auction is available for preview now. It opens for bidding on September 8, offering everything from vacations to jewelry to sports memorabilia to Chicago-area entertainment. Beginning September 8, tickets and raffle tickets may also be purchased at that link, and one can make donations there in honor of the Trailblazers.

The Village Chicago (www.thevillagechicago.org) is a dynamic community network of friendship, engagement and services for people over 50. We improve the quality of life through social engagement, an extensive services and referral network, lifelong learning, health and wellness, intergenerational relationships, and work and purpose. We believe that older adults are a vital part of a cohesive, collaborative society where everyone can thrive.