The School of Social Work and the School of Public Health at West Virginia University will host the 36th Summer Institute on Aging, June 3-5, at the Lakeview Resort and Conference Center in Morgantown, West Virginia.

The theme for this year’s conference is “Aging Without Limits: Expanding Community.”

Lenard Kaye, professor of social work at the University of Maine School of Social Work and director of the UMaine Center on Aging, will kick off the conference on June 3 with the presentation “Adopting a Productive Aging Mentality in Rural America.”

On June 4, the annual Anita S. Harbert Outstanding Achievement in Aging Award will be presented to Loriann Sonntag.

The annual honor is awarded to a West Virginia social worker that has made a significant contribution in the field of aging.

Kristina Hash, Ph.D., associate professor and gerontology certificate director for the WVU School of Social Work, nominated Sonntag for this award.

Hash said, “Loriann has been an extraordinary adjunct instructor for the School of Social Work and a pioneer in the expansion of gerontology education at WVU. Anyone who knows and has worked with Loriann would say that this award was meant for her.”

Sonntag is a graduate of the WVU School of Social Work Master of Social Work program and holds a graduate certificate in gerontology from WVU. She has been a social worker at Visiting Homemaker Service in Morgantown and has recently joined the staff at the Alzheimer’s Association, West Virginia Chapter as program coordinator, where she supports and serves caregivers, families and persons with dementia by establishing essential interactive relationships with the community.

She was chosen by the West Virginia Geriatric Education Center as a David K. Brown Geriatrics Scholar and is certified as a grief counselor, dementia care specialist, and an advance care planning facilitator.

Her practice background includes positions in home health, hospice, senior centers, and work with children and families in grief support groups. Her teaching and work interests include public policy and aging, women and aging, social work practice at the end of life, and medical and health issues such as Alzheimer’s disease.

“Loriann has a heart of gold. She is a genuine caring person who has concern for whomever she is interacting with – she is present in her interactions – you can feel it,” said Jacki Englehardt, professional and community education coordinator for the WVU School of Social Work.

“I am sure her clients, students, and coworkers know this focused compassion as well because it is just who Loriann is.”

Conference workshops will be categorized by topic codes and practitioner tracks, including: Adult Protective Service Workers; Cultural Competency/Diversity; Core Practice; Senior Center/ADRC directors & staff; Mental Health/Clinical and Management/Administration Policy.

These workshops will include, but are not limited to, key topics such as “Improving the Quality of Services and Supports Offered to LGBT,” “Health Information That Makes Sense to Older Adults,” and “Drama and Social Issues: Changing the World One Line at a Time.”

The conference has been approved for a maximum of 19.5 continuing education contact hours for licensed social workers in West Virginia, Maryland, Virginia and Pennsylvania. Social workers from other states should contact their respective licensure boards regarding approval prior to registering for the conference.

The 36th Summer Institute on Aging has also been approved for counseling hours. For a listing of approved West Virginia licensed professional counselor sessions, go to

This conference has been approved for a maximum of 22.8 continuing education units for nurses through the WVU School of Public Health.

Conference participants will be provided lunch each day and free parking will be made available for commuters.

For more information on this event including a downloadable brochure and registration form, conference schedule and exhibitor application, please visit

For more information, contact Jacki Englehardt at 304-293-3280, or email



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