William Thomas discusses Eldertopia as part of the Healing and Healthy Aging: Nurture and Nature track at the 2007 Chautauqua Institution Summer Program.
Is aging well by choice or by chance? Advances in medical science provide for longer life expectancies in many Western countries. As we age, what are our expectations for quality of life, freedom from pain, and ability to coherently contribute to our families and the greater society? Will emerging research in neuroscience - marking the 100th anniversary of the discovery of Alzheimer's Disease - guide us to better aging? Can the growing industry of pharmacology counter individual genetic tendencies, and at what expense and length? We will explore how the "boomers" heading into retirement affect families, communities, the workplace, economics, and medical ethics- Chautauqua Institution
William H. Thomas
William H. Thomas is a physician with a special interest in aging and the elderly. In 1991 he conceived the idea of The Eden Alternative, a new approach to the care of frail elders. Facilities that adopt The Eden Alternative bring decision-making in line with the needs of the Elders, rather than bureaucratic priorities. Once this cultural change has been accomplished they will be able to successfully introduce large numbers of companion animals, indoor plants, gardens and children. Dr. Thomas also pioneered the next phase in care for frail elders with the Green House Project.
A native of Upstate New York, he attended SUNY Scotland where he earned a B. S. in Biology, summa cum laude in 1982, He graduated from Harvard Medical School in 1986. At Harvard he was one of the founding editors of "Murmurs," a quarterly journal of opinion.
A three-year residency in Family Medicine at the University of Rochester followed medical school. Thomas was selected by the Mead Johnson Foundation as one of the top Family Medicine residents in the country. Now Board Certified in Family Medicine and Geriatrics, he has settled into a rural corner of Chenango County with his wife and partner, Judy Meyers-Thomas as well as their five children. Dr. Thomas enjoys a professional life that includes patient care, medical administration, teaching medical students from Upstate Medical Center and research and writing. He travels extensively, spreading The Eden Alternative philosophy. Dr. Thomas has been involved with developing software and information technology solutions that improve the quality of care delivered by health care organizations. Dr. Thomas has received recognition and numerous awards for his work. Among them, he was a recipient of the 1998 America's Award for "Unsung Heroes, The Giraffe Project's "Sticking Your Neck Out Award," and a 'Distinguished Service in Aging Award" from the American Association of Homes and Services for the Aging.
Scientific and medical disciplines, respectively, concerned with all aspects of health and disease in the elderly and with the normal aging process. Gerontology is concerned primarily with the changes that occur between maturity and death and with the factors that influence these changes. It addresses the social and economic effects of an aging population and the physiological and psychological aspects of aging to learn about the aging process and possibly minimize disabilities. Geriatrics deals with prevention and treatment of diseases once assumed to be inevitable in the elderly. See also aging.