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MHA Alumnae Featured on PBS 12

Grads join Colorado leaders to add their voices on ageism, work and technology amid COVID-19 economy

Master of Health Administration (MHA) alumnae from MSU Denver have joined community leaders on public television to discuss ageism, the future of work, technology and more amid COVID-19.

Kris Geerken, Katrina Chaffin and Navneet Saini, all fall 2019 MHA grads, are appearing on PBS12 in Denver this summer, adding their voices to bridge generations and end ageism with other leaders in healthcare, government, business and education.

Geerken, who served as an executive producer for the series, is a program manager for Changing the Narrative, a nonprofit focused on ending ageism. In March, Geerken began working a campaign called On the Same pAGE to boost conversations about ageism and invited Chaffin and Saini to take part in the TV series and discuss areas of their expertise.

Chaffin, a program manager for Prime Health who helped increase telehealth training and support offerings, appeared on an episode about technology and said healthcare has seen a “drastic increase” in the use of technology and that telehealth is one example. “Telehealth has been proven as a necessity to continue to care for patients in the last few months,” Chaffin said.

Saini and Geerken both shared thoughts as recent grads in an episode about the future of work.

Saini, an accounting and healthcare professional, admitted the pandemic made job searches more difficult for new grads. “They face a lot of challenges finding the right position and student loans will be difficult to repay,” Saini said. “But I do think with a lot of courage we’ll come out of this stronger.”

Geerken said she’s happy with the series. “What I found most meaningful was bringing dozens of amazing people together to discuss important and very relevant issues right now,” Geerken said. “And it gave me the opportunity to include former classmates, Katrina and Navneet.”

Geerken said she applied lessons she learned in administration, marketing, and community health courses to complete the project. “The responsibilities I had as executive producer for the episodes connected those courses,” she said. “I was thrilled to be a part of the collaboration. I never anticipated working in the media industry. It was such a positive experience and the team at PBS12 was incredible.

The six PBS12 episodes are airing on Fridays at 7 p.m. and include these topics:

  • Social Connection – aired June 5
  • The Future of Work – aired June 12 (Kris and Navneet)
  • Technology – aired June 19 (Katrina)
  • Health Equity – aired June 26
  • Arts and Culture – airing July 3
  • Ageism – airing July 10

All episodes can be seen at https://changingthenarrativeco.org/on-the-same-page-with-pbs12/.

Geerken, 55, who also serves on the board of the Colorado Senior Lobby, said her program, On the same pAGE, has been well received and that one month after launching it, more 600 people joined the effort from around the globe.

She added that while COVID-19 forced revisions to On the same pAGE, the facilitator toolkit has been revised so anyone can download to create and host free virtual conversations on ageism. See https://actionnetwork.org/forms/download-the-virtual-on-the-same-page-toolkit for more information.

“Now more than ever, people need to connect with one another and the toolkit provides meaningful and thought-provoking discussion questions,” Geerken said. ” Employers and educators could even include this discussion to engage staff and students. It’s an opportunity to break down biases and shift the way we view age and aging.”

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