The Alliance for Aging Research is proud to have dedicated staff members supporting the organization in its mission to improve the universal human experience of aging and health. Every month, we’ll spotlight one of our staff members here on the blog. This month, we are featuring Kelsey Martin, the Alliance’s Health Programs Coordinator.
What do you do at the Alliance for Aging Research?
At the Alliance, I work as the Health Programs Coordinator on the Health Education team. Because we are a small organization, I am fortunate to work on numerous components that come with producing our health education content. From research to writing and content creation to marketing, I work with our Vice President of Health Education and Advocacy to create resources that educate patients, caregivers, physicians, and the public on a range of health topics that disproportionately affect older adults. We cover topics on heart health, cancer, nutrition, diabetes, mental health, over-the-counter pain management, and more.
How long have you worked at the Alliance?
Almost two and a half years!
Where are you from, and what brought you to the Washington, DC area?
I was born and raised at the Jersey Shore. Shortly after attending college in North Carolina, I moved back to New Jersey and worked in New York. I decided that I wanted a change of pace and moved down to Arlington when my husband began medical school at The George Washington University School of Medicine. We have grown to love the DC metro area and all it has to offer!
What is your favorite project or topic you’ve worked on while at the Alliance?
I’ve really enjoyed working on the National Heart Valve Disease Awareness Day Campaign. I joined the Alliance shortly before the first awareness day took place, and we just celebrated the third year of the campaign on February 22! It has been a wonderful experience working with existing and new partners to spread the word about heart valve disease. The campaign has reached new heights in the past few years, and I am eager to watch it continue to grow.
Do you have a personal connection with any of the health issues/conditions the Alliance works on?
The Alliance covers so many important topics on aging that affect millions of families every day. I personally connect with the Celebrating a Year Without A Stroke campaign, because my dad suffered a Transient Ischemic Attack (TIA) at the age of 58. He is recovered now and will be turning 65 this spring. We are extremely fortunate that his outcome was a good one, but there are so many other people who cannot say the same. It is so important to educate others on the signs and symptoms of stroke and certain lifestyle changes you can make to reduce your risk. The Year Without A Stroke campaign shares the real stories of people who have experienced and seen first-hand how serious AFib-related strokes can be. They all share the mission of educating patients and their loved ones about stroke risk and prevention, so that they can Celebrate a Year Without a Stroke.
What is something you’ve learned about healthy aging since working at the Alliance that has either changed your view or impacted the way you personally approach aging?
Since working for the Alliance, my view towards the concept of aging has shifted. Healthy aging is a privilege that not all people get to experience. It is a gift to wake up each morning another day older, and with each passing year, hopefully wiser! However, I feel that education and prevention are key to aging in the healthiest way. It is important to know how diet, exercise, lifestyle, and being aware of your own body play major roles in staying healthy now and in the long run.
What is your favorite book?
I have always been a huge fan of James Patterson and his mystery/thriller novels and series. However, I’m currently reading Girl Wash Your Face by Rachel Hollis and loving it!
What is one thing that not many people know about you?
Although I may seem rather extroverted to my friends, family, and colleagues, I am introverted when first meeting people. It takes me a little bit to open up, but once I do, I am an open book.