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. This week, we are featuring Katrin Werner, the Alliance’s Health Programs Manager.
What do you do at the Alliance for Aging Research?
As the manager of our health education, I help write and produce educational materials such as films and brochures. I also work with partners and do outreach for our annual Heart Valve Disease Awareness Day.
How long have you worked at the Alliance?
I started with the Alliance in March of this year (2022). It has already been such a great two months!
Where are you from, and what brought you to the Washington, DC area?
I grew up not far from DC, in Falls Church, Virginia. I decided to go to the University of Utah for a change of scenery, but in my heart, I always knew I would come back to Northern Virginia. This area is a perfect intersection of culture, education, and politics with proximity to both nature and city-life. It’s everything you’ll ever need – including a lot of airports!
What is your favorite project or topic you’ve worked on while at the Alliance?
Working on mental health with the aging population is something that’s incredibly personal. Being involved in the process of distributing mental health fact sheets for physicians and caregivers truly makes me feel like I’m making a difference. The materials we produce and distribute are so instrumental for everyone in the aging process – adults, caregivers, physicians. It’s refreshing to feel like I am helping people every day.
Do you have a personal connection with any of the health issues/conditions the Alliance works on?
Before my grandmother passed, she dealt with a lot of the issues I work on now. I also have older parents who I watch adjust to the challenges of aging. Because of my family, the work the Alliance does is so meaningful and, more importantly, helpful, because I know exactly where I can go to get the resources I need.
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?
Learning about sarcopenia was eye-opening for me. In all my time in the health field, I had never heard of sarcopenia, which really underscores the importance of raising awareness!
What is your favorite book?
I have so many depending on different moods and genres and parts of my life. If I had to pick one overall book it would probably be Alice in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll. I remember the first time I read it how enchanting and whimsical it felt – something I still feel that each time I reread it.
What is one thing that not many people know about you?
I was a classically trained pianist for 10 years. In that time, I competed in local classical music recitals and performed with a symphony. I still enjoy playing the piano as a creative outlet, but now without the stress of a performance.